New Mexico may not be your first thought when it comes to a spring break destination, but the state’s varied climates, fun attractions, and stunning natural beauty make it a must-visit getaway spot. Whether you’re in the mood to catch some late-season skiing or escape to somewhere warm and sunny, New Mexico has something for everyone. From cozy cottages to colorful historic houses, there is a large selection of cozy and affordable New Mexico vacation rentals to choose from. Take a look at the most popular spring break cities and towns in New Mexico.

1. Truth or Consequences

elephant butte nm sunset
Source: Flickr/Rohit Chhiber

If you want to get out on the water but stay away from the typical crowded beach spring break destinations, the quirky, small town of Truth or Consequences is a good choice. It’s located on the edge of Elephant Butte State Park, which offers hiking and biking trails and access to Elephant Butte Reservoir, the largest lake in the state. The Rio Grande also flows through town and is a popular option for kayaking and fishing. If you happen to visit during a chilly spring, take advantage of Truth or Consequence’s famous hot springs. A public hot springs fountain is available in Las Palomas Plaza, and there are also 10 commercial bathhouses if you want a longer soak.

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2. Tijeras

sandia peak
Source: Flickr/Brad Spry

The small mountain town of Tijeras offers a quaint, remote feel while still providing easy access to big city nightlife. It’s located on the east side of the Sandia Mountains, just at the edge of Cibola National Forest, so most vacation rentals have a rustic feel and plenty of open space around them. If you get tired of hiking and exploring, all you have to do is drive about 30 minutes to find yourself in the heart of Downtown Albuquerque. There are also some local gems in town, such as the quirky Lizard Grill or the vintage Burger Boy. Weather is usually mild and warm during the spring, but expect snow at higher elevations.

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3. Taos

taos nm pueblo
Source: Flickr/Ron Cogswell

For that last ski trip of the year, it’s hard to beat the Taos area, which is close to both Angel Fire and Taos Ski Valley. The downhill ski season usually wraps up in late March for Angel Fire and the beginning of April for Taos, but there’s still usually enough snow around to enjoy some snowshoeing or cross-country skiing if you miss it. At lower elevations, the snow is typically melted, so there are miles of hiking and biking trails to enjoy. The town of Taos itself is a fun, quirky place to stay. Taos Plaza and Bent Street are home to numerous galleries, boutiques, and local restaurants. Local favorites include Bent Street Cafe and Taos Diner.

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4. Las Cruces

las cruces white sand
Source: lascrucescvb.org

Located in the southern portion of the state, Las Cruces is the place to be if you want warm, sunny weather even in early March. This city has several world-class golf courses, including public ones at the University of New Mexico, Red Hawk Golf Course, and Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. The Organ Mountains offer rugged desert hikes and rock climbing, or you can stroll through Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, which lies along the Rio Grande, for less strenuous trails and great birdwatching opportunities. Las Cruces also has numerous museums, including the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum and the Las Cruces Museum of Art, and restaurant and entertainment options ranging from popular student bars to upscale wineries, such as Rio Grande Vineyards and Saint Clair Winery and Bistro.

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5. Grants

skylight cave at el malpais national monument
Source: Flickr/NPS Natural Resources

This quirky little town is a bit off the beaten path, but the scenery is astonishing. It’s home to both the San Mateo Mountains, which are home to rich forests, and El Malpais National Monument, which is built around ancient lava flows and tubes. Spring is one of the best times to visit El Malpais in particular, as winters get cold and snowy, while summer temperatures are too hot to safely explore many of the flows. Stop in at the New Mexico Mining Museum to see interactive exhibits and a simulated mine, then finish up the day with a tasty local dinner at Cocina Camacho or Coyote Grill.

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6. Alamogordo

new mexico white sands
Source: Flickr/Dean Souglass

This small southern New Mexico town is home to White Sands National Monument, which consists of over 275 miles of rare white gypsum sand dunes. The lack of shade and hot temperatures limit exploration during the summer, so spring is a great time to visit. Rent a sled and have fun sledding down the dunes, or bring your own and store it in your vacation rental between uses. The area is known for its local pecans and pistachios, which you can taste at PistachioLand or the Pistachio Tree Ranch. Favorite local restaurants include Alamo Pancake and Steakhouse Grill and Rockin’ BZ Burgers.

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7. Santa Fe

lensic theatre santa fe
Source: Flickr/Larry Lamsa

Santa Fe is one of the state’s most popular vacation destinations, and it’s easy to see why. During March and the first week of April, you can head up to Ski Santa Fe to ski or snowboard. Visit the Plaza to take in historic buildings, traditional Indian and Spanish open markets, and galleries ranging from the jewelry on display at Stone Soup to the distinctive Navajo-inspired clothing at Native Jackets. Get a taste of your favorite treats by following one of the many restaurant trails, such as the Chile Cheeseburger Trail or the Margarita Trail, or pick your own path with local favorites, such as Tomasita’s or Agoyo Lounge.

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8. Magdalena

san agustin nm plains
Source: Flickr/Larry Lamsa

This historic ranching community turned artists’ colony is a quirky choice for a spring break trip, but the stunning scenery, mild weather, and relaxed atmosphere offer a great way to get away from it all. Its small size means that shopping and dining options are somewhat limited, but you can enjoy a great bite to eat at the Magdalena Cafe or Bear Mountain Coffee House, and shop for eclectic art and other wares at Emporium 404. The mountains surrounding the town offer spectacular hiking and rock climbing opportunities. Water Canyon Trail is a particular favorite among locals. Magdalena is also within easy driving distance of the Very Large Array, a massive scientific radio telescope facility, which is open to visitors.

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