By Susan Brown
Pack up the cooler, grab your tent and sleeping bags, and load up the car with the kids—it’s time to head into the wilderness! Reacquaint yourself with nature and introduce your family to what life is like without technology. Here are five great campgrounds to visit in New Mexico!
This newly-refurbished campground accommodates tent and RV camping for single, double and even triple-sized units. It sits on a hill near spectacular sandstone cliffs in the Santa Fe National Forest with views of the Jemez Valley. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails, as well as those for off-road vehicles, plus wildlife viewing and some fishing opportunities in the small stream nearby. Picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets and drinking water on-site. Take a drive along the Cerro Pelado Lookout for views of an ancient volcanic crater.
Take the family into the forest for a great outdoor adventure at the base of Hermit’s Peak. Activities include hiking, biking, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding, climbing, whitewater paddling, wildlife watching, and in winter, a variety of snow sports. You are up-close-and-personal to the nature that surrounds you. Tent and RV camping available at 13 camping units complete with picnic tables, fire ring, and grills. There are vault toilets, bear proof food bins and potable water. No utility hookups, dump stations or shower. A taste of roughin’ it for those looking to escape the urban setting!
You can choose the type of camping experience you want since both developed and primitive campsites are available here. The difference is that the former has amenities and the latter doesn’t. The primitive site, however, includes boat-in and beach camping—who needs amenities when there’s a beach? Activities are plentiful: swimming, boating, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, water skiing, sailing, bird and wildlife spotting, hiking and mountain biking trails and a variety of kid-specific educational programs. There’s a visitor center with exhibits and a small store. Dog friendly, too!
This park truly lives up to its name. Visitors are encouraged to prospect and remove specimens. You can take out up to 15 pounds of rocks. It sits on the rugged slopes of the Little Florida Mountains where you can search for quartz, crystals, geodes, jasper, perlite and a host of other minerals. The campground has 29 spaces as well as vault toilets, showers, potable water, and a dump station. It’s a great place for picnicking, bird and wildlife viewing, hiking, with some interpretive trails. There are educational programs for kids, too.
You can put you camp chair right on the shore of Lake Heron and wiggle your toes in the sand from your campsite. Camping at this beautiful, peaceful spot is made even more enjoyable since the park has been designated a “quiet lake”—no-wake speeds. It’s a great place to fish, canoe and kayak, swim, paddle board and sail. There’s hiking on miles of trails where you might see elk, deer, marmot, bald eagles, osprey and maybe even a bear. Campground amenities include 250 developed campsites, some with electric sites, potable water, RV dump station, restrooms with water, showers, vault toilets, and beach and boat-in camping.