Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Tue August 02 2022
Shiprock, the great volcanic rock mountain in desert plane of New Mexico, USA (muha04 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

New Mexico

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Santa Fe (blewulis / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Santa Fe (blewulis / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Located in the Southwestern United States, New Mexico has Mexican, Spanish and Native American cultures all blended into one beautiful state. From boating and skiing, to opera and flying saucers, New Mexico will pleasantly surprise you. Whether at a wine and chili festival, visiting the Aztec ruins or spending a day at the spa, visitors can always find something special here.

With a high percentage of Hispanic and Native Americans (consisting mostly of Navajo and Pueblo peoples), the cultural influences are present in many aspects of New Mexico life. From authentic Mexican food, to powwows, to festivals and heritage museums, the coupling of these cultures inspires a zest for life that can only be found here. Known as the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico is a melting pot of traditions, cuisines, customs and pride.

Though the climate is typically hot and arid, New Mexico is not completely covered in desert. In fact, heavily forested mountain wilderness covers a significant portion of the northern part of the state. The southern part of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains runs right through New Mexico, making the area a prime ski and winter sports destination. The Rio Grande River also flows through the state, which is great for all kinds of boating, including kayaking and white-water rafting.

Fall in Abiquiu, New Mexico (MissionPositive / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Fall in Abiquiu, New Mexico (MissionPositive / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Well known for its arts community, New Mexico was once home to artists O’Keefe and D.H. Lawrence. Today, the arts community still thrives through galleries, museums and art festivals state-wide. There are also places in New Mexico that carry some mystery and intrigue. Roswell is said to be the site of the most well-known flying saucer crash in U.S. history. These attractions and events, both explained and unexplained, are just part of the reason New Mexico is a favorite travel destination.

With local ingredients like blue corn and New Mexico chile peppers, the cuisine of the region is bursting with unique flavors inspired by both Mexican and Native American gastronomy. The Santa Luna Restaurant in Santa Fe provides diners with some of the freshest handmade Mexican food in the city. From the salsa to the enchiladas and chile rellenos, scratch-made everything makes each menu item a palate-pleasing option. For a creative Southwestern fusion restaurant in Taos, The Love Apple serves up American favorites with a New Mexican twist.

New Mexico’s only major airport is Albuquerque International (ABQ), located in the center of the state and providing domestic and international air service. The state has other, smaller local airports that are used for domestic and in-state travel. El Paso Airport, in El Paso, Texas, also serves the southern New Mexican population. The state’s larger cities (Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces) each have some form of public transportation, such as commuter trains and buses, but it is recommended to navigate the state by car. It should be known that speed limits on most New Mexican interstates are 75 mph.

Due to the vast change in altitude and terrain of the state, New Mexico’s climate varies depending about region. While it tends to have an arid climate, with dry, hot springs and summers, weather in the mountains get become quite cold as well as snowy. The state’s unique climate helps to make it a year-round vacation destination with unique natural wonders and fascinating cultural events.