New Mexico Day Trips: Albuquerque to Las Cruces

New Mexico is perfect for road trips, and it’s the best way to explore the state. If you’re looking for history, nature, food and great outdoor activities, the Albuquerque to Las Cruces drive is just for you.

These 5 stops will make your Albuquerque to Las Cruces trip complete.

1. Bosque del Apache: See the Birds!

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico - Photograph by Troy Lim, Your Shot

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico – Photograph by Troy Lim, Your Shot

Hit the road early in the morning to catch the morning fly-out. Hundreds birds stop to take a break at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge each day. Located about an hour south of Albuquerque, the 60,000 + acre site is well-known for hosting migratory birds such as the sandhill cranes. Even though this place is ideal to visit during winter months, there is always something interesting to see during the warmer seasons. Don’t forget to snap pics for the folks back home.

The Visitor Center is open everyday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit: FriendOfTheBosque.org.

2. Socorro, New Mexico: A year-round destination

Golf course at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Photo taken by Kristina H. Pulliam

Golf course at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Photo taken by Kristina H. Pulliam

No matter what you’ve heard about Socorro, make no mistake: This is one of New Mexico’s greatest treasures. The warm year-round temperatures make golfing and hiking ideal. If your craving greenery, make the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology your next stop. You’ll find a rather large campus with lush lawns, tall trees and colorful flowerbeds.

3. San Antonio: Green Chile Cheeseburger Heaven

Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, New Mexico.

Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, New Mexico.

Hungry yet? Head 15 minutes south to San Antonio, New Mexico for one of the best chile cheese burgers you’ll ever taste. Manny’s Buckhorn Tavern and Owl Bar & Cafe have been in competition for years over which chile cheese burger is the best. Both burgers will knock your socks off, so you can’t go wrong with either one of these New Mexico staples.

4. Elephant Butte: Make a Splash!

Elephant Butte Lake.

Elephant Butte Lake State Park New Mexico.

A trip to Las Cruces isn’t complete without visiting Elephant Butte. Only an hour south of Socorro, you can see a truly awe-inspiring view of the lake from Interstate 25. It’s definitely worth the visit, especially if you’re interested in kayaking or fishing. Consider renting equipment from Zia Kayak Outfitters, the Best of the Best in 2015They’ll even transport your kayak to the lake for you!

5. Hatch, New Mexico: Home of the Green Chile

Hatch, New Mexico is well-known for its green chiles.

Hatch, New Mexico is internationally-known for its green chile.

After your time on the lake, head to Hatch, NM — home of the world-renowned Hatch Green Chile. If you’re hungry, visit Sparky’s Burgers, BBQ & Espresso. It’s the best place to eat in Hatch if your craving BBQ or its World Famous! Hatch Green Chile Cheeseburger.

Now it’s almost the end of the day, and you’re probably ready for some rest and recuperation. NM-185 is easily accessible from Sparky’s and will take you past the serene green chile farms into to Las Cruces.

You’ve arrived in Las Cruces!

Resort pool at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Resort pool at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Everyone knows you can’t go to Las Cruces–certainly the kids won’t let you anyway– without staying at Hotel Encanto. The pool is phenomenal! Just imagine the warm sun on your shoulders, the blue skies overhead, and the cool waters calling your name. What’s more, the property is conveniently located near local attractions and offers an on-site restaurant and lounge.

We hope you enjoy the trip down to Las Cruces. Don’t forget to share your road trip photos with us on social media using #NMTrue.

Where you do like to visit on your way to Las Cruces? Share in the comments below!

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