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The Best & Worst Times to Visit New Mexico in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit New Mexico in 2024

What's the best time to visit New Mexico?

The best time to visit New Mexico is from March to May when the weather is moderate, and there are fewer rainy days. Spring offers a vibrant atmosphere with events like the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow and Memorial Day festivals, and it’s a budget-friendly time to visit. Whether you enjoy skiing, exploring historic sites, or experiencing snowy landscapes, New Mexico has something to offer in the spring.

New Mexico offers a unique blend of ancient traditions and contemporary marvels, set against a backdrop of diverse and stunning landscapes. To help you make the most of your visit, we’ll highlight the best times to explore this captivating state. Let us be your guide!

Overall Best Time to Visit New Mexico

Golden sunrise over Bandelier National Monument for a piece on the best time to visit New Mexico

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The best time to visit New Mexico is between March and May. Temperatures are moderate during the spring, and the towns are vibrant with busy tourists and locals. There are few rainy days, and it’s still cold enough to ski in some places. 

The spring is a great time for events in New Mexico. Check out the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, the biggest Pow Wow in the United States.

Don’t forget to visit the Memorial Day festival in Cloudcroft or try the annual Art Along the Rio Grande Fair in Albuquerque. People come to New Mexico from across the country during the spring, but rates are not overly expensive.

It’s only the beginning of the tourist season, and you can enjoy cheaper rates and a lively environment with fellow travelers. The weather is warm in some places and snowy in others, so you can pretty much do any outdoor activity.

Visit in early March and go skiing in Angel Fire. Or travel to Catron County and see the Gila Cliff Dwellings. If you’re a skier, you might think you have to visit New Mexico in the winter.

Did you know that it snows in the spring in New Mexico? However, the snow is less likely to impede your flights. You can enjoy a snowy vacation without worrying about travel delays.

Cheapest Time to Visit New Mexico

Hot air balloon flying over the New Mexico desert

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The cheapest time to visit New Mexico is in November. It’s the offseason with few travelers, and you’ll score deals on everything from food to accommodation.

Most vacationers come from Texas in the summer or early fall, and the slow tourist scene in November will get you cheaper flights and hotels. You won’t meet many other travelers, and the atmosphere will be quiet.

The weather in November is moderate, with temperatures ranging in the mid-40s in Albuquerque. Temperatures drop below freezing in Northern New Mexico and places with higher elevation. Visit the mountains and see the first snow of the season.

Or, visit the desert, and you won’t have to worry about the weather. Albuquerque has a desert climate, and it may be a better choice for November. See the enchanting Albuquerque River of Lights in November and early December.

If you decide to visit in November, here are some things to consider, including cheap activities:

  • You might have to worry about travel risks due to winter storms if you visit in November. Try to schedule flexible travel dates and accommodation if you get stuck.
  • Walk around the Albuquerque Old Town and enjoy the peaceful streets.
  • Visit the free Deming Luna Mimbres Museum in Southwest New Mexico. It’s a former National Guard armory building, and you can learn about Deming’s rich history.
  • See traditional dances or peruse handcrafted pottery at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Meet Indigenous artists and learn how to make time-honored frybread.
  • Travel on Tuesday or Wednesday to score the cheapest flights to New Mexico.

Least Busy Time to Visit New Mexico

Santa Fe pictured during the least busy time to visit New Mexico with empty streets at dusk

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The least busy time to visit New Mexico is from December to March. Winter weather slows travelers, and there are fewer events, flights, and things to do.

However, you can still have fun and score deals in New Mexico from December to March. We’ll go through the best tips and advice for visiting New Mexico in the offseason.

Tourism will increase during the week of Christmas, so avoid the busy holiday season if you want a quieter trip. However, the rest of December is peaceful in New Mexico, with few travelers and emptier hotels and flights.

Snow is heavy in the New Mexico winters and the early spring. Some people visit to enjoy outdoor activities and warm afternoons in ski lodges, but most visitors tend to avoid the snow, and you won’t see as many travelers. 

If you want to avoid the snowy weather, visit the sunny desert city of Albuquerque in the winter. It rarely snows, and you won’t have to worry about travel delays. However, tourism is still low in Albuquerque’s snowy months, so it’s an affordable, quiet place to visit.

Follow these tips to have a great time visiting New Mexico in the winter and early spring offseason:

  • Stay indoors and tour the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe.
  • Experience Santa Fe’s local cuisine during Restaurant Week in February. You can even book reservations early to make your trip a breeze!
  • Go skiing in Santa Fe through late March. Try snowboarding, inner tubing, or sledding if you’re more adventurous.
  • Celebrate New Year’s Eve at The Liberty’s Black & White Soiree Night in Roswell. Locals and tourists unite and dress in black and white to ring in the new year with champagne and dance music.

Worst Time to Visit New Mexico

Ancient dwellings of UNESCO site Taos Pueblo in New Mexico

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The worst time to visit New Mexico is in December or January. Driving can be dangerous in the ice and snow, and flights often get delayed. If you’re a skier, you may choose to risk the snowy weather.

For example, Red River is the snowiest town in New Mexico, and it’s an excellent place for skiing, snowmobiling, and sledding. However, keep in mind that you may experience weather-related issues with travel and try to book flexible accommodation.

Consider skiing in March rather than the middle of winter. New Mexico is beautiful in the winter, and there are plenty of things to do in the snow. However, traveling to New Mexico in the winter months can be risky.

It’s common to get snowed in at your hotel or cabin, and heavy snowfall can stop flights and roads. The last thing you want is to get stuck in a snowstorm. Visit during a less snowy month for the best New Mexico experience, or go during the early spring for lighter snow.

If you decide to visit New Mexico in the winter, check out these recommendations below:

  • If you’re staying at a cabin, make sure your car can access the roads. Some mountain roads may require snow chains and four-wheel drive.
  • Visit Cloudcroft’s haunted hotel, The Lodge, and curl up next to the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. 
  • Ride the gondolas at Sandia Peak and enjoy views of the snowy slopes.
  • Go skiing at Ski Apache in Alto, New Mexico.
  • Go inside and visit the Georgia O’Keeffe museum on a snowy day in Santa Fe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Subterranean columns in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park during the best time to visit New Mexico

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Check out these common questions about visiting New Mexico. You’ll be well-equipped to have a fantastic vacation!

What is the best month to visit New Mexico?

The best month to visit New Mexico is typically September when the summer crowds are thinning out, and the weather is still pleasant for outdoor exploration.

What are the least expensive months to go to New Mexico?

If you're looking for the least expensive months to visit New Mexico, consider January and February, as well as late fall months like November. During these times, you can often find good deals on accommodations and activities.

When is the rainy season in New Mexico?

New Mexico doesn't have a specific rainy season, as it experiences sporadic rainfall throughout the year. However, the most significant rainfall typically occurs between mid-July and mid-September during the monsoon season.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit New Mexico?

The best time to visit New Mexico is from March to May. During the spring months, tourism is just beginning, so you can score cheaper deals on hotels and flights while still experiencing a lively environment.

When the weather is temperate, you can enjoy New Mexico at its best and experience outdoor festivals, hiking trails, historical sites, and handcrafted markets.