Lakes, Ponds, and Beaches in the Monadnock Region of NH

The Monadnock Region is a great place to swim or fish.

Local Articles
Here are a couple of articles about summer fun that originally appeared in The Keene Sentinel's Monadnock Summer Special Section. Enjoy!

Horned pout are easy to catch and tasty to eat

Professional teaches the art of fly-fishing

Everyone has a favorite swimming hole, fishing hole, or skating pond, and there are plenty to choose from in the Monadnock Region. But be warned -- restrictions may apply at some of these locations:

Into the water!

Take a dip. Take a friend. Take our advice. What follows is The Sentinel's guide to summertime lake, pond and river spots in the Monadnock Region.


VILAS POOL, Route 123A, Alstead
This river-fed pool is open from July 1 through Labor Day, Wednesdays through Sundays, noon to 5 p.m., with Fridays hours extending to 8 p.m. A lifeguard is on duty at all times. There will be different planned events each weekend through the summer. The area around the pool is open and features a snack bar, an area for picnicking, a building with a game room, and equipment for outdoor games such as badminton and volleyball. Vilas pool is free to residents and nonresidents.

LAKE WARREN, Route 123, East Alstead
There's a public boat landing. The pond is a great place for fishing boats, canoes or Sunfish-type sailboats. It is not a town-sanctioned beach for swimming.

NEWELL POND, Mill Pond Road, Alstead
There's a public boat landing, but no public swimming facilities.


GREGG LAKE, Gregg Lake Road, Antrim
There are two roped-off areas for swimming. One is for beginning swimmers; the other, which features a raft, is for more advanced swimmers. Lifeguards are on duty most days and the lake is open from sunrise to sunset. There's a playground, a boat ramp, picnic tables, a volleyball net, ample parking and restrooms, a soda machine, but no concession stand. The lake is great for canoes and small sailboats but also large enough for boats that can pull water-skiers. There is no charge for residents or nonresidents.

WILLARD POND, off Old Antrim Road, Antrim
This secluded, quiet pond is part of an Audubon wildlife sanctuary. There's a small beach, a boat launch and nature trails around the pond. Parking is a mile from the swimming area. There are no lifeguards and no facilities. Some say it's great fishing.


WHITTEMORE LAKE, off Route 31, Bennington
The town has an area roped off for swimming and there's a lifeguard on duty usually every day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If the lifeguard is not on duty, a sign will be posted to inform visitors. Swimming lessons will be offered this summer. There are no restrooms at the lake, but there is a chemical toilet.


An access site is located at the end of Lower Landing Road, off Route 12. It features fishing, boating and a picnic area, with outdoor grills. There's a parking lot for about 15 cars.
Another access site is farther south at Herrick's Cove.


A public boat landing is located in West Chesterfield on River Road. There's a parking lot for about a half-dozen cars. Another access site to the river is found in Wantastiquet Mountain State Forest.

NORTH SHORE BEACH, North Shore Road, Spofford
This sandy beach, which offers both sun and shade, is rarely crowded and has excellent water quality. The swimming area is roped off. A lifeguard is on duty daily, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. When a lifeguard is not on duty, swim at your own risk. The beach is open from 9 am to 9 p.m. There are bathrooms, grills and picnic tables. This beach closes Labor Day.

WARES GROVE, Route 9A, Spofford
This is the spot for toddlers and teens. The water is shallow for a long way out. The large sandy beach has a grassy area in the shade with picnic tables, a concession stand and a volleyball court, basketball, tetherball, swing set. There are bathrooms and grills. A lifeguard is on duty daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The beach closes at 9 p.m. Resident and non-resident fees apply.



DUBLIN LAKE, Route 101, Dublin
There's a public access for boats on Lake Road. No swimming is allowed at the boat landing and the lake has no public beach.



LAUREL LAKE, Fitzwilliam
The public beach is for residents only and is periodically checked by local police. There are no facilities. The boat access is open to the public.




CONTOOCOOK RIVER, Powder Mill Fish and Wildlife Management Area
This fishing area is maintained by the N.H. Fish and Game Department and is suitable for canoes and small boats.

OTTER LAKE in Greenfield State Park, off Route 136
This 401-acre park features a half mile of frontage on Otter Lake, picnic grounds, nature trails, canoe, kayak and paddle boats rentals, changing rooms, a snack bar and a park store. The beach is monitored by a lifeguard. There are separate areas for campers and for day visitors. The park is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $2.50 per person, free for those younger than 12 and for New Hampshire residents 65 and older.

SUNSET LAKE, off Sunset Lake Road
This beach is open only to Greenfield residents. A lifeguard is on duty Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., for the next nine weeks. American Red Cross Swimming lessons will be offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting June 26. Cost is $7 per child, refundable if the child attends all lessons. The beach has a chemical toilet and parking for about 10 cars.

ZEPHYR LAKE, off Zephyr Lake Road
There is public access, but no lifeguard and no facilities. There is parking for just a few cars.


NORWAY POND, Route 123, Hancock
The beach is open daily only to Hancock residents and their guests. There's a lifeguard on duty Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The moderately sandy beach has a roped-off area for swimming. It has a portable toilet and a small parking area for about 15 cars. The beach is open from June 21 through Aug. 20. Swimming lessons start July 5.

NUBANUSIT LAKE, off Route 123, Hancock
There's a boat launch, but no public beach.


SILVER LAKE, East Lake Road, Harrisville
There is a beach for residents only. There is no parking lot and cars parked on the road will be ticketed.

This beach is for residents only. Cars need a recycling center sticker to park and it's monitored by a beach committee. There are no restrooms, but there is a portable toilet. No dogs are allowed.


This small beach is for residents only. Parking is limited. There is a portable toilet and one picnic table.


FRANKLIN PIERCE LAKE, off Route 9, Hillsboro and Antrim. The beach is open to the general public. There's ample parking and no admission charge. There are changing facilities and a lifeguard on duty daily, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The pond features a sandy beach, a roped-off swimming area, a raft and picnic tables.


The town has a public access sites for fishing and launching boats at the foot of Sand Hill, off of Prospect Street. There's a small parking lot.


Facilities and parking open 8am - dusk. Swimming, changing room, picnic tables, covered pavilion, restrooms and volleyball. Lifeguards on duty 11am - 5pm 7 days a week. Please no alcoholic beverages, flotation devices, glass containers, loud music.

Parking lot open 11am - 5pm weekends, 12 noon - 4pm weekdays. Swimming, grills, portable restrooms and covered picnic pavilion. Lifeguards on duty 12pm - 4pm weekdays, 11am - 5pm weekends. Jaffrey residents only. Please no alcoholic beverages, flotation devices, glass containers, loud music.


OTTER BROOK RECREATION AREA, Route 9, Keene. This beach is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. Buoys mark off a swimming area that goes out to a 6-foot depth. Its 400 feet of beach slopes out gradually. Otter Brook is mostly sunny but there are a few shade trees. Picnic sites stretch along the river. There are no lifeguards on duty. Park rangers maintain order at the beach and are certified in CPR.

The park has horseshoe pits, a ball field, two restrooms and a changing facility. There are 55 fireplaces and 90 picnic tables. Groups can rent a small picnic shelter. Water quality is tested biweekly. Otter Brook is a river-fed beach. A boat launch is available, but no gasoline driven motorboats are allowed.

The beach, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., closes for the season the first Sunday after Labor Day. There's a carry-in, carry-out policy on trash. No pets are allowed.

Keene Parks and Recreation Pools: Wheelock Pool, Wheelock Park, Park Ave. and Robin Hood Pool, Robin Hood Park, Reservoir Street.

For swimming area/pool opening dates and rates, please visit the Keene Parks & Recreation website.


STONE POND, Stone Pond Road, Marlborough
This place is open to Marlborough residents with a beach and recycling center permit. It's swim at your own risk. Dogs and alcoholic beverages are not allowed.


SAND POND, West Shore Road, Marlow
Part of this pond is in Marlow and part is in Lempster. There's a boat landing on West Shore Road. There's a bathroom and parking for about a half-dozen cars.

GUSTON POND, Guston Pond Road, Marlow
Guston Pond is used primarily for fishing from shore. There is no boat landing. The pond is best for canoes and other boats that can be carried. Parking is restricted to the roadside. There is no beach area. This is not a town-sanctioned beach.

VILLAGE POND, Washington Pond Road off Route 10, Marlow
There is a small sandy beach. Parking is along the roadside. Most beachgoers are villagers who just stroll over for a dip. There are no changing facilities, no bathrooms, no roped-off swimming area and no lifeguards.


GRANITE LAKE, Stoddard and Nelson
A public boat access in Nelson can be found off the old Route 9. There is no public beach on the lake.




CUNNINGHAM POND, off Cunningham Pond Road, off Route 101
The beach, which is open to Peterborough residents and their guests, has 200 feet of water frontage. It has a landing for nonmotorized boats, a parking lot for 45 cars, bathrooms, changing rooms, picnic tables and a lifeguard on duty every day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.






PEARLY POND, Franklin Pierce College campus, Rindge
The college allows public swimming within a roped-off area. Certified lifeguards are on duty Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The beach will be staffed through Labor Day. Admission is free. Canoes are available. There are no restrooms, changing facilities or concession stand. There is limited street parking.











HIGHLAND LAKE, Route 123, Stoddard
There are two places to launch a boat on this 5-mile long lake. One is as you cross the bridge on Route 123; the other is on the eastern shore at the end of Shedd Hill Road at Highland Lake Marina. Neither location offers a public swimming beach.

ISLAND POND, Route 123, Stoddard
There is a large beach area and boat landing. Swimming is at your own risk. It's sandy near the waterfront and the depth drops off at about 10 feet. It tends to be a bit mucky on the bottom. The pond gets crowded because of numerous nearby cottages.

CENTER POND, Center Pond Road, Stoddard
This has a small, sandy beach and a boat landing. The water depth drops off gradually. The beach is not very crowded because it's far from the center of town. Swim at your own risk. Water quality is good because it's spring fed.

GRANITE LAKE, Stoddard and Nelson
A public boat access in Nelson can be found off the old Route 9. There is no public beach on the lake.


SURRY MOUNTAIN RECREATION AREA, Route 12A, Surry This beach is one of the area's largest. It is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. Visitors older than 12 pay $1 per day, with a maximum of $3 a car. It's very sunny with lots of sandy beach. One end has a little tree cover. There are two restrooms, one handicapped accessible, and a separate building for changing. The beach is about 700 feet long. Swimming buoys are posted where the water reaches 6 feet deep. The farthest buoy is about 50 feet out. Swimming is restricted to that area. A boat ramp, which costs $2 to use, allows easy launching. Motor boat engines are restricted to 10 horsepower. There are no lifeguards. Park rangers maintain order at the beach and are certified in CPR. There are no showers, but there are drinking fountains, horseshoe pits, 80 picnic tables, 50 fireplaces and areas for ball games. There are two large shelters for groups to rent, for $60 a day, $65 with electricity. It can get quite crowded on weekends, occasionally necessitating the closing of the front gates. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Water quality, maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, is tested biweekly. No pets are allowed. A vehicle season pass is $25. The beach has a carry-in, carry-out policy on trash.


East Shore Road off of Swanzey Lake Road. This shady beach, which is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., has a beautiful view. The water goes out 30 feet before it is over an adult's head. A swimming area is roped off for younger children. The beach is often quite crowded. There is a lifeguard on duty daily, generally 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The beach does have bathrooms.
There is no charge to get in. It is for residents only. There are quite a few picnic tables. Water quality is usually good.

WILSON POND, Route 32, North Swanzey
This is a small sunny beach where you can easily launch a boat. There are no facilities and no concession stands. It's a side-of-the-road spot where people cool off on hot days. It is sometimes very crowded.


The N.H. Fish and Game Department has three public access spots in Walpole. They're appropriate for fishing and for launching boats and canoes. The first site, off Route 12, is at the end of an unmarked gravel road, which cuts between two corn fields, just north of the Westminster Bridge. The other site, also off Route 12, is just before the bridge going into Bellows Falls. The last site is off Pine Street in North Walpole, above the Bellows Falls Dam.


Although Ashuelot Pond is in Washington, you get there by turning onto Washington Road off Route 10 in Marlow. If you go to the end of the road, there's a place to launch a boat or a canoe.
If you cross the pond, you'll find a delightful inlet to paddle up and a spot for a picnics. There are no lifeguards or toilets.


FOREST LAKE, off Route 10, Winchester
The lake has a sandy beach. The parking area is free to Winchester residents who have a dump sticker. It is $2 per day or $10 per season for nonresident cars. There is a lifeguard on duty daily. There are restrooms, changing facilities, picnic places and a boat launch.