There are so many things to do in Sunapee, NH. It really is a four season destination with the ski mountain in the winter and boating activities in the summer.
Native Americans called the area “Lake of the Wild Goose” because it is shaped like a goose. The name Sunapee comes from the Algonquian words suna which means “goose” and apee, which means “water.”
For our trip we stayed at The Bluebird which is located just at the base of Mount Sunapee. It has a great location, affordable rooms and an indoor pool. For our full review, click here.
It would take about a half hour to drive around the whole lake. This list will cover the Lake Sunapee area, as there are several small towns around the lake such as Newbury, New London and Newport.
The best things to do in Sunapee, NH
1. Mount Sunapee Ski Area and summer adventure course
Mount Sunapee was recently acquired by Vail. While I have heard it gets very busy on the weekend, we didn’t wait in a single line on the week day we were there.
We warmed up our legs on the two mile long Ridge trail, which is their longest trail. Then we spent most of the day in the sun bowl. My favorite trail was Upper Blast Off which was a fun little black diamond.
There is a whole separate area for beginners called the South Peak Learning Area. It looks like the perfect place to learn with two magic carpets and a lift up to trails that are not at all steep.
Of the 67 trails on the mountain, there are 18 easier trails, 32 more difficult trails, and 17 very difficult trails giving every ability many options.
Mount Sunapee is a 5-mile-long mountain ridge offering amazing views of the lake below. We also had fun eating lunch at the Summit Lodge and warming up by the fire.
If you are there during the summer months, check out the aerial challenge course!
2. Sunapee Cruises
Take a scenic daytime tour of Lake Sunapee or a sunset dinner cruise. The cruises last 1.5-2 hours and are suitable for all ages. Look out for the adorable Herrick Cove Lighthouse. There are only five lighthouses in the state of New Hampshire with three of them being located on Lake Sunapee.
3. Mount Sunapee State Beach
There aren’t many places you can find a large sandy beach with a mountain backdrop. There is also a grassy lawn for kids to play, a playground and bathrooms.
This is a popular beach that will sell out once capacity is reached. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance. There is a small fee to use the beach.
4. Sugar River Rail Trail
This 9 mile trail begins at the Newport Recreation Department on Belknap Ave in Newport and ends at Washington Street in Claremont. The trail boasts two historic covered bridges and meanders along the Sugar River.
5. The Fells
Visit the summer retreat of diplomat and statesman John Milton Hay. John Milton Hay was Abraham Lincoln’s personal secretary and was even by his side when he was shot in the Ford’s Theatre.
Today you can tour the 22-room Colonial Revival home, stroll the renowned gardens and walk the woodland trails.
6. Sunapee Harbor River Walk
The Sunapee Harbor River Walk is a 1/2 mile scenic and historic trail along the Sugar River. I would recommend parking at the new Sunapee Vistor’s Center and follow the signs. Please note that the trail is not accessible during the winter.
7. Corbin Covered Bridge
If you don’t drive through a covered bridge, did you even come to New England? The Corbin Covered Bridge is picture perfect. This wooden bridge spans the Sugar River on Corbin Road, approximately 1 mile west of NH 10 in Newport in Sullivan County.
8. Wild Goose Country Store
The Wild Goose Country Store is as precious on the inside as it is on the outside. This classic country store sells locally made gifts along with some old-fashion penny candy for the kids.
9. Take a hike
There are several great hiking trails in the area. Trailspotting has the best list of options on summiting Mount Sunapee.
10. Sunapee Trading Post
This adorable little shop is packed floor to ceiling with unique gifts and souvenirs. They also offer kayak and paddle board rentals in the summer.
11. Prospect Hill
The Prospect Hill store is three floors of fine furniture and antiques. They also have 21 artists in house offering, pastels, oil and acrylics. When you fall in love with Sunapee and put a down payment on your dream home, this is where to head next.
As you can see, there are so many thing to do in Sunapee, NH for each and every season.
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