Full of kitsch and small town charm, my friend, Karen, and I took a 4-day trip to Southeast New Mexico, including Roswell & Carlsbad Caverns.
Full of all sorts of information, stop at the Roswell Visitor’s Center before you head off on your Southeast New Mexico adventure. Renting a car is a must to get around the spread-out region.
Alien Invasion in Roswell
Most well-known for the alleged UFO crash nearby in 1947, Roswell has taken this claim to fame and run with it. While I was hoping for a few more alien statues and UFO replicas, one day in this city will offer you just the right amount of kitschy charm.
This museum showcases the incident in 1947 where a a supposed UFO crashed outside of Roswell, including a timeline of events, research, and other evidence that aliens do exist. It’s older and maybe not so scientific, but it’s the #1 tourist attraction in Roswell and definitely worth a look.
Get ready to let your hair down at Area 51 (not the actual crash site!) at this eccentric gotta-see-it-to-believe-it stop on the alien train. With aliens in all sorts of compromising and odd scenarios, you can take photos with the extra terrestrials.
“Use your own camera and/or smart phone to take as many photos as you’d like in over 15 different scenarios with extra terrestrials! Buy your tickets at the front counter for the most interesting intergalactic experience in Roswell!” sign found in Alien Zone
Talk a Walk!
There are aliens everywhere downtown Roswell, so grab your camera and start snapping photos of the many ETs you’ll find.
Food & Drink in Roswell
What this cute this coffee shop lacks in aliens, in makes up for in a good cuppa chai and homemade treats. Forget the Bux, go for a hometown-brewed caffeine fix.
Local and fresh ingredients cooked into traditional southern fare are the name of the game here. Try the chicken fried bacon smothered in gravy for a delicious, unique lunch. Save room for the made-fresh-daily cakes and pies.
With a dozen or so of their own wines, Pecos’ grapes are grown right in New Mexico. The tasting room features knowledgable staff and a variety of wines and New Mexico beers. Order the cheese spread with green chiles for a savory snack.
Roswell is blessed with both a nearby State Park & National Park; it’s worth it to take a day hiking and driving around the two parks.
Complete with a 7-mile driving route and multiple stops for short hikes and panoramic views, this national park is completely free. The only wildlife you’ll probably see are birds and bugs, though their website boasts nearly 60 species of mammals and about 50 different species of reptiles and amphibians.
Bottomless Lakes is definitely better in the summer as you can kayak or canoe, camp, fish, picnic, swim, hike, go birding, or even scuba dive! The unique lakes at this park are sinkholes, ranging from 17 to 90 feet deep. The greenish-blue color created by aquatic plants is what gives the lakes the illusion of great depth.
Caving in Carlsbad
Aliens do not exist in Carlsbad. Instead, don your tennis shoes, it’s time for some hiking!
Exhibiting more than 40 species of animals and hundreds of species of plants native to the Chihuahuan Desert, this living desert is a great morning walk.
The largest cave system I’ve ever seen, Carlsbad Caverns is located 75 stories below ground level. You can either walk or take the elevator down or up to the Big Room. I recommend walking at least one direction in order to see more of the cave system. There are also guided tours you can take of the caves you aren’t allowed to walk on your own.
If you’re at Carlsbad Caverns in May through October, plan your stay to be at the caverns around sunset to see the Bat Flight program. About 500,000 bats leave the caves each night in search for food. Rangers give a great presentation before the bats take flight. No cameras or phones are allowed, but trust me, it’s a stunning sight.