Kayaking Lake Winnipesaukee – Ellacoya State Park – Gilford, NH

If you are paddling with children this is a perfect place to spend a family day.  The park’s main draw for families is the sandy beach on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee with its beautiful views.  Perfect to relax on while you watch the children swim and play.  For tweens and teenagers who are strong swimmers, there is a floating dock to explore and hang out on just off shore from the beach area.  There are restrooms/changing rooms for park guests as well as a park store and a foot rinsing station,  a personal favorite of parents to help keep sand out of vehicles after a day of fun.

WHY PADDLE HERE? – For scenic beauty, exercise, relaxation and family fun.

THE PADDLING ROUTE – Once launching from the boat launch you have a choice of either heading left (west) or right (east).  Regardless of the direction you choose follow the shoreline for as long as your heart desires, or until your arms tire, then turn around and head back to the boat launch area for a nice lunch, a swim and some well deserved relaxation.  After your break re-launch and head out in the opposite direction for a second and final paddle.

Ellacoya State Park
Boat Traffic

CAUTIONS!Boat traffic is especially busy on summer weekends and holidays.  Winds, as with any large body of water, I don’t recommend paddling here on windy days.  If you find that it is windy once you have launched, paddle against the wind so you will be returning with the wind in you favor.  Don’t overestimate you fitness level, it’s a big lake, keep track of how long or far you have paddled remembering that you’ll be more fatigued on the way back.

LAUNCH & PARKING – The park’s boat launch is located in the designated RV Camping portion of the park.  Drop all your gear off with your boat at the launch as you will have to park your vehicle and trailer in the main parking area and walk back to the RV portion of the park where the boat launch is located.  There is a day use fee to park and launch your kayaks.  For fees and general park information, Click Here.

Restrooms at Kayak Launch

RESTROOMS – YES!  Restrooms are located adjacent to the boat launch area with additional restrooms at the main beach area.

WHEN TO VISIT – Avoid weekends and holidays if you can.  Visiting prior to the week of July 4th and after the third week of August will help to ensure a relaxing visit with plenty of parking and no waiting lines at the boat launch.  In fact, the last time we paddled here in late August on a weekday, we practically had the park to ourselves!


DIRECTIONS – Click here.

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