New Mexico: Your Vacation Guide


Meleah York, Assistant Editor

Ever since I was about five years old, my grandparents have been taking my little brother and me on trips to New Mexico for spring break every year. We stay with my grandma’s sister and her husband in Los Alamos, visiting various great aunts and uncles in close proximity. When people think of New Mexico, they might immediately assume that it’s a desert, that it’s mostly barren and boring to travel to. Ah, but you see, I’m here to convince you otherwise.

New Mexico is, in fact, not merely a desert. Mountain ranges dominate the area. Santa Fe, the state capital, is surrounded by gorgeous mountainscapes. The plaza, where many go to shop in toy stores or clothing stores with handmade items, is filled with life and sometimes street entertainment. Under an awning lining about two blocks are Native American descendants that hand make their own jewelry. Lined up on woven blankets, their original creations are some of the most beautiful designs, and they really take pride in their art.

About an hour away and up the mountain is the town of Los Alamos. Originally established as the base for preparation and planning for the world’s first atomic bomb during World War II, Los Alamos has grown into a big town filled with history, suburban developments, and is a hub for outdoor activities such as biking, running, hiking, and skiing. The hiking trails are almost everywhere and easy to access. Sometimes you may spot wildlife or come across an ancient deer trap. There are museums about the atomic bomb as well as science and nature centers.

Another popular spot in Los Alamos is the Bandelier National Park and Monument. It’s located in a valley and contains hiking trails, self-guided tours, and hikes along the walls, where caves that were the former residences of Native peoples are located. You can even climb up ladders to step inside of the caves, putting yourself back into history. You can explore cave and wall drawings, and see deer and coyotes among the trees.

Back in Santa Fe, one of the most popular attractions rising in popularity is Meow Wolf. A former bowling alley, the complex was purchased and renovated into a giant interactive art exhibit, but it’s not the kind of art exhibit you would usually think of. You start inside a full-sized house, taking different paths that take you to different worlds or “alternate realms”, and besides that I can’t really explain the rest of it. It’s a beautiful expression of creativity centered around the story of a time traveler whose family had just discovered the realms he travels to. It really is an experience you go into not expecting anything, because it is nothing like you would expect.

Overall, from its outdoorsy encouragement and quirky attractions, New Mexico is so much more than just a southwestern desert. If you ever need a fun but laid back destination to spend your spring break at, New Mexico is the ideal place to be.