New Mexico, Arizona – Itinerary

August 23, 2016

My parents had taken me to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico as a child and we wanted to do the same for our children. However, planning a trip for what to do after visiting the caverns was quite a challenge given its remote location. As we were planning for Spring Break, we decided to include White Sands; Silver City; and then on to Arizona and Tucson and Phoenix for warmer weather – and as my husband was obsessed with seeing White Sands Monument so this trip made the most sense.

However, we had looked at heading southeast and visiting the small town of Marfa known for contemporary outdoor art and the famous Marfa lights; Balmorhea State Park with its natural water 48 acre swimming pool; historic Fort Davis; the unique Texas towns in between; and then on to Big Bend National Park. But it just seemed like too much to try to do on this particular trip. Of course, you could consider those options as part of your plans but we went west instead into the desert – so those areas will have to be another trip for us in the future.

Instead, we combined caverns, mountains, white sand deserts, giant cactus, glass blowing, baseball spring training and relaxation into a one way trip. Below are the travel plans we used which included each area for lodging, activities and dining. Under the Destinations tab, we provided more details on each area as well as other options you may want to consider.  And we encourage families to modify plans for their own preferences.

DAY 1 – carlsbad – driving

Driving to Carlsbad, NM – or flying into El Paso, Albuquerque, Midland or Lubbock and then driving to Carlsbad

Eat: Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que, Sweetwater – Lunch ($)
Eat: YellowBrix – Dinner ($$) or any fast food option (pizza, burgers, etc.)
Stay: The Trinity Hotel – Safe Room – ($$)

DAY 2 – carlsbad – caverns and Guadalupe national park

Hike down into the Carlsbad Caverns at opening ($)
Guadalupe National Park – Hike Devil’s Hall or McCittrick Canyon ($)
Texas Salt Flats

Eat: Blue House Bakery Café – Breakfast, Coffee ($)
Eat: Carlsbad Caverns Gift Shop – Lunch ($)- Sandwiches, Drinks
Eat: The Trinity Hotel – Dinner ($$) – Caliente Goat Cheese; Chicken Bolloco, Lasagna Bolloco; New Mexico Wines
Stay: The Trinity Hotel – Safe Room – ($$)

DAY 3 – white sands – sledding, lunch

Cloudcroft – Quick stop, shopping
Sledding down White Sands Dune and lunch ($)
Las Cruces – Recycled Roadrunner (photo op)
Silver City – Fine Dining ($$$)

Eat: The Trinity Hotel – Breakfast ($) – Omelet with green chiles, hash browns
Eat: White Sands – Picnic Lunch ($)
Eat: Curious Kumquat ($$$) – Dinner – Prix fixe; or Tre Rosat, 1zero6, etc.
Stay: Bear Mountain Lodge – ($$)

DAY 4 – Tucson – Arizona saguaro desert museum – zoo, show

Tour the desert ($$)
Raptor Free Flight Bird Show
Desert evening dinner

Eat: Bear Mountain Lodge – Breakfast ($)
Eat: Ocotillo Café – Lunch ($$)
Eat: Ritz Dove Mountain – Dinner – Ignite ($$)
Stay: Ritz Dove Mountain – ($$$)

DAY 5 – Tucson – Glass Blowing, Hotel

Sonoran Glass School – Glass blowing ($$)
Hotel – Pool, Bocce Ball, Badminton, Water Slides
Tent and stars experience

Eat: Ritz Dove Mountain – Breakfast (included)
Eat: Burger Bistro – Dinner ($$) – Burgers, Shakes
Stay: Ritz Dove Mountain – ($$$)

DAY 6 – Tucson – Seven Falls hiking, Hotel

Seven Falls hike ($)
Hotel – Pool, Bocce Ball, Badminton, Water Slides

Eat: Ritz Dove Mountain – Breakfast (included)
Eat: Ritz Dove Mountain – Dinner – Ignite ($$); or Pinnacle Peak – Steaks ($$)
Stay: Ritz Dove Mountain – ($$$)

DAY 7 – Phoenix – Spring Training Baseball

Spring Training – Cactus League ($$)
Movie night in the pool

Eat: Ritz Dove Mountain – Breakfast (included)
Eat: Baseball Game – Lunch ($) – Check stadium home page for best options
Stay: Phoenician or Phoenician Canyon Suites – ($$$); or any of the other hotel options in Phoenix

DAY 8 – Phoenix – Float plane, paddle boarding

Desert Splash Adventures – Sea Plane Tour and Paddle Boarding ($$$)
Cosanti Wind Bells – Shopping

Eat: Lunch on island – marinated olives, Green Chile Mac N’ Cheese, Zulu BLT and Paninis ($)
Stay: Phoenician or Phoenician Canyon Suites – ($$$); or any of the other hotel options in Phoenix

DAY 9 – Phoenix – Hiking

Hike Camelback Mountain – Cholla Trail
Hotel – Pool, slides

Eat: Arcadia Farms – Lunch ($$)
Eat: J&G Steakhouse – Dinner ($$$)
Stay: Phoenician or Phoenician Canyon Suites – ($$$); or any of the other hotel options in Phoenix

DAY 10 – Phoenix – Pool, Trapeze or other hotel activities

Enjoy a day at the pool or a cabana
Look for hotel activities before you arrive
Trapeze lessons

Stay: Phoenician or Phoenician Canyon Suites – ($$$); or any of the other hotel options in Phoenix

DAY 11 – Phoenix – Musical Instrument Museum

Musical Instrument Museum Audio Tour ($)
Sweet Republic – Ice Cream ($)
Fly home

Eat: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery – OMG! French Toast and Pancake Flights – Breakfast ($)
Eat: Café Allegro – Musical Instrument Museum – Lunch ($)
Stay: Your own bed.

And for more details on surrounding areas see our other itinerary for Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce or destination notes for Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Tucson, Phoenix, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Zion/Bryce Canyon and Albuquerque.

NEW MEXICO, ARIZONA – CARLSBAD, WHITE SANDS, TUCSON, PHOENIX – TRIP SUMMARY – LINKS AND REVIEWS

TRIPADVISOR – THINGS TO DO

TRIPADVISOR – HOTELS

YELP – RESTAURANTS

MAP

 

 

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