Swimming is a great way to get outside and enjoy the summertime – within the Sugar River Region there are plenty of places to swim. Under “Waterfalls and Lakes”, you can read about some of the most popular outdoor places to swim, such as Lake Sunapee, Gunnison Lake (“Goshen Ocean”), Pollards Mills, and Crescent Lake.
Rivers are also great for swimming in and tend to be where you’ll find hidden swimming “holes”. For example, you’ll find there are many great spots along the Sugar River for a quick dip. The Connecticut River, forming the border between New Hampshire and Vermont, also provides for summertime swimming and there are a few public boat launch sites to access the water.
If you prefer to swim indoors, the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center has a year-round pool which you can access through the purchase of a day pass. On their website you can see updated information on day pass prices, membership prices, and facility hours of operation.
Eager to learn about more summertime swimming escapes and places to explore? Check out our blog “Summertime in the Sugar River Region: Best Places to Swim and Cool Off” where we cover the best places to swim!
Pollard Mills Falls
Located on private property in Newport (they welcome respectful public visitors), the 18-ft drop cascades are surrounded by beautiful gardens, a picnic area, and a nature trail. In the early 1800s, this was the site of three mills along the river and is known today to be one of the prime swimming holes in the region.
Gunnison Lake is known locally as the “Goshen Ocean.” The 60-acre man-made lake is a hidden gem. Tucked away along the back of Mount Sunapee, the lake is encircled by the 3-mile Ruth LeClair Memorial Trail. It is a peaceful spot for outdoor activities such as birding, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing.
Lake Sunapee is the sixth largest lake in New Hampshire, covering about 4,155 acres. The lake contains 11 islands and three lighthouses on the National Register of Historic Places. There are various ways to enjoy Lake Sunapee, including renting a boat, lounging on the beach, or taking a boat tour on a historic steamship boat. The Sunapee Harbor is one of five areas with a public boat ramp on the lake. The beach at Sunapee State Park is the most popular beach area at the lake. Visitors should refer to the New Hampshire State Parks website for information about making reservations to visit the beach.
Rand Pond is a lake just 3.6 miles from Newbury, in Sullivan County, near Goshen that has a nice public boat launch. If fishing is your hobby, you will find a variety of fish, including pumpkinseed, brook trout, bullhead, and rainbow trout here. So grab your favorite fly fishing rod and reel, and head out to Rand Pond.
Crescent Lake is just 1.7 miles from Unity, where a public boat ramp allows visitors and residents to access the lovely little lake with forest-covered shores.
Pillsbury State Park
Pillsbury State Park near Washington and Goshen is sprinkled with several ponds and wetlands. Refer to the Pillsbury State Park page on the New Hampshire State Parks website for more information.
With over 320 acres of water for boating and fishing surrounded by trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing, Eastman Lake in Grantham is a perfect Sugar River Region getaway.
The Sunapee Harbor has a public boat ramp (there are five on Lake Sunapee) (https://www.lakesunapee.org/public-boat-ramps). Lake Sunapee is the sixth largest lake in New Hampshire covering about 4,155 acres in area. The lake is approximately 8.1 miles long and from 0.5 to 2.5 miles wide . The lake contains 11 islands and three lighthouses on the National Register of Historic Places.
Goodhue Boat Company in Sunapee rents different types of boats, including pontoons, ski/wake boats, and runabout boats.
Sunapee Cruises providers narrated tours and dinner cruises on Lake Sunapee. During the narrated boat tour, a knowledgeable captain will provide narration of the history, landmarks, and lore of the lake. The MV Kearsarge Restaurant Ship has been sailing the waters of Lake Sunapee for over 30 years and is a replica of a steamship called the Sunapee Belle. The nightly dinner cruise lasts two hours and is narrated by the captain.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has an interactive map of public access points, including three boat launch sites along Connecticut River (upstream order):
– Charlestown Picnic Area and Boat Launch in Charlestown (on Lower Landing Rd, also off of NH12A)
– Ashley Ferry Landing in Claremont on Ferry Landing Rd (off of River Rd / NH12A)
– Cornish Boat Landing in Cornish (dirt drive directly off of NH12A)
There are numerous places to fish in the Sugar River Region with rivers, lakes, and ponds in abundance. Gunnison Lake in Goshen is known for its largemouth bass, and Long Pond in Lempster stocks trout and also has bass. In Croydon, Coniston Lake is stocked with brook and rainbow trout. Pillsbury State Park has several warm water ponds that are connected by waterways and accessible by kayaks. The Cold River is a 22-mile fast-flowing river that ends in the Connecticut River with plenty of accessible fishing areas.
The Sugar River is a 27-mile-long river running from Lake Sunapee to the Connecticut River in Claremont. The North Branch starts in Grantham and it both feeds and drains Spectacle Pond. The South Branch flows from Goshen to Newport for 6.6 miles, moving at a slower pace. Fly fishing on the Sugar River is popular, and there is a fly fishing only zone in Newport between Oak St & John Stark Hwy.