If you’re like most Albuquerque residents, COVID-19 has got you feeling more stir crazy than the winter. Now that the world is beginning to slowly reopen, you may wish to get out and do something; however, you might not be ready to hop on a plane just yet. If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered. Albuquerque happens to be conveniently located in the midst of dozens of awe-inspiring destinations that you can easily reach by car. Check out our top five favorite destinations below.
Located just an hour and a half outside of Albuquerque, Jemez Springs offers an eclectic mix of scenery, social life, outdoor activities and relaxation. Jemez Springs is surrounded by stunning red rock formations and rich grasslands, making visitors feel as if they stepped into one of their favorite westerns. While many people visit the area to explore its historic downtown, the real attraction in the area is the network of hot springs that promise a day or night of relaxation.
The small town of Acoma sits atop a 400-foot tall mesa in the middle of the desert and is renowned for being the oldest continually inhabited Native American site in North America. In addition to the rich history this 800-year-old settlement offers, the site is also replete with stunning views of the rocky and vast terrain below. While many people find they’re able to entertain themselves while in town, the community does offer 90-minute guided walking tours.
Once a booming coal town, Madrid deteriorated into a ghost town in the 1950s, when coal operations ceased. The town remained quiet and mostly uninhabited for the next 50 or so years, until the early 2000s, when artists discovered the quiet enclave. Since then, the community has made a comeback as an artists’ retreat, as it’s still quiet and it boasts stunning views of the Oritz Mountains and the surrounding canyon walls. Visitors to the area either mesh right in and create their own art, or they’re invited to explore the town’s many galleries, exhibits and artisanal stalls.
Valles Caldera National Preserve
If you haven’t visited the Valles Caldera National Preserve, you’re missing out. Cited as one of the most beautiful city escapes in all the state, the volcanic caldera spans over 900,000 acres of the scenic countryside that is the Valles Caldera National Preserve. From here, you can also take in the stunning views of the Jemez Mountains, which are surrounded by a just as beautiful landscape of grasslands, desert and water.
White Sands National Monument
Because of the way these dunes are always shifting, they never get old. Whether you’ve been here before or are visiting for your first time, you are bound to be impressed with the beautiful and ever changing vistas of white, wavy sand. The dunes, which are made up of white gypsum sand, can reach up to 60 feet high and promise a fun day of play. When you visit, just be sure to bring plenty water and sunscreen. Albuquerque is just a day’s drive from a number of charming towns, historic sites and stunning landscapes, so you can drive in just about any direction and find something to pique your interest. If you want some direction, however, just plug one of the above destinations into your GPS. You won’t be disappointed.