Carlsbad located in the southeast corner of New Mexico state is one of the most marvelous cities in the United States, where you can plan a vacation to experience an abundance of natural beauty and various other things.
The physical location of the city, i.e., close to the Pecos River in the Chihuahuan Dessert is also one of the major reasons for the various attractions found there. That is the reason, the city has got its nickname, “The pearl on the Pecos.” If you are planning a break to this incredible city and are looking for some of the best things to do in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Then, look no further! As this place has something to offer to people of all tastes. Whether you are an avid outdoor person who loves to crawl through caves or hike on treacherous mountain trails or bring a child along with you, Carlsbad will never disappoint you.
Are Carlsbad Caverns worth it?
Carlsbad Caverns is one of the worth visiting and the most attractive places in the city. It is a breathtaking place that will blow away your mind with its gigantic rooms surrounded by spectacular rock formations. Viewing every stunning rock formation closely in this cave is indeed one of the best things to spend your time on in the city.
What is Carlsbad New Mexico known for?
Are you thinking, why is New Mexico a good place to live in? Well, due to its super exciting and attraction-filled city Carlsbad. The city of Carlsbad boasts an interesting history, which you might be interested in knowing.
Also, the city hosts wide cultural attractions, art, and its temperate climate which will make the place exploration worthy and also makes you feel delighted.
11 Best Things To Do in Carlsbad New Mexico
New Mexico is considered one of the top tourist destinations of the United States, with about 35 Million visitors per year. Carlsbad is one of the most popular cities in the state, as it has a little bit of everything.
From sweeping desserts, crowded places, landscapes, mountains, national parks, and various other world-famous sights that give you a reason as to why you should relocate to New Mexico.
So what are you waiting for now? Given below is the list of some of the top things to do in the city of Carlsbad that you should enjoy for sure on your trip to this extravagant city.
1. Visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Visiting the Carlsbad Caverns National Park is indeed one of the best things to do in the state. This place is a subterranean marvel land that has been created over the millennia. It has various beautiful formations that awe visitors all year round. This place comes under the list of twenty world heritage sites in the United States.
Extended over 46,766 acres of land. The caves here are extremely vast, and wandering where makes you feel like strolling in another world. These enormous caves have countless fossils, stalactites, pools, and stalagmites.
After spending the day in the caves, You should wait for the sunset to come as at that time you will be able to witness the amazing Carlsbad Caverns National Park’s Bat Flight Program.
Also, every year in the evening, a Bat Flight Amphitheater program has been organized between April to October, where you can learn about the fascinating species of bats living inside the caves.
La Patrona, Juicy peaches Espresso, and Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Company are some of the restaurants where you can enjoy a scrumptious meal either before going in or going out.
Are Carlsbad Caverns worth visiting?
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of the most astonishing natural sights that will completely leave you awestruck.
What is the best time of year to visit Carlsbad Caverns?
The best time to visit the Carlsbad Caverns is between April to October, as it is the best time to view incredible spectacles to unfold your eyes.
How long should you spend at Carlsbad Caverns?
2 to 3 hours is more than enough to spend in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, as it is one of the best things to do in Carlsbad, New Mexico today.
2. Sitting Bull Falls
The place of Sitting Bull Falls is located about an hour’s drive from Carlsbad city. Located in the Lincoln National Forest, this is a beautiful oasis that is worth the visit. This waterfall is a refreshing hidden gem, located in the middle of the Stark Dessert.
Here you can witness a 150-foot-long waterfall trail pouring down along the great Canyon Wall, and this can be accessed through a paved walkway. The best way to enjoy this amazingly serene view is to hike up the Sitting Bull Falls Trail.
To reach the base of the falls, there is just a 0.7-mile trail but if you want to go further, you can hike to reach the top of the falls to get an ultra mesmerizing view. It is one of the most fantastic outdoor activities to enjoy in the city as here you can bring your swimsuits along with you and swim to cool yourself off the scorching summer heat.
You can also plan a picnic at this place, with your family, as it is one of the best picturesque locations to enjoy and relax for lunch. Or you can also visit Queen Cafe & Camp Ground restaurants located near the waterfalls.
Is Sitting Bull Falls free?
The time to visit this waterfall is between 8:30 in the morning to 4 in the evening. The fee charged at the entrance here is $5 per vehicle. There are also 2 spots for RV or Busses here, which are given on a first come first served basis, and the entry fee for the same is $10.
Can you swim at Sitting Bull Falls?
Yes, of course, you can swim at Sitting Bulls Falls, so do not forget to take your swimsuit along with you.
Is the road to Sitting Bull Falls paved?
Yes, the road here is paved where you can trail to either reach the base of the waterfalls or go up to see its source. Here, you can also witness amenities like picnic tables, drinking water, charcoal grills, restrooms, etc.
3. Living Desert Zoo And Gardens State Park
This Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park is a zoological garden located in the Pecos River Valley a little away from the Chihuan Dessert. It is one of the best recreation parks in Carlsbad especially for kids, as it acts as an indoor and outdoor museum of plants and animals spread over the area of 1,100 acres of land.
The zoo here is home to about 40 unique native animals and wildlife of the area including elk, bears, bison, cougars, prairie dogs, and many bird species. They also run a special program for conserving endangered animal species.
Visiting this zoo is like taking a hike through an exclusively breathtaking environment that has been hand-crafted and cultivated to give the utmost natural experience of flora and fauna to the visitors. If you are a botany enthusiast, then you should visit this place.
Also, after a long hike in this zoological garden, you can enjoy a scrumptious meal at the places such as; Blue House Bakery & Cafe, The Trinity Hotel & Restaurant, and Carniceria San Juan De Los Lagos.
How much does the Living Desert cost?
The entry fee here is charged about $5 per vehicle.
How long does it take to go through the Living Desert Zoo?
It is a super mesmerizing, exciting, and relaxing place where you can happily roam around for about 2 to 3 hours.
Is there alcohol at the Living Desert?
At the zoo, visitors can enjoy draft beer, wine, soft-serve icecreams, milkshakes, coffee drinks, nachos, smoothies, popcorn, and many more.
Are there lions in the Living Desert?
Yes, a pair of young mountain lions has been added to the Living Desert in the year 2020.
4. Carlsbad Museum And Art Center
Carlsbad Museum and Art Center located at 418 West Fox Street, Carlsbad, New Mexico are one of the oldest places of recreation in the state. Founded in the year 1931, this museum is used to preserve, interpret, and exhibit art, special documents, and artifacts.
Thus, if you are interested in learning about Native American History and Carlsbad Caverns History, then visiting this museum is a must.
Here you will also find various incredible antiquities displayed, American, modern, Southwestern & contemporary art, and other plenty of displays that not only tell about local and regional history but also keep kids and adults entertained at the Carlsbad Museum.
After strolling and spending time in this splendid museum you can savor your mouth with delicious flavors by eating at; Yellow Brix Restaurant, Lucky Bull Grill, and The Trinity Hotel and Restaurant.
What hotels are near Carlsbad Museum and Art Center?
Some of the hotels near the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center are:-
- The Trinity Hotel and Restaurant
- Post Time Inn
- Country Living
- Fiddler’s Inn
- La Hacienda
- White’s City Cavern Inn
5. Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area
The Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area is one of the best free things to do in Carlsbad, New Mexico, as this place is full of many activities that you can enjoy as an individual or with family. Spread over a land area of 125.6 acres of land, and is located along the Pecos River.
This place is situated from the south to the railroad bridge to the upper Tansil Dam and can be best used for water sports, picnics, playgrounds, water grounds, boating, and fishing. Here you will find many shaded areas for picnic tables, grills, and a swim area open for the public from Memorial Day to Labour Day weekend.
Carlsbad Lake also offers various water activities to visitors that include boating, fishing, water-skiing, camping, paddle-boating, and various other activities. Some places where you can eat some local dishes of Carlsbad around the recreation center are; Blye House Bakery and Cafe, Rosy’s, Red Chimney Bar-B-Que, Yellow Brix Restaurant, and Ma Casita.
Where is the best place to hike in Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area?
The Pecos Riverwalk is one of the most adventurous hikes or family trips that you can enjoy.
What is the longest trail in Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area?
North Slaughter Canyon is the longest trail in the area.
6. Carlsbad Water Park
If you are visiting Carlsbad in the scorching summer heat, then visiting the Carlsbad Water park to cool yourself down is a must. This water park is located along the Pecos River at 708, Park Dr, Carlsbad, and is open from Tuesday to Sunday from morning 11 am to evening 6 pm. So, practically you can spend your long day just playing in the waters.
There are various fun tube slides in the water park to whizz down and also act as a play zone for the little ones. Along with this water park also features 3 water slides for adults, a children’s play area, a lazy river, and a locker room.
The admission fee charged here is $5 for people ranging between the age of 5 and 61, so if you have children below the age of 4 or adults above the age of 62, they will be charged no admission fee. The restaurants where you can enjoy delicacies around the water park are; Yellow Brix Restaurant, Danny’s place, Dragon China, and Kaleidoscopes.
What is the capacity of the water park?
The maximum capacity of this water park is 500 persons at a time.
When will the water park be open?
The operational timing of Carlsbad Water Park is from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11 am to 6 pm.
7. The Artist Gallery
The famous Artist Gallery at 120 S Canyon Street Carlsbad, New Mexico has been successfully running for the past 40 years. The Gallery was founded by five local Carlsbad artists and is home to various types of paintings.
To name a few, the gallery has paintings made from several mediums, such as; oil painting, watercolor, and acrylic paint, skilled photography images, eggery, glass, metal works, jewelry, gourd paintings, textiles, pottery, and a lot more.
This gallery is one of the best things to do in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and was established with the motive to promote the art of local Carlsbad artisans and sell the same in the area. The building has a large display that showcases the work of producing artists.
The places to eat near the artists’ gallery are; Lucky Bull Grill, The Trinity Hotel Restaurant, Milton’s Brewing, and Maria’s Mexican Food.
What hotels are near The Artist Gallery?
The top hotels near The Artist Gallery are;
- Post Time Inn
- Fiddler’s Inn
- Stevens Inn
- The TownePlace Suites by Marriott
- Hampton Inn & Suites Carlsbad
- Fairfield Inn & Suites Carlsbad
- Holiday Inn Express Hotel
8. Pecos River Antique Mall
The Pecos River Antique Mall located at 110 South Canyon Street, Carlsbad is like a treasure trove of spectacular pieces trained for the eye. Here in this place, you may find many antiquities newbies, and interesting art pieces that make the place exciting and worth visiting. The mall also features memorabilia and antiques from the year the 1960s to 1990s.
This is indeed one of the best places where you can resell things that you do not want or search for attractive & beautiful items for your home. You have to spend some peaceful time there, but we are pretty sure that you will be able to find some hidden gems at an affordable price for sure.
Apart from eye-catchy antiques, you can also find collectibles, retro & mid-century items, jewelry, glassware, spices, pieces of furniture, and candles. The operating hours of this antique mall are from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.
You can also enjoy the local delicacies at nearby restaurants such as; Pecos River Cafe, Borracho Tacos Restaurant, Lucky Bull Grill, and Desert SNow to Smoking Embers.
What forms of payment are accepted at Pecos River Antique Mall?
You can make payments at this mall through cash or credit cards.
What are my parking options at Pecos River Antique Mall?
Street parking or bike parking facilities are available at this mall. As, according to the data of New Mexico crime rate by city, the auto theft in Carlsbad is reported to be 110 for every 1,00,000 people.
9. Carlsbad Community Theatre
Do you love theatre? Then, Carlsbad has a treat for you at 4713 National Parks Highway. The Carlsbad Community Theatre is an excellent place to get some evening entertainment. This theatre was founded in the year 1960 with a small group of aspiring actors and directors. The mission of this group is to introduce people to theatrical arts.
Their purpose is to provide people with live productions that might be able to provoke laughter, thought, and tears. Carlsbad Community Theatre hosts an array of theatrical plays and musicals, such as; Marry Poppins, Spongebob the Musical, The Lion King, and Annie.
In the coming year, the theatre has two plays lined up, namely; The Cemetry Club and Murders in the Heir. If you are interested in watching the same then you can go to the theatre’s website to check out the ticket details.
Ocotillo Sports Bar and Grill, Mariscos El Buchon, and Tina’s Mexican Cafe are some of the best places where you can grab a bite before or after watching the play.
What hotels are near Carlsbad Community Theatre?
Some of the hotels located near the Carlsbad Comunity Theatre are:-
- Quality Inn & Suites
- La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Carlsbad
- MainStay Suites
- Days Inn by Wyndham Carlsbad
- Karbani Inn
- Candlewood Suites Carlsbad
10. Balzano Vineyard
If you are into wines rather than crafted beers, then the Balzano Vineyard, located at 5230 7 Rivers Highway, is a must-visit place for you. It is a brilliant vineyard where you can taste some of the exotic and local wines.
There are also various restaurants nearby the vineyard where you can taste scrumptious meals; Barrel Republic Carlsbad, Pizza Port Carlsbad, and Via Vai Cucina Italian. The operation timings of the vineyard are from 12 pm to 6 pm from Thursday to Sunday. This place also has a pumpkin patch, which you can enjoy with your family.
What forms of payment are accepted at Balzano Vineyard?
You can pay through a credit card for any of your purchases at the Balzano Vineyard.
How is Balzano Vineyard rated?
According to Google Reviews, the Balzano Vineyard has been rated 4.4 out of 5.
11. Christmas On The Pecos
This is indeed one of the most romantic things to do in Carlsbad, today as the festival of joy is just around the corner. During the festive season, Carlsbad Christmas Fest has been organized by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. This is an impressive celebratory light show which can be viewed from the Pecos River.
Every year, this light show has been organized on the theme of Southwest Desserts and Santa’s Workshop. You can enjoy the twinkling light show by boating at the Pecos River from the day of Christmas upto the New Year.
These are a 40-minute tour, departing from the Pecos River Park and taking you to witness the panoramic view of shimmered islands, backyards, and boat docks. The restaurants to grab a bite, nearby this Christmas Fest are; Blue House Baker and Cafe, The Trinity Hotel & Restaurant, and Red Chimney Bar-B-Que.
How much is Christmas on the Pecos?
The tickets for celebrating Christmas on the Pecos are $10-$15 for children and $15 to $20 for adults.
Where does the Pecos River run?
The Pecos River runs through eastern New Mexico and western Texas.
Things To Do in Carlsbad New Mexico FAQs
How long should you stay in Carlsbad Caverns?
According to us 2 to 3 hours in the Carlsbad Caverns is more than enough until you are very interested in geology or caves or can also go around for a big guided tour.
What are the top attractions to visit in Carlsbad?
Apart from the above-mentioned 11 places, there are some places more in the city where you can enjoy and experience splendid things. Some of them are listed below:-
- Legoland California
- South Carlsbad State Beach
- Carlsbad Village
- The Flower Field at Carlsbad Ranch
- Museum of Making Music
- Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum
- Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park
- Carlsbad Premium Oulets
- Carlsbad Village Farmer’s Market
- Sea Life Aquarium
- Alga Norte Community Park
- Batiquitos Lagoon
- Carlsbad Premium Oulet
What are the best outdoor activities in Carlsbad?
Listed below are some of the places where you can visit for enjoying the best outdoor activities in the city of Carlsbad:-
- Hosp Grove Trails
- South Carlsbad State Beach
- Rancho La Costa Preserve
- Aviara Golf Club
- The Crossings at Carlsbad
- House of Air
- Buck Up Rides
- Carlsbad Lagoon
That was all about the things to do in Carlsbad, New Mexico. We hope that this article has made everything clear to you if you are planning a trip to the city. Along with this, Roswell is a neighboring city, where you can also enjoy your vacations.
You must be wondering, does it snow in Roswell, New Mexico, or not? Well, yes the average snow in the region is about 3 inches in January. So, plan your holiday trip accordingly to both Carlsbad and Roswell.