Best Vacation Destinations for Seniors in New Mexico

Best Vacation Destinations for Seniors in New Mexico

The Best Vacation Destinations for Seniors in New Mexico


New Mexico is truly “The Land of Enchantment” and from the scenic mountains of northern New Mexico to the southern border shared with old Mexico the natural beauty of the state never fails to impress visitors.  Most New Mexico vacationers are aware of the magnificent history of Santa Fe and its historic fall fiesta as well as the International Balloon Fiesta hosted by the city of Albuquerque.  Both events are worthy of the time and expense involved and seniors will not regret attendance at either event although the crowds can be daunting.


However, New Mexico offers many lesser known events that combine fun, food, and entertainment for seniors at little expense.  All of the museums, festivals, and monuments mentioned have parking areas large enough to accommodate recreational vehicles and they are wheelchair accessible.


Many native New Mexicans and most visitors have not heard of “Rancho de los Golondrinas.”  The English translation is “Ranch of the Swallows” and it is located about 15 miles south of Santa Fe in a small community called “La Cienega.”  Golondrinas is a “living” museum and it hosts a spring planting festival, a fall harvest festival and various other events during the summer months.  It has been a working ranch since the late 1600’s, and volunteers provide demonstrations of long forgotten skills.  Soap making, weaving, blacksmithing, sheering sheep, carding wool, and spinning are among the skills demonstrated at various buildings.  Additionally, the homemade tamales and green chili stew are enough to make visitors determined to return for the next festival.  Scheduled events are posted on the Internet and the museum is not open to the public otherwise.


And one cannot bypass Roswell located in southern New Mexico with its funny, campy, UFO museum.  This museum is open year round and is dedicated to the famous, or infamous depending on point of view, “Roswell Incident.”  It attracts UFO enthusiasts’ world wide and visitors are usually eager to share their first person testimonials of sightings, abductions, and sometimes nefarious treatment at the hands of aliens of the extraterrestrial kind.  Additionally, Roswell hosts a UFO festival each year and details can be found on the Internet.


Alamogordo is not far from Roswell and the White Sands National Monument and its 275 square miles of stark white dunes is open to the public daily. The main road leads to the visitor center but other roads may not be passable as the sand tends to “drift” sometimes up to 20 feet per year.  Usually the roads are clear of sand and you can leave your vehicle at designated sites and walk through the dunes for peaceful sightseeing and amazing photographic opportunities. The monument seldom has large numbers of visitors and often no other footprints are visible while walking through the dunes; only the ripples in the sand and perhaps a trail left by a bleached earless lizard. An exceptional number of visitors appear for the two days each year when the Trinity Site is open to the public.  The Trinity Site is where the first atomic bomb was detonated and it is only open for accompanied tours on the first Saturday of April and the first Saturday of October each year.


Alamogordo is also home to the New Mexico Museum of Space History.  This museum contains a replica of the International Space Station as well as exhibitions of lesser known contributions made by individuals such as Robert Goddard who conducted rocket experiments outside of Roswell.  It has a “hall of fame” to commemorate the men and women who have worked to help explore space and an IMAX theater and planetarium. 


Deming, New Mexico is proud to sponsor “The Great American Duck Race,” an annual event that spans two days (usually in August) where live ducks compete at the “Duck Downs” for cash prizes and fame.  A hot air balloon mass ascension is part of the festivities as well as a Duck Parade and the crowning of a Duck Queen. The ducks are pampered, bribed with special treats, and encouraged with motivational words. They are treated so kindly that races have even been curtailed because of rain!  If visitors would like to join in the races, ducks are available to rent. The races are fun for all and it appears that even the ducks enjoy the events.


For seniors visiting in New Mexico the choices are endless and include living museums to alien museums; amazing white sands to duck races.  New Mexico has spectacular views, unspoiled wilderness and a relaxed, fun way of life.

Mary Spargo Marquez was first published in 1994 and enjoys writing about a variety of topics such as computing, cooking and gardening. She has a degree in Computer Science and has been employed in business, state government, and for a national laboratory. Please visit her at

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