14 cool places to visit in New Mexico on a family vacation

If you’re traveling to New Mexico on a family vacation, you’ll be able to find year-round activities to keep kids of all ages entertained. Fun things to do on a family vacation in New Mexico range from springtime hikes to exploring ancient cliff dwellings and cool underground caves in the summer. Autumn is a great time to check out the culture and history within the Navajo Nation, or you can hit the slopes for alpine sports in the winter months. Learn about some of the unique places to visit on a New Mexico family vacation, including family resorts.

The Navajo Nation is to visit in New Mexico with kids that's full of culture, history, education, and incredible natural beauty. You’ll find museums, monuments, and trading posts, as well as the Navajo Zoo and Botanical Park to explore. Tours range from self-guided to horseback tours and vehicle tours and cover topics from culture and history to Navajo arts. Accommodations within the Navajo Nation include hotels, campgrounds, bed-and-breakfasts, and even traditional hogan dwellings for an authentic Navajo experience. Be sure to be respectful, and see the Navajo Nation’s website for visiting protocols.

2. Take a step back in time at Northwest New Mexico historic sites

In Northwest New Mexico, you’ll find lots of unique things to do with kids of all ages. You can explore the center of an ancient world at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, with ancient pueblos and artifacts dating from between 850 and 1250 A.D. At the Aztec Ruins National Monument, you’ll see preserved structures and history from the Pueblo Indians created hundreds of years ago. You can find a unique photo op at the Four Corners Monument, the only place in the United States where 4 states meet, between New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.

3. New Mexico family resort: Angel Fire

Angel Fire Resort is a family resort in New Mexico with year-round amenities and activities for kids. Accommodations range from cozy condos to log cabins and charming single-family homes, all with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. In winter months, you can enjoy alpine activities like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snowshoeing, with some accommodations offering ski-in/ski-out locations. In warmer months, you’ll find activities like hiking, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, and fishing nearby. Angel Fire is located close to family-friendly destinations for entertainment, shopping, and dining.

4. See cliff dwellings and more in Los Alamos

Los Alamos is a great spot for New Mexico family vacations, with a mix of small-town charm, incredible natural beauty, and fascinating historical sites. At the Bandelier National Monument and the Puye Cliff Dwellings, you’ll see ancient cave dwellings and pueblos, artifacts, pottery, and museum exhibits. You can learn about the creation of the atomic bomb at the Manhattan Project Historical Site and see full-size bomb models at the Bradbury Science Museum. In the winter months, you can enjoy alpine sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area just outside of Los Alamos.

5. New Mexico family resort: Red River

WorldMark by Wyndham is part of the beautiful Red River Ski Area, a family resort in New Mexico with year-round activities and entertainment. The lodge at WorldMark Red River offers cozy resort accommodations with room amenities like fireplaces and mountain-view balconies, washer/dryers, and full kitchens. Resort amenities include an outdoor hot tub, barbecue and picnic areas, a private chair lift, and a ski-in/ski-out location just off the slopes. In the winter, you can snowboard, ski, or go sledding or snowshoeing just outside the lodge.

6. Stroll through the Santa Fe historic district

There are tons of fun things to do on a family vacation to New Mexico’s capital, Santa Fe. The city is known for its charming Pueblo-style architecture and historic district, a thriving arts community, and kid-friendly attractions. Kids can get hands-on with interactive exhibits at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Family-friendly historic sites include Pecos National Historical Park, Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe Plaza, and the Santa Fe Railyard Park. You can also explore a living museum at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, an 18th- and 19th-century Spanish village.

7. Hike the rim of an extinct volcano at Capulin Volcano National Monument

If you’re going to be visiting Northeastern New Mexico on your family vacation, you can check out an extinct cinder cone volcano at Capulin Volcano National Monument. Be sure to stop by the visitors center to learn about the volcano’s geology and how its eruption shaped the landscape. You can hike up the volcano or pay a reasonable fee and drive to the top. A kid-friendly hiking trail runs around the rim of the volcano and provides both incredible views into the cone and panoramic views of the area.

8. Explore the 'Heart of New Mexico' on family vacation in Albuquerque

Albuquerque is part of the state’s Central region known as the "Heart of New Mexico." This colorful city is packed with kid-friendly attractions including museums like the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, the Museum of Nuclear Science, and the Albuquerque Museum. You can also visit the ABQ BioPark zoo, aquarium, and botanical gardens downtown. Family entertainment in Albuquerque ranges from rides and waterslides at Cliff’s Amusement Park to flying in a hot air balloon and enjoying evening ghost tours through the city.

9. Hike in the Gila National Forest in Silver City

Silver City is a great option for a relaxing family vacation in New Mexico that's located in the Southwest region just off the 3 million-acre Gila National Forest. In the forest, you can enjoy a range of beautiful wooded hiking trails, including accessible trails at the Catwalk Recreation Area. You can drive out to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, one of the few places where you can actually enter and explore caves and cliff dwellings. A short distance from Silver City you’ll find hot springs perfect for soaking away the day at Lightfeather Hot Springs and Gila Hot Springs.

10. See heritage farm and ranch exhibits in Las Cruces

Las Cruces has plenty of cool things to do with kids in Southwest New Mexico. At the Farm and Heritage Museum, you can examine thousands of years of history through interactive exhibits and artifacts, as well as a collection of live farm animals. Within the city, you’ll also find cultural centers, art museums and galleries, and historical sites. You can cool off in the pools at the Las Cruces Regional Aquatic Center or splash in the fountains at Plaza De Las Cruces. Scenic hiking trails can be found at places like Dripping Springs Natural Area and Prehistoric Trackways National Monument.

11. Explore caves in Southeast New Mexico at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

One of the unique destinations you can visit in New Mexico on a family vacation is Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the Chihuahuan Desert. These massive limestone caves were formed millions of years ago, and there are multiple ways to see their beauty through self-guided tours, guided ranger tours, and evening bat flight programs. Certain trails inside the caverns are accessible for wheelchairs. Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and bring a jacket, as the caves are chilly. Other attractions in the area include Rattlesnake Springs, Living Desert State Park, and the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center.

12. Hit the slopes at Ski Apache

The Mescalero Apache Tribe is located in New Mexico’s South Central region and is known for its long-standing history, traditions, and culture. Within the tribe’s mountainous lands you’ll find year-round family fun at Ski Apache, with winter alpine sports on beautiful slopes from snowboarding and skiing to sledding and snowshoeing. In warmer months, you’ll often still find powder skiing at Ski Apache, plus zip-line and gondola tours, hiking, and mountain biking. You can also swim in the indoor pool, take a dip in the hot tub, and play in the on-site arcade.

13. Climb the dunes at White Sands National Park in Alamogordo

Alamogordo is located in the Southeast region of New Mexico and is a city known for its diverse, kid-friendly attractions. A must-see in the area is White Sands National Park, where you can climb, slide, and even sled over the soft sand of rare white gypsum dunes. Be sure to check out the White Sands Visitor Center for the fascinating geology and history of this one-of-a-kind park. Additional family-friendly attractions in Alamogordo include the Alameda Park Zoo, the New Mexico Museum of Space History, the White Sands Missile Range Museum, and the Toy Train Depot.

14. Go out of this world at the UFO Museum in Roswell

Located in the Southeast region of the state, Roswell is one of the uniquely quirky places you can visit on a family vacation to New Mexico. The city is world-famous for being the site of an alleged UFO crash and offers kid-friendly entertainment at sites like the International UFO Museum and Spaceport Roswell as well as themed restaurants and shopping. You’ll also find plenty of natural beauty around Roswell, like the refreshing desert oasis at Bottomless Lake State Park. You can head over to Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge for scenic strolls along the Pecos River, wildlife spotting, and incredible sunset views in the evening.