Summer is the perfect time for adventures for all ages! And what better place to make memories than in our own backyard?
New Mexico, known as the Land of Enchantment, became the country’s 47th state on Jan. 6, 1912. But for thousands of years – from those in ancient cultures to those living today in modern cities – residents and visitors have fallen in love with the open skies, unending vistas, and welcoming nature.
The New Mexico Department of Tourism has created a series of road trips dubbed “The Enchanted 8” that includes routes that are perfect for families, foodies, adventurers, explorers, and historians – there’s even a tour that’ll show you the oddest things about our home state.
- Road Trip for True Families: This two-week, 16-stop, 1022.4-mile feast of historic charms, natural wonders, and adrenaline spikes is designed with families in mind packs a lot of fun - alongside a little learning. Start with the cool, subterranean world of Carlsbad Caverns before getting acquainted with iconic local characters Smokey the Bear and Billy the Kid. Spend nights camped in proximity of prime territory for hunting precious minerals and under unparalleled views of the night skies.
- Road Trip for True Adventure Seekers: This 12-stop, 533.2-mile trip is for those who prefer their roads – and hiking trails – less traveled. Cruise toward these scenic state parks, wild rivers, preserves, and mineral-stained hills. Hike through aspen groves or across the Badlands’ moonscape. Climb ladders from a canyon bottom to visit an ancient kiva near its rim. Peer into 800-foot-deep gorges in black volcanic rock carved by the Rio Grande. Make sure to refresh those tired bones with a healing soak in the hot springs.
- Road Trip for True Native Culture Enthusiasts: This nine-stop, 717-mile trip explores the lingering and active presence of Native tribes in New Mexico, who play a key role in making our state so special. Visit their historic homes and marvel at the mysteries of architectural achievements from nearly a thousand years ago. Revel in the sandstone features considered sacred. Then find your way to the still-inhabited Pueblos where dancers keep traditions alive in the form of native foods and dances on summer evenings.
- Road Trip for True Foodies: During this 12-stop, 431.2-mile tour, taste-test remarkable culinary offerings – through local, beloved spots and restaurants run by nationally recognized chefs. Just a glance at the menus and the promise of carne adovada, hand-rolled tamales, and sopapillas could compel you to steer this way. Personalized takes on traditional mainstays means no two red chiles will be the same—but that assertion should definitely be put to the test on this tour. Between meals, sip locally made apple brandy, single malt whiskey, beer, and tequila. Reluctant to leave all trace of these dishes behind? Take a cooking class to bring them back to your own kitchen.
- Road Trip for True Architecture Aficionados: New Mexico’s iconic adobe architecture has remained largely unchanged for centuries, and is showcased in this trans-state, 12-stop, 431.2-mile tour that adds to the historic sites with innovative, new-age structures. Marvel at the 1,000-year-old Taos Pueblo, a living Native American community and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Peek behind the curtain at Los Alamos, touring headquarters for the World War II-era secret mission to build the first nuclear weapons. Revel in mysteries and history at mission churches and chapels, and don’t miss breathtaking and airy performing arts spaces.
- Road Trip for True Agriculture Addicts: This 11-stop, 662.1-mile journey chases the farm to table thread all the way back to New Mexico’s farms, wineries, and orchards. Start at the southern end of the state, where the state’s oldest vineyards, planted 400 years ago by Franciscan missionaries, still yield grapes, and New Mexico State University’s greenhouses continue to breed new varieties of chile. After tequila tasting, head to accommodations on-site at an organic farm and indulge your senses in not one but two lavender fields. Handcrafts aren’t to be left out, so include stops at local fiber arts centers and one of the sources for local yarn: an alpaca farm.
- Road Trip for True Eccentrics: Want to get a little weird? This 13-stop, 541.6-mile trip lets you explore some of the Land of Enchantment’s oddities, which begins with eccentric characters and a bar that enshrines their mementos, a village in miniature, and the state’s largest gift shop of curios. No tour of the state’s strangest people and places would be complete without a visit to Roswell and the UFO Museum, but don’t miss the ongoing sky-watching at White Sands. Roadside tourist stops worth a photo op include a roadrunner made of recycled materials, a 47-foot-long red chile pepper and a spot made world famous for its green chile cheeseburgers.
- Road Trip for True Rt. 66 Fanatics: Nat King Cole signed off on getting your kicks on Route 66—specifically naming Gallup near the Arizona border. But start this 14-stop, 322.3-mile trip instead in the east, with Tucumcari’s Route 66 Museum and timeless roadside motels and curio shop. Then head west, stopping in at historic service stations, trading posts and RV parks, and passing under the neon arches commemorating the highway on Albuquerque’s West Central Avenue. Culminate the tour at the historic and former Hollywood elites’ haunt, El Rancho Hotel.
Before you hit the road this summer, Nusenda Credit Union invites you to take some time with us to make sure you’re getting the most from your membership – personally and financially – so we can help you get where you want to go.
Our commitment to you goes beyond a simple membership. We focus on offering you lower rates and fees and higher dividends. In fact, Nusenda Credit Union provided its members $21,463,386 in direct financial benefits1 last year alone! Learn more about our Summer of Savings.
1Calculation amounts are based on average and high-use member households outlined in the Year End 2016 Membership Benefits Report produced by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Amounts could vary and are based on your relationships with the credit union. These amounts are for sample purposes only.
Information courtesy of the New Mexico Department of Tourism, www.newmexico.org.