What to do and see in Bethel, United States: The Best Places and Tips

August 11, 2017 Trinity Boughner

The history of Bethel is a long one. The town was founded by settlers granted the land as a reward for fighting to conquer Canada way back in 1690. Now a quiet resort town, full of quaint shops and tranquil streets, Bethel is a popular destination all year round. Just five miles from the Sunday River Ski Resort, the most popular winter sports area in all of Maine, the charming B&Bs of Bethel are the perfect place to rest up after taking on 131 trails on 8 different mountain peaks.
Restaurants in Bethel

1. Grafton Notch State Park

1941 Bear River Rd, Bethel, ME 04261-3640 +1 207-824-2912
Excellent
77%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 150 reviews

Grafton Notch State Park

Affords breathtaking views of waterfalls, caves, and hiking trails without the parking lots, tourists, gift shops and hot dog stands.

Reviewed By Janet D

The Table Rock Trail is marked with orange blazes and is easy to follow. It climbs quite steeply over its 900' of elevation gain. There are literally hundreds of rough granite steps set into the mountainside over much of the distance. Some of the stretches without steps require some scrambling, but all of it was manageable for this 63-year-old gal, and I refused to be intimidated by the young teens who passed me, scrambling up the trail like mountain goats. There are a number of slab caves about 9/10 of a mile from the trailhead. If you decide to do any exploring, do so with care, as some of the caves are deep. If you look straight up while standing in front of the caves, you'll see a rock that looks a bit like a shark's fin. From the caves, the trail continues around the base of Table Rock to the right. When you round the base of the ledge, you'll be confronted with a huge boulder that has a blaze indicating that the trail goes over the boulder. There was just enough space between the boulder and the ledge for me to toss my pack through and then squeeze through the gap. Other hikers have made an informal trail down the slope and around the base of the boulder. In about 1/10 of a mile, you'll see blue blazes; follow the blazes to the left to the top of Table Rock. From there, you have great views of the notch and Old Speck, which is one of the 4,000+ footers in New England. To descend, follow the blue blazes for about 1/2 mile to connect with the Appalachian Trail. At the junction, turn left to return to the trailhead on Route 26. The trail down is much less steep than the trail up.

The day we were there, Table Rock was populated by several pairs of adults, one dog, and about fifteen 12-year-olds. Given that it's only about a mile from the trailhead to the ledge, this tends to be a popular hike.

If you want a longer hike, there are many connecting trails in the park. Just make sure that you have the right gear and a good map.

On our way out of the park, we stopped at Moose Cave, Mother Walker Falls, and Screw Auger Falls. All of these features are scenic and easily accessed by short, well-groomed gravel paths. If you time it right, you could enjoy a picnic lunch at Screw Auger Falls, followed by a chilly dip in the river.

2. Sunday River Ski Resort

Sunday River Access Road, Off Route 2, Bethel, ME 04217 +1 207-824-3000
Excellent
63%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 360 reviews

Sunday River Ski Resort

Large resort complex for downhill skiing.

Reviewed By GlobalTravelerKim - Boston, Massachusetts

Sunday River Ski Resort is a large, yet not overwhelming, ski resort with all the amenities you expect - outdoor swimming pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, several on-site restaurants and an excellent ski school. Our family absolutely enjoyed our stay there, and we'll be going back next winter!

3. Sunday River Covered Bridge

Bethel, ME
Excellent
58%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 131 reviews

Sunday River Covered Bridge

A covered bridge built in 1872 that is said to be one of the most painted and photographed covered bridges in Maine.

Reviewed By Richard B - New Cumberland, Pennsylvania

The Sunday River Bridge, also known locally as the Artists Bridge, is a historic covered bridge in Newry, Maine. (not far from Bethel Maine) Built in 1872, it is one of Maine's few surviving 19th-century covered bridges. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

4. Bethel Outdoor Adventure

121 Mayville Rd, Bethel, ME 04217-4410
Excellent
73%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
4%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 46 reviews

Bethel Outdoor Adventure

A campground for tenting, RVs, all pull through sites, big rig friendly. On the banks of the Androscoggin River. Canoe and kayak rentals. Shuttle service. Fishing. a Mineralogy sluice on site.

Reviewed By TravelinFamilyBoston - Boston

Took the 10-mile trip with my college age daughter. What a great time! The water was quite high, so fast-moving and interesting. The 10-mile trip took us just over two hours. Lots of interesting islands with many choices of route. Enough fast water to be fun but not too challenging for an experienced paddler. A rank beginner might have troubles.

Staff were just getting trained in for the season as they had just opened, but everyone was friendly and helpful and appropriately firm about safety rules.

FYI if you happen to fly in to the Bethel Airport (as we did) they can pick you up, though it's under a mile so an easy walk. There are a few food options within a mile after you're finished paddling.

5. Maine mineral and gem museum

99 Main Street, Bethel, ME +1 207-824-3036
Excellent
76%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 16 reviews

Maine mineral and gem museum

Reviewed By criticalchef - Lynn, Massachusetts

They are on the brink of expanding to the largest Gem and Mineral Museum in the state as of right now they have one large room with many cases filled with local Gem and Mineral samples. There is also a very large case with crystal balls of all types that is exceptionally alluring. They have a shop where you can get something for the kids or the gem lover inside of you.

6. Mount Will Walking Trail

Bethel, ME
Excellent
75%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 20 reviews

Mount Will Walking Trail

A popular and scenic walking/hiking trail.

Reviewed By RCE0910 - Bowdoinham, Maine

Listed as moderate difficulty in various websites, this hike is true to form. A moderately difficult climb took us about a quarter of the way around a 3 mile loop trail (at least 3 hours of hiking with some fairly steep climbs) and to a lovely view over the town of Newry and the Androscoggin River. At that point we turned around because it was late afternoon and very hot but we want to come back earlier on a cool day with a lunch to do the entire loop. For us (71 & 83) it had just enough challenge and the dogs (considerably younger!) ran rings around us, enjoying the woods animal smells.

7. The Bethel Inn Resort Golf Course

21 Broad St, On the Common, Bethel, ME 04217-4007 +1 800-654-0125
Excellent
62%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 27 reviews

The Bethel Inn Resort Golf Course

Renowned architect Geoffrey Cornish designed our 6,663 yard, par 72 course to take maximum advantage of the mountain vistas and natural beauty of the area. Tree lined fairways, natural hazards, well-trapped greens and five tee positions make play challenging for golfers of every ability. The golf course is very walkable and walking is encourage to taking maximum advantage of your surroundings. The golf course at The Bethel Inn Resort is open from early May through late October. Our Guaranteed Performance School of Golf boasts 8,000 satisfied graduates, on-course instruction, video analysis and our personalized 4:1 student/instructor ratio. Plan your golf, golf school or summer getaway now & save. Join us this summer and experience a complete & affordable getaway to our classic New England resort in the heart of Bethel, Maine.

Reviewed By GloryGirl78 - Holliston

We traveled to Bethel, primarily for a golf centered Labor Day Weekend. We enjoyed the convenience of a resort that offered one stop for everything - lodging, dining, activities, including golf. We enjoyed the course which has few water hazards, open fairways and lovely mountain views. The pro shop staff and starters were great.

Greens were well maintained, but the fairways and tee boxes could use a little TLC. We enjoyed all of the other golfers we met while at the Bethel Inn and Country Club.

8. Sunday River Brewing Company

29 Sunday River Rd, Bethel, ME 04217-4623 +1 207-824-4253
Excellent
54%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
10%
Terrible
5%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 19 reviews

Sunday River Brewing Company

Reviewed By tabolden - Boston, Massachusetts

My husband and I went here while on a trip to Sunday River in early September. The breakfast was fine, nothing particularly spectacular. However the donuts were amazing. We got half a dozen with multiple flavors. All home made so creative and delicious. They are also very large so our half a dozen lasted several days for the two of us. We would go back just for the donuts. Also I have to say they were also so nice. Our car happened to break down while we were there and they did everything they could to help and accommodate us while we waited the three hours for a tow truck. Definitely worth the visit.

9. Bethel Hill Common

Bethel, ME
Excellent
76%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 12 reviews

Scenic walking area in Bethel ringed with historic buildings.

Reviewed By LMomG

Bethel is a lovely place to visit. Everyone is friendly and glad to share information about their community. We got the walking map from information center and it was a great way to really see the homes and churches, etc. Descriptions were very helpfull about each home on the historic tour.

10. Foggy Goggle @ Sunday River

So. Lodge. Sunday River Mtn., Bethel, ME +1 207-824-5100
Excellent
29%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
23%
Poor
5%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 17 reviews

Foggy Goggle @ Sunday River

Reviewed By CapeCodJudie - Cape Cod

We ate here 2 days over our recent stay. The wait was as expected on a holiday weekend, but the food did not suffer. I took the time to tell the manager how impressed I was with the staff - efficient and pleasant. The nachos were excellent and seem to be on every table, There is live music in the late afternoon and the deck offers great views of the mountain and skiiers. Some guys were sitting out there eating their nachos as the snow was falling. There was plenty of bar staff to keep the service moving quickly.

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