If you’re craving a vacation, consider New Mexico with its beauty and splendor found at these seven locations below.
There are certain states that just get overlooked. Sandwiched between the stunning, massive Grand Canyon in Arizona, and Texas’s famous cowboys and country music, New Mexico sometimes doesn’t get the love it deserves. But the truth is that the Land of Enchantment has earned its nickname, rich with history, natural wonders, beautiful art, and a culture that can’t be found anywhere else in the United States.
1.) Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the most celebrated artists of all time, renowned for her beautiful paintings of flowers and landscapes. She spent a lot of her life in the southwest and took inspiration from the areas she saw in New Mexico for some of her work. To honor her and to showcase her artwork, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum was established in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The museum houses the largest collection of O’Keeffe’s work, and also of her personal materials that help tell the story of her life. Additionally, the second branch of the museum, in Abiquiu, New Mexico, is the home that Georgia O’Keeffe lived and worked in. The museum is an excellent way to spend an afternoon in New Mexico.
2.) White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park doesn’t have the fame that Yosemite and the Grand Canyon do, but it is still more than worthy of its national park status. White Sands is one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the United States, with stunning, sprawling white sand dunes. Its pure, bright white color and the smoothness of the dunes are strikingly peaceful. You can also see many plants and animals that live in the park, adapting despite the harsh environment. And while visiting White Sands at any time is beautiful, catching the sunset or visiting at night is a whole new level of stunning.
3.) Hot Air Balloon Ride
In October, Albuquerque, New Mexico hosts the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, when hundreds of colorful hot air balloons ascend into the sky over the city to create a beautiful scene. But even if you visit New Mexico outside of October and the festival dates, you can and should still take advantage of the many hot air balloon tours available. Most of the tours are done in Albuquerque, and you are typically in the air for about 45 minutes. Many balloons fly over the city, the surrounding countryside, and the Rio Grande River Valley, and take visitors up at sunrise and sunset. It’s an incredible experience to see so much beauty from so high up.
4.) Carlsbad Caverns National Park
In the southeastern corner of New Mexico is Carlsbad Caverns National Park, an absolutely incredible natural wonder and a must-see on a trip to New Mexico. Visitors to the caves will travel underground to wander through the geological formations. There are over one hundred caves, stalactites that hang from the ceiling, and a limestone chamber called the “Big Room.” Above ground, there is evidence of an inland sea and coral reefs from millions of years ago, as well as Rattlesnake Springs, rich with a diverse collection of wildlife. You could easily spend a day exploring the caverns.
5.) Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness
In the northwest corner of New Mexico is another natural wonder: the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness. Its rock formations in the middle of the desert are amazingly unique, and its colorful badlands also draw visitors to the remote location. Additionally, Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah has historically been known for being rich in petrified wood, dinosaur bones, and other fossils. Although there are no trails in this raw, natural area, you are free to wander around what you may find hard to believe is still on Earth.
6.) Roswell, New Mexico
Speaking of not being on Earth, Roswell, New Mexico, has been plagued with rumors of alien landings and UFO sightings since the 1900s. And the city has definitely embraced its reputation as a hub for otherworldly activities. If you’re a fan of science fiction, or just interested in alien theories and possible sightings in New Mexico, check out the International UFO Museum and Research Center. It’s filled with information and exhibits about UFOs and the infamous 1947 Roswell Crash. While the aliens and UFO insignia found all over Roswell may seem a bit cheesy or touristy, you’d find it hard to see anywhere like Roswell, New Mexico elsewhere in the United States.
7.) Taos Pueblo
New Mexico’s history is intertwined with that of many Native American tribes, who continue to live on several of the reservations in the west of the state. Thus, Native American culture continues to permeate the present landscape of New Mexico, such as at Taos Pueblo, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. Taos Pueblo consists of fascinating adobe homes that are still inhabited by Puebloan people today. It’s an amazing way to learn about the history of Native Americans in New Mexico, and, set against a stunning backdrop of mountains and the Rio Pueblo de Taos, experience the state’s natural beauty, too.
New Mexico is a beautiful state with so much to offer. Book your trip to the Land of Enchantment, and don’t forget to add these seven things to your itinerary.
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