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New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. From the art galleries of Santa Fe to the snow skiing in Ruidoso to the caverns of Carlsbad, the state is full of beauty, adventure, and fun things to do with your family. And if want to have fun while getting off the beaten path, you can do that too! Here are 5 of the most fun family friendly hidden gems in New Mexico!
#1 Gila Cliff Dwellings
First on my list of the best hidden gems in New Mexico is the Gila Cliff Dwellings. This national monument is nestled in the heart of the Gila National Forest. It is about an hour’s drive from Silver City in the southeastern part of the state.
These dwellings are where the native Mogollons lived thousands of years ago. They are basically caves carved out of the mountains.
After a short hike, you can climb up into the caves. Once there, explore the different rooms and imagine what it would have been like to live here long ago.
You can take in the beautiful views and absorb the history while your kids have fun pretending to be cave dwellers.
And as a bonus, this is a fee-free national monument. So, it won’t cost you a thing to spend the day here, other than the gas to get here!
For more information, see my post on the Gila Cliff Dwellings and my tips for making the most of your trip!
#2: White Sands National Park
Another great family friendly hidden gem is White Sands National Park. Now, White Sands isn’t completely a hidden gem. A lot of people know about it. But, I feel like it gets overshadowed by Carlsbad Caverns, which is not that far away.
White Sands is one of the best national parks for kids because it is so different from most of the other national parks around the United States.
Once you enter White Sands, you will find yourself surrounded by dunes of white gypsum sand as far as the eye can see. It is so hard to wrap your head around the thought that one minute you are in the middle of the desert and the next it looks like you are standing in the midst of snowy hills!
The best thing about White Sands is that it is the perfect place to go sledding without the cold weather. It’s like having your cake and eating it too! And because the sand stays nice and cool, your kids can run around barefoot, even in the peak of summer.
#3: City of Rocks State Park
If your kids have endless energy and love climbing on things, then City of Rocks State Park is the perfect place for you to explore!
The park is full of huge boulders that look like they have been thrown and stacked in a haphazard way. This makes it the perfect natural playground for kids. They can climb, crawl around, hide, and play for hours without getting bored.
If you want to camp, there are campsites inside of City of Rocks. This makes it a convenient spot for your family vacation.
If, on the other hand, you would prefer staying in a hotel, you have several options. You can choose to stay in Silver City or Deming. City of Rocks is an easy day trip from either city.
If you want to stay somewhere a little larger, look at Los Cruces. It is about an hour and 15 minutes from City of Rocks.
#4: The Catwalks
Want a beautiful hike with amazing views and relaxing vibes? Then look no further than the Catwalks. This is a portion of the Gila National Forest, just outside of the small town of Glenwood, New Mexico.
The great thing about the Catwalks is that it is a beautiful hiking trail through a canyon and along a small creek. The area gets its name from the elevated wooden walkways that were originally over a steel pipe which was used to bring water down to an ore processing plant.
Today, these catwalks allow you to hike a few feet above the creek and get a bird’s eye view of it below. This makes it a lot of fun for kids. And, for added fun, during the warm weather, they can splash around in the creek.
There are bathrooms and picnic tables at the trailhead for you to enjoy before or after your hike.
This hidden gem in New Mexico gives you the perfect balance between peacefulness and adventure. There really is something here for everyone in the family.
#5: Meow Wolf
Last, but not least, on my list of the best hidden gems in New Mexico is Meow Wolf. This may be my favorite thing to do in New Mexico!
You will find Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. And it is one of the best things to do with kids!
Basically, Meow Wolf is a huge interactive art installation that is housed in an old bowling alley. A different artist took responsible for each room and had fun with it!
You start off facing an old Victorian home. As you make your way through the house, you will find that there are “doors” to completely different worlds in the most unexpected places. To get to these worlds, you just have to crawl through the dryer, the fridge, or the fireplace!
And best of all, you are actually encouraged to touch everything in Meow Wolf! I promise, your kids will definitely love exploring this unique place!
Visit Meow Wolf’s website for more details!
There are tons of things to do in New Mexico. But, some of the best ones are located off the beaten path. These are the best hidden gems in New Mexico for families. I hope you enjoy exploring each and every one of them!
For more things to do in New Mexico, see where to eat in Silver City, things to do in Silver City, and my post on Carlsbad Caverns.
For help planning your vacations, see how to take amazing vacations on any budget and how to plan an epic vacation.
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!
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