Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Franconia, NH

  • Published 2022/10/13

Franconia, a little town situated on the western side of the White Mountains, is an abode for outdoor adventure seekers and nature lovers.

Scenic, breathtaking, and majestic—these are words that come to mind when trying to distinguish what makes the small town of Franconia special.

This small town will surprise you with diverse offerings in outdoor exploration opportunities, historical explorations, immersion in culture, and more!

The presence of mountains and valleys in Franconia will keep you relaxed at any place in town.

End your fun-filled day in one of the many cozy inns, camping sites, and homey cabins in the heart of downtown or quiet seclusion near the top attractions of Franconia.

If you are planning a trip to this charming town in New Hampshire soon, read on for the 20 best things to do on your trip to Franconia!

Ski Away at Cannon Mountain Ski Resort

View of the snowcapped mountain at Cannon Mountain Ski Resort.

yegorovnick /

Skiing down the mountain hill is the highlight of a trip to Franconia.

Make sure to spend an awesome day skiing, snowboarding, and trying out other winter sports at the Cannon Mountain Ski Resort.

Mt.Layfayette view from Cannon Mountain Ski Resort, Franconia, New Hampshire

Ericshawwhite, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are plenty of terrains in the ski resort for all skill levels.

If you have more time to spend in Franconia, you can sign up for skiing lessons to fill your vacation with exciting adventures.

The Cannon Mountain Ski Resort is the best place for outdoor family fun, where you can enjoy a skiing getaway while marveling at the area’s spectacular views.

Book Your Stay at Franconia Inn

If you are going on a vacation in Franconia, make sure to book the most comfortable accommodation to ensure a worry-free trip!

The Franconia Inn offers a comfortable stay surrounded by the picturesque views of the mountain.

This inn has been a go-to for vacationers since the 1860s because of its cozy amenities and convenient location near exciting adventures in Franconia.

Whether you are looking for a romantic fine dining experience or a lively pub scene, Franconia Inn offers these to delight your taste buds.

Relax after your day of exciting outdoor adventures and enjoy the combination of history and charming nature views outside in this cozy inn in Franconia.

Tee Off at Profile Golf Club

Do you define a well-spent day as swinging for the best score on a golf course?

Then head out for a tee time at the Profile Golf Club in Franconia!

This golf club offers the best golf experience combined with the stunning views of the Cannon and Lafayette Mountains.

Enjoy a challenging tee time in their well-manicured fairways in the mountains with great views.

The Profile Golf Club has a bar and grill that offers the best grubs for an energy boost after your tee time.

Book a tee time in this charming golf course in Franconia to enjoy an active golf day.

Go on an Exciting Outdoor Exploration at Franconia Notch State Park

The view of Franconia Notch State Park in autumn.

haveseen /

Do you want to explore the outdoors and get lost in spectacular natural scenery on your trip to Franconia?

Then, pack your outdoor essentials and prepare for a fun nature getaway at the Franconia Notch State Park.

This public recreation area and nature preserve in Franconia offers a mystical nature escapade whatever the season it may be.

Clear waters on a stream inside the Franconia Notch State Park.

Catuncia /

Enjoy the vibrant fall colors in the fall, breathe in the fresh summer air, or explore the snowy terrain for an exciting outdoor adventure.

You can hike the trails in the state park that would lead you to multiple waterfalls surrounded by a plethora of fascinating natural attractions.

Escape the hustle and bustle of your daily cares by going on an exciting nature escapade at the Franconia Notch State Park.

Pay a Visit to Franconia Heritage Museum

Charming towns like Franconia hold rich historical backgrounds, making it a point to visit the Franconia Heritage Museum.

This quaint museum is located along Main Street, where you can tour the area and uncover lots of historical information about the town.

The Franconia Heritage Museum displays artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia that showcase the heritage of the early townspeople.

You can take a self-guided tour in the area, but they also offer staff-guided tours for a more comprehensive experience.

Stop by this quaint museum for an informative and immersive experience on your trip to Franconia.

Camp Out and Huddle around the Bonfire at Lafayette Place Campground

Amp up your outdoor adventures in Franconia by leaving the comforts of your cozy hotel room and camping out at the Lafayette Place Campground!

Pitch your tent under the starry skies and immerse yourself in the relaxing ambiance of nature.

This camping site is a gateway to scenic natural attractions where you can hike the mountains, see waterfalls, and meet wildlife.

Some camping sites surround the playground to delight the youngsters if you are traveling with the entire family.

Do not forget to set up a bonfire at night, huddle around while roasting some marshmallows, and enjoy intimate conversations with your loved ones.

Reach the Summit of South Twin Mountain

Overlooking view of Franconia from the South Twin Mountain.

Diana Nault /

Franconia is the place for you if you enjoy going on long hikes and exploring scenic trails.

The South Twin Mountain of Franconia offers the best hiking experience in town!

The hike to the South Twin Mountain can be very challenging yet rewarding once you reach the mountain’s peak.

The 360 degrees of fascinating nature views are truly worth every step once you reach the mountain summit.

If you love going on adventures and pushing yourself to the limit, do not forget to pack your hiking essentials and get lost in nature at the South Twin Mountain.

Go on a Horseback Trail Ride with Franconia Notch Stables

Exploring the mountains of Franconia can be very exhausting, but you would not want to miss out on what Franconia has to offer, right?

Luckily, you have the option to explore the mountains on a horseback ride from the Franconia Notch Stables.

Ride your way through scenic trails on a relaxed horseback ride or a sleigh ride from the horse during the winter.

You will not have to worry if you are a beginner in horseback riding because the Franconia Notch Stables will ensure that you are paired with gentle horses that match your skill level.

Explore the heart of the White Mountains and enjoy the calming sight of nature on a horseback ride with Franconia Notch Stables.

Commemorate the Life and Works of Robert Frost at The Frost Place

The famous poet Robert Frost's former home in Franconia, New Hampshire

Mfwills, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A weekend getaway is not complete without checking out historic destinations relevant to the town’s history.

So consider checking out The Frost Place along Ridge Road in Franconia, which served as the home of the poet Robert Frost.

The property was built in the 1860s that served as a former home of Robert Frost and his family, and it was registered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The Frost Place located in Franconia, New Hampshire

David Wilson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Frost Place is dedicated to commemorating the legacy of Robert Frost by showcasing first editions of his works and memorabilia during his stay.

Aside from the curated items in the museum, The Frost Place empowers contemporary poets by hosting gatherings, conferences, and programs.

Shop and Dine at Downtown Franconia

A trip to Franconia would not be complete without strolling through downtown to shop and dine.

Spend a day in Downtown Franconia where you can shop for unique items that you can bring home as a souvenir from your trip.

A shopping spree in Downtown Franconia supports local business owners in Franconia, and you will also get to be acquainted in the town.

After scouring through the shop of Downtown Franconia, do not forget to stop by for some grubs from a wide variety of restaurants serving different meals to delight all kinds of palettes.

Get a glimpse of the vibrant community of the town of Franconia by dedicating a day to strolling through downtown.

Visit the Cannon Mountain at Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway

Tourist enjoying the scenic view of Franconia while riding a cable car.

Kyle Lee /

If hiking seems a daunting task to you, there is nothing to worry about because you can ride the tram to see the majestic views from the top of the mountain.

The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway is New Hampshire’s only aerial tramway that can take you to the summit in under ten minutes.

Appreciate the panoramic views of the mountains and valleys on your tram ride and alight at the scenic Cannon Mountain Summit.

There is a cozy cafe on top of the summit, so you can warm yourself with a hot beverage while enjoying the area’s scenic views.

Riding the aerial tramway is a must on your visit to Franconia, so make sure to book your tram tickets ahead of time for a hassle-free experience.

Discover the History of Skiing at the New England Ski Museum

The New England Ski Museum In Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Ken Gallager, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Skiing is the highlight of most travelers visiting Franconia, but have you ever wondered how skiing started?

At the New England Ski Museum, you will be able to learn about the history of skiing.

The quaint museum is located near the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, so you can stop by while waiting for the tram.

Browse through the collection of skiing memorabilia, learn about the notable people of skiing history, and see the prehistoric roots of skiing equipment.

The New England Ski Museum is perfect if you want a quick museum stop before heading out on a thrilling adventure.

Get a Glimpse of the Local History at Besaw Iron Furnace Interpretive Center

Aside from the mountain ranges and outdoor adventures, there is another interesting place to visit in the town of Franconia for its legacy and history.

The Besaw Iron Furnace Interpretive Center is a remnant of the 200-year old iron smelter built in the early 1800s standing near the Gale River.

You will see an octagonal stone stack built from local granite with a firebrick interior.

The Besaw Iron Furnace Interpretive Center serves as a historical landmark in Franconia, and there are several information cards in the area to explain its history in the town.

Whether you are interested in metallurgical history or simply curious about the town’s history, this place makes for a great stop to learn.

Wade the Waters of Echo Lake Beach

Reflection of the trees on the clear waters of Echo Lake Beach.

Jon Bilous /

If you enjoy taking a dip in the fresh, cold water surrounded by fantastic views, Echo Lake Beach is a must-visit on your trip to Franconia!

This freshwater beach is close to Cannon Mountain, making the area picturesque, with great mountain views reflecting the water as it glistens under the sun.

You can enjoy a nice, cold dip in the waters while marveling at the fascinating view of the mountains and go paddling in your kayak or canoe to explore the lake’s calm waters.

The Echo Lake Beach is also a great fishing spot where you can cast your lines and reel in for the fresh catch from the lake.

Do not forget to pack some hearty snacks and have a picnic with the family on this scenic beach in Franconia.

Snap a Photo with the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza and Historic Site

View of the former location of the Old Man of the Mountain located in Franconia, New Hampshire

Dmoore5556, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A trip to Franconia would not be complete without seeing the Old Man of the Moutain that remains to be a beloved icon in New Hampshire.

Despite the crumble of the original Old Man of the Mountain in Profile Park, there is an interactive sculpture in the area that allows you to recreate seeing the Old Man in its full glory.

You can walk around the area to see photographs and detailed history of the Old Man in the plaques scattered in the area.

The Old Man of the Mountain may have crumbled, but the old man’s profile remains a historic highlight in Franconia.

Consider visiting the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza and Historic Site for a tranquil outdoor exploration and a glimpse of the area’s history.

Go Trekking toward Artist’s Bluff Lookout

Artist’s Bluff Lookout in Franconia Notch State Park should be your first stop if you plan a trek in the park’s wildness.

This very short climb leads to a spectacular vantage point above Echo Lake and the rest of Franconia Notch State Park.

Artist’s Bluff Lookout is a renowned spot for sunset viewing and photography that has recently gained popularity.

Echo Lake is one of the most picturesque locations in the world, with towering mountains on all sides and a winding road leading to the lake.

There are several excellent trails to choose from at this State Park, but one of the most accessible and user-friendly is the Artist’s Bluff Trail.

Getting to the peak and back is quick and easy, with 1.5 kilometers and enough parking for tourists.

The Artist’s Bluff Lookout Trail is circular, allowing hikers to take a different path to the peak and back.

If you’re coming to see the sunset, you should allow yourself plenty of time for the trek because it gains 430 feet in height.

Be sure to equip yourself with a good pair of hiking boots!

Learn Glider Flying with Franconia Soaring Association

Exhibit of a helicopter at Franconia New Hampshire Airport

Artaxerxes, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learning to fly a glider is likely to be one of your life’s most thrilling and rewarding times.

The only soaring club in New Hampshire, the Franconia Soaring Association (FSA) provides scenic excursions, introduction to glider rentals, soaring flights, flying training, and glider towing.

If you wish to learn, visit FSA at the Franconia New Hampshire Airport.

There are several gliders in FSA’s well-maintained fleet, including a high-performance 2-seat Grob Twin Astir.

Mountain wave soaring is also an everyday activity throughout the season.

There have been flights exceeding 35,000 feet reported on the Mt. Washington wave, making it the strongest in the Northeast.

The club is open to members between the middle of May and the end of October.

Explore the Town’s Art Scene during Franconia ArtWalk

The Franconia Artwalk is a relaxed, self-guided stroll through the charming New Hampshire town of Franconia.

Spot various works of art such as sculptures, buildings, paintings, and gardens.

Include a trip across Hillwinds Bridge and a visit to the Dow Academy in your stroll along the Gale River to appreciate the stunning natural setting fully.

The Franconia ArtWalk Association’s goal is to increase the town of Franconia’s tourism and stimulate its economy by providing an appropriate environment for these endeavors.

You may enjoy the Artwalk until Columbus Day weekend in July.

Sample Local Beer at Iron Furnace Brewing

To the north of Franconia Notch State Park in Franconia, New Hampshire, you’ll find Iron Furnace Brewing, a brewery with diverse beers.

A close-knit group of friends who value staying true to their origins yet are open to new ideas and taking risks—opened this brewery.

Its cozy taproom is ideal for you and your friends to hang out or make new friends.

Hop-forward beers are the norm here, but it also offers a wide selection of drinks.

There’s a rotating selection of New England IPAs, Pale Ales, Stouts, Porters, and Goldens.

It serves cider and wine as well.

The brewery is constantly experimenting with new flavors and kinds to add to its extensive catalog.

Feel free to stop by and give it a try!

Cool down with Sammy P’s Ice Cream

Do you seek a scoop of ice cream that will transport you back to the first time you ever had ice cream in your youth?

You should visit P’s Ice Cream!

It adds a dash of delightful, colorful charm to the town.

You may find this ice cream shop beside Franconia Market and Deli.

Chocolate, vanilla, cookies ‘n’ cream, coffee, and mint chip are just a few exquisite flavors in its freshly made ice cream.

It’s not just affordable, but the people working here are friendly, too.

There’s also plenty of parking so you can have your ice cream in the comfort of your car.

Final Thoughts

The charming town of Franconia is an avenue for once in a lifetime outdoor exploration experience surrounded by majestic natural lands.

Make sure to reference this list for an adventure-filled vacation in Franconia, New Hampshire.

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