Maybe it’s been too cold for too long, but I’ve found myself this week looking over my options for a summer vacation. I’ve done the mountains and I live near the ocean, both great choices, but the place I keep coming back to is in the heart of the Lakes Region.
Weirs Beach, in Laconia, is an old school resort town. As you drive into “the Weirs,” as my friends and I call it, the glowing sign tells you you’re in for fun. There’s swimming in Lake Winnipesaukee. There’re arcades, places to buy cheesy T-shirts, fudge, and racy coffee mugs. There’re mini golf and go-carts. There are bars and restaurants, a drive-in theater and a waterslide park. There is seriously so much fun here one cannot possibly fit it into one day.
Summer is the busiest time of year for Weirs Beach, especially during Laconia Motorcycle Week. Every June, motorcyclists from across the country ride into the lake-side city, showing off their tattoos and leather as much as their custom bikes. If people-watching is your thing, I’d suggest doing a drive-through some year. Just remember, traffic goes at a crawl most hours of the day.
After Bike Week, families roll into town. If you don’t mind waiting in line for the water slide surrounded by 8-year-olds, it’s a great time to go. Lake rentals are plentiful and affordable, but competition is much higher for the larger, lusher places, so look early.
My friends and I like to go in the fall. Just after Labor Day is my favorite. The weather is still warm for mini golf and go-carts, but the crowds have all gone back to school. Rental deals are also easy to find, as home owners haven’t yet shut everything down for the season.
Regardless of what time of year you go, you must head to Funspot. Known as the largest arcade in the world, this three-story building has a bowling alley, indoor mini-golf course, ski ball, driving games, first-person shooter games, and an entire section of vintage video games that will bring back vivid memories of your Nintendo 64. Funspot also offers bingo, if that’s your thing, but my favorite part of Funspot is exploring all of the weird old arcade games that spit out reels of tickets to the winners. One requires you balance a bowling ball between two wire rails. At another game, you launch a token down a “ski jump” and attempt to launch it into a series of slots, each with different point values. Looking at these games you think, “How could anyone think this is fun,” and then you try it and you’re hooked.
Before you go, don’t forget to check the Funspot website for coupons for free tokens. It will greatly increase your time spent there, as tokens go fast.
At the end of any great vacation day, I love grabbing a bite and a drink. My favorite spot is the Patio Garden Restaurant. You get almost anything you want here. Burgers, pizza, salads, steak, lobster, fried clams, chicken parmesan. When I’m here, I go for a few slices and a beer on the patio. Not a bad way to spend a summer evening.