New Mexico Visitor's Guide

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Why It’s Cool: For those curious as to what a night sky looks like without the unwelcome addition of light pollution, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the spot. The Park hosts full moon walks where rangers answer questions about the nocturnal creatures in the area, cultural folklore, and astronomy. If you're there between Memorial Day and October, it's totally worth checking out the Bat Flight program, in which hundreds of thousands of bats exit the caves during dusk to eat dinner.

Where to Camp: There is only backcountry camping, and all campers are required to obtain a permit at the visitor center.

When It’s Open: Winter hours go from Labor Day to the day before Memorial Day, and summer hours are vice versa: from Memorial Day to the day before Labor Day.

Cost: Anyone over the age of 10 must pay a $10 fee to enter the caverns. The fee is waved if you visit on Memorial Day or National Public Lands Day. For more information, visit the park's website.

Carson National Forest, New Mexico
Why It’s Cool: Surprise—New Mexico is not all desert! Carson National Forest offers relatively cool summer temps as well as a great environment for fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking. In the winter, there’s even enough snow for skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Hike the 16-mile round-trip trail up to New Mexico’s highest point, Wheeler Peak, for a challenging but rewarding adventure.

Where to Camp: You'll find 35 established camping areas scattered throughout the park. Backcountry camping is also allowed. Langua Larga offers four campsites right on the water’s edge and many good areas for dispersed camping a bit farther from the lake.

When It’s Open: Forest is accessible year-round. Campgrounds vary by season and location.

Cost: No entrance fee. Campsite prices range from free to $30, depending on location, time of year, and group size. For more information, visit the park's website.