Pillsbury State Park near Washington, NH is a great place for a lot of things, from picnicking and camping to hiking, biking, and boating. I’ve written about some nice hikes in the park, which are a nice way to experience the woods and mountains of the area, but Pillsbury is especially great for it’s lakes and ponds.
There are three big ponds in Pillsbury State Park and they’re all pretty easy to get to. May Pond is the closest to the park entrance and is the largest of the three. To get onto May Pond, launch boats on Butterfield Pond, which really feels more like a cove of the larger pond. On May Pond there are several tiny rock islands which can be interesting to investigate, and there’s a great view of the Lempster wind farm from the pond as well.
My favorite place to boat in Pillsbury is Mill Pond, which is at the end of the campground road. There is a small picnic area and a bit of a beach which make it a great place to bring friends, and while launching boats is a little bit more difficult because of the distance from the parking area to the water, I find that Mill Pond is immediately a very interesting place to explore. Right off the bat there are rocky coves and marshy areas – and look for the old beaver lodge to the left side. Mill Pond is also a lot smaller than May Pond, which might seem like a downside, but that actually makes it a lot more fun in my opinion because it doesn’t take a ton of effort to get from place to place.
North Pond is accessible via a short portage from the end of Mill Pond. This is an interesting place because there are actually campsites, site 36 and 37 which are out here and are accessible by the water. What a great way to really get away from everything! North Pond has some great views and interesting shoreline, and if you have the time and energy for the short portage, it’s definitely worth a visit.