New Hampshire : Safety by City
- Hampton Beach
- North Conway
- West Lebanon
Meredith, New Hampshire, is a charming town centrally located on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, aka “Lake Winni.”
The town has fewer than 7,000 people, but the tourists come in droves for four-season activities on the lake and the nearby White Mountains.
The town of Meredith has a rich history dating back to the mid-18th century when it was first settled by European colonizers.
The charm of covered bridges and scenic drives gives it that nostalgic feel, and you still have the major cities of New England just a few hours away.
It’s the best of city life and country living.
In addition to outdoor recreation, Meredith also offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries.
The town has a vibrant arts scene, with many local artists displaying their work in galleries and studios.
Festivals are held throughout each season, from crafts to fishing derbies.
You also have the benefit of New Hampshire not charging sales tax on purchases.
Warnings & Dangers in Meredith
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here for all travelers, from families to retirees. With plenty of things to do, you'll never be bored, and crime rates are about as low as you can get in a tourism community.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Airport shuttles are available to Meredith from the larger airports. Taxis and rideshares can be found in the community. Rental cars are the best way to get around. If you want to explore the lake by trolley, you'll need to head to Wolfeboro on the other side.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
No pickpockets or purse snatchings have been reported in the past five years, giving this a low risk. Car break-ins were at 14% of all thefts during that time. It's lower than the national average but still worth using all the proper safety steps.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Treat it with a medium risk because each season brings the potential for problems. Winter storms bring heavy snow and ice potential. While this is not tornado alley, severe thunderstorms can produce dangerous conditions, such as a few funnel clouds or water spouts.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Muggings are rare in this region, with no more than two robberies reported each year over the past decade. Even the few robberies were either businesses or homes. This is another low risk. The local forecast office comes from the National Weather Service in Gray/Portland, Maine.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is a low risk due to the recreational and remote nature of the community, especially with larger East Coast cities within a few hours. You should still always report any suspicious activity, even if it's just an abandoned backpack. Gun violence in the United States can happen anywhere. International guests should always review the travel warnings from the government, but most will mention the risk of mass shootings but note that tourists are rarely targeted.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Rental scams are the biggest concern here, and while the risk is low for a savvy traveler, it's important to know a few things. Always use a vendor that is recommended by the BBB and Chamber of Commerce. Never wire money to reserve a room. Don't trust Craigslist for rentals. When in doubt, move on. It's not worth the risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
This is another low risk, with nothing in any crime data suggesting women are more at risk. Use your standard safety precautions that would be important in any tourist destination.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance. You can view the most recent report on the city's website. Water quality issues due to flooding or water main breaks would come from the local government or police, so don't rely on the water quality report as the final answer.
Safest Places to Visit in Meredith
The New Hampshire Lakes Region Tourism Association is the best website to use for researching this area.
It’s a state tourism-funded site and much more reliable than some other third-party sites.
You’d be looking for information about Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Winnisquam as the closest to Meredith.
You can also use the Meredith Chamber of Commerce website.
The tourism site for the state is VisitNH.gov.
The center of town is right between the two lakes, with boat docks, hotels, restaurants, and parks lining the road.
This isn’t a remote area at all, so expect traffic during busy times of the year.
Maine Street is just west of Route 3 and offers a walkable community with towering steeples and New England Charm.
The historical society museum is located there as well.
Swasey and Hesky parks are small grassy areas, each on one of the lakes.
This is a great place for a picnic or a safe and accessible walk along the water.
Just north of the downtown area is the Meredith Sculpture Walk along the shoreline.
The Hobo and Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad Tour is available seasonally throughout the summer and fall.
Since the fall foliage is so stunning here, that should be a must-see.
Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest in New Hampshire.
Beach areas surround the lake, but before visiting Meredith’s Leavitt Park Beach, check the access rules.
It might be for residents only (the rules can change, but as of this publication, only residents can access the beach).
If you’re renting a home, ask the homeowner if the rental comes with a beach parking sticker.
Boat rentals and tours are available at two public docks in Meredith.
Fishing charters are another option.
Kayaks and SUP rentals are offered shoreside.
Winter brings cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails, with anglers getting some ice fishing in.
Sky Pond State Forest is less than a half hour away, with rocky ridges and stunning views of the New Hampshire landscape.
The Castle in the Clouds is a majestic mansion open seasonally for tours with great views inside and out.
You can also hike to some popular waterfalls from here.
Between Meredith and Weirs Beach, there’s mini golf and an action arcade available for a great family experience.
Wine tasting is available at Hermit Woods Winery.
You can pay extra for a guided tour through the flight of state wines.
Places to Avoid in Meredith
There aren’t bad parts of town in Meredith.
As a four-season destination, most businesses will be open throughout the year.
You should check the weather forecast before you go, as a powerful winter storm or incoming hurricane could lead to more closures and road restrictions.
Please respect private property here, as some people own homes they only live in for part of the year.
If a place is marked as private property or residents-only, find another place to visit.
Don’t try to sneak in.
Stay off the lake in windy conditions or if storms are in the forecast.
While tours will likely be canceled due to severe weather threats, your own judgment will be used if you’ve rented your own boat or kayak.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Meredith
- Meredith does have its own police department. The phone number is (603) 279-4561, but you’ll use 911 for emergencies.
- Read all parking time limits, as this community has seen an influx of visitors. That means where police were once more liberal with enforcing time limits, now you can get ticketed or towed for violating them.
- No dogs are allowed on any of the beaches in Meredith. You can walk them on a leash in a park, but there are no off-leash locations.
- If you’re spending time on the water, please note that things like beach balls and recreational flotation devices are not allowed on Meredith beaches.
- Anglers need a fishing license and scout out their fishing spots first. There’s a different license and charge for saltwater vs. freshwater licenses.
- Review the New Hampshire Department of Wildlife website to see what animals can be found in each region. You might come face to face with a bear, moose, deer, wild turkey, or milk snake (often misidentified as a rattlesnake).
- Never feed wildlife as a way to get them closer or out of concern for their health. Feeding wildlife makes them more comfortable (and more dangerous) around humans. They are wild animals and will always find a way to survive without your breadcrumbs.
- Don’t go onto a frozen lake or pond without knowing how deep the ice is. If you are baffled by how to measure ice, you should definitely not go on it. Talk with local outfitters about ice safety. They know the water and weather patterns better than everyone. Just because it’s cold out when you’re there doesn’t mean it wasn’t spring-like temperatures the weeks before.
- Review the ReadyNH.gov website to learn about all the weather risks and safety advice. You’ll find all the social media sites to follow so that you can stay informed. When spending time in remote areas, bring a weather radio with you since mobile service might be limited.
- Meredith Woods and Clearwater Campground had water issues that exposed guests to Legionnaires’ disease in 2022. A Hampton hotel had the same problem in 2019, and two guests died. I strongly encourage you to read the CDC’s website about what causes these bacteria to form and how to be tested for it after a trip. It doesn’t always show symptoms at first and can take up to two weeks for symptoms to develop.
So... How Safe Is Meredith Really?
Meredith is a safe community when you look at crime data.
2019 was the year with the highest number of violent crimes (17), and in 2021, that number was down to nine.
Either way, the violent crime rate is still well below the national average, and that doesn’t even include the number of tourists who visit, which would bring the crime rate even lower.
On top of all that, just 3% of violent crimes against strangers from 2017 through 2021.
Theft rates have gone done 350% since 2012, but you still want to use common sense and theft prevention tactics because the potential remains.
Guests need to be familiar with lake safety since there is so much to do on the water.
The parents of a 20-year-old who drowned in Lake Winnipesaukee have a message for everyone.
“Our message is, especially these younger kids, this generation, they have to pause and take a moment to reflect on what they’re doing,” said the father of the victim, Tim Fitts.
“Things happen just so incredibly fast.
And if you’re not thinking about it, you know that things can happen.
And that’s what happened to our family.
And we just hate to see it happen for anybody else.”
You should have no hesitation in visiting this lake and mountain region, but you should always use situational awareness, common sense, and trust your gut.
How Does Meredith Compare?
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- Visas - International travelers need a passport that isn't within six months of expiring and a visa for the purpose of the trip (work, education, tourism). A visa waiver is possible in some countries, and you can find that list on the U.S. State Department website.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use anywhere in America. Exchange currency at home to get the best value from your local bank. Major airports will have currency exchange options.
- Weather - You'll get a robust four seasons here, so plan accordingly. Bring sunscreen and bug spray for the warmer months. Waterproof boots and water shoes are also helpful. Hiking boots should be well-worn before arriving to avoid blisters on hikes.
- Airports - The closest airport is in Lebanon, NH, but it only has flights through Cape Air. Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) is about an hour away, and Boston Logan (BOS - the BIG airport) is two hours away. Portland, Maine's International Jetport, is 90 minutes to the east.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance in a region prone to severe weather just makes sense. If you don't have medical coverage in the United States, you'll be paying a lot out of pocket for emergency care without supplementary coverage.
Meredith Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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