One Of Samantha Brown's Favorite Cities In New Hampshire Has The World's Largest Arcade

As a renowned TV host and travel expert, Samantha Brown has visited some of the biggest and smallest cities in the world. Laconia, New Hampshire, is a quaint city with a population of just over 17,000, but it made a big impression on Brown. It's also less than two hours north of Boston, making it a great day or weekend trip if you're visiting (or live in) Beantown. 

Nestled on the edge of Lake Winnipesaukee, Brown writes that Laconia is the perfect place to explore the Great Lakes region, where you can swim, fish, or even take a cruise. Nearby, you'll find hiking trails, activities, and other must-visit towns perfect for nature lovers. But don't worry if you're not a big outdoors person. There's still plenty to do within Laconia proper, including visiting museums and historical places. And that's not even mentioning the world's largest arcade (that's right, the world!). So, if you're a gamer or just want to live out some nostalgia, you won't want to miss it. No matter what time of year you visit, whether you're booking a trip for the beautiful fall foliage or taking a relaxing summer vacation to explore Lake Winnipesaukee, Laconia has something to offer.

Samantha Brown's favorite things to do in Laconia

Let's start with the most obvious: Laconia boasts the largest arcade in the world. Funspot is not only Samantha Brown's favorite place in the city, but it has also made Laconia a destination for game lovers worldwide. Opened in 1952, Funspot has grown to include over 600 coin-operated games, a 20-lane bowling alley, and an 18-hole mini-golf course. But that's just the start. It also has cash bingo, as well as child-appropriate rides and games, making it a perfect place for the whole family. When you need a break, there's a restaurant and tavern onsite. 

Speaking of restaurants, Brown highly recommends Local Eatery, which uses ingredients from local farms. One of its selling points is that it uses food items grown in less than a 150-mile radius of the restaurant. You can proudly eat here knowing you're supporting local farms and food sustainability (not to mention delicious seafood).

Finally, there's the lake. Brown writes on her website: "It doesn't get much more New Hampshire than a voyage on Lake Winnipesaukee." She recommends Mount Washington Cruises for general lake tours, themed tours (including a haunted tour!), and delicious dinner cruises. But you don't need a cruise to enjoy the water. Weirs Beach is one of the most popular; it's where you can swim and relax on the sand or launch your kayak, canoe, or boat (outside of the swim area, of course).

Other things to do in Laconia

There's a lot about Laconia that Brown loves, but she deems Bike Week controversial. While the travel expert isn't against motorcycles, she notes that the city becomes chaotic and loud during this time. However, if you're a biker, heading to Laconia for Bike Week is perfect. Held every June, hundreds of thousands of bikers descend on Laconia to participate in events, races, and bike-related activities. 

For history lovers, the Historical and Museum Society hosts monthly events, like scavenger hunts and cemetery tours. There's also the Belknap Mill Museum, built in 1823 and is mostly in its original form. The museum explores the mill's history as a textile manufacturer and a hydroelectric powerhouse.

Finally, many hiking opportunities aren't in Laconia proper, but there are options in the surrounding area since the city is tucked into the White Mountains. For instance, about 3 miles away is Ahern State Park, a small 128-acre park on the lake (unfortunately, camping is not allowed). In downtown Laconia, there's the WOW Trail. While it's not a typical hiking terrain, it's still a 4-mile paved trail used by walkers, runners, and bikers. Not only is it paved, but it's also 10 feet wide, making it ideal for families. Whether you're in Laconia for a day trip or spending an entire vacation, you'll get a true taste of New Hampshire life.