Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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In the American Southwest, New Mexico often gets overshadowed by the impressive natural and historic sites in Arizona and Colorado. However, New Mexico has one of the most diverse landscapes in the country and intriguing attractions that you might not expect here. This is a unique place to learn about Hispanic and Native American cultures through food, festivals, and hiking trails.
So whether you’re just passing through on a road trip or planning to make New Mexico your vacation destination, make sure to visit these amazing places in the state. After all, it’s known as the “Land of Enchantment” for a reason!
What Is It? One of the best ways to sample the delicious and authentic cuisine of New Mexico is to join a food tour in Santa Fe.
Why Do It? Tours and classes begin in the historic downtown part of the city and allow you to experience the area through the eyes of a local. For many Southwestern dishes, you’ll be asked whether you want red or green chiles. Chiles are a big part of New Mexican cuisine, so prepare your taste buds and try some local specialties! You can also answer this question by responding, “Christmas,” and you’ll get to try both colors of chiles.
Good to Know: Santa Fe is also known for its vibrant arts scene, so stick around town to check out some local galleries or even an opera.
What Is It? The city of Albuquerque won over the hearts and imaginations of television viewers around the world thanks to the cult TV show, “Breaking Bad.”
Why Do It? The vast and desolate mountain and desert vista set the backdrop for the show’s six seasons, which were filmed in and around the Albuquerque area.
Good to Know: You can find locations of the filming spots on “Breaking Bad” websites and set out on a do-it-yourself tour to relive your favorite scenes. Some local guide companies also offer guided tours of the filming locations on bicycles, RVs, and trolleys.
What Is It? Most people continue traveling west to California to visit wine country, but did you know that New Mexico’s wine industry is actually older than California’s?
Why Do It? A Capuchín monk and a Franciscan friar were the first ones to plant grapes in the Rio Grande Valley back in the early 1600s. Today, there are quite a few local wineries in the state that you can visit during your trip.
Good to Know: Make sure to sip some sparkling wines since they are a New Mexican specialty!
What Is It? Head about an hour southwest of Alamogordo in the southern part of the state to visit the impressive White Sands National Park that has an extraordinary landscape.
Why Do It? This is one of the world’s great natural wonders, with white sand and wave-like dunes that make up the largest gypsum dune field in the world. The park spans 275 square miles, and the Tularosa Basin area it’s in sees about 330 days of sunshine each year.
Good to Know: You can join an interpretative program to learn more about the habitat and the wildlife that call it home.
What Is It? While on your statewide tour of national monuments, also make sure to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
Why Do It? Native American culture still has a tremendous influence over life in New Mexico, and the Mogollon Native Americans built these dwellings many centuries ago. There are a few dozen rooms in several caves here near the town of Silver City.
Good to Know: To learn more about the cliff dwellings and the people who once called them home, take a tour and walk around the monument’s trails.