Want to learn about the 10 places to travel on a budget in New Mexico? New Mexico is a beautiful, unadulterated vacation spot for travelers on a budget. Native American, Mexican and American history converge in the scenic desert and provide tons of fun, intriguing activities and traditions to experience.
- The Santa Fe Indian Market. For decades, hundreds of Native American artists have gathered in Santa Fe in mid-August to exhibit and sell their wares. Originally started to support and preserve Native artistry, it continues today with similar goals. It’s the largest convergence of Native artists in the world.
- Loretto Chapel. In 1872, a small chapel was being built in Santa Fe for the Sisters of Loretto. When the chapel was left unfinished, missing a stairway to the choir loft, the Sisters prayed. A stranger appeared, spent months working in complete privacy, and then disappeared. He left behind him an ornate 20 foot tight spiral of 22 steps, built with no nails and no central support. The stairs are out of commission, but touring the chapel is free.
- Roswell UFO Museum. No New Mexico visit is complete without checking out Roswell, the most famous UFO crash site on the planet. The Roswell UFO Museum is $5 for adults, $2 for kids under 15, and free for kids under 4.
- Bubble Hot Springs. New Mexico is home to numerous hot springs, many of which are still nestled in their natural habitat, not yet prey to hotels or spas. The Bubbles Hot Springs near Glenwood are 50’x100’, several feet deep, and stays around 103 degrees. The hike into the springs is a 2.5 miles out-and-back trail and the springs are, of course, completely free.
- The Whole Enchilada Festival. If you are a fan of Mexican food, then this festival is for you. Forty thousand Southern New Mexicans and visitors gather each September to partake in activities centering on the creation of a humongous enchilada, made using 750 pounds of ground corn and hundreds of gallons of toppings. Spectators are welcome to watch the cooking process and then sample the finished product, all for free!
- Plaza Blanca and Dar al-Islam Mosque. A beautifully crafted adobe structure that fits snugly in its environment, this mosque was built in 1981 to serve local Muslims and resemble the mosques of Africa. Today, the mosque’s architecture and surrounding landscape makes it a place to visit regardless of religious affiliations.
- Aztec Ruins National Monument. Northwestern New Mexico was home to Aztec Indians for hundreds of years starting around 1100AD. Today, this monument preserves the civilization built by these ancestors and displays their artifacts. Both the Chaco Canyon and the Mesa Verde Pueblo people used this area centuries ago and this monument has been standing for nearly 90 years to honor their presence. An adult pass is $5 while kids under 15 are free. Passes are good for seven days.
- Billy the Kid Museum. The infamous outlaw Billy the Kid called New Mexico home, roaming and hiding out in the bare desert. Historical Billy the Kid sites are located all over New Mexico, but his museum in Fort Sumner is the best place to start your tour of his life and feats. Entrance is $5 for adults and $3 for kids.
- Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park. This is the least stuffy museum around. Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, the Living Desert displays dozens of animal and plant species, both indoors and outdoors. The self-guided, 1.3-mile tour takes visitors through sand dunes and mountains and highlights the wolves involved in the Mexican Gray Wolf Species Survival Plan Program. Check out the greenhouse, too, to see hundreds of cacti varieties from around the world. Entrance is $5 for adults and $3 for kids.
- White Sands National Monument. This world renowned monument showcases the amazing, natural white sands on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. There’s a museum and activities, but you can also just stop by the side of the road, get out and touch the sand. Climb up on the dunes and gaze out on a bizarre, beautiful landscape of white sand.