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Nestled in the heart of the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire. The calm blue water is strewn with islands and edged with forests, views of the Ossipee Mountains nodding in the distance, and plenty of Lake Winnipesaukee hotels on shore.
The Lake Winnipesaukee area is one of the most popular vacation destinations in New Hampshire, especially as a summertime getaway for families. You’ll find lots of summer activities in the area, from boat rentals, paddle boards, and other water sports to scenic drives, and lots of hiking. Its fresh air and natural beauty have attracted city dwellers for decades. Surrounding towns have a rustic feel while offering lots of amenities. Be sure to take a drive around to admire the lakes region’s spectacular scenery.
You might remember the classic comedy What About Bob?, starring Bill Murray, took place on Lake Winnipesaukee. The actual movie was shot in North Carolina, but the hometown feel of a general store and strong boating culture are the same!
There are many more lakes on the edges of Lake Winnipesaukee, including Squam Lake, Lake Wentworth, and Lake Winnisquam. Small communities dot the shores surrounding the lakes, each offering unique dining and lodging opportunities.
This post was last updated in May 2023.
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Best Town on Lake Winnipesaukee
Lake Winnipesaukee is enormous — it’s the largest lake in New Hampshire’s Lakes region (and the entire state) — and it’s surrounded by several towns, each of which has its own personality and flavor. It’s well worth hitting a handful of these gems strewn among the waterways.
Wolfeboro is the self-declared “oldest summer resort in America” and has a large, bustling downtown with lots of action on the waterfront. It’s been a favorite, especially among Bostonians, for escaping city life. It’s also been a quiet destination for celebrities looking for a lowkey break from life in the public eye.
Meredith has an upscale feel and some of the best dining and shopping on Lake Winnipesaukee. Winding along the streets of Meredith, you’ll stumble upon Hermits Woods Winery, which is one of the best in the region.
Weirs Beach, technically part of Laconia, is where you go for lots of kitschy fun — arcades, cotton candy, and one of the nicest beaches on the lake, plus nice Victorian homes. Laconia itself has a nice downtown area that’s been transformed from its former glory as an industrial center to cute shops and cafes.
Center Harbor and Laconia are two classic New England towns — not quite as busy as those previously mentioned, but still really beautiful places to stay. Laconia Bike Week takes place in mid-June and the town is filled with motorcycles.
Gilford, Tuftonboro, and Moultonborough are more residential towns with fewer tourist amenities, but still nice places to enjoy the quiet of the lake while living like a local.
You can find Lake Winnipesaukee hotels in all of these towns, with some areas catering to luxury while others cater to families. Our list of hotels included the best from the entire area.
Lake Winnipesaukee FAQ
Each community has something special about it, but we love Weirs Beach for its fun, beachy boardwalk and ample dining opportunities.
The Lake House at Ferry Point in Sanbornton is one of the most luxurious and immersive hotels in the Lake Winnipesaukee area.
The Half Moon Motel & Cottages in Weirs Beach are an affordable option with an unbeatable location!
The Grand View Motel & Cottages in Weirs Beach is the perfect place for traveling families. The private cottages are our pick for families looking to stretch out!
Best Luxury Hotel on Lake Winnipesaukee: The Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness
The historic Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness is technically just off Lake Winnipesaukee near Squam Lake, but this is far and away the best luxury property anywhere near Winnipesaukee, which is why we’re including it here. The service and amenities are truly world class. If you are traveling with a family, it’s worth mentioning that this hotel exclusively welcomes guests over 12-years old.
The suites at The Manor on Golden Pond have luxurious touches like fireplaces, plush robes, and private decks with stunning views. Some rooms feature a whirlpool bath or steam shower to help guests wind down after spending an afternoon at the clay tennis court or pool.
Travelers enjoy turndown service, as well as complimentary, continental breakfast, served in their suite. Guests can also enjoy the extensive wine list at the onsite, Four Diamond Van Horn Dining Room. There’s also the onsite Seasons Spa for a bit of pampering.
More luxury hotels on Lake Winnipesaukee: On the opposite side of Lake Winnipesaukee, Topsides in Wolfeboro is technically a B&B, but feels like a luxury place with a boutique hotel feel. The five bedroom hotel is also nestled in Wolfeboro’s quaint downtown neighborhood, making it very walkable to local shopping and the waterfront. In Gilford, you can find Fireside Inn and Suites with guest rooms equipped with the comforts of home and a private patio or balcony and on the northwest corner of the lake, Center Harbor Inn provides incredible access to lake life.
Best Bed & Breakfast on Lake Winnipesaukee: Center Harbor Sutton House B&B in Center Harbor
Sutton House Bed & Breakfast is a historic Victorian mansion that was built following the Civil War in 1865. The inn is in the heart of picturesque Center Harbor and is everything we could wish for in a B&B.
The rooms are carefully curated by Thais St.Claire, its owner and innkeeper. Rooms are cozy with a comfortable bed that feature quilts that are handmade by Thais herself. Its details like these that set Sutton House apart from its peers, not to mention the comfortable beds, free Wi-Fi, and access to BBQ facilities.
The daily brunch offerings vary, featuring homemade baked goods, granola, and other hot offerings. Brunch is described as a happy, fun time where travelers from all over the world can meet and relax while enjoying a filling meal.
More bed and breakfasts on Lake Winnipesaukee: The Lake Winnipesaukee area has many bed and breakfasts to choose from Topsides in Wolfeboro is excellent. Ballard House Inn in Meredith is also very popular with access to Meredith’s cafes and shops.
Best Mid-Range Hotel on Lake Winnipesaukee: Windrifter Resort in Wolfeboro
The Windrifter Resort is a reasonably priced stay within the Wolfeboro community. It’s a short walk from Wolfeboro shopping and nightlife and while it’s not on the water, you trade lake views for golf course views.
Rooms have fixtures and furniture that have been picked for the sake of function over form. Suites also feature a full kitchen, complete with a stove. It’s an interesting option you don’t often see, perhaps due to the fact that they offer a timeshare program.
Guests have access to the indoor pool, outdoor tennis court, fitness center, and other common areas. The Windrifter also has a barn that has ping pong tables for when blustery days drive families indoors.
More mid-range hotels on Lake Winnipesaukee: The Margate Resort in Laconia seems much nicer with many modern amenities and an indoor and outdoor pool area. It also has event venue available for couples seeking a wedding with a lake view. The historic Wolfeboro Inn, home to Wolfe’s Tavern, is another of the best places to stay in Wolfeboro with easy access to a private beach.
Best Budget Hotel on Lake Winnipesaukee: Half Moon Motel & Cottages in Weirs Beach
One of the most affordable stays in the Lake Winnipesaukee area is the Half Moon Motel & Cottages in Weirs Beach. It’s worth mentioning that the terms “budget” and “affordable” are relative terms in the Lake Winnipesaukee area, but this is as cheap as it gets close to the lake.
Travelers can book either a room or a separate cabin at the Half Moon. Accommodations are clean and uncluttered inside. Those with mobility or physical disabilities will be relieved to find accommodations in their lower balcony rooms, which can be difficult to find in older, historic communities.
Amenities include access to the onsite swimming pool, as well as micro-kitchens in some units and full kitchens in others. One of the biggest draws to the Half Moon Motel & Cottages is its location. It’s located in the middle of the Weirs Beach boardwalk and just steps from the water’s edge.
More budget hotels in Lake Winnipesaukee: If you need somewhere cheap to crash for the night, seek out Super 8 by Wyndham Tilton. Tilton is only a short drive from Laconia, and as you would expect, the greater distance from Lake Winnipesaukee means greater savings. There is also a Hampton Inn & Suites in Tilton.
Best Hotel for Families: Grand View Motel & Cottages in Weirs Beach
The Grand View Motel & Cottages in Weirs Beach is one of the best choices for traveling families. It’s only a few blocks away from the Weirs Beach boardwalk while situated in a peaceful area away from the day’s excitement.
You have the choice of staying in the main building in one of its rooms, however families may appreciate the extra space in a private cottage. Rooms are simple and have family friendly features like minifridges and coffee makers.
You can enjoy views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding mountains while relaxing on the hotel’s sundeck. Other amenities like the heated salt water pool make the Grand View memorable.
More hotels for families in Lake Winnipesaukee: Again the Half Moon Motel & Cottages in Weirs Beach may be a great fit for families. The kitchen setup is appealing to those with picky eaters while the location means you won’t be loading the crew up in the car as often!
Inn on Golden Pond in Holderness (different from the aforementioned Manor on Golden Pond!) is a chic B&B that caters to families. The owners have a few kids of their own and understand how difficult it can be to find family-friendly digs with upscale amenities.
Naswa Resort in Laconia is also full of kid-friendly activities, located a short distance to the beach. Many of the balconies have views of the lake and guests have access to a private beach, plus the usual amenities like cable TV, free wifi, and even babysitting services.
Best Hotels Near Lake Winnipesaukee
If you want to stay a little outside the action, there are many options for a great Lake Winnipesaukee area hotel in nearby towns.
Lake House at Ferry Point in Sanbornton is perfect for those seeking to unwind lakeside. Sanbornton is a bit of a drive from Lake Winnipesaukee “proper,” but it’s worth it for a place this nice. The hotel welcomes guests ages 13 and over.
The Lake House has several lovely suites available, most with an en suite bath. Because it’s more rural than some of the options we’ve discussed, you’ll be treated to views of either Lake Winnisquam or the surrounding wooded area where you might just see wild turkeys or deer tiptoeing among the apple trees.
Travelers can borrow one of the hotel’s single or double kayaks to explore the lake or take a pedal or rowboat out for a spin. The secluded beach area is also a perfect area for an afternoon swim in the clear waters of Lake Winnisquam.
The Glynn House Inn in Ashland is a B&B in a Victorian house, complete with a turret. Be sure to book the Washington Deluxe Suite or Harrison Bedroom for a chance to stay in one of the turret rooms!
More on Lake Winnipesaukee:
- 23 Fun Things To Do on Lake Winnipesaukee
- The Ultimate Guide to Weirs Beach
- 15 Best Boat Rentals on Lake Winnipesaukee
- The Best Restaurants in Wolfeboro, NH
- 15 Fun Things To Do In Lake Winnipesaukee
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