After driving over 1000 miles and spending just under 4 weeks in New Mexico, we’ve settled on our favorite road trips stops. Interestingly, most of our favorites were in southern New Mexico, and could easily be combined into a shorter trip. Perhaps, it was the cold weather and engine troubles we had while in the northern parts that kept them from being our favorites? Either way these places are sure to please and should be added to anybody’s New Mexico road trip itinerary.
Heather’s Favorite: Madrid, NM
Madrid is located on the turquoise trail which is a scenic byway between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. It is a funky town that has been overtaken by artists. There are a bunch of neat stops, a lot of eye catching outdoor displays and some tasty food. We recommend stopping at Connie’s Photo Park for some great souvenir photo shots in a variety of scenes.
The Hollar has an awesome huge outdoor patio, some delicious burgers that are served on a biscuit and a doggie food menu to keep the pups happy. (Miles demolished some tacos)
A stop at Jezebel Soda Fountain for some ice cream is also a good choice. I may have eaten it to fast to take photos
Nick’s Favorite: Truth or Consequences, NM
Truth or Consequences, or “T or C”, as the locals call it, is in southern New Mexico about an hour north of Las Cruces. This town has an interesting mix of cutting edge technology, down to earth friendly people, hot springs and an awesome nearby state park on a huge lake. We actually slacked completely on the hot springs part but were told Riverbend Hot Springs were the most scenic as you overlooked a lake while soaking. There are also more traditional bath houses that are as cheap as $5 for a soak!
While visiting T or C be sure to check out Spaceport America– the first commercial Spaceport. On the tour we got to check out mission control, stand on the runway and had the opportunity to spin around in a gyroscope. Virgin Galactic just moved in so there should be even more to see soon (like spaceships!)
Downtown T or C is cool to stroll around, we recommend stopping at the brewery for some good local beer and some tasty snacks from the food truck out back.
About 15 minutes outside of town is Elephant Butte Lake State Park, which is where we set up camp. This park and the lake are huge and offers a lot of activities from laying on the sandy shores to hiking around to boat rentals.
Mile’s Favorite: White Sands National Monument
White Sands was definitely at the top of all our list. It is a truly mesmerizing place in an eery and awesome kind of way. We had been before and knew that we had to go back again and this time we camped in the dunes overnight. We all loved it- but if you look at the pictures, Miles definitely loved it the most.
Honorable Mention: Cloudcroft, NM
We honestly did not even know this place existed until we started looking at camping options near White Sands. How did this not come up in any of research of places to go in New Mexico? How did none of our friends mention this place? Cloudcroft is an adorable mountain town in southern New Mexico where one does not expect mountains to be at all. There is a ton of awesome hiking, a ton of scenic views and a ton of awesome camping. The town itself has a cute set of shops and some restaurants. There is also the historic lodge that has been there since 1911 and is supposed to be haunted.
Honorable Mention: Red River, NM
Red River is located on the enchanted circle which is a scenic drive near Taos in northern New Mexico. It is also a ski town, however we were there not during ski season. The town itself is small but had plenty of shops and restaurants but what really enjoyed was the surrounding area. We spent a whole afternoon in Fawn Lakes recreation area playing in the river and enjoying the scenery. Also, the drive on the enchanted circle cant be beat- from the forested river side through Red River to the valley next to the mountains in Angel Fire and then the cute town of Taos.