Colorful desert landsape of peaks and mountains above fields and farms in the lush Rio Chama valley near Abiquiu, New Mexico, USA. Image credit Jim Ekstrand via Shutterstock.

11 Best Small Towns To Visit In New Mexico

Bounded by Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Mexico, and Arizona, New Mexico sits in the Southwestern US, known for its natural landscapes and cities such as Albuquerque and Santa Fe. However, the charm of New Mexico can be found on an even smaller scale through its quaint and petite towns, teeming with rich local history, monuments, and local delights. Discover these small towns across New Mexico which are jam-packed with their charms!  

Truth Or Consequences

Street view in Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, via Cheri Alguire /
Street view in Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, via Cheri Alguire /

No, it is not a typo—Truth or Consequences is an actual town name! Sitting in Sierra County, this New Mexico town got its name from Ralph Edwards, the game show host of Truth or Consequences. On March 31, 1950, Ralph requested the town name—which was “Hot Springs” at the time—be changed to the popular show. 

Visit the town’s famous geothermal mineral waters at their spa lodges and resorts, perfect for escaping the dreaded city traffic. Snowbirds can also escape the bone-chilling winters by visiting Truth or Consequences, enjoying views and recreational activities around The Rio Grande, from golfing to birdwatching!

Los Alamos

Los Alamos Butte, New Mexico
Los Alamos Butte, New Mexico. Image credit Zack Frank via Shutterstock.

This small community in Los Alamos County is famous for hosting the US government’s Atomic Research Laboratory (the Manhattan Project), which developed the world’s first atomic weapons.

Visitors can tour these grounds by visiting the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Los Alamos. The town is also home to a handful of museums, monuments, and facilities for recreational activities like skiing, golfing, and skating.


Beautiful mountain scenery with streams, valleys, and color changing trees along a train route from Chama, New Mexico to Antonito, Colorado
Landscape near Chama, New Mexico. Image credit Gestalt Imagery via Shutterstock.

This small town sits in north-central New Mexico near the Colorado Border. Nestled within the New Mexico Rocky Mountains, this quaint village is a year-round destination for travelers, especially for families! This picturesque village sits at an elevation of 7,680 feet, blessed with an expansive view of jagged mountain peaks and dramatic gorges. Ride the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad to see the Toltec Gorge or take a short trip to El Vado Lake and Heron Lake to enjoy some camping or hiking.

Jemez Springs

Exterior view of the Jemez Historic Site at New Mexico
Exterior view of the Jemez Historic Site in New Mexico. Image credit Kit Leong via Shutterstock.

Jemez Springs provides small-town charm and boasts a relaxing vacation spot within driving distance from Albuquerque and Santa Fe! Situated along the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway, relaxation-seeking visitors can experience the healing waters of the Jemez Springs in this quaint New Mexico village.

Choose from a melange of commercial hot springs or bathhouses within Jemez Springs or trek to a rugged, natural hot spring by foot, discovering natural wonders like the Spence Hot Springs (near Soda Dam) or the McCauley Hot Springs (near Battleship Rock in the Santa Fe National Forest).

Santa Rosa

At 80 feet deep with clear blue water, the Blue Hole on Route 66 in Santa Rosa, NM, attracts divers and others. View from above
Blue Hole on Route 66 in Santa Rosa, NM. Image credit IrinaK via Shutterstock.

It will not be hard to find adventure in Santa Rosa, dubbed “The Scuba Diving Capital of the Southwest.” Sitting in Northeast New Mexico’s Guadalupe County, Santa Rosa is fun for the entire family, oozing a charm that’s iconic of any small, friendly US town.

Dive and dip into the town’s Blue Hole, an 81-foot natural spring that retains a constant temperature of 62°F. Jump and splash into the waters of this natural spring or explore its underwater wonders with a fun dive!


 Cinco de Mayo celebration Mariachi band playing in the Mesilla, New Mexico town square, celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
Cinco de Mayo festivities in Mesilla via Shutterstock.

While Mesilla exists as a small New Mexico town today, it was once a major stop for traveling between San Antonio and San Diego. Once visitors step into Mesilla, they will feel like they stepped in time, as the town remains mostly unchanged since its heyday in the 1800s! 

Explore the San Albino Church in the town plaza, which stands as Mesilla Valley’s oldest (and still active) church. This town is also lively thanks to its offerings of unique boutiques, galleries, wineries, and specialty eateries!


The structures inside the Taos pueblo has a wide variety of influences ranging from Tribal natives to spanish churches.
Pueblo in Taos, New Mexico. Image credit richardamora via Shutterstock.

Taos is a New Mexico town, part of Taos County, and sits in the north-central region of the state in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The town’s name comes from the Spanish rendering of Tiwa, which referred to the Pueblo people. For decades, artists like Georgia O’Keefe, Ansel Adams, and DH Lawrence ventured to Taos, which was seen as a resort colony for artists. A visit to Taos wouldn’t be complete without exploring the Taos Pueblo’s adobe settlement, which is regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 


Historic El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, New Mexico at sunset
Historic El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, New Mexico. Image credit M.M.PHOTO via Shutterstock.

Chinmayó sits in North Central New Mexico, close to Albuquerque and Santa Fe via The High Road to Taos Scenic Byway. This quaint town is famous for its Santuario de Chimayo, otherwise known as El Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas. Considered a National Historic Landmark, this shrine garners a reputation for healing the sick. Nestled on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the grounds on which it lies are also considered special, as it was frequented by Natives, Hispanics, and believers of the faith. Every year, the landmark is visited by over 300,000 people and is one of the most popular sites in Chimayo, and serves as a Catholic pilgrimage center in the US. Before heading out, visitors should also make a trip out of visiting Chimayó’s weaving shops and sampling the local food!


Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico, USA
Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico. Image credit Traveller70 via Shutterstock.

Known by the Navajo as “Kinteel” (or “wide horse”), this town names come from Escalante’s misguided notion during his visit to the San Juan Basin. He stumbled across the ruins of the Aztec National Monument and thought it was built by the Aztec Indians (though they were built by the Anasazi). 

History lives here at Aztec, especially along its downtown core, which is complete with a host of historical buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Otherwise, this San Juan County community is packed with natural wonders and historical monuments, perfect for activities such as fishing, mountain biking, or hiking!


New Mexico pistachio tree farm with the world's largest statue of nut and people posing by sign
World's largest statue of pistachio, New Mexico. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock.

Alamogordo has never heard of the term “boring.” Nestled in the high desert on the base of the Sacramento Mountains in Otero County, this southern New Mexico community gets an average of 287 days of sun, giving visitors plenty of sunlight to enjoy a collection of thrilling activities! 

Play a round of golf at the Desert Lake Golf Course, admire the mechanics of the F-117 Nighthawk at the Holloman Air Force Base, or feel the soft sands at the nearby White Sands National Park. This New Mexico destination is also home to several family-friendly attractions, including the Alameda Park Zoo and the New Mexico Museum of Space History. 

Before you leave Alamogordo, don’t forget to stop by the world’s largest pistachio, which is located near the world’s largest gypsum dune!


A welcoming signboard at the entry point of the town of Roswell
Sign for Roswell, New Mexico. Image credit Cheri Alguire via Shutterstock.

Chaves County’s community of Roswell is known among tourists for the reported site of an extraterrestrial sighting and spacecraft crash in 1947. Since then, believers of the extraterrestrial flock to Roswell every year in July for the UFO Encounter Festival.

Visitors can admire the extensive UFO memorabilia and related activities at Roswell, including exhibits at the International UFO Museum and Research Center and the souvenirs at the Invasion Station Gift Shop. 

Besides being famous as an “alien town,” Roswell is also a hub of cultural activities and local history, given it was once the original homelands of the Mescalero Apaches and the Comanche’s hunting grounds.


Though New Mexico is known for its cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe, its small towns are just as iconic and carry unique traits that are worth a visit! With plenty of beautiful landscapes, exciting activities and amenities just as good as the ones in big metropolises, tourists will not be disappointed with a visit to any of these lovely small towns!

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