Land of Enchantment
If you follow a lonely road through the rolling hills of northern New Mexico, you’ll catch sight of the Pedernal. Stretching 9,862 feet into the blue sky, it’s the mountain that captured artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s attention, repeatedly making cameos in her paintings.
“It’s my private mountain,” O’Keeffe said. “God told me if I painted it often enough I could have it.”
Her words provide a window into the New Mexican ethos where people share a deep relationship with the earth—a connection some call sacred—that stretches back more than 1,000 years. At Acoma, one of the nation’s oldest continuously occupied settlements, you’ll find a sun-baked Native American adobe village built 1,000 years ago. In El Sanctuario de Chimayo church, people have collected dirt believed to have healing powers for more than 200 years.
In Santa Fe near Banderlier National Monument, soft adobe buildings and homes climb hillsides and line streets. At Carlsbad Caverns National Park, you’ll get a rare glimpse of the Earth’s astonishing formations below ground. In Las Cruces, green chiles and grapes harvested nearby transform classic meals into sensory experiences.
Near Alamogordo, the ground turns blinding white as it sprawls across 275 square miles to form White Sands National Park. Next to this stark beauty lies White Sands Missile Range where the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Herein lies the magic of New Mexico—for every breathtaking turn in the road, there’s a story. It’s your turn to uncover them in this intriguing land.
Start: El Paso, Texas
Discover some of the nation’s most diverse recreation areas in and around El Paso,Texas. From desert adventures to historic missions, here are our top six things to do.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Once part of a reef in an inland sea, Carlsbad Caverns has more than 119 limestone caves, including the Big Room, which is as large as six football fields. The Big Room Trail is the most popular ranger-guided tour in the caves. From the trail’s Rock of Ages viewing area, enjoy views of famous cave formations such as the Hall of Giants, the Temple of the Sun, the Chandelier and Crystal Spring Dome.
Carlsbad’s Uncrowded Park Gems
Base out of Carlsbad to explore Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains national parks. Then dip in a natural swimming hole under a waterfall and paddle down the Pecos River.
White Sands National Park, New Mexico
The sparkling white sands of the world’s largest gypsum field are mesmerizing at White Sands National Park in New Mexico. Hike or sled on the sand to experience them.
Space to Roam in Alamogordo
Just minutes from White Sands National Park, Alamogordo, N.M., offers some must-see attractions.
Albuquerque vs. Santa Fe
Albuquerque vs. Santa Fe Personality Quiz
Driving through New Mexico en route to the Grand Canyon, do you spend more time in Albuquerque or Santa Fe? Take this quiz to find out.
Grants, New Mexico
You’ll discover vintage Route 66-themed stops and an uncrowded national monument at this classic New Mexico town.
Trading Places in Gallup, N.M.
To immerse yourself in some classic Route 66 culture as well as a strong Native American arts scene, stop in Gallup, N.M., home to 1,000 artists and a long history of being a vibrant trading post for Native American arts. Start your Gallup adventure off at the rambling El Rancho Hotel, a true route classic built in 1936.
Farmington, New Mexico
Venture Out of This World
At more than a mile high in elevation, you’ll find amazing high-desert adventures around every corner in Farmington, N.M.
Tip for Traveling from N.M. to Arizona: Every year Texas and New Mexico go to daylight saving time, but Arizona does not. Remember this one-hour difference as you travel between the states.
Petrified Forest National Park
Home to fossils older than 200 million years, and some of the largest and most beautiful concentrations of petrified wood, “painted desert” badlands, archeological sites and historic structures, Petrified Forest National Park is a very unique national park.
Petrified Park Stay in Holbrook
Have You Slept in a Wigwam Lately? If not, pull over in Holbrook, Ariz., and stay at iconic Route 66 mainstay, Wigwam Motel. In your teepee, you’ll find cable TV and air-conditioning, surprising modern upgrades in a motel village built in 1950 and still managed by the Lewis family.
Explore Navajo Country
Discover the rich history and culture of the Navajo Nation and its people. Visit the Code Talkers Memorial at Window Rock (before or after Farmington), then get a glimpse of Navajo history and modern life in Tuba City.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Stop at Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Hidden secrets await in Tusayan.
Bring the Gypsy Guide App
Enjoy the freedom of driving your own car while traveling with an entertaining guide that doesn’t take up space. Learn more at gypsyguide.com/tour/grand-canyon-south-rim/
48 Hours in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Get ready for adventure. Here are some of our favorite things to do while at the South Rim from biking in solitude to exploring some of the rim’s most historic treasures.
Yavapai Lodge Wants to Keep the Grand Canyon Grand
Sleep well and sustainably about a mile from the rim. The Yavapai Lodge’s restaurant, tavern and nearby market and shuttle stop make navigating the rim easy.
Into the Deep
Read a family’s story about hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and discovering there’s more than meets the eye.
Bears and Brews in Williams
Williams is a southern gateway to the Grand Canyon. A wildlife park, a brewery and Route 66 history await.
Bearizona Drive-thru Wildlife Park
See bears, wolves, buffalo and more in this drive through park among the pine forests of north Arizona.
Grand Canyon Brewing Co.
Savor a Sunset Amber Ale at the new Grand Canyon Brewing Co. location. There’s a tasting room and restaurant with burgers, brats and pizza. Take a tour of the brewery.
7 Stops in Phenomenal Flagstaff
Located two hours from six national monuments and Grand Canyon National Park, Flagstaff is a thriving university town with a charming historic downtown. Here are seven things to do.
Starry Nights at Lowell Observatory
Visit a legendary landmark where Pluto was discovered and scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
Silver City’s 3 Places to Explore
Tucked in a rugged corner of New Mexico, you’ll discover the vibrant historic town of Silver City. Once a booming silver mining town, it was here Billy the Kid was first arrested in 1875 for theft. Here are the top places to explore.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
The Best of Las Cruces
Visit two under-visited national parks, vintage shops, hip restaurants and vineyards that are part of the nation’s oldest wine-producing region. Here are the top seven things to do while visiting this university town.