Extraordinary and Cool Things To Do in New Mexico
New Mexico is supposed to have the most diverse landscapes in the world with wide open skies, semi-arid desert landscape along with surrounding mountains, snow-capped 13,000 ft high peaks dressed in pines and spruce that have incredible potential for outdoor adventure.
Its natural beauty dotted with wildflower fields, pristine white sand dunes, an expansive prairie region and wetland forests of towering cottonwoods make it very scenic for visitors.
New Mexico is no one thing and its diversity appeals to everyone from photographers, nature lovers, to adventure seekers and food lovers.
New Mexico also has a very thriving art scene centered around state’s urban centers.
The place is famous for being the largest exporter of chilies. It’s also the land of distinct regional cuisine like the New Mexico enchilada which is a molten melding of chilies, cheese, and corn tortillas, burritos, and tortillas.
Pueblo-style buildings, a super volcano, the Rio Grande River, the nation’s largest 3.3 million acres Gila forest and Gila cliff dwelling, and the Ghost towns of Mexico all make it a highly attractive place with lots of things to do here in New Mexico.
White Sands National Monument is a huge and the world’s largest international hot air balloon fiesta in Albuquerque is on the top of the things to do list of visitors who come to New Mexico.
Things to do in New Mexico that every visitor must include while on a trip to New Mexico
Extraordinary or Unusual Things To Do in New Mexico
International Balloon Fiesta
New Mexico hosts the largest balloon festival in the world. The festival held in Albuquerque since 1972 has been growing ever so popular to become the largest annual international event in the USA. It is also the most photographed event worldwide.
Visitors arrive early to experience the real event at around 4.30 in the morning when the air is cool and conducive for balloons to operate. The sky marked with piped announcements and music, laser light shows, fireworks, plane flyovers and plenty of other entertainment.
As per the official numbers in this year’s 47th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, nearly 886,037 estimated guests visited to gaze over 600 hot air balloons.
White Sands National Monument
These eternal dunes overlooking the Tularosa Basin is the highlight of a trip to New Mexico and on top of the chart for things to do of every nature lover and is on every photographer’s itinerary. The dazzling White Sea sand is at its magical best during the sunrise and sunset and no doubt they are right in describing it as the world’s greatest natural wonders. This is a great place for a full-on beach experience, picnicking, playing, and sunbathing.
The 16-mile scenic drive through the heart of the world’s largest gypsum filled sand dune field offers a peculiar white glistening view because of the natural phenomena that occur due to the gypsum grains colliding and scratching in high velocity winds.
The white sand has 3 nature trails and extended hiking path with a stunning variety of species like the white sand wood rat, the prairie lizard, the bleached earless lizard, and the Apache pocket mouse.
The mammoth Carlsbad Caverns are a part of a vast cave complex covering some 119 caves secretly tucked away below the desert terrain. The magnanimity of these caves can be accessed from its largest chamber which stretches over 3,000 feet or up to the size of 10 football fields and is 22 stories high. The attractions of the Carlsbad Caverns make it to the top of the list of attractions and things to do in New Mexico.
Evening bat flight – Tens of thousands of bats emerge live from these caves and people come specially to watch their evening flight.
Self-guided walking trail of the Big Room – A trip to the Big Cave – world’s largest underground chambers can be accessed by an elevator, has paved walkways, and also an underground rest area for the visitor that have magnificent views of the electrically lighted stalactites, stalagmites natural pools.
King’s Palace Guided Tour – A 2-hour walk of the cave’s most scenic chambers that include the King’s Palace, Queen’s Chamber, and Green Lake. It displays an eclectic artwork including the fanciful Elephant art between the king’s palace and the Green Lake.
Tent Rocks – Santa Fe
With its most beautiful topography, these cone-shaped tent rock formations are begging to be explored. Also known as the “Kasha-Katuwe” these breathtaking formations were products due to volcanic eruptions 6 to 7 million years ago.
Hiking the trails on foot, besides geological observation, plant identification & bird watching are the most popular thing to do here in Tent Rocks that also provide a fantastic view of the rock formation and the mountains in the background.
This Blue gem in Santa Rosa, NM is a natural, bell-shaped pool in the midst of the desert which is 80 feet deep that has built up quite a reputation for itself. The steady flow of 11,000 liters of water per minute from this artesian spring keeps the water astonishingly clear and maintains a constant water temperature of 17 °C. This geological phenomenon is nearly 200 feet in depth at few places that make it the scuba diving capital of the southwest.
Take a leap from the natural diving boards surrounding the sinkhole or just engage in a cultural exploration of the place; Blue Hole is one of the must do things when in New Mexico.
Ghost Ranch Abiquiu, New Mexico
The 21,000 acres of towering rock walls with amazing views of full palette colorful cliffs in red and yellow boast scenery that is truly out of the world. The dramatic landscape of Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu has a choice of activities to suit all interest including hiking, horseback riding, and kayaking. Also, there is an interesting on-site Anthropology museum and an incredible paleontology museum famous for Coelophysis fossils.
Perseid Meteor Shower NM
Perseid peak in mid-August and considered as the best meteor show with fast bright meteors leave flashing trails of colors behind them. In an hour as many as 50-100 meteors shoot through the warm summer night skies making it a mesmerizing view for the skywatchers.
Enchanted Skies Star Party NM
The darkness and clarity of the New Mexico sky is simply incomparable and a treat too rare to exist today. Spot the next nearest spiral galaxy – The Andromeda Galaxy like our early stargazers did or witness the Great Nebula of Orion in its full splendor. Watch the wondrous swarm of stars – the Beehive Star or the M44 Cluster with naked eyes. Here in New Mexico, you can see all of these and many more rare phenomena.
Bosque Del Apache
The national wildlife refuge is where millions of birds including the Sandhill cranes, the Arctic geese, and many other kinds of ducks gather during the autumn and stay through the winter period. This place is a photographer’s delight who want to capture photos as the birds erupt in flight. Also a good place for hiking and picnic, Bosque Del Apache is among one of the best things to do in New Mexico.
Santa Fe located 7,000 feet high above sea level is the highest capital city of America. New Mexico is also the home to the highest peak, the Wheeler Peak which is 13,161 ft high which is another attraction in New Mexico ideally suited for backpackers and suitable for day hiking with several class 1 & 2 trails.
Santa Fe is amongst America’s oldest cities and arguably one of the most beautiful as well. Its Pueblo style architecture of buildings is a well followed building code to maintain the uniformity in form of “Santa Fe Style” of architecture that gives an identical picturesque view from every corner.
The Palace of the Governors museum here is the oldest public building with a collection of 20,000 artworks from several renowned creators is on top of the things to do on visitors list in New Mexico.
Bandera Volcano and Ice Caves – NM
The land of fire and ice is a place where lava rocks, lava tubes, craters and an ice cave all exists simultaneously together. The Cave is 75 foot deep with a 20 ft thick ice floor whose temperature never rises above freezing point.
The Bandera Ice Cave dates back to 1100 B.C. and is believed to be over 3,000 years old. More than 500 dinosaur footprints that are 100-million-year-old have been found at the Clayton Lake State Park.
Best time to visit New Mexico
The weather in New Mexico is noticeably warmer and fairly mild in winters with daily temperature averaging 60°F between December and February and 90°F from June to August. Hotels are only cheaper in springs.
Spring season from mid-May through October is a fantastic time to visit New Mexico with bright sunny skies and a pleasant temperature. This is also the best season for hiking, biking, and rafting. This is when the chill starts to set in and the aspens and cottonwoods burst into golden yellow hues
The fall season is pretty in the winter season in Santa Fe blessed with plenty of snow for skiing.