Gilford is a town in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 7,126 at the 2010 census. Situated on Lake Winnipesaukee, Gilford is home to Governors Island, Ellacoya State Beach, Belknap Mountain State Forest, Gunstock Mountain Ski Resort, and Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook, a seasonal outdoor concert venue. The lakeside village of Glendale lies within Gilford's borders.
Settled in 1778 and originally a part of Gilmanton, the town was first called Gunstock Parish. In 1812, Captain Lemuel B. Mason, who had fought in the 1781 Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina during the Revolutionary War and subsequently retired to Gunstock Parish, successfully proposed incorporation of a new town to be named Guilford after that battle. The name would later be contracted by clerical error. The original parish name is used by Gunstock Mountain and the ski resort located on it.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 53.7 square miles (139.1 km2), of which 38.9 sq mi (100.7 km2) is land and 14.8 sq mi (38.4 km2) is water, comprising 27.60% of the town. Belknap Mountain, elevation 2,384 feet (727 m) above sea level and the highest point in Gilford, is in the south. Much of the town is drained by the Gunstock River, a tributary of Lake Winnipesaukee.