Head to the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico to find Carlsbad. This city on the Pecos River is an attractive vacation spot for its stunning scenery and outdoor leisure pursuits. Search for fossils on steep mountain trails, marvel at the stalactite formations in underground caves and canoe down the river.
Carlsbad’s most popular attraction is the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 20 miles (32 kilometers) outside the city. Descend deep underground to explore limestone caves. Join a ranger-guided tour or explore on your own. Part of the cave system is accessible to wheelchair users.
About 1 hour’s drive from Carlsbad is the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, a vast wilderness just over the state line and into Texas. More than 80 miles (129 kilometers) of trails meander through forested canyons, mountains and desert. Look for ancient marine fossils embedded in the rocks. Millions of years ago a tropical ocean and a 400-mile-long (644-kilometer) reef system covered the area.
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park is a good place to see animal and plant species native to the Chihuahuan Desert.
With more than 1,400 acres (567 hectares) of parks and the Pecos River on its doorstep, Carlsbad has many outdoor attractions. Plan a day of family fun at the Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area. Enjoy fishing, boating, waterskiing, tennis courts and a skateboard park.
Swim or glide across the river on a kayak or paddleboat at the Pecos River Beach and Picnic Area.
To experience Carlsbad’s cultural scene, watch a concert at the Walter Gerrells Performing Arts and Exhibition Center. Study the work of early 20th-century New Mexican artists at the Carlsbad Museum and Arts Center.
Carlsbad is an easy city to get to by car. If you are traveling by plane, the nearest major airport is El Paso International Airport, 158 miles (254 kilometers) away, where you can arrange a rental car. Carlsbad is a great place to come for adventures above and below ground.