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The Best Time to Visit New Mexico in 2023

The Best Time to Visit New Mexico in 2023

Are you wondering what the best time to visit New Mexico is? We’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know. Are you traveling for a hiking trip, visiting family in the mountains, or touring historical sites?

We’ve got you covered. We’ll find the best flight deals and hotel rates for you, and we’ll consider temperatures and snowfall in our decision.

We’ll go over the best things to do by season, ways to save money, and the best and worst times of the year to visit. Make your trip to New Mexico spectacular and follow our helpful guide. Check out our tips for the best time to visit New Mexico below!

Why You Should Visit New Mexico

Ancient dwellings of UNESCO site Taos Pueblo in New Mexico

Nick Fox/Shutterstock

Whether you’re hitting the slopes in Red River, hiking in Cloudcroft, or shopping in the Santa Fe plaza, there’s something in New Mexico for you. The state is rich in history, culture, and outdoor activities, and there’s something unique to do every season.

It’s essential to be informed before you travel to New Mexico. What are your hobbies and interests? For example, Taos is the best place for art lovers, but skiers will love Red River.

The restaurants will be fantastic, no matter what season you choose. Try Mexican cuisine in a big city like Albuquerque or experience local dives in a small town like Artesia.

If you’re a wine lover, try chocolate-infused red wine at Black Mesa Winery in Velarde, and don’t forget to check out the historic Southwestern Brewery in Albuquerque! New Mexico has tons of festivals, events, and holiday celebrations.

We’ll consider tourism and annual activities in our round-up of the best time to visit the state. Stay in the loop on what’s happening in New Mexico, and you won’t miss anything!

Overall Best Time to Visit New Mexico

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

Dean Fikar/Shutterstock

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.

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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

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

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

Pictured during the worst time to visit New Mexico, the Summer, a hot air balloon is pictured over the white sands

Steve Bower/Shutterstock

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.

Things to Consider

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

Doug Meek/Shutterstock

Check this helpful list of things to consider when visiting New Mexico:

  • Be aware of safety if you’re camping. Ask the campground host about safety measures, and let people know if you’re going on a hike. New Mexico is notorious for having spotty cell service, so connect your cell phone to local service for an emergency. 
  • Consider what activities you like to do before choosing a city. If you enjoy history, Santa Fe is the perfect location. Go to Carlsbad to see natural caves, Roswell for UFO-themed museums, and Albuquerque for a city feel.
  • Whether staying indoors at a cabin or camping outside, it’s essential to be aware of wildlife. Don’t leave food out of doors, and dispose of your trash properly.
  • Get ready to drive when you visit New Mexico! Towns are very far apart, and you’ll need a car to see all the main sights. Bring lots of water on your road trip, and be careful not to overheat if you’re driving in the desert.
  • Watch out for animals on the roads. Wildlife and livestock such as deer and cows wander into the highways frequently.
  • Check the burn bans before you go. Many people visit New Mexico and expect to enjoy outdoor fires, but the state is dry and often has fire risks. Fires can devastate the natural environment, and many rural towns don’t have a formal fire department. Before you roast up s’mores and hot dogs over the fire pit, check the local fire restrictions

Frequently Asked Questions

Guy walking through a hiking trail area with his family during the best time to visit New Mexico


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

Is New Mexico a safe place to visit?

New Mexico is moderately safe to visit, with some safe places and some more dangerous spots. The state has a relatively high crime rate, so you should stay safe and aware when walking downtown in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos.

However, cities like Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, and Corrales are very safe. No matter where you stay, it’s essential to remain aware of your surroundings, and you’ll have a fun trip to New Mexico.

What is the prettiest place in New Mexico?

The prettiest place in New Mexico is Mount Taylor, a beautiful mountain that sits at 11,306 feet. It’s an extinct volcano in the San Mateo mountain range, near the town of Grants.

Mount Taylor is on old Navajo territory, and it has stunning views. It’s hard to choose the prettiest place in the state, and some other gorgeous locations include White Sands, Taos Gorge, and the Blue Hole lake in Santa Rosa.

Is it better to stay in Santa Fe or Albuquerque?

Santa Fe and Albuquerque are both fantastic cities, but we think Santa Fe is the best overall choice. It has less crime, more cultural events, and plenty of things to do.

Santa Fe has a diverse climate, and you can enjoy the warm weather while you stroll the Plaza in the summer or the snowy days in the winter for skiing.

The city also has the best cuisine in the state, from upscale global cuisine at Geronimo to traditional Latin dishes at Sazon. Accommodation is a bit pricier in Santa Fe, but we think spots like the Indigenous-owned Hotel Santa Fe are worth it.

What is the number one attraction in New Mexico?

Carlsbad Caverns is the number one attraction in New Mexico. It’s in southeast New Mexico in the Chihuahuan Desert, near the Texas border. Tourists come from around the globe to see the caverns, which feature over 100 limestone caves, hiking trails, and massive stalactites.

The cavern system is one of the only national parks in the state, and there are plenty of things to do, including bat viewings, guided tours, and star gazing. Book a reservation ahead of time, and have unforgettable experiences at Carlsbad Caverns, from wildlife to scenery to history.

Is New Mexico friendly?

New Mexico is one of the friendliest states in the country, ranking second in a national study. It’s a huge tourist destination, so the locals are used to meeting new people and welcoming visitors.

Many towns rely heavily on the tourist trade, and shop and restaurant owners are kind and neighborly. Expect to strike up a conversation with people you meet in town. New Mexicans are always eager to welcome visitors and hear about their travels.

Is New Mexico worth visiting?

New Mexico is a state worth visiting, and it’s called the Land of Enchantment for a reason. Much of the area is untouched, protected wilderness, and you’ll see some of the clearest skies in the nation.

See some of the most ancient dwellings in the country, like the Aztec Ruins, the Puye Cliff Dwellings, and the mysterious Chaco Canyon.

The state has great natural diversity, making it a stunning and worthwhile place to visit. You can see everything from hot deserts to busy cities to snowy mountains. New Mexico is a beautiful state that is worth visiting!

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So, What Is 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.