Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Bethlehem, NH

  • Published 2023/02/09

The White Mountains in New Hampshire is a charming natural attraction that thousands of tourists love to visit yearly.

However, most of the time, these pocket towns and cities surrounding the White Mountains are overlooked by many, without knowing that incredible things await them there.

One of these towns worthy of checking out is Bethlehem, a former premier destination in New England for vacation and leisure in the 1800s to early 1900s.

More than 30 hotels once stood on the streets of Bethlehem when its old Maplewood Train Station brought in tourists from various regions in the country.

However, today, Bethlehem is known for its vibrant arts community, history, and outdoor activities.

Its downtown area is teeming with art galleries, local businesses, and historical buildings.

These offer many beautiful things you won’t expect to find in a small town.

Whether you travel solo or have travel buddies, there are many exciting things to discover in Bethlehem.

While White Mountain is a destination everyone loves to visit, you should spend a day or two in Bethlehem to explore its hidden beauty.

Here are the 20 best things to do in Bethlehem, NH, to make the most of your trip there:

Discover the Scenic Bretzfelder Memorial Park

Autumn trees reflecting on Bretzfelder Memorial Park's pond

Jerry Gantar /

The Bretzfelder Memorial Park is one of the best outdoor or perhaps natural attractions in Bethlehem that you should not miss visiting.

If you have extra energy to wander through this mesmerizing park, then head to Prospect Street, which is the most accessible entrance to the park.

This park is one of the highly-recommended places in Bethlehem because of its picturesque landscape that’s worthy of exploring, especially with your travel buddies or with your family.

The 200-year-old giant white pine tree is one of the focal points in Bretzfelder Memorial Park to take photos.

At the same time, its pond offers a surreal scenery.

Suppose you’re interested in learning about the park’s history and other cool stuff.

In that case, the park’s management offers educational lectures from August until February.

Stop by the Bethlehem Visitor’s Center

Located on Main Street, the Bethlehem Visitor’s Center is an incredible place you need to visit upon arriving in Bethlehem.

This place is where you learn about the recommended shops, restaurants, outdoor attractions, and events in town.

While you’re there, check out the astonishing displays of historical artifacts of the town and other cool things.

So, after arriving at Bethlehem, drop by the town’s visitor’s center to make your visit extra convenient.

Stay and Dine at the Adair County Inn

The Adair County Inn at Guider Ln has been offering people who travel to Bethlehem the comfort of home.

This historic inn offers everyone an intimate and cozy retreat.

The inn opened in 1927 and is known throughout Bethlehem and New Hampshire for its history, beautiful gardens, picturesque grounds, and trails, thanks to the Olmsted Brothers’ artistic touch with their design.

In addition, Adair County Inn is also known for its restaurant that serves some of the best dishes in town.

Historically, Adair Inn has hosted many notable persons, including politicians, Supreme Court justices, actors, and sports figures.

People like Helen Hayes and Bennett Williams have spent a night at this famous inn.

So, staying at Adair County Inn is somewhat prestigious because you’ve joined the likes of famous people who stayed there.

Tee Up at the Bethlehem Country Club

The Bethlehem Country Club along Main Street is an 18-hole, par 72 golf course that offers golfers excellent playing conditions at competitive rates.

This public golf course and country club are known throughout Bethlehem for its rich tradition of providing golfers with top-notch golf sessions through its scenic landscape.

The golf course offers an extensive seasonal membership where golfers benefit from various golf tournaments.

Suppose one of your planned activities in Bethlehem is golf.

In that case, you should check out Bethlehem Country Club or perhaps watch one of its regular tournaments to add more excitement.

Shop Local Products at the Bethlehem Village Store Supermarket

The Bethlehem Village Store Supermarket along Main Street is not your typical grocery.

It offers the town’s best local products from meats, produce, deli, pastry, and bakery items.

Aside from offering local products, it’s also known as one of the best places in Bethlehem to grab lunch or dinner.

It serves freshly-made sandwiches, pasta, and pizza, plus it’s open every day.

So, you’ll likely grab your meal there while you’re exploring Bethlehem.

Browse through the Gallery at WREN

The Gallery at WREN offers art lovers and even visitors the finest art galleries in the White Mountain region.

In 2001, this art gallery served as a community cultural outlet, featuring local artists’ masterpieces and an avenue for like-minded people who appreciate art and creative expression.

In addition, the Gallery at WREN is more than just your typical art gallery.

It also hosts many art-related events such as demonstrations, workshops, art forums, and artists’ meet-up sessions.

Hike through the Rocks Estate

Landscape of Rocks Estate

Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Rocks Estate along Christmas Lane in Bethlehem is a 1,400-acre forest reservation.

This outdoor attraction in Bethlehem is currently owned and supervised by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Rocks Estate is a popular destination for locals and visitors in Bethlehem because of its vast Christmas tree farm that lines up through rolling hills.

Aside from its famous Christmas trees, it’s also home to the rich history, wildlife, and exciting outdoor activities for the whole family.

Overall, the Rocks Estate is a wholesome place to bring your family or travel buddies and have a day full of fun through its vast, beautiful landscape.

Celebrate Arts at the 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center

The 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center along Maple Street is one of the many art galleries you’ll visit in town.

It’s a must-visit place for art enthusiasts and tourists since it’s nearby historical places in Bethlehem.

The art gallery serves as an art studio space, art gallery, and events center that features the best artworks from local artists and those around the region.

Locals love to call the 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center the “The Tallest Toy Box in Town” because of the unique structure of its clock tower that resembles a pile of boxes.

Making this art gallery an incredible place to visit is its regular art-related events happening every first Friday of the month, including art exhibits and workshops.

Whether you’re an art lover or an average tourist who wants to make the most out of your trip to Bethlehem, the 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center is a fantastic place worthy of visiting.

Check Out the Old Maplewood Station

The Maplewood Train Station in Bethlehem is a historic train station constructed in the late 1800s and utilized through the early 1920s.

This station has served hundreds of people coming from New York, Boston, and nearby places to take a sweet retreat in Bethlehem.

However, when the automobile became the primary transportation means for many, the train station’s operation slowed down until it was closed.

Astonishingly, the train station remains intact, except for the railroad, which has already been retaken by Mother Nature.

Fortunately, the train station is undergoing massive restoration to bring back its former glory and beauty.

Today, visitors can still visit this old historic site in Bethlehem and learn about its incredible backstory.

In addition, you can also talk to the people behind its restoration efforts; they would gladly like to get help from everyone.

Watch Shows at the Historic Colonial Theatre

The Colonial Theatre on Main Street has been one of the best places for entertainment in Bethlehem since 1915.

The Colonial Theatre was recently listed on the National Historic Places, making it a must-visit place in town.

The theater was constructed by Karl Abbot, a descendant of a local hotelier in the town’s early days.

Today, the Colonial Theatre remains a relevant historical architecture in Bethlehem, which offers visitors a rich and astonishing story of how it provides top-notch entertainment today.

The Colonial Theatre is open and regularly hosts independent films, live stage plays, and concerts, making it a great place to visit.

Learn History at the Bethlehem Heritage Society Museum

The Bethlehem Heritage Society along Main Street is nestled within the historic restaurant, the Ranlet Café.

Currently, this group manages the town’s local museum, which collects relevant historical artifacts of Bethlehem.

Their collection of photographs, documents, and items details the rich history of Bethlehem, which was a premier vacation destination back in the day.

The Bethlehem Heritage Society’s Museum is the center in town that offers visitors the chance to learn its history through its photographs and memorabilia.

In addition, the museum also features the stories of Bethlehem’s pioneers and first settlers and its colorful hotel glory days.

Score a Hole-in-One at Maplewood Golf Course

If you’re up for more golfing, head to the Maplewood Golf Course in Bethlehem.

This 18-hole golf course features more than 6,000 yards of beautiful landscape and scenery of the White Mountains nearby.

One of the 30 hotels that brought life and excitement to Bethlehem, the Maplewood Hotel, is where the golf course is situated.

Today, you can still book private affairs at the Maplewood Hotel aside from playing golf at its famous golf course.

Explore Bethlehem’s Best Beers with Bear Belly Brew Tours

The Bear Belly Brew Tours in Bethlehem is a one-of-a-kind experience you shouldn’t miss when you’re in town.

This tour offers tourists in Bethlehem to explore the best breweries in the White Mountain region.

Its tour usually starts at the Bear Mountain Lodge and takes you to three or more different breweries onboard its 14-seater shuttle bus.

At each stop, you’ll be learning the remarkable history of each brewery along the way.

Of course, each brewery serves its signature brews and craft beer, making it a satisfying experience, especially if you’re a low-key beer connoisseur.

You can visit Bear Belly Brew Tours’ office on Main Street to book one of its tours.

Grab a Delicious Meal at the Cold Mountain Café

The Cold Mountain Café along Main Street is considered one of the best restaurants in Bethlehem that is worthy of trying out.

This restaurant is known throughout the town for its farm-to-table dishes sourced from local farmers and businesses throughout New Hampshire.

This locally-owned restaurant which opened in 1999, also offers international fusion to its dishes, making it more exciting to try out after a tiring day of exploring the town’s attractions.

In addition, it serves refreshing cocktails and beverages to pair with its mouthwatering dishes.

At the same time, health-conscious people can still enjoy dining at this restaurant since it serves vegan and gluten-free dishes.

Climb Mount Agassiz

Mount Agassiz, situated south of Bethlehem, is a former skiing destination that is now one of the popular trails to hike in town.

It has a 1.49-mile out-and-back trail that ascends 2,378-foot to the summit.

The entire climb takes about an hour to complete, depending on how many times you stop to take photos or perhaps rest.

Many visitors still climb the mountain these days because of the solitude everyone experiences on top.

At the same time, it offers an eagle’s eye view of the sceneries below.

Historically, Mount Agassiz was named after Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz, replacing the name Peaked Hill to honor him.

In addition, the summit of Mount Agassiz is said to be a private territory.

However, still, visitors can roam through its surrounding area.

Before heading home, make sure to climb and appreciate the beauty of the White Mountains that you can only see at the top of Mount Agassiz.

Go on a Hiking Spree at Profile Recreational Rail Trail

Make the most out of your trip to Bethlehem with an active outdoor trip at Profile Recreational Rail Trail.

This 1.5-mile trail offers a variety of recreational purposes.

Before becoming a multi-use trail, this route once ran where a portion of Profile & Franconia Notch Railroad sat.

Paved and level, this trail is ideal for bikers, equestrians, hikers, and cross-country skiers.

But with its mix of grass, gravel, and dirt, it’s highly recommended to use mountain bikes.

ORVs are also welcome.

And when winter comes, the trail is a go-to spot for snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

Profile Recreational Rail Trail runs along Routes 3 and 302.

Enjoy Live Music and Good Food at Vintage Market in the Mountains

The July summer event Vintage Market in the Mountains is one of Bethlehem’s most anticipated antique festivals.

Held every July, it features a collection of live entertainment, including music and food.

One of the highlights of this event are the vintage treasures up for grabs.

Student art walls are also a staple, as well as an open beer garden where you and your group can hang out and drink refreshments.

Celebrate Vintage Market in the Mountains in The Wayside Inn on Main Street.

Admire the Scenic Mountain Views at Garfield Trailhead

Wish to take your hiking experience to the next level?

Then, spend your day at Garfield Trailhead.

This hiking spot spans about 4.8 miles and connects Garfield Ridge trail and its promising scenery.

Many come by this trailhead for a relaxing retreat into the wilderness.

Along your route, you can also find stunning vistas of Mt. Garfield’s summit.

To fully enjoy the mountain’s peak and its rushing creeks, dense foliage, and earthen landscapes.

You can get to Garfield Trailhead through Gale River Loop.

Surround Yourself with Nature at Apple Hill Campground

For your traditional camping experience, you can never go wrong with a stay at Apple Hill Campground.

Located along Maple Street, this campground is set in the charming woodlands of the White Mountains.

The Sykes family owns this campground.

Its variety of amenities include spacious wooded areas, separate tent sites, picnic tables, and fire places.

You can also come by this site at any season!

Whether you prefer the blossoming plants of spring or the orange leaves of fall, you are always in for a treat no matter the day and occasion.

Apple Hill Campground is ready to make your picture-perfect camping adventure wishes come true.

Watch a Free Outdoor Music Performance at the Gazebo Concerts

The fun never stops at Bethlehem, especially during the start of summer.

The Gazebo Concerts provides live outdoor music performances for everyone.

And these are for free!

With a curated selection of musicians and bands, your Sunday evening bonding moments with a loved one are now made more special.

The park has benches for visitors, but be sure to pack a blanket or a chair just in case.

Watch the sun go down while listening to tunes of the past and present.

This music treat is one you wouldn’t want to miss.

The Gazebo Concerts happen every July to September on Main Street.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re seeking a respite from city stress or you want to set on an outdoor adventure, Bethlehem offers both of both worlds to everyone.

This small town in New Hampshire is a refreshing destination that is not as crowded as others.

So, don’t miss visiting this small town in the White Mountains soon before tourists start to flock there.

Before traveling to this town, bookmark this post as your instant itinerary.

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