Best Boating in New Hampshire

A sailboat inside a bay in New Hampshire.
Shaman Mountain is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission on certain links, at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

For those seeking the best boating experiences in New Hampshire, the Granite State is a treasure trove of picturesque lakes, rivers, and estuaries waiting to be explored. With its pristine waters, captivating scenery, and a wide array of activities, New Hampshire offers a boater’s paradise. From the majesty of Lake Winnipesaukee to the serene beauty of Squam Lake, and the historic charm of the Piscataqua River, each destination promises a unique and memorable journey on the water. Whether you’re in pursuit of adventure, relaxation, or an opportunity to connect with nature, New Hampshire’s best boating locales offer a diverse range of experiences that cater to every boater’s desire. Join us as we set sail to discover the best of boating in the Granite State.



Lake Winnipesaukee

In the heart of New Hampshire lies Lake Winnipesaukee, the state’s crown jewel. With its vast expanse, stunning scenery, and over 250 islands, this majestic lake offers boaters an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re seeking thrilling water sports, idyllic lakeside towns, or the tranquility of island hopping, Lake Winnipesaukee has it all. Prepare for a boating journey that will leave you with lasting memories of crystal-clear waters, charming communities, and a vibrant boating culture.

Reasons to Boat in Lake Winnipesaukee:

  • Size and Scenery: Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire, covering about 72 square miles. Its vast expanse is adorned with stunning mountain views and boasts 253 islands, offering endless opportunities for exploration and breathtaking scenery.
  • Water Activities: With its crystal-clear waters, Lake Winnipesaukee is a water enthusiast’s paradise. It’s ideal for a wide range of activities, including water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and swimming, making it perfect for boaters looking for active adventures.
  • Lakeside Towns: The shores of Lake Winnipesaukee are dotted with charming towns like Wolfeboro and Meredith. These towns offer a variety of restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions, providing boaters with the opportunity to enjoy both on-the-water and on-land experiences.
  • Island Hopping: Explore the numerous islands on the lake, such as Bear Island and Long Island. These islands are perfect for picnics, hiking, and discovering hidden coves, adding an extra layer of adventure to your boating journey.
  • Boating Events: Lake Winnipesaukee hosts a variety of boating events and regattas throughout the year. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or just looking to enjoy the spectacle, there are plenty of opportunities to participate and enjoy the vibrant boating community.

Recommended Gear: Life Jackets, Compass, Anchor, Tarps, Marine Radio, Cooler, Swim Bag


Lake Sunapee

Amidst the serene beauty of New Hampshire, Lake Sunapee beckons boaters with its clear waters and majestic mountain views. This pristine lake is a haven for water sports, sailing, and relaxation. As you glide across its glistening surface, you’ll be captivated by the tranquility of Sunapee Harbor and the lush surroundings. This destination offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and lakeside charm, making it an ideal place for boating enthusiasts to embark on an unforgettable aquatic adventure.

Reasons to Boat in Lake Sunapee:

  • Clean Waters: Lake Sunapee is renowned for its remarkably clear and clean waters, making it an inviting destination for swimmers and snorkelers. The water quality enhances the overall boating experience, allowing you to enjoy the lake’s natural beauty.
  • Sailing: With its consistent winds and picturesque surroundings, Lake Sunapee is an excellent spot for sailing. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or a novice looking to try it out, the lake provides an ideal setting for a leisurely sail or a more challenging excursion.
  • Sunapee Harbor: Sunapee Harbor is a delightful place to visit during your boating adventure. This vibrant area offers waterfront restaurants, unique shops, and a public beach where you can relax and enjoy the scenic views.
  • State Park: Sunapee State Park provides essential amenities for boaters, including boat launch facilities and recreational areas. It’s a convenient base for your boating expeditions, complete with picnic spots and opportunities for hiking.
  • Scenic Beauty: Surrounded by lush forests and picturesque landscapes, Lake Sunapee offers a captivating setting for your boating adventures. The natural beauty of the area provides a peaceful and visually stunning backdrop for your outings.

Recommended Gear: Sunscreen, Cooler, Paddle, Sunglasses, Marine Radio, Waterproof Phone Case, Dry Box


Squam Lake

Step into the tranquil embrace of Squam Lake, a place that served as the backdrop for the movie “On Golden Pond.” Located in the heart of New Hampshire’s wilderness, Squam Lake is an idyllic destination for nature enthusiasts and boaters alike. Its serene and unspoiled ambiance, combined with opportunities for wildlife observation and canoeing, makes it a peaceful and captivating place to set sail.

Reasons to Boat in Squam Lake:

  • Serenity: Squam Lake is celebrated for its serene and unspoiled ambiance. Immortalized in the film “On Golden Pond,” it offers a tranquil and unpretentious boating experience, perfect for those seeking peace and quiet on the water.
  • Nature Exploration: Squam Lake is a haven for wildlife and bird enthusiasts. The lake’s natural coves and wetlands are teeming with diverse fauna, offering excellent opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting from your boat.
  • Canoeing and Kayaking: If you prefer non-motorized boating, Squam Lake is an ideal destination for canoeing and kayaking. The calm waters and unspoiled environment make it a relaxing setting for paddle-based exploration.
  • Charming Cottages: The shoreline of Squam Lake is adorned with charming cottages and vacation homes, giving the lake a quintessentially New England feel. As you boat along, you can admire these lovely waterfront residences, adding to the overall charm of the experience.
  • Pristine Environment: Conservation efforts are strong on Squam Lake, and measures are taken to preserve the lake’s natural beauty and cleanliness. This ensures that you’ll be enjoying the pristine environment for years to come.

Recommended Gear: Anchor, Dry Box, Sunscreen, Marine Radio, Paddle , Compass, Rope


Lake Winnisquam

Lake Winnisquam, the fourth-largest lake in New Hampshire, welcomes boaters to its shores with open arms. This lake is a haven for water sports, fishing, and family-friendly adventures. With sandy shores, lakeside campgrounds, and a variety of fish species, it’s an excellent choice for those seeking a fun and relaxing boating experience.

Reasons to Boat in Lake Winnisquam:

  • Water Sports: Lake Winnisquam is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Its expansive waters are perfect for activities like water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing, making it an exciting destination for adrenaline-seekers and families alike.
  • Fishing: The lake offers a rich and diverse ecosystem, attracting anglers with a variety of fish species. Whether you’re an experienced fisher or just casting a line for fun, you’re likely to have a successful day of fishing on the water.
  • Sandy Shores: Lake Winnisquam boasts sandy beaches along its shoreline, providing convenient spots for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Families can relish the shallow, safe waters for kids to enjoy.
  • Family Friendly: With numerous access points and ample shoreline, Lake Winnisquam is a family-friendly destination. Bring your loved ones on a memorable boating trip and enjoy quality time together on the water.
  • Lakefront Campgrounds: Several campgrounds are located along the shores of Lake Winnisquam, offering the unique opportunity to go camping right by the water’s edge. This lets you enjoy a more immersive experience with nature while relishing the convenience of being close to your boat.

Recommended Gear: Rope, Compass, Paddle, Cooler, Sunglasses, Snacks, Anchor


Great Bay

Great Bay is a vast estuary that invites boaters to explore its diverse ecosystems. Its tidal inlets, marshes, and abundant wildlife create a dynamic and ever-changing environment for exploration. Whether you’re interested in birdwatching or simply want to escape into the serenity of nature, Great Bay offers a unique and peaceful boating experience.

Reasons to Boat in Great Bay:

  • Estuary Exploration: Great Bay is a vast estuary with diverse ecosystems, making it a fantastic place for exploration. Paddle or cruise through the tidal inlets and marshes for a close encounter with the bay’s unique flora and fauna.
  • Tidal Inlets: The tidal inlets and channels of Great Bay create a dynamic boating environment. You can navigate through these ever-changing waterways, adding a touch of adventure to your journey.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Great Bay is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The area hosts a variety of bird species, including migratory birds. Keep your binoculars ready for a chance to observe the local wildlife.
  • Historic Sites: As you boat through the Great Bay, you’ll pass by historic Portsmouth Harbor and its landmarks. Take in the views of lighthouses, forts, and other historic sites that tell the story of the region’s maritime history.
  • Peaceful Atmosphere: The serene and tranquil atmosphere of Great Bay provides a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re looking for solitude or quality time with loved ones, this natural wonderland offers a peaceful retreat.

Recommended Gear: Life Jackets, Compass, Anchor, Tarps, Marine Radio, Cooler, Sunscreen


Piscataqua River

Discover the historic charm and maritime heritage of the Piscataqua River. This scenic waterway is home to the historic Portsmouth Harbor and serves as a gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. As you navigate its waters, you’ll be treated to stunning views, waterfront dining options, and a deep dive into the region’s rich maritime history.

Reasons to Boat in Piscataqua River:

  • Historic Harbor: Piscataqua River is home to the historic Portsmouth Harbor, a charming and iconic waterfront area. Explore the rich history and picturesque views of the harbor as you navigate its waters.
  • Gateway to the Atlantic: For more extensive boating adventures, the Piscataqua River provides access to the Atlantic Ocean. This opens up a world of possibilities for those who wish to explore further afield.
  • Scenic Views: The Piscataqua River offers gorgeous vistas of the river and the surrounding coastline. As you boat along, you’ll be treated to picturesque landscapes that showcase the natural beauty of the New Hampshire seacoast.
  • Dining and Entertainment: Along the banks of the river, you’ll find numerous waterfront dining options, as well as entertainment venues in Portsmouth. Whether you’re seeking fine dining or casual fare, the riverfront offers a variety of choices to satisfy your culinary cravings.
  • Maritime History: The Piscataqua River has a rich maritime history, and as you navigate its waters, you’ll

Recommended Gear: Compass, Anchor, Cooler, Rope, Tarp, Snacks, Sunscreen


Merrimack River

The Merrimack River, with its scenic riverbanks and lush landscapes, provides a picturesque backdrop for your boating adventures. Whether you prefer powerboating, canoeing, or kayaking, the river offers a versatile and accessible destination for boaters of all types. Rich in wildlife and historical landmarks, it promises a well-rounded experience.

Reasons to Boat in Merrimack River:

  • Scenic Riverbanks: The Merrimack River boasts beautiful riverbanks with lush scenery, creating a serene and picturesque environment for your boating journeys. These natural landscapes make for a delightful backdrop as you cruise along the river.
  • Recreational Boating: The Merrimack River is an excellent location for recreational boating. Whether you prefer powerboating, canoeing, or kayaking, you’ll find plenty of space to enjoy your chosen water activity. It’s an accessible and versatile destination for boaters of all types.
  • Wildlife Spotting: While navigating the Merrimack River, you may have the opportunity to spot various forms of wildlife. Keep an eye out for bald eagles soaring above, beavers busy at work, and other fascinating creatures that call the river’s banks home.
  • Historical Sites: As you cruise along the Merrimack River, you’ll pass by several historical sites that reflect the area’s rich heritage. Notable landmarks include the Searles Castle and the Amoskeag Falls, which serve as reminders of the region’s cultural and industrial history.
  • Fishing: The Merrimack River is known for its diverse fish populations, making it a popular location for anglers. Whether you’re seeking a quiet fishing spot or a place to cast your line with friends, the river offers ample opportunities for a successful day of fishing.

Recommended Gear: Sunscreen, Cooler, Paddle, Sunglasses, Marine Radio, Waterproof Phone Case, Dry Box


Lake Wentworth

Embrace the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wentworth, offering a serene and tranquil retreat in the heart of New Hampshire. Whether you’re an angler seeking a great catch, a family looking for sandy shores, or a nature lover eager to explore the lush surroundings, this lake provides the perfect setting for a peaceful escape.

Reasons to Boat in Lake Wentworth:

  • Crystal Clear Water: Lake Wentworth’s water is renowned for its remarkable clarity. Boaters and swimmers alike can appreciate the clear, clean water.
  • Fishing: The lake provides an excellent fishing experience, with a variety of fish species to catch. Spend the day angling from your boat and take in the peaceful surroundings while waiting for the next big catch.
  • Quiet Retreat: Lake Wentworth offers a tranquil and serene alternative to some of the larger lakes in the region. If you’re seeking a peaceful getaway or a chance to escape the hustle and bustle, this lake provides a calm and serene atmosphere.
  • Lakeside Cottages: The picturesque shoreline of Lake Wentworth is adorned with charming cottages and vacation homes. As you boat along, you can’t help but admire these delightful waterfront residences, adding a touch of New England charm to your experience.
  • Nature Lover’s Paradise: Surrounded by lush forests and scenic landscapes, Lake Wentworth is a true paradise for nature lovers. Whether you’re a birdwatcher, a hiker, or simply someone who enjoys the outdoors, the area offers plenty of opportunities to connect with nature.

Recommended Gear: Sunglasses, Paddle, Sunscreen, Dry Box, Waterproof Phone Case, Anchor

Related Posts:

Close up of a man wearing a green rain coat and waterproof backpack in the pouring rain

Best Waterproof Backpack

Looking for a reliable backpack that can withstand water and moisture? A waterproof backpack is your best bet! Whether you’re hiking, commuting, or traveling, a

Close-up view of the rear boat trailer lights attached to a black SUV towing a white boat on a highway

Best Boat Trailer Lights

Boat trailer lights are a crucial safety feature for any boater. Not only do they help you navigate the road, but they also ensure that

Woman out on her stand up paddleboard (SUP) in Washington State

Best Paddle Boarding in Washington

Exploring the waters of Washington State on a paddle board is a captivating experience that promises both tranquility and exhilaration. This vibrant region is a