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Camping in New Mexico

Explore ancient pueblos, soak in restorative springs, and see Mission-style architecture in this southwestern state.

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In the southwestern US, New Mexico offers a distinct vibe not found elsewhere in the country, or even in the region. Here you’ll find Old West mining towns, restorative hot springs, and all sorts of historic sites, including ancient pueblos and protected national monuments, not to mention a distinct cuisine that borrows elements from Tex-Mex and Indigenous culinary traditions. You won’t be disappointed with the camping—the state offers a variety of terrains, from quiet forests to vast expanses of desert, and with five national forests, 30 state parks, and lots of untouched private land, there's no shortage of spots to set up a tent.

Where to Go

Central and North Central New Mexico

New Mexico's Central and North-Central regions are home to many of the state's most popular cultural attractions, and both Albuquerque and Santa Fe are here. Area highlights include Bandelier National Monument and Petroglyph National Monument, as well as numerous pueblos. The most famous of these—the Taos Pueblo—is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years.

Northwest New Mexico

Cultural attractions abound in Northwestern New Mexico. Highlights include the Zuni Pueblo and the Acoma Pueblo—both the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Navajo Nation call this region home. Other points of interest include the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument, and El Mapais National Monument.

Northeast New Mexico

Situated where the Rocky Mountains give way to the Southwestern plains, this area is characterized by prairies, ranches, and Western charm. Popular historic and natural attractions include the Fort Union National Monument and the Capulin Volcano National Monument. Conchas Lake State Park and Ute Lake State Park offer ample opportunities for fishing, boating, and lakeside camping.

Southwest New Mexico

For a Wild West experience, head to the southwestern corner of the state. Here you'll find plenty of old ghost towns, historic mission communities, and pristine natural areas. The area is also rich with hot springs, particularly in the low-key spa town of Truth or Consequences.

Southeast New Mexico

Culture, history, and the great outdoors converge in southeastern New Mexico, home to both of the state's national parks (White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns) as well as a host of museums, from the New Mexico Museum of Space History to the Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner. Fans of the paranormal won't want to miss Roswell, the site of the famous Area 51 UFO sightings and a de facto pilgrimage site for all things alien.

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