New Mexico was made for camping. Whether you prefer to use a tent or an RV, camping is one of the best ways to appreciate our state’s natural beauty – especially the clear night skies. If you’re searching for inspiration for your next outdoor adventure, look no further. Add any of these 15 camping spots in New Mexico to your summer plans.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. City of Rocks State Park
This cluster of volcanic rocks are clumped in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, near Deming. Some of these boulders are 50 feet tall, providing appreciated shade during hot weather. There are 52 developed campsites here and even a botanical garden!
2. Jemez Falls Campground
Whether you're tent camping or traveling in an RV, you'll love the location of this campground, a short walk from Jemez Falls.
3. Aguirre Springs Campground
The main draw of this campground is that you sleep below the needles of the Organ Mountains. In fact, the campground is where the Pine Tree Trail begins. It's a four-mile loop that takes you to the base of the needles.
This campsite, which is located on Aguirre Springs Road, overlooks White Sands as well. It's on the basic side, but water is available at the host site. There are 57 family sites plus 2 group sites (no RVs over 23 feet).
4. Dripping Vat Campground
Fishing fans should check out this campground for its proximity to Snow Lake, which is well-stocked with trout. There are 40 sites available at the campground. Amenities include potable water, fire rings, picnic tables, and toilets. Dripping Vat Campground is about 50 miles from Reserve.
5. Gallo Campground at Chaco Canyon
You don't come to Gallo Campground for the amenities: water, bathrooms, picnic table, and fire grate. You're here to literally immerse yourself in history. Since there's nothing around Chaco, camping gives you time to explore the park fully. Chaco is the 12th park in the world to be certified as a Dark Sky Park, meaning that it's ideal for stargazing.
Gallo Campground offers 49 sites, plus 2 group sites and it can accommodate RVs under 35 feet. Reservations needed.
6. Wild Rivers Recreation Area
There are five developed campgrounds with a total of 40 campsites within this recreation area. Most spots have good views of the river but, if you're seeking more solitude, try La Junta campground.
7. Bottomless Lakes State Park
Although there are eight lakes in this park, close to Roswell, Lea Lake is the biggest. It has 32 campsites with hookups; showers are available as well.
8. Rockhound State Park
Located near Deming, Rockhound State Park is unusual because you can collect and remove up to 15 pounds of gems and minerals - assuming you can find them!
If you're traveling along I-10, break up your journey at one of the 29 developed campsites here, which offer the basics, along with showers.
9. El Vado Lake State Park
Staying here gives you access to two lakes: El Vado and Heron. There are 80 developed camping spots, along with some primitive beach camping. Recreational opportunities are plentiful - from birding to boating and swimming.
10. Black Canyon Campground
You'd never guess that Santa Fe is only a few miles away when you're relaxing in one of these 35 camping spots. Black Canyon is more basic than some of the other campgrounds nearby, but it has such a secluded feel that it's worth giving up a few amenities. Hiking opportunities abound in the Santa Fe National Forest. You can also access the Pecos Wilderness from here.
11. Bandelier National Monument
People have inhabited the area around Bandelier National Monument for more than 11,000 years! Follow in their footsteps with a stay at one of the three campgrounds. If your group consists of fewer than 10 people, head to the Juniper Family Campground – reservations not taken. Sites come with a picnic table and grill and most can accommodate a tent or RV.
12. Valley of Fires Recreation Area
It's unusual to be able to explore a lava flow, never mind camp near one. This section of the Tularosa Basin was filled with lava when Little Black Peak erupted approximately 5000 years ago.
This camping spot boasts sites with RV hookups, two wheelchair accessible sites, and there are showers. Both as a recreation area and as a campground, Valley of Fires flies under the radar, which keeps crowds at bay and lets you enjoy the breathtaking sunsets in peace.
13. Elephant Butte Lake State Park
Elephant Butte is popular with water sport enthusiasts. Although there is a campground, you can camp pretty much anywhere along the shore, if you're fine roughing it.
14. McCrystal Creek Campground
McCrystal Creek Campground is pretty rustic but, if you're looking for a true escape, this 60 site campground in the Valle Vidal section of Carson National Forest may be a good fit. It's horse-friendly, but you will need to bring your own water.
15. Apache Campground
To get away from it all, head to the peaceful Apache Campground near Cloudcroft, in the Lincoln National Forest. It is open from mid-May through the start of September.
There are endless places to camp in New Mexico. What’s your favorite spot?