Reporting Live from Carlsbad, New Mexico
It is hard to rank all of the places we stopped at on our road trip because they were all so great. But New Mexico definitely gets some bonus points because I have never been there before. New Mexico is the 24th state I have visited! Wooooo almost half way AND I hit 24 states on my 24th lap around the sun! I was so excited to check this state off my list on this road trip! For our road trip we stayed in Carlsbad, which is located in the southeastern corner of New Mexico. Though the town is small, the draw to the area is the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Where to Stay:
We stayed at the Trinity Hotel in Carlsbad. The hotel is a historic landmark and is an old bank given a new life as a boutique hotel and a restaurant. The hotel was conveniently located off the main strip in Carlsbad and it was a great place to call home for a couple days. The owner and front desk receptionists were so nice and I loved chatting with them...seriously felt like chatting with old friends. The food at the restaurant was so good that Seth and I ate there for every meal. We have decided that there is nothing they can’t cook well. While we were there we had the chicken piccata, chicken caesar salad, chocolate fudge cake, breakfast sandwich, breakfast bowl, chai tea latte (hot and iced), and the ribeye dinner. If you want the in-depth review of the food you can check out my Yelp review. The food was just so good. And the chai tea lattes were the BEST we have ever had. St*rbucks could never compare. The restaurant is so good...it's a local favorite too!
The room we stayed in was spacious and had a giant bath tub...I honestly was so pumped to sit in the bath for hours after being on the road for 9 hours. Visit the Trinity Hotel website to check out their other rooms and to make a reservation for your stay!
Things to Do:
-Carlsbad Caverns National Park: If you are visiting Carlsbad, the caverns are a MUST see. This is the coolest National Park I have visited and I'm so glad we were able to do this on our trip. It was about a 30 minute drive from The Trinity Hotel to the park entrance, the phone service was a little spotty on our way in. The road to the welcome center winds through the mountains and is about a 7 mile drive. When we visited we had to make a reservation time in advance to explore the caverns. Once you have a reservation all you have to do is purchase tickets inside the welcome center. We decided it would make most sense to buy the National Park Pass for $80 instead of paying $30 for one day at one park, plus we were visiting 3 parks on our trip anyway so in less than a week we already got our money's worth on the pass.
After you purchase your ticket or your pass you have two options: walk in to the caverns through the natural entrance OR take the elevator down 800 ft. We decided to do the walk which was about 1.5 miles down into the caverns. TBH, the walk was harder than I thought it would be...my arthritic hips were struggling on the steep walk down. Thankfully, there were benches along the way to stop for a break as we walked down. PRO-TIP: bring water. Once we made it to the bottom we walked the entire trail thru The Big Room, which is the largest, readily accessible cave chamber in North America. It was so cool. Really no words here to describe what it's like exploring underground for a couple hours. Honestly made me feel so small...like we are really just chilling in space on a rock.
Once you are done exploring underground you can take a quick lil elevator ride up and end up at the welcome center! There is a gift shop right as you exit the elevator, so of course we grabbed a postcard to write a memory on!
-White Sands National Park: Located 3 hours west of Carlsbad, New Mexico is the White Sands National Park. During the summer months it's best to visit in the morning or at sunset, because it gets *very* hot. We stopped on our drive from Carlsbad to Tucson, and we only stayed for about 30 minutes because it was so hot and we wanted to get to Tucson before the sunset.
Outside of the park there are gift shops that sell sleds to use at the park. We didn't grab one this time....but next time a sled is a must. We walked around a path close to the entrance of the park and ran down some large dunes. I have heard that it is beautiful during the sunset, so we well be back one day to watch that. All around a 10/10 experience, but I wish we could've stayed longer!
Well that's all for now folks! Next time I visit New Mexico I'm thinking Santa Fe??? But honestly the food at The Trinity Hotel might bring me back to southern New Mexico?!?! If New Mexico isn't on your list of states you want to visit, here is your sign to add it to your list! xoxoxo, Ris 🦋