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Franconia: 80 miles N of Concord; 115 miles NW of Portsmouth; 145 miles N of Boston

Franconia Notch is classic New Hampshire. As travelers head north on I-93, the Kinsman Range to the west and the Franconia Range to the east begin converging, and the road swells upward as though to meet them. Soon, the mountain ranges press inward on either side like a closing book, forming dramatic Franconia Notch, which offers little in the way of civilization or services but a whole lot of natural drama. Most of the notch is in a well-managed state park that to most travelers will be indistinguishable from the national forest. Travelers should plan on a leisurely ride through the notch, allowing time to get out of the car and explore forests, craggy peaks, and local eateries. Franconia Notch is more developed for recreation (and thus more crowded with day-trippers) than equally rugged Crawford Notch to the northeast, and outdoorsy types might enjoy it more as a result.