Have an out-of-this-world experience among towering sand dunes and the UFO Museum in Roswell.
In southeastern New Mexico (part of Chaves County), Roswell is internationally-known as the site of an alleged 1947 UFO crash. A semi-arid environment dotted with underground-fed lakes, sky-high sand dunes, and a thriving UFO community, Roswell embraces their iconic alien legacy by hosting an annual UFO festival in June. Camping in Roswell is the best way to connect with the geography and abundant wildlife. RV parks and glamping campsites offer easy access to the adventures around this unique locale.
Only a 20-minute drive from Roswell, NM, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge spans 24,563 acres. This wetland paradise for over 350 bird species, 100 types of dragonflies, and numerous reptile varieties is split into two sections with roads running through—perfect for viewing local geography and wildlife without getting sore legs. However, three walking trails and two hiking trails are also options. Leashed dogs are welcome in certain areas.
Bottomless Lakes State Park is only 15 miles southeast of Roswell and features nine deep lakes, but Lea Lake is the only one that allows swimming. Its sandy shoreline is ideal for soaking up the sun, fishing, launching kayaks, or starting a scuba dive. Pedal boats and paddle boards are available for rent from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The campground area offers restrooms, showers, full hook-up sites, and an RV dump station. Purchase a day pass ahead of time to get organized before leaving.
The International UFO Museum and Research Center is a great way to spend the day learning about the secrets of our skies. It opened 1992 and continuously draws UFO enthusiasts and tourists from around the world, but it does close early on holidays. Although it focuses on the iconic Roswell UFO crash, there’s plenty of alien-related information about abductions, crop circles, and unsolved mysteries with guided tours available. Hipcampers can land nearby for the night in tent campsites, RV sites, and glamping sites.
The Mescalero Sand Dunes offer 610 acres for off-roading vehicles to traverse 45 miles east of Roswell (there is a small entrance fee). The dunes are made of quartz particles that shift in the wind (sometimes up to a foot a year). Campsites among the dunes are only accessible by ATVs and sand-friendly vehicles (regular cars and buses will sink, so don’t risk getting stuck). There is RV camping in some parking lots, so Hipcampers can stay nearby and enjoy effortless access.
Roswell averages 281 sunny days a year, but the best months to visit are during the off season in spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) thanks to smaller crowds and cooler temps. June is the hottest month with average temps around 94°F, so be prepared with sun gear and plenty of drinking water. The average temperature throughout winter (December to February) is 55°F, and although snowfall can occur, it’s a rare experience.