Lake Sunapee


Lake Sunapee

Town(s): New London NH, Newbury NH, Sunapee NH
County: Merrimack, Sullivan

Size: 4136 acres
Average Depth: 50 feet
Maximum Depth: 142 feet

Boating Allowed: Kayaks, Canoes, Sail Boats, Electric Motor Boats, Power Boats, Jet-skis, State & Local Rules & Regulations Apply
Swimming: Swimming Allowed, No Restrictions

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Situated in the western region of New Hampshire, straddling both Sullivan and Merrimack Counties, Lake Sunapee is the sixth largest lake in the state. The lake has a whopping 4,090 acres of surface area, which houses three out of five of New Hampshire’s lighthouses. Visitors visiting Lake Sunapee can enjoy the lake in many ways. For example, those fond of water sports can enjoy kayaking in the lake and peering down into the crystal-clear waters. Guided tours of the lake are also available through the MV Mt. Kearsarge, a stunning replica of an antique steamship. If you’re a fan of fishing, Lake Sunapee offers anglers the chance to reel in smallmouth bass, lake trout, salmon, or pickerel. A trip to the nearby Mt. Sunapee is an equally awesome choice, too.

Lake Sunapee is ten miles long and is the highest lake of its size in America, 1100 Ft. above sea level. There are only a handful of public access places with swimming and boat launch ramps on the lake. As you drive up from the south on 103 through Bradford into Newbury you will first see the Lake Sunapee from Newbury Harbor, a spectacular view that looks out through The Narrows on miles of open water with Great Island and Burkehaven Lighthouse just barely visible on a clear day. You will certainly want to pull over in the small parking lot on your right for a better look. The Newbury Yacht Club and the Newbury Harbor Bandstand is to your left. The Bandstand features free concerts every Thursday at 7pm during the summer. Just around the bend to your left at Bell Cove is the Newbury information booth. Be sure to stop in and get the latest goings-on in the area, and pick up brochures, maps and calendars for the region.

The lake is covers 6.5 square miles (4,136 acres), with a maximum depth of 142 feet. It contains eight islands (Great Island, Burkehaven Island, Star Island, Little Island, Loon Lighthouse Island, Emerald Island, Treasure Island and Minute Island) and is indented by several peninsulas and lake fingers, a combination which yields a total shoreline of some 70 miles. There are seven sandy beach areas including Mount Sunapee State Park beach; some with restricted town access. The lake contains three lighthouses on the National register.

The Lale Sunapee Protective Association (LSPA) is a non-profit environmental education organization founded in 1898 that works year-round to maintain the quality of the Lake Sunapee and its watershed. See

Lake Sunapee is located within Sullivan County and Merrimack County in western New Hampshire, the United States. It is the fifth-largest lake located entirely in New Hampshire.

Water Quality: Town/State Monitoring
Vegetation Growth: Minimal
Non-native Species: Unknown

Fishing Comments: You'll find Salmon, Lake Trout, Brook Trout, Small Mouth Bass, Pickerel, Perch, Sunfish, Hornpout, and Cusk in Lake Sunapee. You can get a fishing license at Sargents Marina in Georges Mills (Phone: 763-5036. Web Site: and Clarke's Hardware in New London (Phone: 526-2800).
Fish Species: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, Lake Trout, Brook Trout, Black Crappie, Yellow Perch, White Perch, Sunfish, American Eel

Boat Access: Primarily Car-top boats & Canoes
Ramp Comments: On Lake Sunapee for a fee at Sunapee State Park in Newbury (Phone: 763-5561. Web Site:, or free at Sunapee Harbor (limited parking). On Little Lake Sunapee from Little Sunapee Road (about 1/2 mile east of I-89 Exit 12), and on Pleasant Lake from the Elkins Business Loop (off Route 11, about 4 miles east of I-89 Exit 11).
Parking Spaces: More than 40

Shoreline Development: 50-75%