Visting the Lakes Region  isn’t about bagging sites per se; it’s more about getting out on the water—whether that means by inner tube, a canoe, a speed boat, or a cruise ship. As far as that goes, you can’t go wrong with the M/S Mount Washington,  the queen of Winnipesaukee and the best way to get a feel for the history of the lake.
If you want to experience all the bustle and excitement of Lake Winni, base yourself in the quaint town of Meredith , which is close enough to the action of Weirs Beach  without being too close. If it’s solitude you’re after, beat the crowds with a stay on Squam Lake —and while you are there, take in the excellent live animal displays and nature cruises offered by the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center .
A good compromise between action and quiet is Lake Sunapee , off by itself in western New Hampshire . Its slow pace and old- school harbor evoke the feel of a 1950s lakeside resort, however, there is still plenty to keep you busy in the area, including some great summer stock theater and the Native American artifacts and nature trails at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum .
Along the Connecticut River, the presence of Dartmouth College  kicks the culture up a notch with its impressive architecture and around-the-world art collection at the Hood Museum of Art . Anyone with even a passing interest in fine art and sculpture should also consider a detour down the Connecticut to Cornish, where the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site  evokes a bohemian colony of artists and writers who sought inspiration in the New Hampshire landscape.