Nestled in the heart of the White Mountains, the little village of Franconia is one of New Hampshire's hidden gems. No matter what the time of year, the surrounding mountains are undoubtedly the biggest attraction; visitors can swim in the beautiful Echo Lake, zip up to the top of Cannon Mountain in an aerial tramway, or hike through the magnificent Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park. When you've had enough of the great outdoors for the day, you can stop by one of the town's cozy English-style pubs for a hearty meal and a cold drink. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
© National Parked/stock.adobe.com
Stretching for approximately 800 feet along the base of Mount Liberty, the Flume Gorge is a breathtaking natural chasm that was carved out by Flume Brook. A boardwalk leads hikers through the gorge, passing through covered bridges and alongside beautiful waterfalls, and there's the option to extend your walk into a two-mile loop. Children can also crawl through the "Wolf Den", a narrow path that requires you to squeeze through cave-like rocks. Visitors are welcome to come explore the gorge between May 10th and October 20th, and the admission fee also includes access to a Visitor's Center with plenty of educational exhibits.
852 Daniel Webster Highway, Franconia, NH 03251, Phone: 603-745-8391
2.Franconia Notch State Park
Tucked away in the heart of the White Mountains, Franconia Notch State Park stretches from Echo Lake to Flume Gorge, and it's a wonderful destination for outdoor recreation. The lake is perfect for swimming and boating in the summer, and canoes and paddle boats can be rented on-site. Visitors who would rather stay on dry land can cycle along the Franconia Notch Bike Path or visit the beautiful Flume Gorge, and if you want to spend the night in the park, there are also several small campgrounds, including one right on the shore of Echo Lake.
260 Tramway Dr, Franconia, NH 03580-4402, Phone: 603-823-8800
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© Barnickel Studios/stock.adobe.com
Formerly known as Profile Mountain, Cannon Mountain is a majestic 4,080-foot peak known for its excellent skiing, rock climbing, and ice climbing. The impressive Cannon Cliff is the Northeast's largest vertical rock face, but if you're not a rock climber, you might want to stick to the hiking trails that meander around the mountain and up to the summit, where you'll find a well-maintained observation platform. An aerial tramway is available to take visitors up to the summit as well, and after admiring the view, you can descend to Echo Lake to go for a swim or a relaxing paddle.
260 Tramway Drive Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-8800
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4.Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza, Franconia, New Hampshire
© Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza
The Old Man of the Mountain was one of New Hampshire's most iconic landmarks until it collapsed in 2003, and although the original rock profile can no longer be seen, the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza was created to pay tribute to the incredible formation. A viewing platform overlooks the now featureless cliff face, and visitors can see historic photos and informative exhibits in the on-site Visitor's Center. As an additional special touch, the plaza also features a unique art installation that allows visitors to see how the Old Man appeared before the cliff collapsed.
Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-8800
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5.The Frost Place, Franconia, NH
© The Frost Place
Housed inside a historic farmhouse that was inhabited by the famous poet Robert Frost between 1915 and 1920, The Frost Place is a nonprofit center proudly dedicated to the art of poetry. Part of the house is used as a private writing retreat for emerging poets, but the other part has been converted into a small museum that offers a nostalgic look at Frost's life and work. Visitors are also welcome to stroll along the half-mile nature trail meandering through the property, which is dotted with plaques displaying poems Frost wrote during his time here.
158 Ridge Rd, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-5510
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6.New England Ski Museum, Franconia, NH
© New England Ski Museum
A significant part of America's ski history took place in Franconia and the surrounding area, so it's no surprise that the New England Ski Museum was established here in 1977. This small but fascinating museum tells the story of the development of skiing in the United States, and the collection features hundreds of historic skis, ski boots, and ski posters, many of which can be seen in the museum's temporary and permanent exhibits. Museum admission is free, and visitors can also pick up a reproduction vintage ski poster or a DVD copy of an old ski film in the gift shop.
135 Tramway Dr, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-7177
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7.Franconia Notch Recreation Path
© Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
If you want to explore the Franconia Notch State Park on foot or by bicycle, there's no better way to do so than the Franconia Notch Recreation Path, which runs for 8.7 miles along the entire length of the park. The paved trail offers endless spectacular views of the surrounding White Mountains, but it also provides access to most of the park's main attractions, including Echo Lake and the Flume Gorge. Most visitors choose to come during the summer and fall, but the trail is open year-round, and cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, and snowshoers are welcome during the winter.
260 Tramway Dr, Franconia, NH 03580-4402
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8.Horse and Hounds Inn, Franconia, NH
© Horse and Hounds Inn
Modeled after a traditional English country club, the Horse and Hounds Inn has been one of Franconia's most popular après-ski spots since it was built in the mid-1940s. The wood-paneled dining room serves delicious food made with locally sourced ingredients, and the menu changes weekly to showcase the best ingredients the area has to offer. During the summer, guests can also dine outside on the terrace, which offers spectacular views of the landscaped lawn. If you want to spend the night, you can also book one of the inn's eight cozy rooms, all of which come with a complimentary breakfast.
205 Wells Rd, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-5501
9.Franconia Inn, Franconia, New Hampshire
© Franconia Inn
Constructed in the late 1930s, the Franconia Inn is a three-story colonial inn surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the White Mountains. The property offers plenty of excellent hiking and cross-country skiing trails for visitors to enjoy, and the elegant dining room serves as the property's social hub, welcoming anyone who wants to come enjoy a dinner of gourmet American cuisine by candlelight. The inn also offers 35 charming rooms and suites, and guests who stay the night will have access to amenities like an outdoor hot tub, a games room, and a seasonal swimming pool.
1172 Easton Rd, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-5542
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10.Lovetts Inn, Franconia, NH
© Lovetts Inn
Formerly known as the Lafayette Brook Farm, Lovetts Inn is a welcoming country inn with a full-service pub and restaurant. The family-friendly dining room features a cozy fireplace, and the menu features tasty home-cooked dinners made by one of the owners, who focuses on using fresh, seasonal ingredients whenever possible. Both the pub and restaurant are open Wednesday through Sunday, and live music is held in the pub every Saturday evening. The space can be booked for weddings and other special events, and the grounds feature a heated pool and access to miles of beautiful trails.
1474 Profile Rd, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-7761
10 Best Things to Do in Franconia, NH
- Flume Gorge, Photo: National Parked/stock.adobe.com
- Franconia Notch State Park, Photo: Jörn/stock.adobe.com
- Cannon Mountain, Photo: Barnickel Studios/stock.adobe.com
- Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza, Franconia, New Hampshire, Photo: Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza
- The Frost Place, Franconia, NH, Photo: The Frost Place
- New England Ski Museum, Franconia, NH, Photo: New England Ski Museum
- Franconia Notch Recreation Path, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Horse and Hounds Inn, Franconia, NH, Photo: Horse and Hounds Inn
- Franconia Inn, Franconia, New Hampshire, Photo: Franconia Inn
- Lovetts Inn, Franconia, NH, Photo: Lovetts Inn
- Cover Photo: Christian Delbert/stock.adobe.com
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