Squam Lake — a Lakes Region Treasure

This past summer, I was invited for lunch and a nice boat ride around Squam Lake at a friend of mine’s vintage camp. Squam is a very special place, a pristine crystal clear lake, and when you’re out on the lake, you can look in almost any direction, and you will see mountains, the Sandwich Range, Rattlesnake Mountain, Red Hill, The Squam Mountain Range, and the White Mountains.

The National awareness of the lake was enhanced with the 1981 film “On Golden Pond.” Big and Little Squam Lakes are naturally spring-fed and connected by a channel in Holderness. Big Squam is New Hampshire’s second largest lake at 6,791 acres, with a maximum length of 7 miles and a maximum width of 4.6 miles. The maximum depth is 99′. Some of the most scenic roadways and landscape vistas you will find in New Hampshire surround the lake.

Little Squam contains 408 acres, is 2 miles long, ½ mile wide, and has a maximum depth of 84′. The lake has 29 named islands and numerous smaller unnamed islets. High Haith, at 243 acres, is the largest island; however, it is separated from the mainland by a ditch bridged by the roadway. Both Moon Island and Bowman Island are maintained by the Squam Lake Association and offer small beaches available to non-motorized boats. The chapel on Chocorua Island offers Sunday Services from June to early September.

Squam lake is surrounded by the scenic and quaint towns of Ashland, Holderness, Sandwich, Center Harbor, and Moultonborough, which embody the spirit of “lake towns in New Hampshire.” The lake was formed by the movement of glaciers approximately 15,000 years ago.

Successful Hike on Rattlesnake Mtn.

Some popular destinations for hiking and walking around Squam include Rattlesnake Mountain, Mount Morgan & Percival, Five Finger Point, Eagles Cliffs, Red Hill, and Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest. The lake is home to various fish and waterfowl, including the coveted loon, the great blue heron, bald eagle, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, lake trout, whitefish, and largemouth bass.

There are all sorts of natural wonders to explore around the region, starting with The Squam Lake Natural Science Center on Route 113 Holderness. A great family visit with the kids where you can interact with black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, deer, and bald eagles. You can also pick up a guided boat tour to learn more about the nature and local history of the lake. The hiking trails, animal demonstrations, and exhibits are very educational for children, with unique outdoor and indoor classrooms.

The Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest includes 157 acres with over a mile of waterfront, several beaches, a boardwalk, a swamp walk, and 4 miles of hiking trails managed by the Squam Lakes Association. The Association is a huge asset for the lake, headquartered on Route 3 in Holderness. All types of recreation activities are offered, including canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, or rental of weekly campsites. The nonprofit organization is largely to thank for the lake’s conserved natural beauty and watershed health. With its trained staff, the association resource center and headquarters offer summer programs ranging from sailing to hiking to fly fishing at its impressive facility.

The local villages and towns support a creative community with many artisans, craftsmen, photography, jewelry, glass works, and sculptures.

 Sandwich offers multiple artisans, scenic country homes with white picket fences, and the renowned Sandwich Fair in the fall. Squam Lake’s Artisans on Main Street in Center Harbor is a great place to shop, along with the Common Man in Ashland. The Squam Lake Inn, the Manor on Golden Pond, Squam Brewing, Squam Lakeside Farm, The Common Man, and Walter’s Basin, located directly over the water, are some of the local eateries with all sorts of culinary delights, brews, and favorite cocktails.

Without question, Squam Lake is one of the best-conserved lakes in New Hampshire, with large tracts of waterfront and forest in conservation. The Conservation Fund and The Northern Division of Forest Lands recently announced that 6,400 acres of forest and water resources just north of Squam Lake are now protected.

Let’s look at the sales activity on Squam Lake, comparing 2022 year to date with 2021 activity.

  • During 2022 there have been 6 sales. The median sales price was $3,200,000, the lowest price was $1,575,000, the highest price was $8,000,000, and the median days on the market was only 13 days. There are no active listings and no pending sales at present.
  • During 2021 there have been 8 sales. The median sales price was $1,925,000, the lowest price was $1,300,000, the highest price was $3,225,000, and the median days on the market was 71 days.

You can see from the above that the increase in 2022 over 2021 was substantial due to the lack of available properties for sale on the lake and the continuous demand for this coveted lake “on Golden Pond.”


This article was written by Frank Roche, president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith & Laconia, NH. Statistics were obtained from NEREN on 11/29/2022 and are subject to change. Frank can be reached at (603) 279-7046. Please feel free to visit www.RocheRealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.

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