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Weirs Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, is one of New Hampshire’s most epic destinations. Located in the northern corner of Laconia in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Weirs Beach is known as the “fun town” of Lake Winnipesaukee with everything from a long, sandy beach to a lovely boardwalk to drive-in movies to numerous arcades.
The original inhabitants of Weirs Beach were the Abenaquis Indigenous people, members of the Penacook tribe. They called their village Aquedoctan, meaning the “place of good fishing.” To catch the fish, they used a basket called a “weir,” which is where the town’s modern name comes from.
In the mid-19th century, railroads connecting Boston, Concord and Montreal stopped in Weirs Beach, making it a popular getaway destination for New Englanders that has continued to this day.
As for today? Weirs Beach still has it going on! This is one of the most popular spots to stay on Lake Winnipesaukee, and for good reason.
Things to Do in Weirs Beach NH
Weirs Beach is a place for good old-fashioned fun for the whole family. During the day, hang out on the beach, take a lake cruise, stroll the boardwalk, or hit up the arcades.
By night, catch a drive-in movie, head to a brewery with board games, or enjoy nightlife along the town.
And this lake loves its fireworks shows! There are shows on Saturday nights from mid-July through early August, as well as shows on the Fourth of July and in mid-June for Laconia Motorcycle Week.
Stroll the Weirs Beach Boardwalk
Weirs Beach’s boardwalk is what makes this town special! The boardwalk runs along Lakeside Avenue and takes in the best views of the town, with lots of benches for sitting and enjoying it. The boardwalk offers direct access to the beach and there are several historic placards telling you the story of the town over the years.
Strolling along the pier, you’ll learn about how Weirs Beach welcomed the Lady of the Lake steamship in 1849, how they held reunions for Civil War veterans in 1875, and how it became a hot spot for music concerts (10 cents to attend, 20 cents to dance in 1903!).
The Winnipesaukee Pier dates back to 1925 and was a popular spot for big bands of the time. Today it’s home to waterfront dining, jet ski rentals, and an arcade, Games on the Pier.
Arcades and More Fun
Just off the boardwalk, Weirs Beach is home to lots of fun. You’ve got the Half Moon Penny Arcade, with both old-fashioned and modern arcade games; Cook’s Candy Kitchen will satisfy your sweet tooth, and you’ve got plenty of spots for fried dough, slush, and ice cream. (And some booze for the grown-ups.)
And there’s shopping: Half Moon Gifts is your stop for quirky New England souvenirs, and Save Ology Thrift Shop is great for secondhand finds at great prices.
Don’t forget to take a spin on the bumper cars!
And within a short drive of Weirs Beach you have everything from the legendary Weirs Beach go-kart track to bumper boat rentals, a climbing wall, and several miniature golf courses like Pirate’s Cove. Also nearby is Gunstock Mountain Resort, with outdoor fun all four seasons of the year. And that’s before you even get to Funspot, the largest arcade in the world, right in Weirs Beach…
Enjoy one of New Hampshire’s Best Beaches
Weirs Beach itself, known as “The Weirs” by locals, is one of the most wonderful lake beaches in New Hampshire. It’s not huge — just 640 feet at its widest point — but the sand is soft and the waves are gentle. The end of the beach closest to the boardwalk tends to be a bit shallower, which makes it a good option for young children.
From Weirs Beach you have wonderful views of Lake Winnipesaukee’s islands and the blue Ossipee Mountains in the distance. Endicott Rock, located on site, is the oldest public monument in New England, dating back to 1652.
The beach is part of Endicott Rock Park and free to visit, but parking is paid. Facilities at the beach include picnic tables, a playground, and restroom facilities. Lifeguards are present during the day from June through August.
Read More: 13 Best Beaches in New Hampshire
Cruise Lake Winnipesaukee
Mount Washington Cruises is headquartered in Weirs Beach, making it a great getaway to exploring the lake. There are several different kinds of cruises. If you’re looking for a basic narrated cruise exploring the lake, take a ride on the M / S Mt. Washington. This 2.5-hour cruises stops in Alton Bay and Wolfeboro as well, and if you depart early, you can hop on and off. This basic cruise is $42 plus $6.50 service and fuel fees.
Other cruises include a sunset dinner cruise, a Sunday brunch cruise, and a summer cocktail cruise.
We at New Hampshire Way are especially big fans of cruising on the M / V Sophie C, which is a smaller boat — an actual USPS mailboat! The boat is a floating post office, and you sail around the islands and deliver mail along the way. It’s so fun and unique that we named it one of our favorite things to do in New Hampshire.
Read More: The Best Boat Rentals in Lake Winnipesaukee
Funspot is literally the largest arcade on the planet. Seriously! It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records. Altogether, there are more than 600 arcade games here — 300 of them vintage. Far more than just Pac-Man, there are lots of niche games that you might remember from 40 years ago. This part of the facility is the American Classic Arcade Museum.
And it’s far more than just arcade games. You can go bowling, do indoor mini golf, or join in competitive Bingo with cash prizes!
With a restaurant on site and plenty of party facilities, this is our top choice of what to do on a rainy day in Lake Winnipesaukee.
Take a Ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad
New Hampshire has no shortage of scenic train rides (we especially love the Conway Scenic Railroad, one of the best things to do in North Conway). The Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad is a beautiful journey on an old-fashioned train that travels along the edge of the lake. This journey was once part of the Maine Railroad.
The journey starts in Meredith before heading to Weirs Beach and continuing along Lake Winnipesaukee and Paugus Bay. You can book tickets either from Meredith or Weirs Beach; the journey from Meredith is two hours and the journey from Weirs Beach is one hour.
The one-hour ride from the Weirs Beach train station costs $20 for adults and $14 for children ages 4 to 17. If you choose to take the two-hour ride from Meredith, tickets cost $22 for adults and $17 for children ages 4 to 17.
See a Movie at the Weirs Drive-In Theatre
Visiting New Hampshire sometimes feels like going back in time, and one reason is the abundance of drive-in movie theaters. The Weirs Drive-In has been open since 1949, and to this day shows films throughout the spring and summer. One of the most fun activities in a town full of fun activities!
There are four screens at the theater, and they play both classic and modern films. And you don’t have to pop your own popcorn — they have plenty of refreshments on site.
The Weirs Drive-In costs $30 per car for up to 4 people and $5 for any additional people. Children under 4 are free.
Visit the Breweries of Lake Winnipesaukee
Twin Barns Brewing is one of our favorite breweries in New Hampshire, and it’s just an eight-minute drive from Weirs Beach. This brewery has an interesting collection of beers, delicious food, a big deck, and tons of board games to play. This brewery we consider to be family-friendly.
If you’re willing to go further afield, the town of Bristol, 25 minutes from Weirs Beach, is home to Woodman’s Brewery and Shacketts Brewing Company, two smaller breweries with great owners. You can also drive around the lake to Wolfeboro (40 minutes), which is home to Lone Wolfe Brewing Company and Burnt Timber Brewing and Tavern.
As always, be sure to have a designated driver. If not, you can get a cheap taxi to Twin Barns. Weirs Beach is also home to Craft Beer Xchange, a beer bar with lots of interesting brews.
Read More: Best Breweries in New Hampshire
Visit Other Lake Winnipesaukee Towns
One of the nice things about Lake Winnipesaukee is that each town has its own personality!
We especially love Meredith, which has more of an upmarket feel, a beautiful waterfront area with sculptures, and is home to some excellent shops and restaurants.
Wolfeboro is famously “America’s oldest summer resort” (we’re not sure HOW accurate that is, but hey, why not?) and it has a wonderful downtown area.
And don’t forget Moultonborough, home to Castle in the Clouds and the Old Country Store! It’s the perfect place for a day trip on the lake.
And that’s before you get into the many islands that dot the lake.
Read More: 23 Fun Things to Do in Lake Winnipesaukee
Where to Stay in Weirs Beach NH
We have a full guide on where to stay on Lake Winnipesaukee, but here are our top picks for Weirs Beach:
High-end: Lakeview Inn & Cottages. This hotel is arguably the nicest place to stay in Weirs Beach, with a choice of tastefully decorated inn rooms or cozy wood-paneled cabins. The property has a swimming pool and serves breakfast, and an outdoor seating area overlooks the lake.
Mid-range: Grand View Motel and Cottages. While the rooms here are a bit dated, we love the cozy quilts, outdoor patios (in some rooms and cabins) and views of the lake. This is one of the top-rated properties in Weirs Beach.
Budget: Half Moon Motel & Cottages. A perennially popular accommodation option for families, Half Moon has clean, comfortable rooms and cottages, plus a swimming pool and easy access to the lake.
As for rentals, here are a few of our favorites in Weirs Beach:
This two-bedroom condo is great value for money, a short walk from Weirs Beach.
This three-bed waterfront home is a great place for a splurge, and it comes with a boat dock.
This purple Victorian house right on the beach is our FAVORITE home in Weirs Beach and you can actually stay there! It’s a bit pricey, but gorgeous.
Best Time to Visit Weirs Beach
Weirs Beach is very much a summer destination, and it’s busy from June through August. This is when you’ll have the biggest crowds and highest accommodation prices — but you’re here for summer fun! Our team recently visited Weirs Beach in early September and it was extremely quiet. As soon as kids go back to school, that’s it for the season.
Visiting Weirs Beach and Lake Winnipesaukee in the off-season can be a quiet but pleasant time to visit. The lake is especially beautiful during the peak of fall foliage season, which usually hits in mid-October.
The biggest event of the year in Weirs Beach is Laconia Motorcycle Week (aka Bike Week), the world’s oldest motorcycle rally (!!), which takes place in mid-June each year. During this time, many roads on Weirs Beach are closed to traffic and become pedestrian-only.
It can be a fun time to visit, but accommodation tends to book out very quickly, and we recommend avoiding this time if you hate the roar of motorcycles.
How to Get to Weirs Beach
Weirs Beach is located in the town of Laconia, and the best way to get there is by driving. Weirs Beach is about a 45-minute drive from Concord, an hourlong drive from Manchester, and a one-hour and 45-minute drive from Boston. When you see the famous neon sign, you’re here!
There is plenty of parking in Weirs Beach, and most of the convenient spots are paid but low cost for day-trippers (think around $1 per hour). You can pay for parking with a credit card, which is convenient.
There are some bus lines that go to nearby Tilton, but that’s the closest thing you have to public transportation.
Is Weirs Beach worth it?
Yes, of course! Weirs Beach is very much worth it. It’s a fun, affordable, family-friendly destination and absolutely beautiful in the summertime.
After your first trip here, don’t be surprised if you come back every summer! Lake Winnipesaukee has a way of getting under your skin.
More on Lake Winnipesaukee:
- 23 Fun Things to Do on Lake Winnipesaukee
- Best Lake Winnipesaukee Hotels & B&Bs
- 15 Best Boat Rentals on Lake Winnipesaukee
- 11 Best Restaurants in Wolfeboro, NH
More Summer Activities in New Hampshire:
- 13 Best Beaches in New Hampshire
- 7 Best Outdoor & Indoor New Hampshire Water Parks
- Hiking the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire
Best of New Hampshire:
- 50+ Best Things to Do in New Hampshire
- The Absolute Best New Hampshire Breweries
- New Hampshire Fall Foliage: When and Where To Go
Have you been to Weirs Beach? Any recommendations? Share away!