Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
When you picture New Mexico, what comes to mind?
Is it the stunning sunsets? Or the miles and miles of ivory dunes at White Sands? How about a stop in Hatch, the “chile capital of the world”? Or do you prefer blocking off a full day to explore Museum Hill in Santa Fe?
Perhaps you think less – if at all – about visiting some of the state’s quirkier and lesser-known spots: the Norman and Vi Petty Museum in Clovis, for example, where you can find a robust history of early rock ‘n’ roll. Or Pie Town for its annual baking extravaganza in September, featuring pies of every flavor. There’s also the crystal clear waters of Blue Hole, just off the highway in Santa Rosa.
It’s easy to plan adventures around all of these destinations with the state Department of Tourism’s New Mexico True Thirty, a bucket list promotion aimed at getting in-staters out to tourist sites around the state – especially for off-peak season travel.
The promotion, which will be unveiled today at NewMexico.org with an interactive quiz, highlights 30 places for natives to check off on their list of future road trips.
Ranging from Acoma Pueblo to White Sands, the list includes a brief synopsis of the must-see attractions: notable state and national parks, man-made landmarks, off-the-beaten-path destinations and cultural sites.
Also among the 30 locations that made the list are the Very Large Array in Socorro, with its 27 radio telescopes; the spot where the first atomic bomb was detonated at Trinity Site; and an elevating experience aboard the Sandia Peak Tram.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham said she is more than halfway to completing her list, and plans to work on checking off more places.
“I’ve been to 16 of the 30,” Latham said. “Our goal is to encourage New Mexicans, both lifelong residents and recent arrivals, to visit all four corners of our state and create memories in these amazing places.”
Organizers hope travelers share their results on social media. But be prepared to drive. New Mexico is a big state.
According to AAA, road trips are gaining in popularity – 55 percent of Americans have indicated that they were more likely to take a road trip this year than the previous year.
Road trips are also gaining popularity in New Mexico.
Nearly 16 percent of overnight trips in 2017 were to tour multiple locations of the state, according to a tourism department survey.
Direct visitor spending hit $6.4 billion statewide in 2016, a 2.1 percent increase over the previous year.