Lakes & Beaches Abound in Wolfeboro
Wolfeboro is blessed with three lakes including Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire’s largest body of water with shoreline in eight New Hampshire communities, and Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake, both located entirely within Wolfeboro’s borders.
Four beautiful sandy beaches, two on Winnipesaukee and two on Wentworth are open to the public (three at no charge) and provide access to the crystal clear fresh water for swimming, sunbathing and castle-building. Some have picnic tables; all have changing/toilet facilities, free parking and spectacular views.
New Hampshire’s Native Americans named Winnipesaukee; some say it means “Beautiful Water in a High Place”, others, “Smile of the Great Spirit.” Either is certainly appropriate.
Formed by a retreating glacier thousands of years ago, Lake Winnipesaukee is primarily spring fed, resulting in very clear and clean water.
A number of rivers and streams flow into the lake, but there is only one outlet, the Winnipesaukee River, which flows out of Paugus Bay in Lakeport. The Winnipesaukee River meets the Pemigewasset, flowing from the White Mountains, and the two form the Merrimack River, which runs to the sea.
The “Big Lake”, as it is also called, is approximately twenty-seven miles long from Alton Bay, the most southern tip, to Center Harbor, the northernmost point. It is fourteen to sixteen miles wide, over 180 feet deep at its deepest point off Rattlesnake Island, and has over 283 miles of shoreline.
According to tradition, there are 365 islands, one for every day of the year, and of those, 274 islands are big enough for a summer home.
Lake Wentworth was originally called Smith’s pond after a hunter and trapper who frequented the area in the early 1700s. It was renamed in honor of New Hampshire’s last colonial Governor, John Wentworth, who chose the shores of Smith’s Pond for the location of his summer home in 1770.
Crescent Lake is named for its shape, a bit like a crescent moon.