15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad, NM

15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad, NM

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Break the streak of monotony with a vacation to Carlsbad, a marvelous city with a lot to do, in the south-eastern part of New Mexico.

Carlsbad is also nicknamed ‘The Pearl on the Pecos,’ as the entire city sits around the Pecos River.

With an estimated population of 29,800 people, living through an area of 31.21 sq miles, Carlsbad will offer you your personal space.

This is also the city that is infamous for a huge range of caverns filled with bats, in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Apart from the tourism sector which is popular, the city is also renowned in petroleum and potash industries.

With the edging Guadalupe Mountains, several national parks, and forests are waiting to see you. So, what are you waiting for?

Let us take a look at 15 interesting things that you can do if you are in this part of the country.

Visit the Carlsbad Caverns

Big Hall in Carlsbad Caverns
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This particular attraction will top the list any day, as your trip to Carlsbad would be incomplete without the inclusion of this interesting tour of age-old caverns.

The “Big Room” inside the caves is something that you cannot miss.

Underground pools, fossils, and bat sightings make this an excellent experience inside the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

If you are there between mid-April to October, you will be able to spot thousands of bats flying over the Bat Flight Amphitheater, during and after sunset.

This is also where you can spend time learning about the various species of bats living inside the deep caverns.

The caverns are spread over 46,766 acres and are identified as the world’s largest subterranean chambers - something that you must witness with your own eyes.

Spend quality time at the Sitting Bull Falls

Sitting Bull Falls
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An hour’s journey from the main city center, you would surely not regret the decision to include a quick drive to Sitting Bull Falls in your go-to list.

The long drive through the desert ends at a canyon with a beautiful park.

The Falls is indeed a great sight but the little pool below it steals the show.

Perfect for a family picnic, or some nice time with your loved ones, this detour is inexpensive and fun.

We advise you to reach the place by morning. This is because the pool below the Falls starts to get a bit chilly post noon.

As there are a couple of Hiking trails near this attraction, hiking around Sitting Bull Falls is also a great idea.

Experience wine, beer, food, and a lot more at Balzano Family Vineyard and Pumpkin patch

Balzano Vineyard has a commendable selection of New Mexico wine and beer.

Starting from Italian red wine to fine wines from Luna Rossa and of course their authentic wines, Balzano is a pleasant place to be at.

They are also open as a restaurant that serves various sumptuous appetizers.

They also have a weekly menu for their guests who are dropping by, as well for those who order from online mediums.

Monthly trade days are full of surprises, and it is something that you can look out for before planning your trip.

This includes fresh farm swaps, small-scale antique trading, and the promotion of small-scale American businesses.

Spend time amidst flora and fauna at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park
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The zoological park faces the Pecos River Valley and that itself makes your visit there a serene experience.

A wide range of flora and fauna from the arid Chihuahuan Desert is exhibited there.

It's a unique indoor and outdoor museum and the place is stretched over an area of 1100 acres.

It is home to more than 40 native animal species along with hundreds of plants, both native and foreign.

The 1.3 miles personal tour will take about 1.5 hours to complete.

One will come across bison, bears, elks, and various birds of prey, during this tour.

The park also conserves the endangered Mexican Gray Wolves.

Visitors will find the huge cacti and succulent collection captivating.

Drop by at the Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Company for a refreshing drink

Initially a father and son dream, their blueprint could finally take shape only after years of planning.

Naturally, it is an experience that speaks for this classic brewing company located in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

With a range of the best brews in the community, families can enjoy their deli-style menu, opting to sit anywhere, be it indoors or outdoors.

One of the first instances where craft beer was introduced in Carlsbad was through the hands of Chris Pettus, the owner of Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Company.

His lifelong friend Brad Carlsen is also an important part of the business.

Together, they aim to get across the entire spectrum of beers in Carlsbad, making everything readily available. Experience home brewing up close!

Feed your art history cravings at the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center

Established in 1931, the CMAC maintains its motto of collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting important works of art, artifacts, and documents.

It is the oldest municipal museum in the whole of New Mexico.

Installations majorly belong to Carlsbad and other surrounding areas of south-eastern New Mexico.

Native American antiquities are something that will pull you close to this Art Centre.

Learn more about the role of local photographers in establishing the famous caverns in Carlsbad.

Temporary installations include interesting local 3D photography of the caves.

Admission to the premises is free of cost. Children will love the history of finding the Carlsbad caverns.

A visit to the CMAC will indeed be interesting to all.

Eat well at classic Carlsbad restaurants

Touring Carlsbad means a lot of treks here and there. What will keep you going is good food.

Carlsbad is filled with good restaurants and cafes that keep you satisfied in between tiring treks.

Two good restaurants and their specialties are penned down below:

Red Chimney Pit Bar-B-Que -

If you are looking for good old homey recipes, then this is where you exactly want to be, spending personal family time.

They have come forward with simple and mouth-watering food for the past 60 years.

Yellow Brix Restaurant -

If it is experimental and creative dishes that you are looking for, you wouldn’t want to miss the three-course meal here which includes the best dessert choices ever.

Go for a splish splash at the Carlsbad Water Park

A great place to be with your kids, Carlsbad Water Park is open during summers, Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 am to 6 pm.

It is situated by the shores of the Pecos River. The major attractions are the three water slides, the ‘lazy river', children’s play zone, lounge chairs across the pool sides, and free unlimited wifi.

The pools are clean and so are the locker rooms.

The size of the park is a plus point - being not too big, parents or guardians can keep a check on their little ones while they enjoy their own time in the Park.

There are several rides and attractions inside the park, at reasonable prices so that your entire family can have a great time.

Started by 5 artists belonging to the Carlsbad Area Art Association, they are the sole managers of the gallery for the past 40 years.

The organization has grown through the years, promoting and selling artworks from mainly the Carlsbad area.

After relocating several times, the gallery finally found its permanent home at 120 South Canyon Street, right at the heart of the historically rich district of Carlsbad.

It exhibits oil, watercolor, and acrylic paintings, textiles, pottery, photography, etc.

The Artist Gallery will of course be an informative and beautiful experience.

Go for a stroll along with Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area, and Pecos River

Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area
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Explore the Pecos River that flows through the city of Carlsbad. Visit the Pecos River Flume - the age-old conduit that conveys water over the river.

The fun fact is that this flume was included in Ripley's Believe It Or Not as the only river that crosses itself.

Originally made of wood, it was rebuilt with concrete after its demolition by a flood in 1902.

Finally, you can park your car at the Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area and enjoy one of the best and peaceful walks in the city.

Enjoy the views of the lake and spot hundreds of ducks.

A cherry on the cake would be to end the day on a river cruise or your rented paddle-boat.

Visit the Guadalupe Mountains, National Park

Guadalupe Mountains
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The entire range of the Guadalupe Mountains is truly majestic.

For a long time, the mountain has attracted geologists as it is one of the biggest examples of fossilized reefs from ancient times.

This destination should be on the top of the list for all the hikers out there.

Trails in and around the park can get as extensive as 80 miles, touching upon both woodland canyons and lush falls and streams.

However, this particular spot is not exactly situated at Carlsbad, but just 54 miles off southwest in the state of Texas.

If you are in this part of the States and can hear nature's call, this is the best chance of answering it.

Shop at the Pecos River Antique Mall

If you have an active interest in exploring flea markets, you would not be disappointed by this antique shop.

It is located at an important juncture in Canyon street and is a hidden gem.

Starting from memorabilia, antiques, and various treasures belonging to the period from the 1960s through the 1990s.  

There is so much for you in-store that at times, you will find it difficult to navigate through the shop.

The prices are majorly reasonable but there are no such fixed deals, so you have to sift through to find the best item.

All in all, this out-of-the-box Antique Mall will be a fine inclusion in your go-to list, once you are in Carlsbad.

Watch a show at the Carlsbad Community Theatre

This community theatre highlights various artistic expressions in theatre and provides a high-quality experience of performing arts.

Carlsbad's taste in creativity and art is nurtured through the very active functioning of its community theatre.

It enriches and inspires both residents of the city and tourists, having an interest in art.

Veteran audiences who still visit the theatre find it mesmerizing even on this date.

Cross-check the show timings with the officials to catch your favorite performance.

This old theatre will take you back to former times and come off as a great recreation in between your treks.

Go for a calming boat tour at Christmas on The Pecos

Take a boat tour through the Pecos River and come across an enchanting view of fairy-like twinkling lights and beautiful houses with decorated yards.

The boat docks will attract your eyes with their bright colors and the reflection of it on the river water creates a rather dreamy effect.

The 40 minutes ride is Christmas-themed, and you have the option of choosing between boats that could hold 15 people and 45 people, at a go.

Christmas on the Pecos will also be an absolute delight for kids and it is one amongst the top 100 things to see in North America.

Fish and camp and have an out worldly experience while you are in Carlsbad

While there are options for so many activities throughout the city, don't forget to embrace its outdoors in the purest way possible.

It doesn't matter if you are a novice or an expert, but do go fishing in any of the lakes spread through the city and have loads of fun with your family and especially your kids.

You will be lost in the natural beauty of Carlsbad.

If you want to ditch the monotony of concrete hotels, go for typical American camping stations or RV sites with amenities like electricity and sewage hook-ups, water supply, and trash disposal, and spend a night close to nature.

There is a lot to do at Carlsbad. With the arid deserts, and as well as the numerous city parks, lakes, mountains, and other attractions, Carlsbad is a well-balanced all-rounder for travelers and hikers.

Book your tickets to Carlsbad and start exploring right away!