When you consider places to go on summer vacation you’re likely looking for spots that check a number of boxes. They must have something for the whole family, offer a spot of culture, a bout of relaxation, and have a laundry list of nearby activities and attractions to keep everyone entertained. We’re in the business of selling experiences and with travel all about making memories; Ruidoso is one of the best places to do that. If you’re looking for that special place to claim as your own that your family returns to year after year, look no further.
Here are just a few of the many things you can do there:
1. Fly through the sky
Ski Apache has one of the longest zip lines in the world, and their nighttime Windrider Dark tour offers the opportunity to soar under a blanket of twinkling stars guided by moonlight.
2. Get back to nature at Grindstone Lake
The 18-mile trail system has loops and paths for outdoor explorers, bike enthusiasts or the casual wildflower walker.
3. Take a day trip to Carlsbad Caverns
One of the most underrated national parks, more than 119 caves are hidden below the Earth’s surface in the Chihuahuan Desert.
4. Pack a picnic and cast a line.
Many of the lakes and waterways around town allow fishing. Alto is my recommendation for a lazy day on the lake.
5. Play the ponies.
Ruidoso Downs is one of the most exciting racetracks in the country. If you visit in the fall, they host the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium, one of the largest Wild West fests in the world with an authentic chuckwagon cook-off.
6. Explore the petroglyphs at Three Rivers.
A bit further afield, more than 21,000 petroglyphs of ancient creatures, animals, birds, and artwork have been uncovered in a small pueblo village.
7. Shop ‘til you drop.
Ruidoso’s downtown corridor is lined with cute boutiques, artisan food vendors, and Southwestern wear. Unique Boutique and Cadillac Style are personal favorites.
8. Sand board at White Sands National Park
They rent sleds in the gift shop. If you’re feeling adventurous, spend the night camping under the stars.
9. Waste away the day at Sacred Grounds.
The local coffee shop is really the town meeting spot with plenty of nooks and crannies to hideout with a good book or board games. They frequently host live music and social events.
10. Overdose on green chile.
New Mexico’s signature dish is on full display in Ruidoso. Try the green chile cheeseburger at Hall of Flame Burgers, green chile apple pie at Tina’s Café, or green chile potato soup at Cornerstone Bakery. If you can handle the heat, bring some home as a souvenir. You’ll find unique artisanal gifts like green chile peanut brittle from the Fruit Stand.
11. Live out your childhood fantasy of getting locked in a mall by sleeping in a boutique.
Rustique Boutique is a trendy clothes store with themed rooms like “wine down” and the safari suite — the perfect place to host a girlfriend’s getaway.
12. Indulge in wine and cheese at Noisy Water.
The winery actually has two outposts a few doors apart with different samples at each so feel free to stumble between the two. Pro Tip: sample the green chile wine for a fiery twist on an age-old classic.
13. Make friends with the locals.
Deer are often seen ambling around Rio Ruidoso, which cuts right through town. The area isalso home to over 200 species of birds, which you can peep at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge.
14. Embrace the cowboy culture and go for a ride at Grindstone Stables.
Whether you want to walk, trot or gallop, they can tailor the ride to your speed and ability.
15. Pay homage to Smokey the Bear at his namesake Smokey Bear Historical Park.
Spend the day wandering the trails and exploring the forest.
16. Get the best view in town from Monjeau Lookout.
After a harrowing alpine drive, you’ll be rewarded with a landscape that overlooks the entire valley. It’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
17. Get lost in the right direction.
This quiet, woodsy escape is just the place you need to get back to nature. The majority of accommodations are cabins for rent where you may never want to leave.
Ready to Plan Your Trip? Here’s Where to Stay in Ruidoso
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