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New Hampshire Foliage Drive | Directions and Things to Do

This New Hampshire foliage drive loops around Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake, offering beautiful views of both mountains and water.

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网投平台大全New Hampshire Foliage Drive

At the southern tip of Lake Winni­pe­saukee, the colorful houses of Alton Bay shimmer in their watery reflection.

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Distance: about 75 miles round trip

Each fall the cluster of lakes at the heart of the Granite State becomes a glimmering mirror to the bursts of color along the shoreline. This loop foliage drive around Lake Winnipesaukee and its smaller neighbor to the northwest, Squam Lake, features plenty of stops where you can snack, shop, and take in the shimmering colors along the water.

Begin at Alton Bay at the southern fingertip of Winnipesaukee—the state’s largest lake, with roughly 180 miles of shoreline—and head west on Route 11. A scenic pull-off provides a sweeping vista of the mountain-rimmed lake, but if you’re willing to take a 3.4-mile hike up nearby Mount Major, the reward will be dazzling views of the lake below and the adjacent Ossipee and White Mountains.

网投平台大全New Hampshire Foliage Drive

Scenic Route 109 takes you to the historic village of Sandwich, 网投平台大全 to a harvest fair dating back more than a century.

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Continuing along Route 11, you’ll pass Ellacoya State Park in Gilford. Turn onto Route 11B and head into bustling Weirs Beach. Squeeze in a stop at the Swiss-inspired Kellerhaus for a staggering display of ice cream, fudge, and classic candy before picking up Route 3 north. In Meredith stroll to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen retail gallery, and the unique selection of shops at Mill Falls Marketplace. If it’s just not fall for you without a hot cider doughnut, a quick detour out Route 25 east leads to Moulton Farm, where you can gather apples, pumpkins, and 网投平台大全made baked goods, and even explore a towering corn maze.

Leaving Lake Winni behind (for now), continue on Route 3 toward Squam Lake, famous for its scenery in the 1981 film On Golden Pond. In Holderness, grab a bite with lakeside views at Walter’s Basin. Picking up Route 113, loop up and around Squam toward historic Center Sandwich. The road winds and weaves like a smooth ribbon through the forest and past stone walls. When the town emerges, take a few moments to admire the 1793 Old Baptist Meeting House and browse the antiquarian selection at Hill Country Books before heading south on Route 109 past the grounds of the Sandwich Fair, held each Columbus Day weekend since 1909.

网投平台大全New Hampshire Foliage Drive

Squam Lake preens in all its Academy Award–winning (On Golden Pond) fall color.

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网投平台大全New Hampshire Foliage Drive

Little Squam Lake, between Ashland and Holderness, provides a lovely entrance to its larger neighbor, Squam, via a short connecting channel.

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Arriving in Moultonborough at the crossroads of Routes 109 and 25, you’ll find one of the most historic emporiums in America: Old Country Store & Museum. The aisles are packed with a chaotic array of knickknacks, penny candy, pickles, maple products, locally made jam, and more (much more)— but what would you expect after more than 200 years in business?

Pick up Route 109 again, and continue along the northern shore of Winnipesaukee for the 18-mile stretch to Wolfeboro, where Main Street beckons, with favorite spots like Black’s Paper & Gifts for a stuffed loon souvenir, Bailey’s Bubble for a classic ice-cream cone, and eateries with gorgeous water views. You might want to try the Wolfe­trap Grill & Rawbar (a brief walk north, overlooking Back Bay) for a lobster roll, for instance, or the Downtown Grille Café while keeping watch for the scenic cruise ship M/S Mount Washington as it journeys across the lake.

As for your own journey, set out for the final leg following Route 28 south back down to Alton Bay. By now you’ve nearly completed your double lake loop and almost certainly have eaten well—so all that remains is to stop at a final scenic pull-off, take in one last long look at the rich natural beauty of autumn, and then start planning for next year.

SEE MORE: New Hampshire Foliage Drive | Photographs


Mount Major. Alton. hike/Major000506.html
Ellacoya State Park. 266 Scenic Road, Gilford. 603-293-7821;
Kellerhaus. 259 Endicott St. North (US 3), Weirs Beach. 603-366-4466;
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. 279 Daniel Webster Highway (US 3), Meredith. 603-279-7920;
Mill Falls Marketplace. 312 Daniel Webster Highway (US 3), Meredith. 800-622-6455; 
Moulton Farm. 18 Quarry Farm Road, Meredith. 603-279-3915;
Walter’s Basin. 859 US 3, Holderness. 603-968-4412;
Old Baptist Meeting House. 12 Church St., Center Sandwich.
Hill Country Books. 25 Grove St., Center Sandwich. 603-284-7008;

Sandwich Fair. 7 Wentworth Hill Road (Route 109), Center Sandwich. 603-284-7062; 
Old Country Store & Museum. 1011 Whittier Highway, Moultonborough. 603-476-5750;
Black’s Paper & Gifts. 8 South Main St., Wolfeboro. 603-569-4444; 
Bailey’s Bubble. 5 Railroad Ave., Wolfeboro. 603-569-3612; 
Wolfetrap Grill & Rawbar. 19 Bay St., Wolfeboro. 603-569-1047; 
Downtown Grille Café. 33 South Main St., Wolfeboro. 603-569-4504; 
M/S Mount Washington. 211 Lakeside Ave., Weirs Beach. 603-366-5531; 

Editor’s Note: This post was updated September 16, 2016.

  • phyllish12

    I am visiting NH this year with family. I grew up in NH, but have lived in Texas since 1946. Have made several trips back. This will be my last trip for the Fall Season since I am now 95yrs. old. Am excited to see the Lakes Region again and then further up in Conway to take the train trip and travel the Kank Hwy.

  • UNH Class is ’89. Miss my state and alma mater! Coming 网投平台大全 soon, for good! Thank you for a reminder of what I have been missing.

  • The photo with the airplane shows Berry Pond in Moultonborough, not Squam Lake. I drive by it every day.

  • Michael

    Love NH! My father is from Holderness and a 1957 graduate of Plymouth High School. I was born and raised in SC, but every summer, we vacationed in NH (to visit family). My grandparents lived in Campton. Spent a lot of time fishing Perch Pond. Had a aunt and uncle who lived on Newfound Lake, outside of Bristol. Just a lot of fond memories and great times in NH. Beautiful state!

  • Started visiting Lake Winnipausakee in 1996 when son was at Vermont Law School. Loved it and still do. Love my native Texas but Vermont and New Hampshire are special to us and have visited almost every year since 1996. Visited Meredith NH because has been Annalee collector for years and had to visit the studio. Little did we know until visited that Lake Winnipasaukee held many treasures. Looking forward to returning again in two weeks to get my Vermont and New Hampshire “Fix”!

  • The Mill Falls hotels are wonderful and located directly on Lake Winnipesaukee in a the great Lake town of Meredith Nh. Great little shops and restaurants.

  • I grew up on this Lake having moved from PA, in my late youth. I have so many fabulous memories of the entire surrounding area. Many of my friends live there and they are blessed with New Hampshire’s beauty. I am an Idaho girl now and it is just lovely here as well. I enjoyed seeing all the photos and reading the descriptions. Thank you, New England Today for sharing this.

  • Miamian here looking for a cool weather escape. Arriving Boston, heading north to Lake Winnipesaukee. Needing recommendations for not too touristy if possible Inn or hotel w/lake view. Thanks!

  • I have only been to your state in the Winter and I think that may have been a mistake. I am planing to visit y’all next Fall.


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