For the 50+ Traveler

When we asked our readers about their 2021 travel plans, many shared that they would consider road trips over big city stays or even the beach. Last week we shared our favorite road trips through Arizona, and this week we thought we would keep with the Southwest trend and head to their neighbors to the east: New Mexico. Rugged mountains, colorful deserts, and centuries of history are yours to explore in the Land of Enchantment. So fuel up, download your favorite playlist, and set out on an enchanting adventure.

Historic New Mexico Road Trip: Santa Fe To Taos

The mountains and forests of northern New Mexico are stunning, and I can think of no greater place to explore just about any time of the year. The journey north from Santa Fe will take you past remote villages filled with history and a blend of cultural influences. The drive is a quick one, only 2.5 hours, but make sure to stretch this one out and enjoy each and every stop along the way. Consider our picks for the best stops along the historic New Mexico road trip between Santa Fe and Taos.

Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A New Mexico Road Trip Steeped In History And Culture: Santa Fe To Gallup

The temperatures in northern New Mexico tend to remain cooler due to the elevation and mountainous terrain, which makes a summer road trip far more bearable than in other areas of the Southwest. Saunter around the oldest capital in the U.S., discover a city with strong ties to World War II, and explore the Duke City during your trip west from Santa Fe to Gallup, a New Mexico road trip steeped in history and culture.

A panoramic view of Cibola National Forest.

8 Best Stops Along New Mexico’s Turquoise Trail: Albuquerque To Santa Fe

While taking Interstate 25 northeast from Albuquerque would be the quickest way to Santa Fe, we recommend the more scenic path along the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. This byway cuts through many eclectic small towns set in the breath-taking mountains that lie between two of New Mexico's biggest cities. Janie Pace shares her picks for the 8 best stops along New Mexico's Turquoise Trail.

Albuquerque, NM, skyline with Sandia Mountain backdrop.

Scenic New Mexico Road Trip: Albuquerque To Las Cruces

To get a better understanding of this enchanting state, you need to travel south. From the forests and mountains of the north to arid deserts in the south, New Mexico has it all. You will follow I-25 south for most of your journey, with a few notable -- and unique -- detours for out-of-this-world excursions. If you need inspiration for your next trip, consider Sage Scott's scenic New Mexico road trip between Albuquerque and Las Cruces.

New Mexican mountains.

Beautiful New Mexico Road Trip: Las Cruces To Tucumcari

From south-central New Mexico, head northeast through the eastern reaches of the Land of Enchantment. This path is less traveled than other regions of the state, so you are less likely to run into crowds, providing an unhindered view of the serene landscape. Enjoy an outing to a truly unique national park on your way north to Tucumcari, a major stop along historic Route 66. Sage shares her suggestions for how to make the most of the beautiful road trip between Las Cruces and Tucumcari in eastern New Mexico.

Route 66 through New Mexico.

Historic Route 66: Glenrio To Gallup

Speaking of Route 66, no roundup of road trips around New Mexico would be complete without this historic route. The path you take can vary based upon whether you adhere to the initial plans for the path that swing north to Santa Fe before dropping back down to Albuquerque, or the "official" signed route of the traditional path that bypasses Santa Fe, opting for a more direct path through the mountains to the state's biggest city. Either way you choose, you won't be disappointed, and you'll still get your kicks while driving Route 66 through New Mexico.

If you enjoyed our journey through the Land of Enchantment, make sure to take a look at our other great road trip content, taking you all across North America and beyond. Make sure to bookmark our page and be the first to see new content as we publish new travel inspiration daily!