Bethel, Maine, is a classic New England village, with a walkable downtown and delightful lodging and dining options, all within minutes of some of the state’s best outdoor recreation. Hailed as a year-round destination, summer finds kayakers peacefully drifting down a river or families soaring over the mountains on a zipline, while winter thrills are found at Sunday River with 135 trails and hundreds of acres of alpine terrain. Nestled in the Maine’s Lakes & Mountains region, Bethel is the perfect jumping-off point for a day of adventure.
Things to Do in Bethel, Maine
When the mountains call you, Bethel is the answer with the White Mountain National Forest at the doorstep of the village. Hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing or Nordic skiing – you can access the mountains all year long. Grafton Notch State Park also offers day hikes with stunning views, especially of the fall foliage. Cyclists adore the scenic roads and who doesn’t love to see a historic bridge? The Lovejoy covered bridge, built in 1868, is on Route 5 into town.
If you prefer to play in the water, rent a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard from Bethel Outdoor Adventure and paddle the Androscoggin River or even just relax and go tubing.
Experience the history of the town at the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society and in particular the Dr. Moses Mason House, built in 1813, famous for the large murals in the front hallway depicting lush landscapes.
Do not miss the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum. Three floors of exhibits house an extensive collection of Maine minerals and gems and one of the world’s foremost collections of extraterrestrial rocks—meteorites from Mars, the Moon and the Asteroid Belt, including the five largest pieces of the Moon on Earth.
Bethel is located in-between Sunday River and Mt. Abram Ski Area, both offering unique Maine skiing experiences. In the warmer months, Sunday River offers scenic lift rides to see Maine from a whole new point of view. For golfers, it will be hard to choose between the Sunday River Golf Club and the Bethel Inn Resort golf course – both are surrounded by beautiful mountains. And then there’s the Big Adventure Center at Sunday River with 18-hole mini golf and ice cream!
Where to Stay in Bethel
The Bethel Inn Resort is also one of the best places to stay in town – with the golf course in summer and the XC Ski Center in winter. Other Bethel, Maine, hotels include the Mountain Village Lodge, the Riverview Resort, the Inn at Rostay, and cozy, welcoming B&Bs like the Sudbury Inn and the Bethel Hill Bed & Breakfast. Lodging in Bethel is plentiful and all are charming. For more, check out our list of regional businesses below.
Restaurants in Bethel
Dining in Bethel leaves little to be desired. From hidden roadside gems like Smokin’ Good BBQ or a freshly brewed beer from the Sunday River Brewing Company or Steam Mill Brewing, Bethel restaurants are always a treat. Want more? Scroll down through our list of regional businesses below.