The name Laconia was first used in documents granting the land between the Merrimack and Sagadahock Rivers to Captain John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Some documents call the grant the Province of Maine, others call it the Province of Laconia, named after a region of Greece. In the 1620s explorers had hoped to follow the Piscataqua River north to Lake Champlain, in search of the great lakes and rivers of Canada told of in Indian lore. These explorers were known as the Laconia Adventurers.
The town was originally a portion of Meredith and Gilford named Meredith Bridge, and was incorporated as Laconia in 1855. Incorporated as a city in 1893, Laconia includes the villages of Lakeport and Weirs Beach, which bears the name of primitive fishing devices discovered at the outlet of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Known as the "City on the Lakes," Laconia is the largest year-round populated center in the Lakes Region. Avisit to the pedestrian-friendly downtown area offers a plethora of shops, eateries and historic buildings, including the Belknap Mill - the oldest brickside textile mill in the country that has since been restored and now serves as a year-round cultural arts center.
From the free outdoor family concerts along the riverside to the friendly annual sidewalk sale days, the city is constantly bustling with activity.
In the mood for some fun in the sun? Make sure to include a visit to the city's Weirs Beach, located at the water's edge of Lake Winnipesaukee between Laconia and Meredith.
Visitors can board the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad for a two-hour ride along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. For those who prefer to spend time on the water rather than at its edge, regular day family cruises and theme-centered evening cruises are offered on the M/S Mount Washington.
With a beam length of 35 feet, weighing in at 750 tons and a carrying capacity of 1,250 passengers, the M/S Mount Washington began servicing the Lakes Region in 1940 after its predecessor burnt to the hull line. After 63 years of operation, barring a halt of operation during World War II, the Mount has long been offering sightseeing excursions on the Big Lake's 44,586 acres for the entire family. No matter what age you are, the Mount Washington has something to interest you, all while traveling about the great Lake Winnipesaukee with easy access at its ports in Weirs Beach, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro Bay, Meredith and Center Harbor.
At the outlet of the lake, the oldest public monument in New England, the celebrated Endicott Rock was graced in 1901 by a bronze statue of an Indian placed atop the rock's granite canopy. The statue suffered damage over the years and has been replaced by a six-foot bronze Native American figure that welcomes all to its waterways.