Grafton Pond
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:Grafton Pond Road, Grafton
Hours:No posted hours
Fee: Free

Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, 603-224-9945,

Bathrooms: Portable toilet in summer months
Water/Snacks: None

This paddler’s paradise boasts islands, miles of wildlife habitat to explore, and a virtually undeveloped, protected shoreline.

While you’re out on Grafton Pond, find an island or shoreline to explore, take a dip, and maybe catch a fish or two.

This is one of our favorite family adventure destinations in New Hampshire. A trip to this small but secluded pond is a treat, and the kids will love the countless islands to explore, blueberry picking, and marshy areas with wildlife.

Although only 300 acres, the pond feels much bigger thanks to its dozens of small islands, long and narrow inlets, and lack of motor- and speedboats. Motors are limited to 6 hp on this lake, which keeps motor traffic and wakes to a minimum. The water is clear and swimmable. Many islands have nice rocky granite slabs that heat up in the sun and make for great “beaches” in which toddlers can wade and splash. Some are shadier and better for those hot days when you want to keep out of the sun. The smallmouth bass fishing is excellent, too, making it a great place to introduce youngsters to the joys of freshwater fishing.

Visiting Grafton Pond is always special, but arrive at or soon after sunrise to see the pond at its best. The mist hovers over the glassy smooth water, and quiet blankets the surrounding forest as you paddle into the heart of this wild pond.

Wildlife is most active at dawn and dusk, and your chances of seeing a beaver, fox, or moose are highest at the twilight hours. The loons are most active at night. Come early or stay late to experience their magical calls, but be sure to leave them plenty of room so as to not disturb this threatened species. Along the north shore of the lake, beaver dams dot the marshy shoreline, and you may see one of these industrious creatures stockpiling woody material to make repairs to their lodge or store food on the lake bottom. We have also seen otters here, which is a real delight.

Plan B:

The Montshire Museum of Science in nearby Norwich, Vermont, is an excellent rainy day option. With hands-on activities, wildlife exhibits, and a freshwater aquarium, this place is definitely worth checking out. You can also plan to stay at AMC’s Cardigan Lodge in Alexandria; visit for more information.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Enfield and Canaan both offer basic eateries. Lebanon, a little farther to the west on NH 4, offers a wide array of dining options including pubs, ice cream stands, and farm stands. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at outfitters in New London and Wilmot Flat.


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