The Squam Lake Cruises depart from a dock across the road from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. (Alana Persson/for the Laconia Daily Sun)
HOLDERNESS — Bird watchers, photographers, historians or general sightseers looking to enjoy the beauty of Squam Lake would be wise to hop aboard one of the daily cruises the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center offers throughout the summer season.
Unlike many lakes in the area, Squam Lake is heavily protected by conservation efforts, which has allowed the wildlife and plants to flourish on and around the waterbody. With fewer power boats on the water and less construction along the shoreline, cruises on Squam Lake allow guests to become absorbed into both a natural and informative experience.
Recognizing that each guest may be seeking a different experience on the lake, the Squam Lakes Cruises provide a wide variety of cruise options that will fit each individual’s needs. While some cruises focus heavily on the history of the lake, others dive into the the wildlife or the ecology of the lake. Regardless of the experience being sought out, the trained tour guides aim to show guests the most beautiful parts of lake and answer any questions guests may have, according to Janet Robertson, the Director of Development and Communications for the Science Center.
Those who are looking for a cruise that focuses mostly on the sightseeing experience, while touching slightly upon the history of the lake, are encouraged to take a ride on the Explore Squam Cruises. These cruises are a 90-minute tour focusing on the different islands around the lake, including Church Island, which hosts weddings throughout the summer season. Further, tour guides discuss the wildlife living in and around the lake, and tell tales of exciting events that have happened along the shores over the years.
“It always amazes me that people are so eager to see where On Golden Pond was filmed and hear the details on how they filmed it, even though it happened so many years ago,” said Robertson.
The Explore Squam Cruises depart daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. through August 31. The cruises will be offered from September 1 through October 9 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday through Monday.
In addition to the Explore Squam Cruises offered, the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center offers Loon Cruises every Monday and Friday at 3 p.m. through August 28. These cruises are led by a specialist from the Loon Preservation Committee and delve into the history of the common loon, explain the challenges the species faces and the efforts being done to protect the birds. The biologist leading the cruise ensures guests that a route will be taken to maximize loon sightings during the trip.
Families with young children who are looking for a more hands on experience, are encouraged to spend a morning on the Lake Explorers Family Cruise. The cruises depart on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and run approximately two hours. During this tour, parents and children five years-old and older, have the opportunity to go on a scavenger hunt, learn about the ecology of the lake by collecting microscopic life and have the chance to view live fish and loons.
“No matter the cruise people chose they will have team of enthusiastic tour captains who are extremely knowledgeable and love what they are doing,” said Robertson.
New this season, all cruises leave from the recently constructed Lake Cruise Headquarters located directly across the street from the Science Center. Tickets can be purchased for any of the cruises by calling the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center at 603-968-7194 or by visiting www.nhnature.org/programs/lake_cruises.php.
Bev Lapham captains the cruise ship. (Alana Persson/for the Laconia Daily Sun)