Flying to New Mexico? Visit These 11 Amazing places!

New Mexico is one of the best places to visit in USA. And no, it's not hyperbole! Those who have visited this state know just how incredible it is. It has the most mesmeric scenic and diverse landscapes. The place also offers endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. The state has a strong influence of both Hispanic and Native American culture. You can expect to find multiple attractions in both large and small cities.

Apparently most people think New Mexico is nothing but desert, so you might be surprised to learn that the state is home to spectacular caves, as well as the oldest villages and archaeological sites in the US. Some of the state’s ruins even rival those of the Inca, and the mixture of Spanish, Indigenous and American culture, makes it feel like a foreign country.

White Sands National ParkWhite Sands National Park

Let's find out what some of them are so the next time you fly to New Mexico; you will know exactly where to go and what to experience!

1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park

This is a unique place that is mostly hidden underground. It consists of almost 120 known caves. The Carlsbad Caverns National Park is carved from limestone and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions. Here, you can expect to receive both ranger-led and self-guided audio tours. You can even visit caves or can walk through the strange geological formations. You can also go for back-country hikes.

2. Albuquerque

Albuquerque hosts a massive hot air balloon festival every autumn. It draws over 80,000 people. This tradition began in 1973 in a parking lot with just 13 balloons. Today, it has grown to more than 500 balloons that participate in this fiesta. It is a nine-day festival. Apart from this, there are different activities for kids and also live music along with a craft show, making this event a must-attend.

The zoo has some rare feature like the Tasmanian Devils, and has evening shows in the summer. The University of New Mexico has various museums and events open to the public, and the Frontier for lunch. Old town is great for shoppers, also home of the rattlesnake museum. There are also foothills for hikes and bikes, downtown for the bar scene, surrounded by reservation casinos.

3. Petroglyph National Monument

Managed jointly by the National Park Service and the city of Albuquerque, the Petroglyph National Monument encompasses 7,244 acres consisting of five dormant volcanos, and basalt escarpment. The most famous feature of this site is the images that were carved in by the early Spanish settlers centuries ago.

There are about 20,000 petroglyphs within this park which can easily be spotted from the hiking trails. There are three hiking routes, Boca Negra Canyon, Rinconada Canyon, and Marcadas Canyon. However, while hiking beware of the rattlesnakes and other local wildlife.

4. Bandelier National Monument

A 33,677-acre preserve, the Bandelier National Monument encompasses not only archaeological ruins but also dramatic volcanic landscapes. It used to be home to the Pueblo people. You can find masonry walls along with petroglyphs and dwellings. You can expect to find hiking trails and campsites in this park. There is also an educational museum.

5. Silver City

Located in Silver City, the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument has been constructed by the Mogollon Native Americans in 1300. There is a museum located in the visitor center where tourists can get to know about the culture of the Mogollon. There are different natural caves here along with hot springs. You can also take tours of the cliff dwellings.

6. Taos Ski Valley

Northeast of Taos, you can find the Taos Ski Valley which is a breathtakingly beautiful, and excellently equipped sports region. In the last few years, the site has gone through some serious upgrades. Best known as the skiers’ hill, this site has great intermediate and advanced terrain.

7. Socorro

The Very Large Array is a radio astronomy observatory that is situated in Socorro. The array is used to know about different astronomical phenomena such as black holes. Here, you can either take guided tours or can also explore the place on your own. Although reservations are not required to visit this site. However, it is recommended to check ahead before making any plans. Also, remember that the tours will commence from the visitor center of the VLA.

8. Pecos National Historical Park

The iconic Pecos National Historical Park was inhibited from the 14th century till 1838. This site is open to tourists where they can find information about the place. Plus, you can also go for a walking tour to explore the evidence of the people that once lived there. It is also the Civil War battlefield of Glorieta Pass which you can actually check out.

If you visit Fort Sumner, New Mexico, consider going to the Billy the Kid Museum. Born as Henry McCarthy, he was an Irish-American outlaw who was murdered by Sheriff Pat Garett after he killed eight men. He was just 21 at the time. The museum displays his rifle along with horse-riding equipment. It also hosts the original wanted poster. You can also find antique trucks, old firearms, and even swords in this museum.

9. Roswell

Opened in 1992, the International UFO Museum and Research Center has become one of the most famous tourist attractions in Roswell. This place is for all those who believe in extraterrestrials. You can find all the information regarding different UFO-related incidents that took place around the world.

You can find various artifacts, and documents about UFO research. There are also UFO tours where you can visit interesting spots such as Building 84 where the military personnel allegedly took the occupants of the downed craft.

10. Sandia Mountains

The Sandia mountains is perfect for skiing or hiking. The Roots cafe in Tijeras is a nice little business that owns an educational farm. A few scenic drives are around if you want to get a feel for the desert or the mountains. Like no other place on the planet, rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin, is one of the great natural wonders of the world.

11. White Sands National Park

Can you imagine a desert of white gypsum dunes of up to 15 meters that blend with the blue sky creating a colorful spectacle difficult to see anywhere else? Well, it exists, and it's called White Sands National Monument, and it's in the United States, in the south of the state of New Mexico, an hour and a half drive from El Paso, a city bordering Mexico.

In fact thousands of years ago it was a sea, but then it became this beautiful desert due to the amount of gypsum in the area added to the erosion of the wind. In terms of fauna, here we can find the famous roadrunner, foxes and some poisonous animals such as snakes, scorpions or spiders, although they are not easy to see because they tend to hide in the vegetation.

It is the shining white sands of New Mexico where huge and undulating dunes of Plaster sand has swallowed 450 square kilometers of desert, creating the largest gypsum dune field in the world. In order to preserve such a natural wonder, the White Sands National Monument was created, which preserves an important part of this incredible and unique field of dunes, along with the plants and animals that live here.

Only a few centimeters of the plaster dunes are loose sand. The rainwater that falls on the dunes dissolves part of the gypsum and cements of the sand grains, creating a crude form of plaster. This makes it easy to walk on easy white sand dunes.

The National Park is completely surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range, formerly known as White Sands Proving Grounds from where the tests of the first atomic bomb were executed, the so-called "Little Boy" that was launched here, in the Trinity Site as the last test before being thrown over the city of Hiroshima in Japan and that gave rise to the end of World War II and the beginning of the nuclear age.

Currently you can visit the Trinity Site, as well as the ranch house, where the scientists assembled the plutonium core of the bombs. In this place, you can walk to Ground Zero, located about 400 meters away, where a lava stone obelisk of almost 4 meters high marks the place (at the northern end of what is now the White Sands Missile Range) of the place where the first atomic bomb exploded.

Apart from the magnificent dunes of the white desert of White Sands, there is the NASA space base. Currently what can be found here are potentially hazardous materials, spacecraft materials and the place where rocket propulsion systems are tested and evaluated.

The temperatures in the desert are very hot in summer, being able to reach almost 40 degrees C during the day, although at night they tend to drop below 20 degrees celsius. The park is surrounded by a field of missiles in which they do tests from time to time, this means that it can be closed some hours or specific days. In the park there are 3 picnic areas with grills if you decide to eat there.

Here you can do several activities to spend the day, such as hiking, sliding down the sled dunes. If you are fond of photography, it is the ideal place to take photographs of those to frame, and if you stay until sunset, stay enthralled watching that priceless colorful show. The park remains open 364 days a year, and is only closed on Christmas day.

You have the option of buying the ticket right there, although the best option if you are traveling through United States and you are going to visit more national parks, is that you buy the annual pass. The nearest city is Alamogordo, and it is about 20 minutes by car. There you will find all kinds of services, such as hotels and restaurants, where to eat and rest after a great day in a large park, such as White Sands.


New Mexico is truly the land of enchantment. There are so many beautiful places to discover in this state. The ones mentioned above are just a few of the plethora of sites that deserve the spotlight such as Wheeler Peak Wilderness, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Cumbres-Toltec Scenic Railway, and Bandelier National Monument.

It would not be wrong to say that this state has something for everyone. Whether you are an adventurer or someone who enjoys sightseeing, you will simply fall in love with the beauty of this state.

Kalyan Panja