Bristol, New Hampshire

Nestled along shore of Newfound Lake in Bristol, New Hampshire, Wellington State Park is a gem that offers some of the best hiking, swimming, and boating.

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About This Location

Nestled along the southwest shore of Newfound Lake in Bristol, New Hampshire, Wellington State Park is a gem within the state's park system, encompassing a sprawling 220 acres. The park's origin is deeply rooted in generosity. In 1931, Elizabeth R. Wellington bequeathed the land known as the Wellington Reservation to the state for a mere $1. Subsequently, the park was developed and beautified by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s, marking a significant phase in its history.

Upon entering the park today, visitors are greeted with the most extensive freshwater swimming beach in the New Hampshire State Park system. The pristine waters beckon both residents and tourists, offering respite during warm months. Beyond just swimming, the park is a hub for various activities. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy the clear waters, while those inclined towards boating can engage in non-motorized ventures. The park's location also makes it a prime spot for hiking. With a 7-mile trail system that originates within the park's bounds, hikers are led to the summits of both Little and Big Sugarloaf mountains, offering panoramic views that are a delight to the senses. For those looking for a long hike, consider the Sugartloaf and Goose Pond Trail which is 7 miles long. For those seeking a short hike, consider the Peninsula Trail which is under a mile long.

The peninsula nature trail within the park is an added attraction, featuring designated picnic spots, fishing zones, plant identification markers, and magnificent vistas of Newfound Lake as well as Cliff and Belle Islands. If you're up for some beachside games, the park houses volleyball and horseshoe courts. And if you find yourself famished after all the activities, the Snack Bar is well-stocked with an array of snacks, refreshing beverages, ice cream, and more. For those who prefer a BBQ, the park permits gas grills and wood or charcoal fires for cooking.

Wellington State Park is well-equipped to handle the influx of visitors. For boaters, there's a developed boat launch managed by N.H. Fish & Game, offering free access to Newfound Lake throughout the year. Those without their own boats can rent kayaks from the park store for day use. If you're looking to access the park via boat, there are boat lanes along the beach. Youth group camping is available at Wellington, specifically on Belle and Cliff Islands. However, note that you'd need your own boat to reach these islands. The park doesn't cater to family camping.

While pets offer companionship, they aren't permitted within the park to maintain the area's cleanliness and to ensure the comfort of all visitors.

While Wellington State Park is open year-round, the summer season is arguably the best time to visit, especially if you're looking to indulge in water activities. The park, with its vast beach and clear waters, becomes a hotspot during this season. For those who prefer a tranquil atmosphere and cooler hiking conditions, spring and fall are ideal.

The park has designated parking areas for visitors. Regular admission fees apply, and boat access to the park incurs the same charge. Day use fees are $5 for adults (12+ years old), $2 for children (6-11 years old), $0 for children under 5, and free for NH senior citizens. The park is staffed from May to Setpember and during the off-season, payments can be made at the kiosks. The park gate is open 8am to 8pm.

In summary, Wellington State Park stands as a testament to the generosity of individuals and the beauty of nature. Whether you're a water enthusiast, an avid hiker, or someone looking for a peaceful picnic spot, the park promises a fulfilling experience amidst New Hampshire's natural splendor.

Location Features

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614 West Shore Road, Bristol, New Hampshire

GPS Coordinates:
43.642083, -71.779056
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
There are hundreds of parking spots at Wellington State Park located off West Shore Road in Bristol, New Hampshire. Parking is free during the off-season, but a fee is charged during the summer: Admission is $5 for adults; $2 for children ages 6-11; children ages 5 and under and NH residents age 65 and over are admitted free.


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