Here are several nearby areas where you can drop your canoe in and do some paddling. We'll assume that you're on this topic because being on a busy lake doesn't appeal to you as much as a peaceful day spent gliding down a waterway. For this reason, the bodies of water that we cover below are some of the quieter and more remote places that are suited for exploration by canoe instead of powerboat.
Before setting out, consider bringing along a kit with the following items: a spare paddle, binoculars, a bailing can or bucket, life jackets (required), a pair of polarized sunglasses, detailed charts and maps, a camera, some snacks and water, sunscreen, bug repellant, and a few band aids. Bring along any medications that you might need, such as treatment for allergic reaction to bee stings, etc
Saltmarsh Pond. This small pond features undeveloped shores set at the base of several small hills. Reach the pond via Saltmarsh pond road, which exits to the right about a half mile eat of the Gilford by-pass on RT 11a. The nearby hills can be climbed to make for an interesting trip.
Merrymeeting Marsh. This very large marsh will take you on a winding trip almost four miles long though swamp grasses and bogs. It's a beautiful paddle, complete with islands to explore and wildlife to observe. Put in next to the RT 11 bridge that crosses the river about a half mile west of the exit to New Durham.
Gilman Pond. A wonderful small pond located in East Alton off Rt 28 via Gilman Corners Road. A steep hill sits to the ponds northeast, creating a pleasant backdrop and a possible place to stop and hike for some views. The ponds western shore still have the remains of a dam and mill erected several centuries ago.
Wickwas Lake. A pretty lake with much variety, including marshes, short streams, and islands. Nice wooded shoreline, although now partially developed. It is best to find a time when motorboat traffic is likely to be lower, unless you enjoy their company. Pretty and quiet in the spring and fall. Loons can occasionally be viewed on this lake. Find off of route 104 between Meredith and New Hampton.
Berry Pond. This small pond sits off of Route 25 in Moultonboro. While small, it has a lengthy quiet marsh at it's north end well away from the road that can be explored. Depending on water level and vegetation, you can carve your way in up to a mile or more. The pond features a spectacular backdrop of mountains and forests that make up for any shortcomings it has with it's size or roadside location.
Garland Pond. About a mile of open water leads the way to the Red Hill River that opens up several more options for flatwater exploration. The public access is across the street from the Agway on Rt 25, about a mile southwest of Moultonboro Center. This area is within a wildlife refuge, and the wildlife does not disappoint. With a little luck you may even catch a glimpse of an eagle.
Lake Winona. Some cottages dot the shore of this small lake in Center Harbor. You can put in your canoe at the lakes southern end where these is a launch.
Lake Waukewan. Right in Meredith, this lake is the town water supply for Meredith and is well developed with oat traffic in the summer. It's orientation makes it prone to significant chop if it's windy. Loons can occasionally be viewed on this lake.
White Oak Pond. Access to this pond is obtained off of route 3 in Holderness. The pond has an excellent inflow and outflow marsh you can wind through and explore. Wildlife is plentiful along the ponds undeveloped side.
Pemigewasset Lake. Set along route 104 between Meredith and New Hampton, this little lake has a well settled roadside shore and a quieter remote shore. It's a pleasant lake to explore and offers a small inlet for paddling and exploring