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Four Affordable and Fun Staycation Ideas for Your Family

Two rafts on the Rio Grande

Whether your vacation time is limited, money is tight, or if you’re just not comfortable traveling to another state or country, a “staycation” can provide a wonderful family experience. Some staycations can be created entirely at home with a little creativity — but if you want a more traditional vacation experience while keeping your home as a base, here are some attractions and day trip ideas that will be easy on the wallet and will support local businesses, some of whom were hit particularly hard by COVID-19 here in New Mexico.

1. Museums and Historic Sites

Fascinating for both children and adults, museums offer a variety of experiences for the visitor, including fun interactive displays, depending on where you go. Some museum experiences in our state include the New Mexico History Museum, The National Hispanic Cultural Center, the New Mexico Museum of Space History, and the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Historical Museum. Historic sites include Forts Sumner and Selden, plus Jemez and Lincoln Historic Sites. An interactive, statewide map of museums and historic sites can be found here.

2. Art Galleries

Often overlooked as a great source of learning and entertainment, local art galleries should be on every family’s list of places to visit. In addition to displaying the paintings, sculptures, and other art forms of both historic and contemporary artists, many galleries offer classes, films, and educational programs for children and adults. From Native American artists who have sustained traditions dating back thousands of years to the artists known for their unique art forms, both traditional and contemporary, New Mexico is known worldwide for its artistic heritage and culture. View a listing of galleries, arts communities, Native American pueblos, and arts and cultural districts here.

3. State and National Parks

Areas of natural beauty, locations of important historical events, and large regions for recreational use are all included in state and national parks. Although each park is unique, many offer hiking, fishing, boating, camping, and similar outdoor activities. Full-year passes are available at all state parks and are a practical purchase for families planning more than one yearly visit. New Mexico is home to five national forests, 15 national parks and monuments, 34 state parks, and 26 wilderness areas — whatever your outdoor passion, there’s a spot for you and your family! View a listing of all of New Mexico’s outdoor adventures here.

4. Family Fun

When planning your New Mexico staycation, you can count on plenty of adventures for the entire family. From paddling a picturesque lake to negotiating the white water of a rushing river; from taking a ride through the Old West to a camping getaway — even visiting a cave or attending a festival or fair — those of every age will find a fun family adventure. To see the family adventures that await statewide, visit a comprehensive list here.

Remember: the New Mexico Department of Health has its Red to Green public health orders homepage that will help guide your in-state travel and will inform you of any area guidelines and restrictions.

Vacation Financial Affordability Calculator

Now that you’ve got a ton of great ideas and are ready to make your staycation a reality, make sure your wallet can handle the trip before you hit the road. Our financial education partners at Banzai have created a free-to-use vacation affordability calculator that allows you to enter your estimated costs for accommodations, travel expenses, transportation, and activities. Then, put in how much you’ve already saved for your vacation, any additional monthly savings amounts, and how long you have until your adventure begins; Banzai will then let you know if you’re ready to hit “book” or if you need to adjust your budget, or wait a little longer to get financially prepared.

Vacation Affordability Calculator

Nusenda Credit Union’s roots run deep in the New Mexico soil — since our founding in 1936, we’ve been the financial institution of choice for hundreds of thousands of our fellow New Mexicans. We’re dedicated to improving our members’ financial well-being and supporting our communities through affordable products, friendly service, community involvement, and financial education. To learn more and to become a member, visit

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Information courtesy of New Mexico Tourism Department and Banzai.