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Lake Sunapee Region Lighthouses:
New Hampshire

Herrick Cove lighthouse

Sunapee, Newbury, Sutton, Goshen, Springfield, Enfield,
New London, Georges Mills, Charleston, Warner

Lake Sunapee is a long, narrow lake stretching ten miles and up to 3 miles wide in some parts. In the late 19th century, this lake became a popular destination for travelers who would arrive by train to Sunapee Harbor and then be taken aboard various steamships to the opulent resort hotels and family estates along the shoreline. Behind Lake Sunapee is Mount Sunapee, which offered and still offers plenty of outdoor opportunities like hiking and alpine skiing in the winter.

To help with navigating around the lake, two owners of the steamships that carried tourists and cargo around the lake, the Woodsum brothers, felt there was a need to build lighthouses around a couple of the rocky islands Burkehaven Island and Loon Island, which became Burkehaven Lighthouse and Loon Island Lighthouse, and one other on the shoreline, Herrick Cove Lighthouse. 

Lake Sunapee also contains six other islands. One named Little Island, was once an entertainment spot for tourists and was bought in the late 1800's for only one dollar. The new owner had a bowling alley built on it.

The State of New Hampshire’s Marine Patrol Bureau owns the three still-active solar-powered lighthouses, with the Lake Sunapee Protection Association maintaining the towers since the early 1980s.


Lake Sunapee New Hampshire Lighthouses
Best Viewed By Boat

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse, including historical stories, directions, tours, photos, and nearby attractions.


Places to Visit: Lake Sunapee Region

The Lake Sunapee region is named for the lake and the mountain that rises from its southern shore. kayaks by Lake Sunapee

Nine miles long and three miles wide, Lake Sunapee’s rocky shore with its three working lighthouses also contains many private and public beaches, especially the public beach at Mt. Sunapee State Park. You'll also find lots of 19th century architecture and artists galleries in this quiet region.

There are many well-marked trails on Mt. Sunapee, which is also a favorite skiing spot in the winter. In late summer the State Park is the site for the nation's oldest crafts event, the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's Fair.

autumn fall foliage in the mountains

Mount Sunapee is a 5-mile long mountain ridge in the towns of Newbury and Goshen in western New Hampshire. The state park's extensive trail system is used in all seasons for hiking and in winter for snowshoeing. The Mount Sunapee State Park is used by visitors who prefer a more rustic appeal without the amenities. Near the top of Mount Sunapee, about a mile hike from the summit lodge, is Lake Solitude. This small isolated lake is in the crater of an ancient volcano. There are three trails that lead from the base to the summit of Mount Sunapee.

The area surrounding Lake Sunapee contains some of the largest collections of covered bridges in the neighboring towns of Cornish, Newport, Meriden, Bradford, and Warner.

Only two out of an original thirteen Concord & Claremont Railway Company covered railroad bridges still exist in Newport, just west of Sunapee.

Pier Covered Railroad Bridge

Pier Covered Railroad Bridge

One of these is the Pier Covered Bridge.

For those who want to see the longest “covered bridge” in the United States (449 feet, 5 inches), the Cornish-Windsor Bridge is a short distance west of Sunapee.

Cornish Windsor bridge, the longest bridge

Cornish-Windsor Bridge

The longest bridge connects the New Hampshire and Vermont borders crossing the Connecticut River.

Mt. Kearsage Indian Museum is an educational museum about Native American cultures, and the Old Fort at No. 4 is a living history museum in Charlestown. Hood Museum at Dartmouth College displays art from ancient cultures, and is one of the oldest college museums in the country.

Take in a play or musical in the summer at the New London Barn Playhouse, it is one of the oldest continuously operating summer theaters in the country.

Explore the 200-year-old Ruggles Mine in Grafton with its giant rock tunnels.

For those who prefer the outdoors, the gardens of The Fells National Wildlife Refuge surround the historic "Fells" colonial estate in Newbury. The neighboring towns of Cornish, Newport, Meriden, Bradford, and Warner surrounding Lake Sunapee contain many covered bridges.

If you enjoy antiques, the grand daddy of them all is the spacious Prospect Hill Antiques and Home Furnishings store in Georges Mills.

old checker board



Boat Tour: Lighthouses on Lake Sunapee, NH

Boat cruise and contact info below is provided to help you plan your special trip ahead of time. Enjoy!

Sunapee Cruises
The M.V. Kearsarge, which includes dinner cruises, runs various tours that go past the lighthouses. The M.V. Mt Sunapee runs a lighthouse and nature tour every day in the summer.

Sunapee Harbor, Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire 03782
Phone (603) 763-4030

Lighthouses: Burkehaven Lighthouse, Loon Island lighthouse, Herrck Cove Light

M.V. Mt. Sunapee boat for tours on lake Sunapee

Directions to Sunapee Harbor


From this public boat launch you'll find the MV Mt. Sunapee II and the MV Kearsarge at the Town Dock in Sunapee Harbor.


Books to Explore

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

To order a signed paperback copy:

Available also from bookstores in paperback, hardcover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted Coal Schooners of New England

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These giants of sail were the ten original six-masted coal schooners and one colossal seven-masted vessel, built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field!

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed these mighty ships. These true stories include competitions, accidents, battling destructive storms, acts of heroism, and their final voyages.



Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses in these states, along with the coastal attractions and tours near each beacon, and contact info to plan your special trips. You'll find over 360 images inside as well.

Take a look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions






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