New Hampshire : Safety by City
- Hampton Beach
- North Conway
- West Lebanon
Located in western New Hampshire, Sunapee is a popular four-season destination for outdoor and nature lovers.
This is the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and the crowned jewel is Lake Sunapee.
This pristine body of water offers a range of recreational activities.
The surrounding mountains, particularly Mount Sunapee, provide excellent hiking trails with stunning views of the region.
Fall brings stunning foliage through the different scenic drives and across covered bridges.
Farms open their doors for pumpkin patches, hay rides, and fresh apple cider.
During the winter months, Mount Sunapee transforms into a premier skiing and snowboarding destination.
Throughout the region, you’ll find skiing of every variety, snowmobile trails, and even frozen waterfalls through winter wonderland hikes.
Christmas tree farms are ready for those enjoying the holidays here.
In addition to outdoor activities, Sunapee boasts a charming downtown area filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and local restaurants.
You’ll have a dozen wineries, breweries, or meaderies to choose from as well.
There’s a little something for everyone here, tucked away from the hustle of life.
Sunapee gives more breathing room than some tourist towns without sacrificing any amenities.
Did I mention all the shopping here is sales tax-free?
Warnings & Dangers in Sunapee
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here with incredibly low crime rates, especially considering the number of visitors. Activities for all ages are easy to find.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
You'll need a car to get here and get around. There isn't a public transportation system. Be sure to get an AWD vehicle.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here, with no pickpockets or purse snatchings reported in the past five years. Vehicle break-ins should be the bigger concern, but that's an easy one to avoid if you just lock your car door and remove valuables.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
This is a medium risk due to the sheer number of challenges in each season. Winter storms can be intense, with blinding snow, painfully cold temperatures, and heavy, wet accumulations. Extreme like flash flooding or fire danger can happen any time of year. Severe storms with dangerous lightning or nor'easters and hurricanes can work their way to this part of the state.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Muggings are rare in this area, so you can feel comfortable with a low risk. Just don't let your guard all the way down.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is another low risk, but with the mass shooting and gun violence increase in America, you should never be complacent about suspicious activity.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
A scam warning from police states that fake phone calls are being placed identifying the caller as a member of Customs & Immigration. Anyone who calls you on the phone and demands money or threatens arrest is a scammer. Hang up and call the police to report the phone number. You should also avoid people renting homes that require you to wire money or won't talk to you on a video chat. Those are sure signs of a rental scam. Use the local Chamber of Commerce to find the most legitimate rental companies.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is another low risk, but ladies, you know the standard safety measure you should take while on vacation.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Call the water division at (603) 763-2115 and ask for a copy of the latest Water Quality Report. It's 2023, and the last one available on the city website is from 2019. There's no warning or advisory, so there appears to be a low risk, but you want to triple-check that.
Safest Places to Visit in Sunapee
You have a couple of places you can safely browse for the trip through legitimate websites.
Lake Sunapee Region Chamber of Commerce has local events, attractions, and a visitor guide.
LakesRegion.org covers all the surrounding cities that each offer their own essence to the experience.
New Hampshire State Parks is a great resource if you’ll be visiting one of several in this area, like Mt. Sunapee State Park, Pillsbury State Park, and Wadleigh State Park.
In general, pets are allowed at state parks, but you should check the specific location to see if there are restrictions.
For example, pets aren’t allowed at Mt. Sunapee during the big arts & crafts festival.
Several beaches line Lake Sunapee, but the restrictions vary based on if it’s in a state or local park.
For example, Dewey Beach is for people with beach parking stickers only.
There is also a beach at Newbury at the southern tip of the lake.
The Fells Historic Estate and Garden is a masterpiece of nature and elegance wrapped up in a beautiful mansion property.
Live like a 20th-century diplomat for a few hours while touring the 22-room home, surrounding forest, trails, and gardens.
Waterfalls are plentiful in New Hampshire, and Pollard Mills Falls is one of the best and most historic here.
The falls aren’t as fantastical as they are fun.
You can enjoy sitting on flat boulders and watching the water go by.
Don’t let Mount Sunapee Mountain Resort intimidate you.
There are ski lessons for beginners and children and trails to suit everyone’s skill level.
Read the Top 10 First Timer Tips on the website to get a lay of the land.
Buy your tickets while you’re there.
The Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway goes almost 40 miles through Sunapee, Newbury, and New London.
Each town has a visitor’s center.
You can also charter a boat or take a guided tour at Sunapee Harbor.
Places to Avoid in Sunapee
The police department posts quarterly reports to show the crimes during that time and includes a handy color-coded map showing which neighborhoods had the highest calls for service.
While no section of town is too dangerous to visit, in the first quarter of 2023, Sunapee, Wendell, and Georges Mills were the places with the most calls and traffic stops.
You should avoid driving on the roads or taking a boat out in high winds.
You never know when debris will be on the road or when you’ll be driving too fast for a gust of wind.
Avoid speeding, too, because moose are known to use the roadways for crossing.
Moose are too tall to get the reflection of headlights in their eyes, and it’s too late before you notice it’s there if you aren’t paying attention.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Sunapee
- Sunapee has its own police force. You can find them on Facebook @sunapeepd. The phone number is (603)763-5555.
- Parking in a new place can always be a pain, but the police department offers a parking map and a video of parking at the harbor to help you find your way before you’re stuck in traffic. Be sure to read the Visiting Parking Information document as well.
- Before swimming in any body of water here, check the Healthy Swimming Mapper from the New Hampshire Department of Environment Services. Cyanobacteria are causing problems in many waterways across the country, from Zion National Park to northern Maine. This toxin is especially dangerous to dogs.
- Emergency alerts come from the CodeRED app here, and you should definitely sign up. This will include severe weather warnings, updates on damage, and other important weather-related information. Major safety issues outside severe weather will be included as well.
- Spring visitors should be prepared for two big safety issues – mud season and road paving. The trails can be deep in mud as the winter snow starts to melt. Some trails might be closed, so always check the alerts at any park. The closures are to protect the trails from damage but also to prevent you from getting stuck in knee-deep mud. Spring brings paving to various roads to cover potholes.
- Check the city’s website for hydrant flushing during your visit. I don’t know if you have the same bad luck I do while traveling, but the hydrant flushing would definitely happen while I’m there. It could cause weather pressure issues or require boiling water before consuming for a day or two.
- Use New England 511 to check road conditions, live cameras, and real-time traffic. This area has grown in popularity since the pandemic, and you need to know about traffic problems before you head out. Always bring a paper map with you into the wilderness, where mobile service will be limited.
- Check the social media sites for the city and parks during winter weather. Parking is usually banned on the street to let the snow plows get through.
- You shouldn’t miss a chance to see the dark skies of the Lakes Region but be prepared for the adventure. Bring a flashlight with a red filter to be able to see without creating light pollution. For the walk back to the car, a headlamp would also be helpful. Wear bug spray and watch your step.
- Hikers can purchase a Hike Safe card from the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department. This will cost $50 but also protects you from paying for your own rescue in the event of an accident. While reckless behavior is never covered, New Hampshire will charge people the cost of a rescue if they don’t have the card.
So... How Safe Is Sunapee Really?
Sunapee is about as safe of a community as you’ll find in America, but that doesn’t stop it from getting some outlandish headlines.
From a rabid bobcat that attacked a woman gardening to a teenager who ran a $200,000+ boat into the woods near a yacht club (allegedly under the influence at the time) to a 22-year-old who was killed after driving into a fallen tree during a wind storm, there are some obvious risks to heed from these headlines.
In early 2023, an outbreak of vehicle thefts at the Sunapee Resort led to additional police warnings.
Let’s be honest—and tourist town or vacation spot will require diligence when it comes to locking car doors and keeping your stuff out of plain sight.
That’s even with an average of just 17 thefts happening citywide over the past five years.
The weather, water, wilderness, and wildlife risks are plentiful here, and you should read the county emergency plan and review the New Hampshire Fish & Game website for wildlife avoidance tactics.
If you didn’t know that moose can swim faster than you, it’s definitely something you should check out.
Overall, this is a place where you go to get away from the big city crime. Just be responsible.
Don’t lose your common sense and overindulge, then get behind the wheel.
Don’t think that bear wants to meet you.
Don’t swim without a life jacket.
You get the point.
Be smart and have fun!
How Does Sunapee Compare?
|Belize City (Belize)
|La Paz (Bolivia)
You'll need a passport and visa or visa waiver if you're visiting from outside the United States. If Canada is part of your travel plans, the Canada Border Services Agency will have its own specific requirements for crossing the border.
Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. Try to use credit cards for as many purchases as possible to get the best fraud prevention. Don't wait until you're in this remote area to exchange currency.
You get a robust four seasons here, so dress appropriately while also erring on the side of colder weather. Even summer nights here might require a hoodie. You want comfortable hiking boots that are well-worn before you arrive. Boat shoes and water shoes will be helpful too. Sunscreen, bug spray, and sunglasses will be beneficial as well.
The airport in Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT) is an hour away, and Boston Logan is two hours away.
Comprehensive travel insurance is ideal, but check to see what kind of coverage you get for hiking or ski accidents. Most parks and resorts will have you sign away any liability on their end.
Sunapee Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
|Temperature / Month
New Hampshire - Safety by City