Although New Mexico lacks the major theme park variety of attractions, it makes up for it by offering experiences that have a deeper impact. This trip takes families to the region's most notable sights -- including Petroglyph National Monument and Bandelier National Monument -- but it's not too jam-packed; it also fits in some time for poolside lounging. When planning this trip, keep in mind that the climate in this region is fairly mild, but summers in Albuquerque can be scorching and winters in Santa Fe and Taos can be cold.
Days 1 & 2: Albuquerque
If you have some energy after traveling, head to Old Town, where you can wander the plaza, peruse some shops, and, if you have time, head over to the Explora Science Center or the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Finish the day with one of New Mexico's premier treats -- an enchilada -- at Sadie's.
On day 2, start out at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and then head to the Albuquerque Biological Park. Be sure to visit the Biological Park's butterfly exhibit. Alternatively, you may want to visit the Rio Grande Zoo. Don't miss the polar bears there. Both are in the vicinity of Old Town Plaza. Then head out to Petroglyph National Monument, west of town. (If it's summer, you may want to go first thing in the morning while the air is cool.) In the late afternoon, find your way to Central Avenue, just south of Old Town, and drive east on Route 66. This takes you right through downtown to the Nob Hill district and the Sandia Mountains foothills, respectively. Finish your day with a ride up the Sandia Peak Tramway. After you reach the top, you may want to hike along the crest, though this isn't safe for young kids. Ideally, you should ride up during daylight and ride down at night for a view of the city lights. You may even want to dine at High Finance Restaurant and Tavern at the top.
Day 3: The Turquoise Trail & Santa Fe
In the morning, strike out for the ghost towns and other sights along the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe. Stop in at the Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Crest and then roam Madrid to peruse the Old Coal Mine Museum. You'll arrive in Santa Fe in time to do some sightseeing. Head straight to the plaza, the Palace of the Governors, and St. Francis Cathedral. Next, make your way over to the Santa Fe Children's Museum, where the kids can do some rock climbing or other fun activities. Finish your day with an enchilada at the Shed. In the evening, depending on the season, you may want to get a sitter and take in some of Santa Fe's excellent arts, such as the Santa Fe Opera or the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Alternatively, if you'd like to take the kids along, head to La Casa Sena to hear some show tunes.
Day 4: Santa Fe Arts
Head up to Museum Hill, and visit the Museum of International Folk Art so your kids can see the excellent toy collection. Also noteworthy are the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Wheelwright Museum, which often have kids-oriented activities such as craft-making and storytelling. Check their schedules in advance. Head back downtown via Canyon Road to peruse the arts scene. In the afternoon, go to the living history site El Rancho de las Golondrinas.
Day 5: The High Road to Taos
Travel the High Road to Taos. Stop for lunch at Leona's and visit the Santuario de Chimayo. On the way into Taos, stop at the San Francisco de Asis church. If you like music, get a sitter and head to the Sagebrush Inn for some country-and-western tunes or to the Anaconda Bar to hear some jazz or other live performance.
Day 6: Taos
Spend the morning of day 6 at Taos Pueblo and the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. On the west side of the Gorge, the West Rim Trail offers a fun hike with stunning views over the canyon, though you'll want to watch the kids carefully. During the afternoon, do some shopping around the Taos Plaza, and then visit the Kit Carson Home and Museum. For a fun dinner, head to Taos Pizza Out Back.
Day 7: Enjoying the Outdoors
Head west and spend the day riding the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Be sure to check departure times for the train and make reservations in advance. Alternatively, depending on the season, you might want to go skiing at Taos Ski Valley or white-water rafting at Pilar on the Rio Grande. Spend the night either in Chama or Taos and then drive south to Albuquerque to catch your plane.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.