2022 Insider's Guide of Things to Do in North Conway, NH
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
North Conway, NH has come a long way baby!
Come on for the ride and explore all the Things to Do in North Conway, NH!
My most favorite things to do in North Conway, NH are eating out at the fantastic North Conway restaurants, riding the Conway Scenic Railroad, and getting great tax-free bargains at the North Conway outlets.
I've lived in North Conway most of my adult life, have owned Four Seasons Lodge for almost 30 years, and still look forward to all of the unique things to do in North Conway.
North Conway, NH started expanding in the 19th century due to its' popularity with artists that flocked to the area to paint the rugged terrain. Their paintings were collectively known as "White Mountain Art" became popular in other areas and ultimately, attracted tourists to the area.
It wasn't until the 1930's and the advent of the snow train to North Conway, NH that skiing became the major draw of the area. North Conway, NH is often referred to as the birthplace of American skiing.
Along with these major changes there were more subtle ones happening; local homes were transformed into antique shops, vacation rentals and restaurants, White Mountain Highway was widened and a parallel byway called North South Road was constructed.
Even the New York Times agrees that today, North Conway, NH is a bustling tourist town with activities and entertainment for all ages surrounded by the beauty of the Presidential Range, Cranmore Mountain and the Moat Mountain Range.
If you've check the North Conway weather and rain is predicted for your vacation dates in North Conway, NH, check out our suggestions for "10 Kid Friendly Secrets for a Rainy Day in North Conway" and for great weather, "Where to Hike with Tykes" or "Doesn't Everyone Feel Happy Playing in a Waterfall?"
The Saco River in North Conway, NH is a perfect river to go tubing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and sun-bathing. Most New Englanders have wonderful memories from childhood of tubing, swimming or canoeing down the Saco River!
During most of the warm weather months, the water of the Saco River moves at a lazy, rambling speed that's perfect for paddle boarding, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and swimming.
Whether you are an experienced kayaker or a first time canoer, you will enjoy a relaxing day floating down the crystal clear waters of the Saco River.
You can enjoy a quiet and relaxing afternoon, full day or longer on the waters of the Saco River. During most of the warm months the depth of the water averages 3 feet.
Your time spent on the Saco River will be rewarded with rope swings, small rapids, sandy beaches, friendly paddlers, wildlife, beautiful scenery, many photo-op stops, places to cool off with a dip plus several picnic spots.
Saco River tubing is a wonderful outdoor activity for all ages. Babies can sleep soundly with an umbrella to shield them from the sun, toddlers can get enough exercise at all the beach stops along the way, tweens can drop a fishing line and test their skills, and Grampy can put a low profile beach chair and be comfy all day.
If you want to go tubing on the Saco River in North Conway NH, there are several companies in town that can set you up with tube, canoe or kayak rentals. My first choice would be Saco Canoe Rental Company. They have been offering Saco River Tubing Rentals for over 27 years. Their convenient riverside location allows you to paddle back to your car. No waiting for shuttles!
Before you set out take a look at this guide to planning a canoe trip. You'll be GLAD you did! Read a few articles like it and take notes. No one guide is complete and you will find all kinds of suggestions online to help you plan the best canoe, kayak, or paddleboard trip ever!
Let's face it, everyone loves to eat out on vacation, even when you are towing the kiddos!
We've compiled a list of our favorite restaurants in North Conway, NH. Hopefully, we can steer you toward some great food and service while saving you money! North Conway has a unique group of home-grown restaurants that have banded together in an organization called "The Valley Originals."
We won't review or suggest any chain restaurants because... because... why would you want to eat at them when there are SO many great local restaurants in North Conway?
If you'd rather relax at your North Conway lodge that you've carefully selected, here is a list of North Conway restaurants that deliver! Our favorite is Boston Brother's Pizza in North Conway!
Here are Some of Our Favorite Restaurants in North Conway
Black Cap Grille North Conway 603-356-2225 - A hop and skip from the Outlet Mall
Boston Brother's Pizza North Conway 603-733-5920 - Best pizza in town!
Cafe Noche Conway 603-447-5050 - Authentic Mexican decor.
Cider Company Glen 603-383-9061 - Perfect for a special celebration.
Christmas Farm Inn Jackson 603-383-4313 -
Darby Field Inn Albany 603-447-2181 - Wonderful views of Mt Washington.
Delaney's Hole In The Wall North Conway 603-356-7776 - Great sports bar.
Horsefeathers North Conway 603-356-6862 - Directly across from Conway Scenic Railroad.
Josephs Spaghetti Shed Glen 603-383-6680 - Kid friendly and great prices.
J-Town Deli and Country Store Jackson 603-383-8064 - Browse their store while you wait.
Max's at Snow Village Inn Eaton Center 603-447-2818 - Wonderful view and ambiance on their deck.
Merlino's Steakhouse North Conway 603-356-6006 - Close to Settlers Green.
Moat Mountain Smokehouse North Conway 603-356-6381 - Known for their BBQ.
Nochland Inn Hart's Location 603-374-6131 - Surrounds by the National Forest.
Oxford House Inn Fryeburg 207-935-3442 - Check out the cool pub downstairs.
Priscilla's North Conway 603-356-0401 - Usually no wait for breakfast.
Red Parka Steakhouse Pub Glen 603-383-4344 - Dance after you dine.
Shalimar Of India North Conway 603-356-0123 - Authentic Indian cuisine.
Shannon Door Pub Jackson 603-383-4211 - Irish pub known for their pizza.
The Shovel Handle Pub Jackson 800-677-5737 - Great barn decor after skiing.
Traditions Madison 603-367-4030 - Cool decor and unique drinks.
Wildcat Tavern Jackson 603-383-4245 - In the Village of Jackson.
302 West Smokehouse And Tavern Fryeburg, ME 207-935-3021 - Great specials.
We're not a Valley Original but Four Seasons Lodge is a locally owned and operated North Conway lodge. Give us a call 603.662.5391 for more information!
The North Conway restaurants listed above range from delicious fine dining to wicked good breakfasts and everything in between. Check out "7 Restaurants with Insanely Good Food" for more in-depth descriptions of seven great restaurants in North Conway.
If you are like us and have a family member with food allergies or sensitivities check out "You're Allergic to What? Where to Eat Out in North Conway"
The Covered Bridges in North Conway, NH and the surrounding towns are loved by tourists and locals alike. There's something about the history and uniqueness of them that draws folks!
Aside from being great photo-op stops, covered bridges provide a service for the traveler and the community.
A true covered bridge is constructed with timber trusses, has a roof and sides that make an almost complete enclosure. The original purpose was to protect the wood structural members including the floor of the bridge from the elements but they also kept horses from shying away from the rushing water below thereby protecting pedestrians. Long ago, young couples took advantage of the privacy that covered bridges afforded them and some became known as courting or kissing bridges!
According to the Federal Highway Administration covered bridge manual, the timber truss system of construction, whether it be by stone, masonry or timber, circumvented previous length restrictions by other construction options.
These hold-overs from another time dot the countryside of the North Conway, NH area and are a reminder of simpler but hard times. Many folks travel to New Hampshire and the North Conway area to walk through or take a picture in one of these historic landmarks!
Here is a sampling of some of the area’s favorite covered bridges.
Saco River Covered Bridge - According to the Conway Daily Sun, the Saco River Covered Bridge is 235 fee long and it called a 2-span covered bridge. It was built at a cost of $4,000 by Allen and Warren of Conway, NH. It was destroyed once again in 1890 by a tannery fire and rebuilt again by Charles Broughton and his son Frank (who also built the Jackson Covered Bridge)
The Swift River Covered Bridge is just a short walk down West Side Road in North Conway, NH. It was built in 1850 and in 1869 it was swept downstream by raging floodwaters which lifted the bridge from its foundation. When it swept downstream it slammed into the Saco River Covered Bridge and knocked it off its moorings. Both covered bridges broke up and came to rest 2 miles downstream.
The following year the Swift River Covered Bridge was rebuilt incorporating some salvaged timbers from the wrecked bridges. Today the bridge is not open to automobile traffic but you can enjoy a stroll through the bridge and even bring a picnic lunch to eat on one of the picnic tables!
Make sure you have your camera with you. Both the Saco and Swift Covered Bridges make great photo-op stops!
Below you will find a list of NH covered bridges in North Conway, NH and the surrounding area which were all built in the 1800’s. Go vist these wonderful historical landmarks and enjoy a piece of local history!
The Albany Covered Bridge is about 6 miles west of Rt 16, spans the Swift River and is sometimes called the "Lovers Bridge".
The first bridge was built in 1857 and destroyed that same year by a windstorm. It was rebuilt in 1858 for $1,300, it is a paddleford truss and has added arches. The Albany Covered Bridge is eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Bartlett Covered Bridge was built in 1851 and is a paddleford truss with added arches.
This covered bridge is maintained by private owners, Marc and Mary Ellen Frydman who renovated the bridge in 1990 at a cost of $38,000. The renovations decreased the weight of the bridge by approximately 25 tons!
The Bartlett Covered Bridge is eligible for registry with the National Register of Historic Places.
The Jackson Covered Bridge is commonly called the "Honeymoon or Kissing Bridge". It was constructed Charles and Frank Broughton in 1876 and is a paddleford truss with an added sidewalk. The 121 foot long bridge spans the Ellis River and is located at the crossroads of Rt 16 and Rt 16A in Jackson Village.
Town legend says that locals would steal a kiss from their beloved under the cover of this bridge and it was popular for both suitors and honeymooners alike!
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If you like Four Seasons Lodge and would like more information please feel free to call 603.662.5391
Conway Scenic Railroad is to North Conway, NH what the Citgo sign is to Boston - THE landmark of the community!
An outing on one of the vintage trains at the North Conway, NH railroad is sure to be a highlight of your vacation. It's an old-fashioned railroading experience as you ride along on two historic rail routes in antique and restored passenger cars. Most cars are vintage 1920's and the train station was constructed in 1874.
The Victorian station was designed by Architect Nathaniel Bradlee of Boston, built by railroad carpenters and became a true testament of their craft. The building design included a ticket office, baggage room and restrooms. Two gorgeous curving mahogany staircases let to offices in domed towers on the upper level.
An E. Howard eight day clock was placed in the front of the building facing Schouler Park and I have to say, every time I have driven by the Conway Scenic Railroad I've checked the time. History almost was made in the shadow of the eight day clock. December 3, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Mr. Watson attempted to converse over telegraph wires that spanned 143 miles between Boston and the ticket office in the Train Station. Even though they couldn't hear each other they both were still inspired to continue with their efforts. Imagine if they didn't?
You Have Two Options on the Conway Scenic Railroad
You have two options when planning your train excursion on vacation, The Valley Train and the Notch Train. I urge all guests of Four Seasons Lodge to pick the Notch Train. It's a gorgeous day trip and worth every penny!
The Valley Train or as some call it...The North Conway, NH Train
The 11-mile, 55-minute roundtrip Conway excursion is a perfect choice for vacationers that don't want to be on the train all day, especially those with young children. This trip takes you on a journey traveling south past the Moat Mountain Range and runs side by side with Route 16 before passing through farmlands off West Side Road and crosses Moat Brook, the Saco and Swift Rivers on the way to Conway. One of the highlights of this trip is watching the engine “run around” the train in preparation of the return trip.
The 21 mile, 1¾ hour roundtrip Bartlett excursion is a longer and more relaxing train ride that takes you “over the river and through the woods” on the same route as the Polar Express trains. Sit back and enjoy the passing scenery or wave at folks in their cars as you travel through fields and woodlands, crossing the East Branch, Saco and Ellis Rivers on the way to Bartlett. On this trip the engine will “run around” the train to make the return trip to North Conway, NH. Through late fall, the train will make a stop at White Mountain Cider Company in Glen.
The Notch Train
This is the ride I suggest. It's much longer, has gorgeous views, and not that much more money!
On the Notch Train you will be traveling on tracks that were laid in the 1870s. This route passes some of the most spectacular scenery in the East, especially in Crawford Notch. Crawford Notch is known for panoramic mountain views, sheer granite bluffs, steep ravines, waterfalls, brooks and streams and plentiful wildlife. The highlight of this trip is crossing Frankenstein Trestle and Willey Brook Bridge making your way to Crawford and Fabyans stations.
The original Frankenstein Trestle was constructed of wood and finished in 1875. The trestle needed to be sturdier in order to carry heavier trains so in 1892 a wrought iron bridge with concrete abutments was constructed. This trestle, although it has had further modifications and improvements and still remains today!
As you make your journey to Crawford Notch, try to imagine what it was like constructing the railroad 140 years ago! It really was an engineering marvel in such rugged terrain. Railroad staff will provide commentary onboard about the history, points of interest and folklore (factual and hearsay)
There is a layover at Crawford Station which is across from Saco Lake. Saco Lake is a scenic pond which in fall is very photogenic. It's also where the Saco River originates. Get off the train, stretch your legs, grab your cameras and take a walk-about!
Call for lodging accommodations at Four Seasons Lodge 603.662.5391
Mount Washington Auto Road is located about 25 minutes north of North Conway, NH. The drive up Route 16 to get there is gorgeous and has plenty of spots to stop for a snack or dip in cool mountain water.
The Auto Road at Mt Washington is located in Pinkham Notch which provides spectacular views of the famous Presidential Range.
There are many ways to get to the top of Mount Washington. My favorite is to hike but for those that want a view almost the entire way to the top, take the Auto Road.
If you're a weenie like my friend Allison, take a guided tour in a 12 passenger van. Aside from not having to worry about smoking your brakes or transmission, you'll reach the top much smarter!
The van drivers blab from the time they take off until the time they safely drop you at the summit.
You'll learn about things like glaciers and alpine zones but trust me, it won't feel like school. :)
I highly recommend taking the guided tour on the Mt Washington Auto Road vans. It's much less stressful than driving, you'll learn a lot, and they will stop for photo ops!
When you get to the top, check out the summit marker, old hotel, the gift shop held down by cables, and the museum below the cafeteria.
The cafeteria offers great food, snacks, and drinks.