Four-season, water-bound activities are everywhere you look around Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire  and the third-largest in New England (after Champlain  and Moosehead ). Known universally to residents as Lake Winni, the lake is a full 72 square miles of spring-fed water with upwards of 200 miles of shoreline. Come summer, tourists descend on the lake from all over New England for boating, swimming, and cruises. During the winter, they keep coming for ice skating, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.
Visitors seem to spend more time exploring the lake by boat than by car, but the villages surrounding it warrant some exploring, too. If kitschy fun is on your agenda, the boardwalks of Weirs Beach  have more than their fair share of waterslides, public beaches, arcades, and pizza shacks. Meanwhile, spots like Meredith  and Wolfeboro  are more quiet, less crowded places, excellent for antiquing, searching out art and crafts galleries, and simply enjoying the scenery.
Gone are the days when the railroad brought passengers from Boston  up to Lake Winnipesaukee. These days, your best bet for transport to the region is to rent your own car (or better yet, motorcycle). To drive to the Lakes Region  from Concord , take I-93 north to Tilton (20 mi., 20 min.), then take exit 20 to U.S. Route 3 north to Laconia  (10 mi., 15 min.). Continue up U.S. Route 3 north to Weirs Beach  and Meredith  (10 mi., 20 min.).
Alternately, to get to Meredith straight from Concord, take exit 23 off I-93, then Route 104 east (40 mi., 50 min.). For Squam Lake , take exit 24 off I-93, then U.S. Route 3 east to Holderness (40 mi., 55 min. from Concord). To get to Winni’s eastern shore from Concord, take U.S. Route 202 east to Route 28 north to Wolfeboro  (40 mi., 1 hr.).
Concord Coach Lines (603/228-3300 or 800/639-3317, www.concordtrailways.com ) provides regional bus service to Meredith, Center Harbor, Moultonborough, and West Ossipee.
The Greater Laconia Transit Agency (603/528-2496 or 800/294-2496) runs routes around Laconia, including Weirs Beach.