Although there’s always something to do when you live in a city, rural living has its benefits as well. Communities tend to be close-knit and the pace of life is more relaxed. Plus, you’re surrounded by vast expanses of untouched New Mexico, just waiting to be explored. So if you want to escape from it all for a weekend, or permanently, head to these New Mexican towns.
1. Radium Springs, population 1699.
If the idea of living in a small community that is also near a city appeals, Radium Springs may be the place you're looking for. It's located approximately 20 miles north of Las Cruces.
The peaceful Leasburg Dam State Park, which has a cactus garden and an observatory, is in Radium Springs. Fort Selden is also just south of town. This U.S. Army fort housed forces, including Buffalo Soldiers, who were charged with protecting Las Cruces.
2. Pecos, population 1392.
Pecos is roughly 24 miles from Santa Fe but, because the town is surrounded by the stunning Pecos Wilderness, it feels much more remote. If you're into fishing, hiking, or photography, you'll love it here.
The town is also home to the Pecos National Historical Park, which preserves the ruins of both a pueblo and a Spanish mission.
3. Cuba, population 731.
The land around Cuba is beautiful, consisting of vibrant rock formations and badlands. Despite the town's small size, there are several good restaurants, including El Bruno's Restaurant Y Cantina, which has been serving New Mexican cuisine since 1975.
4. Lordsburg, population 2797.
Lordsburg has a history worth remembering. Elizabeth Garrett, the daughter of the legendary Pat Garrett, wrote our state song, "O Fair New Mexico," in Lordsburg. During WWII, the town was also the site of an internment camp for Japanese-Americans combined with a prisoner of war camp.
Nowadays, Lordsburg is a great spot for birding and it's next to the ghost town of Shakespeare.
5. Magdalena, population 938.
Magdalena used to be a mining town, centered around the Kelly Mine. It's now turning into an artsy enclave on the San Agustin Plains.
Magdalena is close to the Very Large Array, an important and impressive astronomical radio observatory.
6. Cloudcroft, population 674.
If you're craving a mountain retreat, check out Cloudcroft. The town's amenities include a haunted hotel, and plenty of outdoor activities like golfing, skiing, hiking the rail trail, and fishing. There's even a light opera company!
7. Reserve, population 289.
Despite its teeny size, Reserve has a couple of quality restaurants. The town sits on the edge of the Gila Wilderness.
An infamous gunfight occurred here in 1884, when deputy sheriff Elfego Baca arrested some Texan cowboys. Upon their release, the cowboys sought revenge on Baca, who endured a 33 hour siege, during which he killed three of his attackers.
8. Clayton, population 2980.
Downtown Clayton contains charming and well-preserved buildings such as the Hotel Eklund, which was built in 1892. Just beyond town, lies the Kiowa National Grassland and also Clayton Lake State Park. More than 500 dinosaur footprints have been uncovered in the park. Even dinosaurs thought this place was worth visiting!
9. Glenwood, population 143.
Glenwood, nestled in the Gila Wilderness, is known for its hot springs and dark night skies - ideal for stargazing. The Catwalk National Recreation Trail, which follows the path of an old water pipeline, is due to reopen later this year.
Have you lived in or visited any of these towns? Where in New Mexico do you go to escape from it all?