Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Grafton County, NH

  • Published 2022/10/23

Situated right at the border of the United States and Canada, Grafton County is one of New Hampshire’s best destinations if you’re planning to explore the mountains of Northeastern America.

Many of the towns and cities in Grafton County have access to sprawling mountain trails, caves, rivers, and wilderness.

It’s a haven for any outdoor enthusiast and easily one of the densest areas on the East Coast for natural wonders.

With so much outdoor exploration possible in Grafton County, you could easily spend more than one week in this amazing place.

Here’s a list of the best things to do in Grafton County, New Hampshire, to get you started:

Explore the Natural Wonders of Flume Gorge

Scenic veiw of Flume Gorge

Michael Paixao /

If you’re looking for a holistic experience of Grafton County’s natural beauty, few places offer as much diversity as Flume Gorge—a natural ravine part of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Located along Daniel Webster Highway in the town of Lincoln, Flume Gorge is a tourist hotspot because of its convenience and accessibility to all sorts of visitors.

You’ll see different natural attractions, such as caves, waterfalls, creeks, and varying elevations with their unique rock formations.

Hikers at Flume Gorge

Enrico Della Pietra /

Once you reach the ravine, you’ll have access to a crossing bridge where you can take photos or simply appreciate the surrounding large rock formations and forestry.

Flume Gorge is a well-maintained park that’ll leave you speechless after exploring its beauty—give it a visit, as it’s one of the best attractions in Grafton County!

Avalanche falls at Flume Gorge

Kenneth Keifer /

Go on an Off-Road Tour with Alpine Adventures

In Lincoln Town at 41 Main Street lies Alpine Adventure, one of the most adrenaline-pumping attractions in New Hampshire.

Alpine Adventures utilizes its strategic location in White Mountain, providing a full-blown outdoor adventure through its ATV tours, ziplines, challenge courses, and off-road foliage tours.

The ATV tour, called Side by Side tour, is especially interesting as it’s a full-on off-road mountain tour where you’re the driver (training will be provided).

If you’re not feeling too adventurous, you can take it easy through the off-road foliage tour, where guides take you through the lush areas of the White Mountains while riding their army transport called Pinzgauers.

Their ziplines and challenge courses complete the experience; it’s a great family activity that’s a surefire way to appreciate the rich mountains surrounding Grafton County.

Go Skiing at Cannon Mountain Ski Resort

Welcome sign of Cannon Mountain Ski Resort

yegorovnick /

Mount Cannon is one of the most prominent mountains in Grafton County.

Located along Profile Road in the town of Franconia, Cannon Mountain Ski Resort is a state-owned area in the mountain that offers scenic views and exciting slopes for all sorts of skiers.

The mountain offers 10 lifts that service over 200 acres of Cannon Mountain, ensuring you get safe access to many of its interesting ski zones.

Ski slopes at Cannon Mountain Ski Resort /

Speaking of service, Cannon Mountain Ski Resort is a fantastic spot for beginners, too, as they have friendly and helpful staff.

Whether you’re an avid skier or just a novice, Cannon Mountain Ski Resort is a great start to your Grafton County itinerary.

Ski lift chairs at Cannon Mountain Ski Resort /

See the Majestic Ice Castles

Located in the town of Woodstock along Clark Farm Road is the award-winning Ice Castles, easily one of the best attractions in New Hampshire.

A frozen attraction found only in five cities in the United States, Ice Castles is an awe-inspiring architectural wonder as it’s built by artisans using hundreds of thousands of icicles.

Its frozen halls are a sight to behold and make for an amazing photo opportunity.

The place isn’t only for show, as it also offers thrilling amenities like ice slides, snow tubing, and sleigh rides.

To complete the experience, explore the forest light walk that’s both romantic and mystical.

Hike or Bike at Loon Mountain Resort

Ski slopes at Loon Mountain Resort

Rise Up Aerial /

Located in the town of Lincoln along Loon Mountain Road, Loon Mountain Resort is another beautiful place to do all sorts of upland activities in Grafton County.

Besides skiing, you can bike, hike, and go on a zipline adventure at Loon Mountain Resort’s rich trails and slopes.

You wouldn’t want to miss out on quirky activities, such as playing disc golf and exploring the resort’s various caves.

You can also enjoy picturesque views of greenery and varying terrains of the mountain from the Gondola service.

If you go during the summer and fall, the mountain is home to gorgeous foliage that will entice you to do all sorts of nature photography.

Pemi Valley Moose Tours

Sighting a moose is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and New Hampshire is easily one of the best places to do it.

Through Pemi Valley Moose Tours, you’ll be able to view the ancient creatures that can reach north of six feet and weigh as much as 700 kilograms!

Although there’s no guarantee you’ll see them as the moose are not in captivity, the chances are pretty high, and Pemi Valley Moose Tours will do whatever it takes for you to spot one.

Held at night, the tour usually takes three and a half hours, complete with a guided course through the area, documentaries, and stopovers at historical sites.

If sighting a moose is on your bucket list, Pemi Valley Moose Tours is a great and affordable option—they’re located at 136 Main Street in Lincoln Town.

Have a Serene Experience at Sabbaday Falls

Scenic view of Sabbaday Falls

Wangkun Jia /

Sabbaday Falls is one of the prettiest waterfalls in New Hampshire, located in Waterville Town along Kancamagus Highway.

Before reaching the majestic waterfalls, you’ll first enter its beautiful surrounding forestry with paved trails to help you navigate the area.

After a short hike, you’ll see the serene downpour of water from Sabbaday Waterfalls, complemented by beautiful rock formations and a scenic stream.

Close view of Sabbaday Falls

EastVillage Images /

There are stairs from where you can capture all sorts of photographs from varying angles, so this area is a haven for taking pictures of the scenery.

The hike to the waterfalls is friendly even for kids, so Sabbaday Falls is a great all-around destination for the family.

Hiking trail beside Sabbaday Falls

Jon Bilous /

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

Grafton County is not just about outdoor adventures—there are also learning centers and museums you can visit here, like the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.

Besides exhibits, the science center also offers various outdoor exploration activities, such as a cruise in Squam Lakes, bald eagle observation, and even chartered tours.

The best part of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is that it utilizes the rich open lands of Grafton County, with the open meadows and forests serving as animal habitats instead of limiting enclosures.

There are several animals here, such as mountain lions, wolves, bears, and bald eagles.

Easily accessible along Science Center Road in the town of Holderness, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is a must-visit for any animal enthusiast.

Cool Down at Whale Tale’s Waterpark

Giant slide at Whales Tale Waterpark

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

Also located along Lincoln’s Daniel Webster Highway is the Whale Tale’s Waterpark.

Whale Tale’s Waterpark is the most prominent waterpark in Grafton County, known for its sprawling amenities like wave pools, slides, lazy rivers, and hot tubs.

There’s a little something for everyone here; you can test your mettle through the surfing zones and the speed slide called “The Plunge,” which can thrust you as fast as 40 miles per hour!

Meanwhile, kids and senior citizens have full access to relaxing amenities like the lazy river and heated and wave pools.

Overall, Whale Tale’s Waterpark is a great family destination, especially if you’re looking for a fun way to cool down during the summer.

Watch a Bear Show at Clark’s Bears

Clark’s Bears is a premiere amusement center where you can watch highly trained black bears do all sorts of tricks with their trainers.

Each bear in Clark’s Bears is well taken care of, and you will immediately notice how much they love the job when you watch their Black Bear Show.

Besides the animal shows, Clark’s Bears also offers tons of fun through its kid-friendly water rides, train rides, and all sorts of quirky other activities.

They also have a circus show featuring acrobats and several interesting museums that depict different niche interests.

Found along Daniel Webster Highway in Lincoln Town, Clark’s Bears have been around for decades and is a well-known institution in Grafton County, making it a must-see attraction on your vacation.

Go on a Scenic Foliage Tours with Hobo Railroad

A train at Hobo Railroad

Bob Pool /

If you want a scenic tour of Grafton County’s beautiful nature without breaking a sweat, Hobo Railroad should fit right in your alley.

The first thing you’ll notice about Hobo Railroad is its Instagram-worthy vintage trains.

Hobo Railroad offers several tours, the most prominent being an 80-minute ride on the historic tracks of Pemigewasset River, which dates back to the 1800s.

Railcars at Hobo Railroad

Jyothis, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They also have train tours to the northern end of Lake Winnipesaukee and an intensive, four-hour foliage tour that takes you to Plymouth, one of the remote rural towns in Grafton County.

Located at 64 Railroad Street in Lincoln, Hobo Railroad is a must-try if you love trains and scenic views.

Roger williams car at Hobo Railroad

Pi.1415926535, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Polar Caves Park

Another fascinating natural attraction in the White Mountains Region is the Polar Caves Park found in Rumney Town along Rumney Route 25.

Polar Caves Park was named such because it was glacially formed from granite boulders during the Ice Age.

It’s so cold here that snow inside the deepest parts of the cave can last even through summer!

There are nine caves in the park, and spelunking through them is an amazing experience for both beginners and veterans.

Polar Caves Park is well-maintained and meets safety standards, making it an ideal place for children as well; it’s an all-around interesting attraction for families, friends, and solo adventurers.

Do Boulder Climbing at Artists Bluff

Scenic view from Artists Bluff

penembaktanpanama /

Artists Bluff is a viewpoint offering a stunning vista of Cannon Mountain and Franconia.

While the elevation isn’t high, you’ll need to do some boulder climbing here, which is great news if you’re an experienced thrill seeker.

The hike is relatively short, as the loop trail is only 1.5 miles, which will generally take between one to two hours, depending on your experience.

A hiker at Artists Bluff

haveseen /

When you reach Artists Bluff, you’ll enjoy stunning views of Echo Lake and the lush foliage in Cannon Mountain.

Truly a sight to behold, the Artists Bluff can be accessed along Route 18 from the Peabody Base area, located at Franconia Town.

Sample Fine Wine at Seven Birches Winery

Seven Birches Winery is located within Loon Mountain’s Riverwalk Resort along Lincoln’s South Mountain Drive and offers stunning views of Grafton County’s mountains.

The winery is known for its hand-crafted European grape varietals locally sourced in New Hampshire.

Before purchasing anything, you can visit their tasting room, where their skilled bartender will guide you through their selection.

They can also arrange a winery tour for you.

Whether it’s for relaxation or satisfying your wine passion, Seven Birches Winery is a great stopover in Grafton County.

Reach the Summit of Mount Moosilauke

Daytime view of Mount Moosilauke

Jerry Gantar /

Accessible through Benton Town’s High Street, Mount Moosilauke is one of the most rewarding hikes you can fit into a packed itinerary.

You’ll see various interesting flora and geography during your four-to-five-hour hike of Mount Moosilauke, which is classified as a 4,000-foot mountain.

The mountain has several trails, which include the Beaver Brook Trail and the Gorge Brook Trail.

The summit of Mount Moosilauke

Sum And Substance /

Taking the Beaver Brook Trail is harder but more rewarding, as it treats you to amazing sights of lush waterfalls and magnificent rock formations.

At the summit, the best unobstructed views of the county await.

Pile of rocks at Mount Moosilauke's summit

Micha Weber /

Final Thoughts

Very few counties in the U.S. have as much outdoor adventure as Grafton County.

With several towns having different access points to the White Mountains Region, there are all sorts of thrilling activities waiting here for you.

When you’re done with the mountain peaks, ski resorts, caves, and forests, there are also fun amusement sites you can visit throughout Grafton County.

Start planning your next big adventure with this guide of the best things to do in Grafton County, New Hampshire!

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