Person standing on white sands
Look out over miles of gypsum dunes.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Savoring the Southwest: 8 Things to Do in New Mexico

Exploring the Land of Enchantment

When people think about traveling to the Southwest, thoughts of panoramic desert views, sand and hot weather are often what comes to mind. While New Mexico is one of the quieter states in the country, there are lots of sights and activities to be discovered and enjoyed by tourists of all ages.

Whether you’re headed to one of the more populated cities like Santa Fe or Albuquerque, or some of the more rural areas, you will see some of the most unique locations and attractions in the United States. The summertime is the least popular time to travel to a state like New Mexico, but there are plenty of diverse and exciting things to explore even during the hottest months.

Below are eight of the best things to do in New Mexico.

White Sands National Monument

The White Sands National Monument is located in the southern part of the state and is home to what seems like endless miles of striking and rare 60-foot gypsum dunes. Natives to the Southwest and tourists alike enjoy sledding in this snow-like wonderland in the desert, or even bringing out a metal detector to see what treasures are buried in the sand.

Outside of UFO museumCome to your own conclusions about alien life at the UFO Museum.Photo Credit: International UFO Museum & Research Center

International UFO Museum and Research Center

Just about everyone has heard of Roswell, NM and the famous alien incident that supposedly occurred in 1947. The International UFO Museum and Research Center opened in 1992 and encourages visitors to come to their own conclusions about whether or not there is life beyond planet Earth with many exhibits and unbiased information.

For UFO fanatics, there are several alien tours to go on that cover just about anything anyone would want to know about extraterrestrial activity in New Mexico and elsewhere.

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Large cavernThe Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

If you’re looking for a fun adventure to beat the heat in New Mexico, the Carlsbad Caverns National Park is mostly underground and made up of about 120 caves. The options for visitors at the caverns are endless, as you are able to visit specific caves, go on a bat tour, take a self-guided tour with audio or a tour with a park ranger.

Above ground, there are many opportunities for hiking and day walks, so there’s always something to do regardless of the weather.

Breaking Bad RVVisit filming locations from the TV show "Breaking Bad."Photo Credit: Breaking Bad TV Tours

Breaking Bad RV Tour

Fans of the hit show “Breaking Bad” will love this three-hour Breaking Bad RV Tour of some of the show’s most iconic locations around the Albuquerque area. This fully interactive adventure takes tourists on a ride in an RV just like Walter White’s and even includes lunch at Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant.

Not only does the tour stop by places like Walt’s house, Jesse’s house, the Super Lab, the car wash, and many more, but on some days there are even surprise celebrity appearances.

Hot air balloons over the desertSee 500 balloons raise into the air at once.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival

Albuquerque is home to the world’s largest balloon festival that happens every fall and brings in over 80,000 people annually. This Southwestern tradition began in 1973 and these days has over 500 balloons in a large 365-acre park.

Not only are there lots of colorful balloons to look at, but the nine-day event also hosts kid’s activities, live music, arts and crafts, and several vendors to browse.

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Monument in center of squareThis plaza is surrounded by lots of shops, restaurants and famous landmarks.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Santa Fe Plaza

If you’re traveling through Santa Fe, be sure to stop by the Santa Fe Plaza as it is known to be “the heart and soul” of the city. It’s a charming town square that is surrounded by lots of shops, restaurants and famous landmarks as the plaza is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Depending on what time of year you visit, there may be other events happening as well, such as the Santa Fe Fiesta that happens in the early part of September.

Dog statue out front of white buildingYou can expect to climb, walk, and crawl through the unusual and stimulating environments that Meow Wolf has to offer.Photo Credit: Meow Wolf Museum

Meow Wolf Museum

The Meow Wolf Museum in Santa Fe is unlike any other museum you’ve ever been to, with its fluorescent and mind-bending exhibits that lead visitors to experience the attraction in a very unique way. Meow Wolf features a non-linear form of storytelling that allows every visitor to explore the grounds in their own way.

There is even an exhibit, House of Eternal Returns, that was launched in 2016 with the support of George R.R. Martin, the creator of the hit books and television series, “Game of Thrones.” The entire museum is built on 20,000 square feet, and people can expect to climb, walk, and crawl through the unusual and stimulating environments that Meow Wolf has to offer.

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Mountain rangeThe Sierra Blanca mountain range is located within the Lincoln National Forest.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lincoln National Forest

In the Southern Rocky Mountains near Ruidoso, NM is the Lincoln National Forest that covers over 1.1 million acres of beautiful nature. The possibilities are endless with lots of hiking, camping, biking, bird-watching, and more, as it would be nearly impossible to explore the entire park in even 10 visits.

Don’t forget to pack your boots and camera!

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