Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Photo by gettyimages.com/rwhaun
From cathedral-sized Carlsbad Caverns to the stunning dunes at White Sands National Monument, Southeastern New Mexico is brimming with road trips. Go for the icons, stay for the off-the-radar gems.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park protects 119 known caves worn into the limestone beneath the Chihuahuan Desert. Adventure fiends can join ranger-led excursions into lesser-visited ones, where climbing, crawling, and scrambling is required.
Carlsbad Museum & Art Center exhibits a small but first-rate collection. Exhibitions are dedicated to Native American ceramics, from the Mogollon and Mesa Verde vessels to Peruvian antiquities and the McAdoo Collection of the Taos Ten paintings, which includes works by Gustave Baumann and Peter Hurd.
International UFO Museum and Research Center offers detailed accounts of the 1947 Roswell Incident, when a spacecraft purportedly crashed outside of town. The museum tracks the alleged cover-up and includes dioramas of alien autopsies and supposedly life-size visitors.
The Roswell Museum and Art Center displays the largest public collection of works by painters Peter Hurd and his wife, Henriette Wyeth, who made their home outside Ruidoso. The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits some 400 contemporary works created by Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program participants.
The New Mexico Museum of Space History chronicles New Mexico's surprising connections to space exploration and features a model of the International Space Station, the rocket sled that "Fastest Man Alive" John Stapp rode, and the International Space Hall of Fame.
White Sands National Monument covers more than 275 square miles, making it the world's largest gypsum dune field.