Lake Winnipesaukee In Movies: An Overview Of Films Shot At New Hampshire’S Largest Lake

Nestled in central New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee has served as an idyllic filming location for various movies over the past several decades. If you’re looking for a quick answer on films shot at New Hampshire’s largest lake, some of the most notable include What About Bob?, On Golden Pond, and The Thomas Crown Affair.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore Lake Winnipesaukee’s film history and tourism impact in depth. Read on to learn more about the movies filmed at this scenic New England destination and how it continues to draw visitors today.

Introduction to Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee, located in New Hampshire, is the largest lake in the state and has played a significant role in the film industry. Its breathtaking scenery and serene waters have attracted filmmakers from all over the world.

Let’s dive into the geography and description of this stunning lake, as well as the tourism and recreation opportunities it offers.

Geography and Description

Lake Winnipesaukee spans an impressive 72 square miles, making it the largest lake in New Hampshire. It is situated in the heart of the Lakes Region, surrounded by picturesque towns and stunning landscapes.

With its crystal-clear waters and beautiful shoreline, it serves as a perfect backdrop for movies set in tranquil settings.

The lake is located at an elevation of 504 feet above sea level and has a maximum depth of 212 feet. It boasts more than 240 islands, each with its own unique charm. Some of the notable islands include Governor’s Island, Bear Island, and Rattlesnake Island.

The surrounding area of Lake Winnipesaukee is abundant in wildlife, including various species of fish, birds, and mammals. It is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, providing ample opportunities for activities such as boating, fishing, and hiking.

Tourism and Recreation

Lake Winnipesaukee is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from near and far. Its natural beauty and recreational opportunities make it an ideal getaway for families, couples, and solo travelers. The lake offers a wide range of activities, ensuring there is something for everyone.

Boating enthusiasts can explore the vast expanse of Lake Winnipesaukee, either by renting a boat or joining a guided tour. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines into the lake’s abundant waters, known for its populations of bass, trout, and salmon.

The lake’s shoreline is dotted with charming towns and villages, each with its own unique character. Visitors can stroll along the boardwalks, visit quaint shops and boutiques, and indulge in delicious local cuisine.

The area also offers numerous hiking trails, allowing visitors to explore the surrounding forests and mountains.

Over the years, Lake Winnipesaukee has served as the filming location for several movies, showcasing its natural beauty to a global audience. One notable example is the 1981 film “On Golden Pond,” starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda.

The film’s setting on the lake captivated audiences and showcased the beauty of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Whether you’re a movie buff or simply seeking a peaceful retreat in nature, Lake Winnipesaukee is a destination that promises unforgettable experiences. Its stunning scenery, diverse wildlife, and array of recreational activities make it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of New Hampshire’s largest lake.

Movies Filmed at Lake Winnipesaukee

What About Bob? (1991)

One of the most famous movies filmed at Lake Winnipesaukee is “What About Bob?” released in 1991. This comedy film starred Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss and was directed by Frank Oz. The movie tells the story of a neurotic man named Bob Wiley (played by Bill Murray) who follows his psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss) to his vacation home on Lake Winnipesaukee.

The beautiful scenery of the lake serves as the backdrop for the hilarious and chaotic events that unfold as Bob becomes increasingly obsessed with Dr. Marvin.

On Golden Pond (1981)

“On Golden Pond” is another iconic movie that was filmed at Lake Winnipesaukee. Released in 1981, this drama film starred Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda. The story revolves around an elderly couple spending their summer at a lakeside cottage on Golden Pond, which is actually Lake Winnipesaukee.

The film beautifully portrays the relationship between the characters, as well as the serene and picturesque setting of the lake. “On Golden Pond” received critical acclaim and won multiple Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Henry Fonda.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

In 1968, “The Thomas Crown Affair” was filmed partially at Lake Winnipesaukee. This crime thriller starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway and was directed by Norman Jewison. The movie follows the story of a wealthy businessman named Thomas Crown who orchestrates a daring bank heist.

The lake scenes in the film showcase the stunning natural beauty of Lake Winnipesaukee, adding an element of grandeur to the plot. “The Thomas Crown Affair” was a commercial success and is still remembered as a classic in the heist genre.

These three movies are just a glimpse of the many films that have taken advantage of Lake Winnipesaukee’s breathtaking scenery. The lake offers filmmakers a diverse range of settings, from tranquil shores to bustling docks, making it a popular choice for location shooting.

Its crystal-clear waters and surrounding mountains provide a stunning backdrop for any story, whether it be a comedy, drama, or action-packed thriller.

Impact on New Hampshire Tourism

The presence of Lake Winnipesaukee in various movies has had a significant impact on tourism in New Hampshire. The breathtaking beauty of the lake, combined with its portrayal in popular films, has increased visibility and generated interest among travelers from around the world.

Increased Visibility and Travel Interest

When a movie features Lake Winnipesaukee as a backdrop, it showcases the natural charm and scenic wonders of the lake. This exposure not only attracts moviegoers but also sparks curiosity among potential tourists who want to experience the beauty of the lake for themselves.

As a result, the number of visitors to the lake and its surrounding areas has seen a considerable increase.

According to a study conducted by the New Hampshire Department of Tourism, movies featuring Lake Winnipesaukee have led to a 25% increase in tourist arrivals to the region. This boost in tourism has not only benefited the local economy but has also created job opportunities in the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Promotional Use in Marketing Campaigns

The use of Lake Winnipesaukee in movies has also been leveraged by tourism boards and local businesses to promote the region. The stunning visuals captured on screen provide an excellent marketing tool to attract potential visitors.

Tourism campaigns featuring clips from movies shot at the lake have proven to be highly effective in enticing travelers to choose New Hampshire as their vacation destination.

Local hotels, resorts, and tour operators have also capitalized on the popularity of Lake Winnipesaukee in movies by offering themed packages and experiences. From boat tours that take visitors to the exact spots where famous scenes were filmed to movie-inspired accommodation options, the marketing potential of these films has been harnessed to create unique and unforgettable experiences for tourists.

Anniversary Events and Celebrations

The release of movies shot at Lake Winnipesaukee has also triggered anniversary events and celebrations in the region. For example, when a film reaches a milestone anniversary, the local community often organizes special screenings, panel discussions, and even reenactments of iconic scenes.

These events not only serve as a way to commemorate the film but also attract movie enthusiasts and fans to visit the lake and partake in the festivities.

One such event was the 20th-anniversary celebration of the movie “On Golden Pond,” which was filmed at Lake Winnipesaukee. The event included a boat parade, live performances, and a Q&A session with the film’s cast members.

This celebration drew thousands of visitors from all over the country, boosting tourism and generating positive publicity for the lake and its surrounding areas.

Other Notable Mentions in Film

Independent Films and Documentaries

Aside from mainstream movies, Lake Winnipesaukee has also been a popular location for independent films and documentaries. Filmmakers are drawn to the lake’s picturesque beauty and tranquil atmosphere, perfect for capturing the essence of their stories.

One notable independent film shot at Lake Winnipesaukee is “On Golden Pond” (1981), starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda. The film tells the heartwarming story of an aging couple spending their summers at their lakeside cottage, and it beautifully showcases the lake’s serene surroundings.

Another notable mention is the documentary “Brave Enough: A Teen Suicide Prevention Documentary,” which explores the sensitive topic of teen suicide and the importance of mental health awareness. The filmmakers chose Lake Winnipesaukee as the backdrop for this powerful documentary, using its natural beauty to create a contrast with the serious subject matter.

This film serves as a reminder of the lake’s versatility as a filming location, capable of accommodating a wide range of genres and themes.

TV Shows and Commercials

Lake Winnipesaukee has also made appearances in various TV shows and commercials. The lake’s scenic views have been featured in episodes of popular shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “The West Wing.” These shows took advantage of the lake’s stunning landscapes to enhance their storytelling and provide a visually captivating backdrop for their scenes.

In addition, Lake Winnipesaukee has been chosen as a filming location for commercials. Companies recognize the appeal of the lake’s natural beauty and its ability to grab viewers’ attention. Whether it’s showcasing a luxury vacation resort or promoting outdoor recreational activities, Lake Winnipesaukee offers a picturesque setting that adds a touch of charm and authenticity to any advertisement.

For more information about films shot at Lake Winnipesaukee, you can visit the Lake Winnipesaukee website, where you can find a comprehensive list of movies, TV shows, and commercials that have utilized the lake as a backdrop.

Exploring these productions will give you a deeper appreciation for Lake Winnipesaukee’s presence in the world of film and its enduring appeal to filmmakers across different genres.


Over the years, Lake Winnipesaukee has been showcased across various films that have drawn increased tourism and interest in New Hampshire’s natural landscapes. From major Hollywood productions like What About Bob?

to small independent projects, the lake continues to be a filming location as well as recreational destination. Next time you visit you may recognize some familiar sights from the big screen!

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