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Those whose prefer their roads—and hiking trails—less traveled can cruise toward these scenic state parks, wild rivers, preserves, and mineral-stained hills. Hike through aspen groves or across the Badlands’ moonscape. Climb ladders from a canyon bottom to visit an ancient kiva near its rim. Peer into 800-foot-deep gorges in black volcanic rock carved by the Rio Grande. Make sure to refresh those tired bones with a healing soak in the hot springs.
Chase the farm to table thread all the way back to New Mexico’s farms, wineries, and orchards. Start at the southern end of the state, where the state’s oldest vineyards, planted 400 years ago by Franciscan missionaries, still yield grapes, and New Mexico State University’s greenhouses continue to breed new varieties of chile. After tequila tasting, head to accommodations on-site at an organic farm and indulge your senses in not one but two lavender fields. Handcrafts aren’t to be left out, so include stops at local fiber arts centers and one of the sources for local yarn: an alpaca farm.
New Mexico’s iconic adobe architecture has remained largely unchanged for centuries, and is showcased in this trans-state tour that adds to the historic sights with innovative, new-age structures. Marvel at the 1,000-year-old Taos Pueblo, a living Native American community and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Peek behind the curtain at Los Alamos, touring headquarters for the World War II-era secret mission to build the first nuclear weapons. Revel in mysteries and history at mission churches and chapels, and don’t miss breathtaking and airy performing arts spaces.
Taste-test remarkable culinary offerings in this wandering course through beloved locals spots and restaurants run by nationally recognized chefs. Just a glance at the menus and the promise of carne adovada, hand-rolled tamales, and sopaipillas could compel you to steer this way. Personalized takes on traditional mainstays mean no two red chiles will be the same—but that assertion should definitely be put to the test on this tour. Between meals, sip locally made apple brandy, single malt whiskey, beer, and tequila. Reluctant to leave all trace of these dishes behind? Take a cooking class to bring them back to your own kitchen.
This two-week feast of historic charms, natural wonders, and adrenalin spikes designed with families in mind packs a lot of fun alongside a little learning. Start with the cool, subterranean world of Carlsbad Caverns before getting acquainted with iconic local characters Smokey the Bear and Billy the Kid. Spend nights camped in proximity of prime territory for hunting precious minerals and under unparalleled views of the night skies.
The lingering and active presence of Native tribes in New Mexico plays a key role in making this state so special. Visit their historic homes and marvel at the mysteries of architectural achievements from nearly a thousand years ago. Revel in the sandstone features considered sacred. Then find your way to the still-inhabited Pueblos where dancers keep traditions alive in the form of native foods and dances on summer evenings.
Want to get a little weird? Explore some of the Land of Enchantment’s oddities on this trip, which begins with eccentric characters and a bar that enshrines their mementos, a village in miniature and the state’s largest gift shop of curios. No tour of the state’s strangest people and places would be complete without a visit to Roswell and the UFO Museum, but nor is the ongoing sky-watching at White Sands to be missed. Roadside tourist stops worth a photo op include a roadrunner made of recycled materials, a 47-foot-long red chile pepper and a spot made world famous for its green chile cheeseburgers.
Nat King Cole signed off on getting your kicks on Route 66—specifically naming Gallup near the Arizona border. But start instead in the east, with Tucumcari’s Route 66 Museum and timeless roadside motels and curio shop. Then head west, stopping in at historic service stations, trading posts and RV parks, and passing under the neon arches commemorating the highway on Albuquerque’s West Central Avenue. Culminate the tour at the historic and former Hollywood elites’ haunt, El Rancho Hotel.