Riverbend Hot Springs.
Photo courtesy Riverbend Hot Springs.
Less than a two-hour drive from El Paso, Truth or Consequences — or as locals call it, "T or C" — exudes a colorful vibe with vintage hot springs hotels, a lively downtown art scene, and an out-of-this-world attraction.
Truth or Consequences may be an off-the-radar retreat for many travelers, but its budget-friendly stays and easygoing atmosphere make it a must-visit for soaking. The Hot Springs Bathhouse and Commercial Historic District includes 11 bathhouses (also hotels), each with access to geothermal waters. Artist galleries and studios have also bubbled to the surface downtown; check out the monthly Second Saturday Art Hop.
Geronimo Springs Museum grounds you in local history. Indoor exhibitions cover everything from Apache and Hispanic culture to Western ranching and homestead life.
Five miles north of town, Elephant Butte Lake State Park is New Mexico's largest lake and one of the state's most popular sites for camping along sandy shores, boating, and sailing. Didn't pack your kayak? Rent one — along with paddle boards and jet skis — from the marina.
The lake is well-known for bird watching, but for the most spectacular displays, head north to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, a vital wintering ground for cranes and geese.
High-tech flights launch from Spaceport America, the world's first purposebuilt commercial spaceflight departure point. Check ahead for tours, which begin at the T or C visitor center. Would-be astronauts can ride the G-Shock simulator and see where orbital test flights launch.
Don't Miss: Truth or Consequences Happenings
T or C Fiesta, May
When radio and television host Ralph Edwards, who famously emceed a show called Truth or Consequences, sought a town that would change its name, Hot Springs, New Mexico, was game. The change was official on March 31, 1950. The newly inked Truth or Consequences celebrates with an annual festival, and for decades, Edwards traveled there to host it. Though he died in 2005, the tradition continues.
Photo courtesy Spaceport America.