Situated between the White Mountain National Forest to the south and Maine’s tallest mountains to the north, Bethel has attracted visitors to its beautiful natural surroundings since the 1850s. The town offers year-round outdoor activities for individuals and families, and is the starting point for bicycle, automobile, and hiking tour loops. Nearby Newry is home to Sunday River, Maine’s second largest ski resort with more than 120 trails on eight interconnected mountains. The area also caters to Nordic skiers with a number of ski touring centers. Grafton Notch State Park is a haven for ice climbers in the winter, and hikers and rock climbers in the summer and fall. The park is also a prime spot to view fall foliage from a number of scenic vistas.
The Bethel Historical Society’s Regional History Center is open year-round and hosts extensive exhibits in two of the town’s earliest homes. A self-guided walking tour begins at the Center on the village common. The common is also home to inns and B&B’s operated in historic homes. Other accommodations in Bethel and surrounding towns include cottages, condominiums and campgrounds.