20 Things To Do In Carlsbad NM

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Carlsbad is surrounded by the Chihuahuan desert and is known as ‘The Pearl of the Pecos’. One of the most popular Carlsbad attractions is the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, where you can explore breathtakingly large caves and be overawed at New Mexico’s geology.

While most people mainly flock to Carlsbad for the caverns, there are plenty of other things to do in Carlsbad to keep you entertained. So, if you are heading to the state and looking to see what to do in the area, here are some of the best Carlsbad activities.

Carlsbad, New Mexico

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20 Things To Do In Carlsbad NM

1- Marvel At The Carlsbad Caverns National Park

things to do in carlsbad landscape
Exploring Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the top thing to do in Carlsbad.

Visiting the Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of the best things to do in Carlsbad and the main reason many flock to this southeastern New Mexico city.

So, what are the Carlsbad Caverns?

These enormous caves house countless fossils, pools, stalagmites and stalactites.

The caves are vast, and wandering through them almost feels like you are visiting another world.

This cavern is the world’s largest subterranean chamber, covering more than 46,766 acres.

Visit between April and October to see one of the most incredible spectacles unfold before your eyes.

The Bat Flight Amphitheatre is the name now given to the cavern that thousands of bats fly out of every night.

It’s one of the most impressive sightings that will leave you astonished at nature.

With over 100 caves you can wander through along over three miles of trails, Carlsbad Caverns is the city’s most famous attraction.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is at 727 Carlsbad Caverns Highway, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220.

things to do in carlsbad nm Hall of Giants
The Hall of Giants is one of the things to see when visiting Carlsbad caves.

2- Visit The Carlsbad Museum

The Carlsbad Museum was established in 1931 to preserve, exhibit and interpret art, artifacts and special documents.

It is the oldest museum of its kind in New Mexico.

Make sure you visit if you are interested in Native American history, as many incredible antiquities are displayed at the museum.

The museum’s permanent collections include both local and regional history.

Learn about the Carlsbad Caverns’ history and the first people to photograph this incredible geological spectacle.

There are plenty of displays to keep both kids and adults entertained at the Carlsbad Museum.

Carlsbad Museum is at 418 W. Fox Street, Carlsbad, NM, 88220.

3- Shop At Pecos River Antique Mall

things to do in carlsbad this weekend green antique sofa
Hunting for antiques is one of the fun things to do in Carlsbad.

The Pecos River Antique Mall is a treasure trove of spectacular pieces to the trained eye.

Many antique newbies may pass by some incredible pieces, but this is the place to be for those interested in antiquities.

This antique mall features antiques and memorabilia from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Whether you are looking for things to resell or a beautiful item for your home, you’ve got to while away a few hours searching for hidden gems.

With affordable prices and an array of offerings, this is one of the best places to antique shop in Carlsbad and the surrounding area.

Pecos River Antique Mall is at 110 S Canyon St, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

4- Explore The Living Desert Zoo

best things to do in carlsbad Living Desert Zoo
Visiting the Living Desert Zoo is one of the best things to do in Carlsbad if you love nature.

This zoological park in the Pecos River Valley has a variety of species (plant and animal) from the Chihuahuan desert.

This Living Desert Zoo is like an indoor and outdoor museum with animals and plants spread across 1100 acres.

The zoo is home to 40 unique animals native to the area and other wildlife, including bears, elk, bison and many bird species.

They also have a special program for conserving the Mexican Gray Wolf, considered an endangered species.

This is a fun activity with kids when you’re next in Carlsbad.

Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park is at 1504 Skyline Rd, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

5- Splash Around In Carlsbad Water Park

fun things to do in carlsbad
Visiting with kids? Splashing around in a waterpark is one of the fun things to do in Carlsbad for families.

So, you’re visiting Carlsbad in the heart of summer, and you need somewhere to cool off?

Look no further than the Carlsbad Water Park.

This park opens from Tuesday till Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm, so you can spend practically all day splashing around in the water.

There are various fun tube slides to whizz down and a play zone for the little ones.

The river is a perfect spot to relax, grab a rubber ring or a Lilo and meander along.

Carlsbad Water Park is at 708 Park Dr, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

6- Visit The Pecos River Flume

The Pecos River is Carlsbad’s main water source. The Pecos flows through Texas and stops at the Rio Grande.

During the 19th century, a dam was built to help the city with irrigational issues.

The dam was built with an impressive flume around 145 feet high.

The flume used to carry the water over the bend in the river.

This architectural marvel has made The Pecos unique because the river crosses over itself.

Pecos River Flume is at 2309 Westridge Rd, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

7- Go Camping At Brantley Lake State Park

things to do in carlsbad brantley lake state park
Another of the outdoorsy things to do in Carlsbad is to explore Brantley Lake State Park.

Another of the best things to do in Carlsbad in nature is to explore Brantley Lake State Park.

This state park covers the shores of Brantley Lake and encompasses some of the Pecos River.

It’s the ultimate outdoors escape, where you can camp, hike, fish and take a boat ride on the lake.

There are over 100 campsites, so there is plenty of space and options to find the perfect overnight escape.

This is a cheap thing to do in Carlsbad at just a $5 entry into the park.

The park has 2.5 miles of trails to follow, offering almost continual views of the incredible lake.

Brantley Lake State Park is a fantastic place to explore with a group of friends or family, so grab a tent and enjoy a weekend of fun among the trees and water.

Brantley Lake State Park is at 33 W Brantley Lake Rd, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

8- Swim At Sitting Bull Falls

things to do in carlsbad Sitting Bull Falls from below
Exploring Sitting Bull Falls is another of the things to do in Carlsbad NM.

Around an hour outside of Carlsbad is Sitting Bull Falls, a waterfall that is a refreshing gem in the middle of a stark desert.

This 150-foot waterfall pours down along the canyon wall and can be accessed via a paved walkway.

You can swim in the pool, so bring swimwear as this is a fantastic place to cool off from the scorching New Mexico sun.

You should also consider taking a picnic as this is a picturesque location and a relaxing place for lunch.

Sitting Bull Falls is at 742 Sitting Bull Falls Rd, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

Five Carlsbad artists founded The Artist Gallery and have been running it for more than 40 years.

The gallery is home to several mediums, watercolour, photography, pottery, textiles, and acrylic paint, to name a few.

This gallery is well worth a visit for art lovers looking to support Carlsbad artists.

The Artist Gallery is at 120 S Canyon St, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

10- Go Hiking At Guadalupe Mountains National Park

things to do in carlsbad new mexico guadalupe
Enjoying nature in Guadalupe Mountains National Park is another of the top things to do in the Carlsbad area.

Inside the Guadalupe Mountain National Park, you’ll find one of the biggest examples of the fossilised reef.

Geologists will love this incredible national park as it displays the area’s fascinating history.

There are a variety of trails throughout the park that pass by waterfalls, streams and woodland canyons.

This national park is vastly different from Brantley Lake State Park as it’s mountainous and far more rugged.

El Capitan and Guadalupe Peak are two of the park’s highest peaks.

Visiting the Guadalupe Mountain National Park is a fun day trip from Carlsbad.

Many vistas collide at this national park, including the Carlsbad desert, forest and rugged mountains.

11- Drink Craft Beer At Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Company

So, you’ve visited the Guadalupe Mountain National Park, now it’s time to check out the brewing company.

This family-owned brewing company is the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring.

The brewery serves up some of the city’s best beers and a delicious food menu.

The owner Chris Pettus, was one of the first people to introduce the idea of craft beers to Carlsbad.

Sample some of the local beers, and be sure to take a tour of the brewery.

Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Company is at 3324 National Parks Hwy, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

12- Carlsbad Community Theatre

Are you in Carlsbad and love the theatre?

Well, search no longer, the Carlsbad Community Theatre is the place to go for some excellent evening entertainment.

This theatre hosts an array of interesting shows, both plays and musicals, such as Spongebob the Musical, Marry Poppins, Annie and The Lion King.

Carlsbad Community Theatre is at 4713 National Parks Hwy, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

13- Go Wine Tasting At Balzano Family Vineyard

If you are more into your wines than crafted beer, head to the Balzano Family Vineyard for all things wine.

Many conjure up images of the desert when thinking of New Mexico.

You may be surprised that there is a brilliant vineyard in Carlsbad.

Try a selection of some of Carlsbad’s local wines, and the vineyard also has a restaurant serving delightful dishes.

Balzano Family Vineyard is at 5230 7 Rivers Hwy, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

14- Stroll Around Lake Carlsbad

At the heart of the Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area is the Pecos River, a brilliant place to stroll and enjoy fresh air.

Enjoy the surrounding views of Lake Carlsbad and its many permanent residents, the ducks.

You can also take a river cruise or rent a paddle boat to enjoy the scenery from the water.

15- Explore Downtown Carlsbad

When you’re in Carlsbad, you’ve got to head to the Carlsbad downtown area to check out the places to shop, eat, and stay.

Wander the streets and check out the Carlsbad Downtown Farmers Market if you are there on a Thursday.

It’s a fabulous place to grab some fresh produce and enjoy the company of the Carlsbad locals.

16- Play Golf At Lake Carlsbad Golf Course

Whether you love golf or want to try it for the first time, head down to the Lake Carlsbad Golf Course.

There is both a nine-hole course and an 18-hole course.

The nine-hole course runs along the picturesque Pecos River, while the 18-hole course is in the foothills just east of the river.

Playing golf at the Lake Carlsbad Golf Course is the perfect way to enjoy a spot of nature.

The golf course is also surrounded by several hundred acres of parks owned by the city.

Lake Carlsbad Golf Course is at 901 Muscatel Ave, Carlsbad, NM 88220.

17- Celebrate Christmas on the Pecos

During the festive season, Carlsbad hosts an impressive celebratory light show that you can view from the Pecos River.

You can enjoy a 40-minute boat tour of the incredible illuminated islands, boat docks, and backyards on either side of the Pecos River.

Each year the light show contributors usually have a theme like Santa’s workshop and Southwest deserts.

18- Shop For Mexican Crafts

If you are looking for stuff that you probably do not need but will love, check out Mexican 2 Imports.

There’s Mexican-style furniture, indoor and outdoor décor, knickknacks, motifs, pottery, ceramics and more.

If you need some colourful inspiration for your home, look no further than this Mexican craft and home décor shop.

Mexican 2 Imports is at Carlsbad, NM 88220.

19- Cruise The Pecos River

Yes, you can take a Christmas on the Pecos cruise during the festive season, but what about the rest of the year?

Hop aboard a Carlsbad Cruises boat and relax for an hour boat cruise along the Pecos River.

They even have a free beach and swim area for when you are waiting for your cruise or have just finished.

Learn about the history of Carlsbad and the importance of the Pecos River as you meander down the river.

20- Step Back Into History At Eddy’s House

Eddy’s House is the home of Carlsbad’s first-ever resident, Charles B. Eddy, whose former home was painstakingly moved, brick by brick, to its current location.

The Southeastern New Mexico Historical Society moved this house to Heritage Park.

This is an interesting attraction for history lovers to learn about Carlsbad and Eddy himself.

things to do in carlsbad man walking through cave
Going on a cavern tour is one of the things to do in Carlsbad you cannot miss.
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harriet comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!