Planning a Staycation at Sunday River

August 5, 2020 in Summer Fun - No Comments
Jordan Hotel pool

With many Mainers and New Englanders staying close to home for summer vacations, a choose-your-own-adventure-style trip may be in the cards. Skip the coast, and head for the mountains for a staycation at Sunday River to explore the Mahoosuc region. Use the 3-day itinerary below to make your plans, or mix-and-match to make the perfect trip.

Where to Staycation

When it comes to lodging, you have a ton of options at Sunday River and in the Bethel region. Whether you’re looking into one of our resort hotels, a quaint inn, or find a private home to rent, you can easily find available properties on the Area Lodging section of the Sunday River website.

Staycation Day 1

Plan to get to town early on your first day of staycation to take advantage of fun activities, and be sure to make lunch plans that don’t leave you too hungry before you can check-in to your lodging.

Choose an outdoor activity:

Take a quick hike at Sunday River
The resort offers 13 designated hiking trails on-mountain. If you’re staying at one of our hotels, you can easily hop onto a trail right there. Trails can also be accessed from the base lodge parking lots.

Woman hiking at Sunday River

Kayak or canoe on the Androscoggin River with Bethel Outdoor Adventure
River trips are an essential Maine summer activity. Bethel Outdoor Adventure will transport you either 5- or 10-miles up the river to launch your boat, and you’ll takeout right at their beach to return to your car.

Choose an indoor activity:

Shop in Bethel Village
Main Street offers some great shops for Maine-made products, souvenirs, clothing, thrift finds, and more.

Bowl at River Lanes
Cool off in the AC or escape rainy weather with bowling, billiards, cornhole, darts, and an arcade at River Lanes.

Choose a lunch spot for a quick bite to eat:

Butcher Burger
Available for sit-down meals or takeout, Butcher Burger touts gourmet burgers, hand-cut fries, and a great Maine beer selection.

Table of food at Butcher Burger

Good Food Store
A Best of Bethel stalwart for food-on-the-go, the Good Food Store has a cooler of heat and eat meals, grab-and-go items, and made-to-order sandwiches and salads. Plus Smokin’ Good BBQ, located right in the GFS parking lot, is a favorite.

Le Mu Eats
This charming blue shanty offers an unexpected menu of Laotian/Southern fusion. Grab your takeout box to enjoy under the tent at Steam Mill Brewing, or at your own basecamp.

Staycation Day 2

You have ALL day in Bethel and Sunday River on day 2. Enjoy it with long or leisurely activities and plan for a nice sit-down meal to finish up your day.

Choose an outdoor activity:

Take a hike in Grafton or Evans Notch
Did you know that Sunday River is close to Grafton Notch State Park and Evans Notch in the White Mountain National Forest? Each offers a wide array of hiking trails (including Maine’s best short hike). Plus, both have easy access to swimming along the drive home so that you can cool off from your hike.

Go mountain biking at Bethel Village Trails or Mount Abram
Got a bike? Hit the trails. Bethel Village Trails offers free cross-country access right in the town of Bethel, and Mount Abram has lift-serviced downhill mountain biking. Here are 4 area trails to checkout.

Mountain biker

Choose a restaurant to splurge on dinner:

Cho Sun
A favorite for Asian cuisine, Cho Sun features a menu full of amazing Japanese and Korean options. Try the sushi or their signature Bibimbap

Whether you’re looking for hearty Italian or a steak grilled to perfection, Brian’s a great choice.

Staycation Day 3

It’s your final day in town. Fuel up with a big breakfast, and make plans for an activity that will take most of the morning so you can hit the road early to get home.

Choose a breakfast spot:

If fresh pastries, bagels, and gourmet coffee are your jam in the morning, Dicocoa’s is an obvious choice. Grab your food and enjoy outdoor seating on Main street, or take it to go on your next adventure.

Crossroads Diner
A classic diner experience, Crossroads serves up big plates of eggs, bacon, pancakes–you name it.

Sunday River Brewing Company
Not only does the Brew Pub offer a great selection of breakfast favorites (including Bloody Mary’s and mimosas), but their donuts are known far and wide. Grab one to go or eat-in and polish one off for breakfast dessert.

Choose an indoor activity:

Explore the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum
Want to see the largest collection of lunar and Martian meteorites on Earth? Stop by the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum on Main Street in Bethel. The museum offers interactive exhibits and an opportunity to learn about local geology too.

Kids enjoying exhibit at Maine Mineral and Gem Museum

Choose an outdoor activity:

Explore local swimming holes
It’s pretty common in Maine to plunge into icy water on a hot day, and there are plenty of places to do so around Sunday River. Note: check on landowner or land trust permissions before visiting.

Go fishing
Pack your own fishing pole, or sign up for guide service with Sporthoma to help you find a great spot to drop a line.

Play a round of golf at the Sunday River Golf Club
An 18-hole championship course with amazing views, dramatic elevation changes, and a beautiful spot to grab a beer after your round? You won’t want to miss it.

Aerial view of Sunday River golf club

Looking for more trip-planning advice? Visit or for all of the area options for lodging, shopping, dining, and more.

Karolyn Castaldo

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