There are a number of ways to make a loop through the southern White Mountains and the Lakes Region; here are a couple possibilities.
Begin in Plymouth, a university town, with all the sports, arts, educational and other activities that you'd expect. Follow Rte. 3 into Ashland, a good spot to shop and grab a bite to eat, then continue on to Holderness, home to the prep school of the same name. This is the Squam Lake area, made famous in the film On Golden Pond. Take a boat tour around the lake or visit the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.
Stay on Rte. 3, and you'll come to Meredith, another great shopping town. Enjoy the view from the public parking by the piers before continuing south on Rte. 3 to Weirs Beach, widely known for its part in the annual June Motorcycle Week. Weirs Beach is also home to the M/S Mount Washington cruise ship.
From Meredith, turn west onto Rte. 104 to return to I-93 and your starting point.
A second tour begins in Conway, in the eastern White Mountains, where you're faced with two attractive route choices. The first follows Rte. 153 through Eaton, East Madison, Freedom and Effingham to Rte. 25 which joins Rte. 16 in Ossipee, then south to Wolfeboro on Rte. 28. This takes you past beautiful Crystal Lake and rural farmland.
An equally scenic option is to take Rte. 16 south from Conway, past Chocorua Lake, with its famous view of Mt. Chocorua. Farther south, in West Ossipee, you can turn west on Rte. 25 toward Moultonborough, Center Harbor and Meredith, or continue south and pick up Rte. 28 to beautiful and historic Wolfeboro, America's oldest summer resort. There's an excellent historical museum in the center of town, plenty of shops and restaurants, and you can watch the m/s Mount Washington come in at the town pier.
From Wolfeboro, Rte. 109 north to Mirror Lake, through Melvin Village to Moultonborough, is an especially scenic drive. In Moultonborough, you might want to stop at the old country store, a historic site in itself. Return to Rte. 25 and go west through Center Harbor, home to some very interesting shops, including one of the largest quilt shops in the country. Head north on Rte. 25B, then right on Rte. 3 to the center of Holderness (described above).
From Holderness, take Rte. 113 east to Center Sandwich, the town where the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen began. You can see the work of many local craftspeople-as well as others from across the state-at Sandwich Home Industries in the village. From here, you can head back to Rte. 25 and your starting point, or take the more leisurely tour by continuing on Rte. 113 through picturesque Wonalancet, birthplace of the world-famous Chinook breed of sled dogs, and on to Tamworth, home of the Barnstormers, the nation's oldest professional summer theater, and the Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm. Follow Rte. 113 east to pick up Rte. 16 in Chocorua, then it's on to your starting place in Conway.