Visit This East Coast State Park For Fun Winter Adventures

New England is a lovely area to visit in the winter. It's home to charming towns, beautiful mountains that make for ideal skiing spots, and plenty of state parks for compelling adventures and gorgeous sights. Grafton Notch State Park, located in western Maine, is one of the many parks that's worth bundling up for and venturing out to. This underrated winter getaway location stretches out over 3,192 acres and consists of forests, waterfalls, and plenty of wildlife.

Avid hikers can take on a challenge when they spend time in this park. Part of the Appalachian Trail runs through it — 12 miles to be exact. Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry explains that this section is some of the most difficult terrain of the entire trail, but the views, especially of Old Speck Mountain, make it worth it. There's plenty of other areas to hike for those looking for something less intense, as well as activities other than hiking you can engage in.

Things to do in the winter

The state park has over 20 trails for you to explore for fun winter activities. You can lace up your hiking boots or you can opt for a wintry alternative and slip on some snowshoes. Cross-country skiing is another popular activity at the park. These two avenues make navigating the trails a little bit easier than simply hiking, largely because the trails do not have maintenance over the winter. As you're trekking, make sure to keep an eye out for the splendid sight of frozen waterfalls. If you're looking for something a little more fast-paced and thrilling, you can go snowmobiling.

When you visit, feel free to bring your furry friend with you. Dogs are welcome on many of the park's trails, as long as they're on a leash. If you and your pet are a bit too cold to spend a long time outside, but don't want to miss out on an adventure, you can stay warm in your car as you drive the Grafton Notch Scenic Byway. You'll find breathtaking views along this road and plenty of places to stop and take them in.

Entrance and lodging information

Grafton Notch State Park is open year round from 9 a.m. to sunset. The entry fee is $3 for adults who reside in Maine, and $4 for those who live out of state. For seniors who live in Maine and children under the age of five, admission is free. Seniors who live outside of the state and kids between the ages five and 11 cost just $1. When you go to pay, make sure you're doing so with cash or a check, as cards are not accepted.

The park's campgrounds are closed during the winter, so you'll have to venture to a nearby town if you're hoping to spend the night. The Jordan Hotel, which is part of the Sunday River ski resort in Newry, is about a 30 minute drive from the park. If you enjoy downhill skiing, then this is the ideal spot for you. The Holidae House Bed & Breakfast offers a cozy, more intimate place to stay with numerous guest rooms set in a 1906 Victorian house. It's located in Bethel, which is just around a 20 minute drive from Grafton Notch.