Best Road Trip Stops in New Mexico

Best Road Trip Stops in New Mexico
Best Road Trip Stops in New Mexico - Photo: Pixabay

New Mexico is a state found in the southwest United States and is known as one of the Mountain States. It shares the Southern Rocky Mountains with Colorado and the four corners of the Western US with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona.

New Mexico is the fifth largest state in the US, which means there’s plenty to see while you’re on your road trip in New Mexico.

And today, we’re going to list a few of these places:

Where To Stop On Your Road Trip To New Mexico

New Mexico is a state with varied climates and geography. You have everything from forested mountains to sparse deserts.

The north of New Mexico provides its visitors with a cooler more alpine-like climate, but as you move to the south, it becomes warmer and arider.

And thanks to this, you’ve got a lot of variation to enjoy and explore on your road trip to New Mexico.

Let’s take a look at what it has to offer:

Four Corners Monument

The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the southwestern USA. It’s where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet and the only place where four states meet in the US.

The original marker was erected in 1912 as a simple cement pad. Since then, it’s been done in granite and bras, which gives it an excellent finish.

It also features a beautiful visitors center open all year round, which sells some stunning handmade jewelry and crafts.

White Sands National Park

The White Sands National Park provides stunning scenery to all the visitors, and although there isn’t much to the park's facilities, it really doesn’t matter.

The National Park covers 145,762 acres in the Tularosa Basin. And as you can imagine, it’s filled with white dunes composed of gypsum crystals.

And while you may have seen pictures of the white sands, nothing really compares to seeing it in person, which is why we added it to the list.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

You’ll find the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico. It’s known for its ancient sea ledges, flowering cacti, rocky canyons, and, hidden beneath the ground, over 119 caves.

One of the most visited places in the National Park is the Carlsbad Caverns which is known for the roof of the Big Room and the stalactites that cling to it.

You also have the Walnut Canyon Desert Loop for the views or Rattlesnake Springs to experience some desert wetlands.

International UFO Museum And Research Center

Roswell is home to the International UFO Museum And Research Center, which is the perfect adventure for any that loves UFOs.

In 1947 a potential UFO crash-landed in Roswell, and this museum takes a deep dive into everything around that story. It displays materials, written information, audio, and visual effects, making this a great day.

The Loretto Chapel

The Loretto Chapel is a tiny, privately owned chapel that used to be owned by the Sisters of Loretto. Now, the chapel acts as a museum and a wedding chapel.

With a small entrance fee, you can explore the stunning spiral staircase which leads to the choir loft. The staircase stands out thanks to appearing to have no support.

The Very Large Array

For anyone interested in astronomy, the world’s famous premier observatories for radio astronomy should make your list of places to visit. It consists of 27 25-meter radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration.

The data from all the antennas is combined electronically to give scientists a resolution of what’s happening in space.

Blue Hole Of Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa is known as the “City of Natural Lakes,” and the Blue Of Santa Rosa stands testament to this.

The area is filled with natural bodies of water for people to dip into and enjoy the pristine waters. Most lakes are used daily for summer activities, from fishing to swimming.

It’s found just off Route 66 and has quickly become one of New Mexico's top tourist attractions for many visitors.

Billy The Kid Gravesite

One of the most famous cowboys in history is Billy the Kid. And while the grave is free to visit, the museum is worth checking out.

The museum was built on understanding better the trials and tribulations of people in the 1800s and early 1900s.

66 Diner

While you're driving down the historic Route 66, why not stop off to check out the 50’s style diner for a bite to eat?

The diner is famous for its burgers, blue plate specials, and the best milkshakes in Albuquerque, making it a tourist attraction.

Petroglyph National Monument

The Petroglyph National Monument stretches 17 miles along Albuquerque's New Mexico’s West Mesa.

The site features designs and symbols carved into volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers around 400 to 700 years ago.

Bandelier National Monument

The Bandelier National Monument covers 33,677 acres near Los Alamos, United States. Most of the structure dates back to two eras which are 1150 to 1600 CE.

While there, you can explore the caverns carved into the rock and where the early settlers lived.

Continental Divide

On your legendary drive across Route 66, you’ll pass the Continental Divide. And at the intervals, you’ll see abandoned motels and empty gas stations. But more importantly, you’ll see the point where the US becomes Mexico.

Roswell UFO Crash Site

The Roswell UFO Crash Site marks the place where the most significant UFO conspiracy the world has seen. In 1947, metallic and rubber debris was recovered on a ranch near Corona.

People took pictures, and reports came in that a UFO spaceship had crashed but was later covered up by the government (depending on which story you believe). Either way, it’s still a pretty cool place to check out.

Meow Wolf Art Complex Santa Fe

The Meow Wolf Art Complex in Santa Fe provides a unique and immersive experience with art installations, multimedia elements, and a mysterious narrative.

They say it combines a jungle gym, a haunted house, a children's museum, and of course, an art exhibit.

Mesalands Dinosaur Museum And Natural Sciences Laboratory

The Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences Laboratory is the last place that made our list. The museum hosts many replicated and original fossils for you and your family to admire.

It has everything from tiny fossilized footprints to the 40’ long Torvosaurus skeleton, which takes your breath away.

Final Thoughts & Takeaways

Recently, New Mexico became famous thanks to shows like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, but the state is so much more than that.

And I really hope this article has helped introduce you to all the weird and beautiful places the state of New Mexico has to offer its visitors.

Road Trips > Cross Country Road Trip > Mexico Road Trip Stops

About the Author

Jason Fox
Jason Fox

Jason Fox: Four years ago, I decided to quit my job as a chef to travel the world and see where life took me. The skills I learned while traveling led me to become a freelance writer so I could share my experiences with the world. Since then, I've been traveling the world working as a digital nomad. Find me on Instagram.