New Mexico Quick Facts
Uniquely New Mexico: Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the tens of thousands of bats that call the caves home
Must-See: Santa Fe Indian Market every August
Most Unusual: Bandera Center and Ice Cave where the temperature never rises about 31 degrees
Highest Point: Wheeler Peak, 13,161 feet
Food to Try: Biscochito
What to Do in New Mexico:
1 Marvel at the amazing white sands of white gypsum at White Sands National Monument
2 Learn about the Mogollón culture at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
3 Enjoy the amazing night skies in locations throughout the state
4 Go for a hot air balloon ride at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
5 Drive across New Mexico on the Route 66 National Scenic Byway
6 Visit The Palace of Governors in Santa Fe, the oldest government building in the country
Off The Beaten Path New Mexico
New Mexico is a state with an amazing array of historical sights and features. From the caves at Carlsbad Caverns to the streets of Tucumcari. In this state there is history, natural beauty, cultural and much more. Here are a few of the amazing places that visitors to New Mexico should try to see.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Located in southeastern New Mexico this park is one of many amazing locations in New Mexico. Throughout the summer visitors can enjoy the night sky events hosted at the park. Carlsbad Caverns are a great place to explore an amazing cave. The cavern has guided tours as well as areas open for self-guided tours. Carlsbad Caverns also has Ranger led programs emphasizing astronomy and nocturnal creatures.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
On the opposite side of New Mexico from Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park is another great spot to experience New Mexico. Chaco Culture provides access to a wide variety of Chacoan sites. In fact, Chaco Culture National HIstorical Park has the largest concentration of Chaco ruins outside of Mexico. The park also has a great night sky program. The Chaco Night Sky Program includes presentations, astronomy which links modern astronomy with the astronomical knowledge of the Chacoan people.
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Los Alamos is a little off the road between Arches National Park and Santa Fe, but it is well worth the detour. Like many of the places in the state, Los Alamos has an amazing array of recreational activities. Los Alamos is also an important location for scientific research. Visitors can stop at the Otowi Station Bookstore and Science Museum Shop, or the Bradbury Science Museum. Los Alamos is also an important cultural center. Visitors can enjoy dance, theater, art and history. The art in public places is a great way to enjoy the work of local artists.
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico
For those travelers who want to enjoy some of the beautiful arts of the Pueblo Indians, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo is an ideal spot to stop along your road-trip. The town once known as San Juan Pueblo, has a long and rich history. Now the town is the headquarters for the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council. As the location of the Oke-Oweenge Crafts Cooperative it is an amazing pueblo art center. You can also enjoy some fishing at the nearby San Juan Lakes, provided you get a permit in advance.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The beautiful city of Santa Fe is a fabulous destination for any traveler. After all of the recreation along the way to Santa Fe, the city is a great spot to stop and enjoy some culture, art and fine dining. The city has a large number of historic sites, including the San Miguel Mission, possibly the oldest church in the country. The Indian Market is another great event to enjoy in Santa Fe, held in August, visitors can enjoy the artwork of over 1,200 artists. The market features all different types of Native American artwork. Many people return to the market every year to collect unique pieces of art from their favorite artists.
Tucumcari, New Mexico
Tucumcari was once known as a rowdy town full of outlaws. Today visitors will have a variety of attractions to see. Old Route 66 passed through Tucumcari on Tucumcari Boulevard, which will really bring visitors back to the 1940's-50's. Travelers can also learn more about the history of Route 66 in Tucumcari at The Tucumcari Historical Museum. The Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce also offers a Visitors Guide, which has information about many Route 66 attractions in and around Tucumcari; it even highlights the Neon signs that light up the night along Historic Route 66 in town.
White Sands National Monument
At White Sands National Monument visitors have the opportunity to experience the wonder of the white gypsum sand. The National Monument preserves a large part of the unique dune fields. This national wonder is a truly amazing sight. Located in the Tularosa Basin these beautiful white sand dunes cover 275 square miles. This is the largest gypsum dune field in the world and is a sight truly worth seeing.
New Mexico | Fun and Funky Things to Do
New Mexico is a place filled with fascinating history, culture, geological wonders and much more. For those visitors looking for destinations that are a little fun and a little funky, here are a few great attractions that all visitors will enjoy.
Bandelier National Monument
This National Monument is another great spot to enjoy recreation and archeology. If you only have a short amount of time, you can take a nice short walk on the Main Loop Trail, which leads you from the Visitor Center through some archeological sites into the Frijoles Canyon. On the Main Loop Trail you can see Pueblo dwellings, petroglyphs along with other interesting archeological sites. Another great destination in Bandelier National Monument is the Alcove House.
New Mexico Skies
New Mexico Skies is a program that provides a complete experience for aspiring astronomers. The lodgings are located within the Sacramento Mountains. New Mexico Skies has low light pollution and high elevations, and it borders the Lincoln National Forest, making it a fabulous spot for stargazing. Visitors can rent cabins, stargaze at night and sleep during the day, all of which is delightfully accommodated by New Mexico Skies. Of course, should you want to partake is some daytime activities the National Forest is a great location for recreation.
Capulin Volcano National Monument
The long extinct Capulin Volcano is an amazing destination for New Mexico visitors. This destination is an excellent example of some of the geologic forces that formed the landscape of New Mexico. The cone of Capulin Volcano rises over 1000 feet above the landscape, and is composed of debris from the most recent eruption. Visitors to the volcano can take the Volcano Road to the top, and enjoy miles of hiking trails that provide views of the entire surrounding landscape.
Scandia Peak Tramway
Visitors to New Mexico can experience amazing aerial views of part of the state on the Scandia Peak Tramway. Riders of the tram see deep canyons and beautiful vistas of 2.7 miles of New Mexico terrain from above. From the top of the Scandia Peak Observation Deck visitors get an amazing panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley, and the views of the sunset from the Scandia Peak Tram are absolutely spectacular.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
New Mexico is filled with a rich history, and visitors to New Mexico can visit many sites that preserve this history. One of these amazing sites are the Gila Cliff Dwellings. The homes found at this National Monument are the remnants of the lives and culture of the Mogollan people, who lived in the area over 700 years ago. Visitors to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument can take guided tours, go on hiking and backpacking trips as well as enjoy a variety of Ranger-Led activities.