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August 29. 2013 2:26PM

It's All About the Water: Passionate Boaters Love New Hampshire Lakes

Lakes Region, NH – With a name like the "Lakes Region," visitors expect great boating from New Hampshire's popular tourism spot. And it is great – some might say the best in New England. Many visitors don't realize all the options available to boating enthusiasts while exploring the beautiful Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Boaters use the lakes not only for traditional swimming, fishing, and water sports, but also for daily transportation, nature exploration, sightseeing, and more.

The biggest and most popular boating destination in the Lakes Region, and the state for that matter, is Lake Winnipesaukee. Whether your boating passion is for sailing, cruising, fishing or even sleeping, you'll find the perfect spot on this huge lake that has captivated travelers from all over the world for decades. One of the reasons this lake is so famous, besides its size, is its convenience. Many towns along the shores of Winnipesaukee, like Meredith, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Weirs Beach, Gilford, and Center Harbor, have town docks that allow visitors to access favorite shops, restaurants and attractions within the Lakes Region right from their boat. Getting around the lakes these days is relatively easy, with an app called "LakeWinni" that helps boaters navigate the "Big Lake" as well as GPS routing on many of the other lakes in the area. Many people who reside on the lake's islands use their boats for errands as well as recreation. There is even a full-service mail boat that serves residents on the islands: the M/V Sophie C, the only mail boat on an inland waterway in the entire country.

While there is plenty of great shopping and dining to be had along the 288 miles of shoreline in the Winnipesaukee, there are also gorgeous natural sights to be seen (many of them for free). The Lakes Region Conservation Trust, a local environmental association, has a number of areas accessible to the public by water, including Stonedam Island's wildlife preserve on Winnipesaukee that can only be visited by boat. Stonedam has nature trails, a picnicking beach, scenic views and more. Free maps of the area can be acquired by contacting the Lakes Region Conservation Trust.

But there are more than 270 lakes and ponds in New Hampshire's Lakes Region, and Lake Winnipesaukee is only one of them. For those who prefer a quiet atmosphere, there are public boat launches on smaller lakes, which are perfect for kayaking, fishing, canoeing, etc.

Some people actually love boating in the Lakes Region so much that, instead of staying in a hotel or renting a vacation home, they get a long-term boat slip at a local marina and sleep right on their boat. Short- and long-term dock rentals are available at many marinas around the region, with everything from exclusive yacht clubs with bars and cabanas to basic hourly docks for options:

Meredith: Y-Landing Marina
Shep Brown's Boat Basin
Meredith Marina
Meredith Bay Marina

Alton Bay:
Irwin Marine

Wolfeboro:
Goodhue & Hawkins Navy Yard

Weirs Beach/Laconia:
Akwa Marina Yacht Club
Irwin Marine
Thurston's Marina

Gilford:
Fay's Boat Yard

Moultonborough:
Trexler's Marina

Holderness:
Asquam Marina

Ashland:
Riveredge Marina

For those visiting the Lakes Region who do not have a boat or do not want to travel with their boat, many of these marinas offer boat rentals with a valid NH boaters license. The lakes in New Hampshire's Lakes Region give visitors lots of unique options, with no two lakes being exactly alike. To find all the information about the Lakes Region of New Hampshire in one place, visit www.lakesregion.org for listings of attractions, marinas, restaurants and more. For suggestions and ideas on how to make a vacation on Lake Winnipesaukee in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire truly unforgettable, contact the Lakes Region Tourism Association.

The Lakes Region Tourism Association is the official tourism board of the region, representing close to 100 communities, 273 lakes and ponds, and more than 400 businesses in central New Hampshire, including area attractions, restaurants, retail establishments and accommodations. For more information or visitors' guides, visit LakesRegion.org, facebook.com/NHLakesRegion or follow on Twitter. For more information about New Hampshire, go to www.visitnh.gov. The LRTA office is on Route 3 in Tilton, NH and it can be reached by calling (800) 60-LAKES.


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