New England has its fair share of tourist hubs; places where accommodations, activities, restaurants and attractions are concentrated. Off the top of my head, I can mention Bar Harbor in Maine, Burlington in Vermont and Cape Cod in Massachusetts. New Hampshire has a couple of its own too: Portsmouth is the state’s coastal hub, while North Conway is the center of tourist action in the White Mountains.
North Conway is a colorful and energetic town on the eastern edge of the White Mountains. Its town center is filled with craft shops, boutiques, antique stores, locally owned cafés, nearly a hundred restaurants and numerous outlet stores, for which it is well-known.
Accommodation is plentiful too—it ranges from luxury resorts and hotels to bed and breakfasts to campgrounds to cheapish motels. North Conway is without question the number one tourist destination in inland New Hampshire, a fantastic base to explore the White Mountains.
North Conway Attractions
The town’s main attraction is the Conway Scenic Railroad, which operates scenic train journeys through the mountains from the late-19th-century Victorian-style train station. In summer and fall, the dining car offers the chance to enjoy a classy dinner while moving through New England’s most spectacular natural scenery. Other things to do in the area include moose tours, visiting a local brewery, mini-golfing and spending a day in a water park.
North Conway is located near the eastern end of the Kancamagus Highway, which is easily one of the most beautiful roads in the Northeast. This alone makes it a great place to stay. The Kancamagus Highway runs past scenic viewpoints, waterfalls, campgrounds and dozens of trailheads.
Things to Do in the Area
A little further afield—a gorgeous drive away, that is—are the Presidential Range, Mount Washington Resort and the Crawford Notch and Franconia Notch State Parks.
Hiking is a hugely popular activity to do around North Conway. Mountains that are worth climbing are Kearsarge North Mountain, Mount Chocorua and the three Moat Mountains. Other outdoor fun can be had while canoeing, fishing, horseback riding and mountain biking.
In winter, North Conway is a center of winter sports in the region, with nearby options ranging from snowmobiling and dog sledding to downhill skiing and snowshoeing.
North Conway, although it gets overrun by tourists pretty much all year round, is one of my favorite New England towns. It’s busy, yet not overwhelmingly, and the atmosphere is relaxed, inviting and vibrant.
And there’s just so much going on!