Seven Sizzling Summer New Mexico Road-Trip Destinations
Temperatures are getting warmer and the days are getting longer. That can only mean one thing: summer is here! With the pandemic finally showing signs of relenting, a weekend getaway might be at the top of your to-do list.
If you’re not traveling out of state just yet, New Mexico offers dozens of incredible places to visit. No car? No problem! The SLFCU Auto Loan team is just a click away at slfcu.org/AutoLoans.
All of these destinations could make for a good old-fashioned summer road trip:
1. WHITE SANDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
White Sands is an absolute must-see. Located about 15 miles south of Alamogordo, White Sands offers one of the world’s most fascinating natural wonders, with 275 square miles of gypsum sand that creates the appearance of a winter wonderland in the desert. White Sands is the most visited national park in New Mexico, with about 600,000 annual visitors. If you’ve never visited, you owe yourself a day trip to one of the most unique sites in the entire country.
2. CARLSBAD CAVERNS
Located approximately 18 miles southwest of Carlsbad on U.S. Highway 62/180, is a national park known for 100-plus natural limestone caves – most notably the main chamber simply named the “Big Room.” It is the largest such chamber in North America and the 31st largest in the world!
Roswell is a city known well to those interested in the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Notable for a July 1947 incident in which a UFO reportedly crashed at a ranch near the city, the town has become a must-see road trip destination and a staple in New Mexican folklore.
4. CAPULIN VOLCANO
If you’re looking for a unique road trip idea, look no further than this incredibly scenic trek to the Capulin Volcano, located between Raton and Clayton on U.S. Highway 87. Capulin Volcano offers hikers and non-hikers alike some of the best views in the entire southwest.
You can take the two-mile Volcano Road leading to the crater rim, enjoy the view from the parking area, or hike on some of the trails surrounding the volcano. The Capulin Volcano is especially striking on a clear day, with views into Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, and even Kansas, depending on how clear the sky is. The area also boasts some of the darkest night skies in the entire U.S., which makes it one of the premier sights for stargazing on a beautiful summer evening.
5. HATCH FOR A GREEN CHILE CHEESEBURGER
For the road-tripper who is a bit of a foodie, there is the fun town of Hatch, New Mexico. Hatch is, of course, known as the hub of New Mexico’s – and perhaps the country’s – most famous peppers: red and green chiles.
Located about 40 miles north of Las Cruces, Hatch is sure to enliven the palettes of food lovers and those who want to enjoy a famous green chile cheeseburger. Sparky’s Burgers, BBQ, and Espresso serves up one of the most renowned versions of the dish and is one of the most frequented restaurants in all of southern New Mexico.
6. HIGH ROAD TO TAOS SCENIC BYWAY
For the road-tripper that wants to sit back and enjoy the beauty of the Land of Enchantment, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better drive than taking the High Road to Taos. This 105-mile drive takes you through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Santa Fe and Taos, showcasing breathtaking scenery and remote mountain villages that still showcase their Spanish colonial roots.
Scattered along the way are the galleries and studios of traditional artisans, historic churches, and a sampling of all the different types of landscapes found in New Mexico. The High Road to Taos is recognized by the state as an official Scenic Byway, and it is a must-see for anyone who has yet to experience it.
7. THE BLUE HOLE, SANTA ROSA
Summer is downright hot in the Land of Enchantment (they call it the “desert southwest” for a reason!) Road trippers looking to end their drive with a refreshing dip in a lake may head for the famous “Blue Hole” in Santa Rosa.
The Blue Hole is a clear, blue body of water with a consistent temperature of 62 degrees. It is the very definition of a desert oasis, and a perfect example of a natural artesian well – it is 80 feet wide with depths of more than 80 feet, allowing visitors to enjoy a rare opportunity to scuba dive in New Mexico.
The town of Santa Rosa is a destination in and of itself along famous Route 66, and a great stop for road trippers visiting the Blue Hole.
Road trips are a great way to bring you, your family, and your friends together. Start summer off right by hopping into the car and exploring some of New Mexico’s many beautiful sites. Hit the road with a smart auto loan from SLFCU and begin your road-tripping journey by visiting slfcu.org/AutoLoans.
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