Where can I rent a boat in Weirs Beach?
A ski boat from the Weirs Ski Club tows a trick skier (look ma, no hands!) close by the Winnipesaukee Pier in the 1950's. Click here to enlarge.

         Right in Weirs Beach, at the Winnipesaukee Pier, you'll find Anchor Marine (603) 366-4311, which rents family runabouts, open deck-style boats, and pontoon boats; and Waverunners (603) 366-4094, which rents jet watercraft only.       At the Weirs channel, you'll find Thurston's Marina (603) 366-4811, which rents waterskiing boats and pontoon boats, and NH Jet Ski Rentals at the Handy Landing (603) 366-7799, which offers hourly, multiple, full & half day rentals.

          Also at the Weirs channel, you'll find Channel Marine (603) 366-4801, which doesn't rent boats, but does sell boats, as well as gasoline and boating accessories.

The painting above, "The Weirs Ski Club Show", by Alton, NH artist Peter Ferber, depicts a 1960 water skiing exhibition and was the cover art for the program for the 34th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Show, held in 2007. Click here to enlarge the painting and for additional info.

In 2008, the Abenaki Water Ski Club (603) 569-3017 held four AWSA East (Eastern region of the American Water Ski Association) competitions in Wolfeboro's Back Bay. The 2008 events (all start at 8am): the 20th NH Open on June 29; the Lakes Region Open on July 26-27; the NH Championships on August 9; and the New England Slalom Championship on September 6.

        Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to rent a sailboat or windsurfer in Weirs Beach. To rent a sailboat, call Fay's Boat Yard (603) 293-8000 in Gilford. To rent a windsurfer, call Dive Winnipesaukee (603) 569-8080, in Wolfeboro. For more information about sailing on Lake Winnipesaukee, please check out the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association website.

          To rent a canoe or kayak, your best bet is Wild Meadow Canoes in Center Harbor, (603) 253-7536.
Sports & Marine ParaFunalia (603) 293-8998 in Gilford also rents kayaks. For more information about rowing on Lake Winnipesaukee, please check out the Winnipesaukee Rowing Club website.

         To explore Lake Winnipesaukee's lovely neighbor and NH's second largest lake, Squam Lake, visit the Squam Lakes Association's SLA Resource Center (603) 968-7336 on Route 3 in Holderness, where canoes, kayaks, and sailboats can be rented.

          Several accommodation properties in Weirs Beach also offer various types of boating to their guests. Some charge a fee, while others provide boating free of charge, depending upon the length of stay.
The Cozy Inn offers kayaks and waterskiing rides and lessons. The Channel Inn offers kayaks and jet skis. The Naswa offers kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and paddleboats. The Lazy E Motor Inn offers kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats. Christmas Island offers row boats and paddle boats. And the East Haverhill House offers a canoe and a sunfish sailboat.

          If you are trailering your own boat and are wondering where you will be able to launch it, the closest public facility to Weirs Beach would be at the Meredith town docks. If you don't mind paying a fee to launch your boat, there are launching faciltiies at Lakeport Landing Marina (603) 524-3755 in Laconia, and in Gilford, at Fay's Boat Yard (603) 293-8000 and the
Ames Farm Inn (603) 293-4321. Finally, if you are staying at either Christmas Island or the Condominium Suites at Winnipesaukee, free boat launching is offered to guests. Click here for a complete list of launch sites around the Lake.

          CAUTION: Beginning on January 1, 2008, EVERY driver of a boat with a 25hp motor or above must either take an 8-hour safety course and/or pass a safety exam. Boat drivers will be required to carry their safety certificate with them, and violators without a certificate can be fined $50 for a first time offense and $250 for mulitple offenses.
          If you are renting a boat and don't have a certificate, you will be able to take a scaled-down course from the rental agent, and, after passing a scaled-down exam, obtain a temporary certificate, valid for 14 days. You will not be able to get a temporary certificate more than one time, though.

Where's the best bicycling in Weirs Beach?
     There are quite a few hidden paths where you can go mountain biking through the woods right in Weirs Beach—but you'll have to find them on your own, because they're a SECRET! Hint: try exploring off of Hilliard road; Scenic/Roller Coaster road; and White Oaks road.

          For a longer, more challenging ride with real hills, there's an extensive trail system at Gunstock (trail pass required) where you can rent a mountain bike at the resort's Mountainside Outfitters. There's also miles of intertwining trails in the Belknap Lakes area. Advanced and technical mountain bikers should check out the Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield.
       If road biking is your preference, there are many nice, quiet country roads, even in the summertime, in the sparsely populated nearby towns of Sanbornton and Gilmanton. You'll find the DeLorme New Hampshire Atlas & Gazetteer absolutely indispensible if you wish to explore the byways and backways in these areas. To get to Sanbornton by bike from Weirs Beach, take Roller Coaster Rd to Parade road, head N 1/4 mile, then take a left on Livingston Rd to Meredith Center. Head N on Meredith Center Rd 1/4 mile, then take a left on Chemung Rd. Follow Chemung Rd two miles to Sanbornton.
         For more tips on where to bicycle in the area, see the Lakes Region Bicycling website.
Where's the best fishing?
           Whether you're trying to catch bass, salmon, or trout, your best bet is to try a guided fishing tour. If you're just looking for supplies, Paugus Bay Sports Shop (603) 524-4319, located at 135 Weirs Boulevard in Weirs Beach, carries everything for fishing, from rods and reels to lures and bait.You can even puchase your NH fishing license here.
          You can rent a fishing boat at Fay's Boat Yard (603) 293-8000 in Gilford or at Wet Wolfe Rentals 603) 569-3200 in Wolfeboro.
Where can I go horseback riding?
          The best riding in the area is likely not to be found in Weirs Beach, but in the beautiful nearby mountain ranges.
     In the Belknap mountains, 15 minutes from Weirs Beach, there are numerous riding trails to be explored at
Gunstock's Cobble Mountain Stables (603) 293-4341 x 153.

          Over in the Ossipee range, 45 minutes from Weirs Beach, there are miles and miles of trail riding adventure. Beginning in 2010, horseback riding is, after a decade-long absence, once again being offered at the Castle in the Clouds (603) 476-5900 x211. Mountain Side Trails (603) 539-5510 also offers riding in the Ossipee range. High Meadows Farms (603) 539-6052 in Wolfeboro specializes in training and instruction.
          There are also many stables in the area surrounding Weirs Beach. NH Equestrians.com lists 3 stables in each of the nearby towns of Gilford, Meredith, and Belmont.

While no longer common, in the past several area lodging facilities offered riding to their guests. In Weirs Beach, the Shangri-La had an extensive trail system on the western side of Route 3. Above, riders at the Kings Grant Inn in Gilford, circa 1960; below, riders at the Brook and Bridle Inn, circa 1950.
Are there any nice, short hikes nearby?
          You can get incredible views of Lake Winnipesaukee from the tops of THREE different mountains around the lake!

1) The firetower on top of 2384 foot-high Belknap Mountain. Inquire at the Gilford Village Store (603) 524-1031 how to reach the trailhead.

Click here to see a variety of old postcard views from around the Lake!

          2) From the rocky top of Mt. Major, which is 1784 feet high. The trailhead can be easily found right off of Route 11 on the way to Alton Bay. Probably THE most popular climb on Lake Winnipesaukee! Click here to see the view (don't click if you plan to hike the mountain - it may spoil the surpise)!
          3) At 1801 feet, Bald Knob, on the grounds of Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, has a South facing view, directly towards Weirs Beach!
          These three spectacular hikes each take about 60-90 minutes to reach the summit. The trailheads are from 20-40 minutes from Weirs Beach.
   
            
The Castle in the Clouds has many other trails with scenic views

          Other short, nearby trails include: Stonedam Island, 10 minutes by boat across Weirs Bay, has a little beach on the Weirs Beach side of the island and a nice view from the top; Waukewan Highlands, on Parade Rd in Meredith, only a 10 minutes drive from Weirs Beach, has 3 miles of trails; Hamlin Recreation Area, on Chemung Rd in Meredith, 15 minutes drive, has 6 miles of trails; Lockes Hill, on Route 11 in Gilford, 15 minutes away, has a good view of the Lake for very little effort; Red Hill, off Bean Rd in Center Harbor, 20 minutes, has a very good view of Lake Winnipesaukee from its firetower; Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest, on College Rd in Center Harbor, 20 minutes, has a beach on Squam Lake; West Rattlesnake Mountain on Rt 113 N in Holderness, 30 minutes, has an excellent view of Squam Lake; and trails at the Loon Center on Lee's Mills Road in Moultonborough, 30 minutes, are informative and educational.

          Here is another web source of information for some of the trails mentioned above: Mt. BelknapMt. MajorLockes HillRed Hill

Where can I go golfing?
Waukewan golf course, 7th green, in 1967

          There are quite a few golf courses in the area, but one of the nicest, and most convenient from Weirs Beach, is the 18-hole Waukewan golf course in Meredith. Call them at (603) 279-6661.
          In Laconia, the Laconia Country Club (603) 524-1273 offers a semi-private, 18-hole Championship course. Another good choice is the 18-hole Pheasant Ridge (603) 524-7808, in Gilford.
          Nine hole golf courses in the area include Oak Hill (603) 279-4438, in Meredith; the
Jade Trace course in Laconia (603) 528-3057; the Par 3, Bolduc Park in Gilford (603) 524-1370; and in Belmont, Lake View (603) 524-2220.

Laconia Country Club, 1920's (below left) and 1950's (above and middle left)
Built in 1922, the original clubhouse burned November 9, 1965

Where can I play tennis and other raquet sports?
          The Gilford Hills Tennis and Fitness Club (603) 293-7546 is the only facility in the area to offer tennis and other raquet sports. The facility features three outdoor tennis courts. Indoors, there are four tennis courts and three raquetball courts.
Cover, Boston & Maine 1909 brochure, "Vacation Days in New Hampshire"

Where can I take a nature walk?
     The Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center (603) 366-5695, located at 928 White Oaks Road in Weirs Beach, began in 2001 as a partnership between the Audubon Society of New Hampshire and the owners of the farm, Prescott Conservancy, Inc. Since April 1, 2009, the Center has been independently operated. The Prescott Farm landscape includes open fields, wet meadows, forestlands and wetlands. The Center is open year round.

     The 160-acre historic farm property provides the perfect setting for environmental education programs.
With the opening of the Samuel P. Pardoe Education Building in October, 2005, the Center now offers programs for children, families, adults, and schools.  The programs, which are offered several times a month, focus on wildlife habitat management, conservation, ecology, and the impact of agricultural land use.

         
Visitors will find over 3 miles of woodland and field trails for hiking, land stewardship demonstration sites, a 3-story historic barn, beautiful Heritage and Heirloom gardens, and a unique forested pond.  In spring, summer and fall, visitors can view nesting birds and wildflowers along the field trails, explore the historic hay and milk barns, go on a natural history hayride, or visit a self-guided mystery hay maze! In winter, snowshoeing, wildlife tracking, and maple sugaring activities are offered.

Prescott Farm, not, circa 1920's. Click here to enlarge and for a bonus photo.

          While you won't be able to walk there this summer, in a few years you will be able to take a nature walk alongside the railroad tracks that extend from Weirs Beach for miles along the lake in both directions. The 10-mile WOW trail - short for the Winnisquam-Opechee-Winnipesaukee Recreation trail - is to be built in 4 phases. The first phase, from downtown Laconia to Lakeport, was completed on May 15, 2010. The second phase, running South from downtown Laconia to connect with the Lake Winnisquam Trail at the Laconia/Belmont town line, near the Belmont town beach, is likely to be built within the next few years. The first, 1.5 mile phase of the Lake Winnisquam Trail, from the Laconia/Belmont town line to the Mosquito Bridge over Lake Winnisquam, now seems likely to be completed by 2012. Continuing South, the Lake Winnisquam Trail, entirely within the Town of Belmont, will run another 3.5 miles to connect with the Winnipesaukee River Trail at the Belmont/Tilton town line. The Winnipesaukee River Trail, which was completed in 2011, runs another 5 miles South, though the towns of Tilton, Northfield, and Franklin, and ends at Trestle View Park in Franklin.
          Back to the WOW trail. Entirely within the City of Laconia, the trail's 3rd phase will run North from Lakeport to Weirs Beach. The fourth and final phase of the WOW trail will connect Weirs Beach to the Meredith town line and the Meredith Village Pathway. Ultimately, these 4 connecting trails will provide a 20 mile scenic waterside corridor alongside 1 river and 4 Lakes (Winnipesaukee, Opechee, Winnisquam, and Silver) from Meredith to Franklin.

Where can I go SCUBA diving?
          There are many wrecks on the Lake bottom worth exploring, from the original Lake steam ship Belknap, to one of its finest steamers of all time, the Lady of the Lake. There is even a wreck located off of Doe Point in Weirs Beach - a steam barge used for pile driving that sank around the turn of the century.
         Fathom Divers
(603) 528-2330, located at 143 Lake St at the end of the Weirs Boulevard, offers instruction, gear, and can you advise you where to find the best dive sites. Or go diving aboard the Lady Go Diva, a 30' dive boat capable of carrying 12 divers and their gear comfortably, offered by Dive Winnipesaukee (603) 569-8080, located in Wolfeboro. This dive boat will take you to the most popular dive sites as well as some hidden treasures.
          Beginners can take lessons right in Weirs Beach at the
Lazy E Motor Inn, offered by the Aquanuts dive shop.
What about Winter sports?
Matchbook, Laconia Tavern, 1930's

          Some of the winter sports popular in the 1930's, as shown in the matchbook cover above, are still quite popular today; this would include skiing, skating, and snowshoeing. Some 1930's sports are still around, but much less popular than they were in the 1930's; this would include coasting, sleighing and tobogganing, all of which involved sliding down a steep hill on an apparatus of some kind. One 1930's winter sport, horse racing, has disappeared entirely.
          Of course, there are new winter sports popular today that were unknown in the 1930's, such as snowmobiling. And one of the most popular winter sports today, ice fishing, was certainly around in the 1930's, but was not mentioned on the matchcover.

          While in the past ice skating was practiced on frozen lakes and ponds, and even on city streets (the webmaster remembers when a portion of Lakeside Avenue was blocked off for ice skating), today most ice skating tends to take place on professionally prepared surfaces. The only indoor facility in the area, the Laconia Ice Arena (603) 528-0789, is located on Route 107 in Laconia. Laconia also has a lighted outdoor rink at Memorial Park. Gilford has the covered outdoor Gilford Ice Rink on Varney Point Road in Gilford.
The view from Mount Belknap (Gunstock) circa 1960

          While there is excellent skiing available only a few miles away at Gunstock, most visitors to Weirs Beach during the winter are here for one reason only, and that is to go snowmobiling. Belknap Snowmobilers publishes a trail map (available at the office of the Greater Laconia-Weirs Beach Chamber of Commerce) showing several trails in Weirs Beach. One trail follows the railroad tracks. Another trail diverges to the West of the tracks in Paugus Bay, passing through the Paugus State Forest and alongside Hilliard Road before splitting in two, with the Northern branch of this trail continuing to Pickerel Pond and the Southern branch heading to the shores of Lake Winnisquam.
         During the winter, Lake Winnipesaukee freezes solid enough that people do drive heavy vehicles across the ice. The practice can be dangerous, and extreme caution should be used, as almost every winter, vehicles do fall into the lake, sometimes with tragic consequences. Many snowmobilers like to ride the frozen ice of Lake Winnipesaukee, but there seems to be no legal access to the Lake in the area of Weirs Beach, as the public beach is now fenced off in the winter, precisely to prevent such access.
"Championship Skimobile Racing in New England" postcard. This is a photo of the 1969 Kawartha Cup race held at Bryar Motorsport Park. Click here to enlarge.


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