Breathtaking natural beauty and enchanting sunsets. Iconic landscapes and rich Native American history. Welcome to New Mexico, also known as The Land of Enchantment. No state better captures the true essence of the American Southwest than New Mexico -- and the best way to experience this is to go off the beaten path in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Certain Ruidoso spots are obligatory visitor destinations, such as Ruidoso Downs and the Lincoln National Forest. However make sure not to miss out on these unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso:

Ziplining at 11,489 feet up!

Ziplining gets exponentially more fun as the elevation increases, it's a scientific fact*
* may not be "scientific" or a "fact" but it is the truth

Ziplining at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Like any good ski company, Ski Apache offers plenty of adrenaline-pumping outdoor summer activities as well. These include mountain biking, hiking, a 9-hole disc golf course, and of course the star of it all, their impressive ziplines.

Ziplining at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Ziplining at Ski Apache is an unforgettable experience. Located over 11,000 feet above sea level (3,500 metres), this three-part zipline tours covers nearly two miles in distance (over 2.7 kilometres), offers "the most spectacular view in Southern New Mexico" and hits speeds of up to 65 MPH! (105km/hr!) Now tell you me that you don't want to experience this ;)

Best of all, ziplining is open year-round!

Gallop over to the Museum of the Horse

I have an unhealthy fixation with strange, unique and one-of-a-kind museums. No museum is too small or too quirky. Few museums are worth a second visit but every museum is worth one.

Spiderman says everybody gets one -- first on Family Guy, and then two years later he said it for the first time in the comics
"Everybody gets one" according to Spiderman in Family Guy S06E03. Little known fact: Two years later Spiderman said those same words in the comicbook for the first time.

The Museum Of The Horse in Ruidoso changed its name to Hubbard's Museum of the American West but the museum is no less interesting, especially to anyone fascinated by horses or the history of the American West.

The Museum Of The Horse is one of the many unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico
"Free Spirits at Noisy Waters" by Dave McGary is a collection of eight giant horse scupltures located on the grounds of the Museum of the American West. Photo via pamwood707

The Hubbards were a racing family, which explains why the museum is located next to the race track, Ruidoso Downs. It focuses on a wide variety of regional history, from wild horses and horse racing to Native Americans, pioneers and frontier life.

Although small, a lot is packed into the museum. Scultpures, horse carriages, weapons, art and a plethora of antiques, all of which have detailed descriptions. There are also seasonal exhibits as well.

  Entrance to the grounds is free, but the museum costs $7.

Don't forget to stop by Ruidoso Downs located next door!

Horse racing at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico
Ruidoso Downs

Try Something You've Never Done Before

When it comes to outdoor activities, that is where Ruidoso really shines, regardless of whether it is summer or winter.

Horseback riding around Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and off the beaten path summer activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Summer Activities

During summer there is horseback riding, disc golf, hiking, mountain biking, cycling tours (on the road), fishing, ziplining, horse racing, camping and more. Pick one (or more) of these that you have never done before and give it a go. What better way to create some unforgettable memories in Ruidoso?

Snowboarding at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat winter activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Winter Activities

Cold weather means skiing, snowboarding, winter ziplining, tubing, sledding, and all sorts of other snow-filled activities. Decide on one that you've never done and make sure put it on your Ruidoso to-do list.

Go Mountain Biking Around Grindstone Lake

Ruidoso has nearly a dozen lakes, parks and recreation areas -- one for every 700 residents -- so outdoor activities abound. However the hiking trails around Grindstone Lake are some of the most relaxing, beautiful and enjoyable of all these activities.

Mountain biking around Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat outdoor activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

There are 18-miles of multiple use trails around Grindstone Lake and on into the neighboring Lincoln National Forest designed by the International Mountain Biking Association. In other words, sure they are suitable for hiking, but they were designed for mountain biking. ;)

Map of the 18 miles of hiking and biking trails around Grindstone Lake in Ruidoso, New Mexico
screenshot from discoverruidoso.com

Grindstone Lake also offers fishing and has a 27-hole disc golf course.

Disc golf at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and off the beaten path outdoor activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Unlesh the Beast at Pillow's Funtrackers

Go karts, bumper boats and miniature golf, oh my! Pillow's Funtrackers is a unique theme park that is fun for kids of all ages -- including our inner kid. (When was the last time you released that guy?) ;)

Open all year round, Pillow's Funtrackers attracts thrill-seeking guests from all of New Mexico, not just visitors to Ruidoso.

Pillow's Funtrackers is a unique and offbeat theme park in Ruidoso, New Mexico

All three go kart tracks, the bumper cars, miniature golf course and mountain maze are open year-round, however the bumper boats and gemstone panning are seasonal activities.

  Orlando's Most Offbeat Theme Parks

  Prices are suprisingly affordable as well. For $100 you can get 20 tickets, each good for one admission on any of the 20 rides.

Want More?     Offbeat Travel Guides   New Mexico Travel Guides   USA Travel Guides

  This article was sponsored in part by Discover Ruidoso, however it should go without saying that all experiences are my own opinion and were not influenced in any way.

  Know of any other unique and offbeat Ruidoso activities?

Published in United States

There are few things more quintessentially American than the landscapes of the West and the emotions they evoke. Whether you come for the pink sunsets, the forlorn-looking cacti or the abandoned ghost towns, traveling in the western part of the U.S. will leaves its mark on you. No matter where in this picturesque region you travel, choose a hotel that matches the rusticness of the surrounding scenery.

Spanish Colonial Santa Fe

Santa Fe has a population of under 70,000, but it's so full of amazing attractions that there are almost as many reasons to visit as there are people from living there! Tour historical structures like Loretto Chapel or the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis, or marvel at something more modern as you walk in the footsteps of Georgia O'Keefe. Many Santa Fe hotels are as scenic and picturesque as the city itself, from the El Rey Inn to the Eldorado Hotel & Spa.

Laughlin's Colorado River Chill

Laughlin is no Las Vegas, but there's still plenty of excitement to be had in this Nevada town—and yes, a couple casinos as well! The Davis Dam, for example, is a smaller answer to the Hoover Dam farther down the Colorado River, while theGrapevine Canyon Petroglyphs document a time long before modern gambling. Hotels in Laughlin tend to be as simple as the desert scenery that envelopes them, but because of this they're cheap, with rooms at Edgewater Hotel & Casino, for example, costing as little as $18 per night.

Bend: Oregon Starts Here

The Oregon town of Bend hasn't achieved the ubiquity of Portland or even Eugene, but there are few better spots in the state to start your trip. Discover the nearby Deschutes National Forest, hike to the top of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, or immerse yourself in the history of the High Desert Museum. Sleep in a spot as stunning as your surroundings, like the Sonoma Lounge or Pronghorn Resort.

Skiing is Just the Beginning in Aspen

Aspen has gained infamy as a ski hub for the celebrities, but in reality, you don't need to be savvy on the slopes in order to enjoy this Colorado town—you don't even need to be into the outdoors! Aspen has its fair share of culture, for example, such as the Wheeler Opera House and the Aspen Art Museum. Season shouldn't be a deciding factor for you either, as year-round hiking spots like Independence Pass and Maroon Bells prove. Hotels in Aspen aren't cheap, but the views they offer are priceless.

Central California Starts in Fresno

In spite of great attractions like Forestiere Underground Gardens and Chaffee Zoo, the city of Fresno pales in comparison to many of the sights around it, namely Yosemite National Park. The city makes a great hub for exploring that region, however, whether you head inland toward the Sierra Nevada or outward toward the coastal Highway 1 Discovery Route. Fresno is also a low-cost destination, with prices on hotels like Days Inn Fresno as low as $50 per night.

Then again, the American West is as limitless in destinations as the horizon line you see driving through it. Can you think of any other can't-miss places to visit in the Western U.S.?

  Article posted on Leave Your Daily Hell by Robert on February 10th.

Published in United States

Santa Fe is a beautiful and historic city with a wealth of cultural experiences and activities that never fails to leave first time visitors of the city impressed. The city is nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which offer a picturesque backdrop to city life, as well as an abundance of outdoor adventures. There is also a burgeoning art and music scene here, and comfortable weather year-round. Depending on what type of trip you are taking and what your specific needs are, these are the best boutique hotels in Santa Fe:

Cities Of Gold Casino

Gambling in New Mexico might not get as much attention as in Nevada, but never the less it remains a popular activity among out-of-state visitors. Cities Of Gold Casino brings the entertainment right to your doorstep with slots, table games and nightly bingo. Add in breathtaking mountain views in each of the rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness center and guests here don't even need to set foot outside of the hotel.

Eldorado Hotel & Spa

Family vacation or romantic getaway? Then the Eldorado Hotel & Spa is the perfect choice because they are both kid-friendly and pet-friendly. Luxurious rustic accommodations and a top-notch spa keep guests returning. Located right next from downtown Santa Fe, there are plenty of sights and activities nearby to make the most of your trip, including the famous Santa Fe Plaza, several exceptional museums, and a plethora of shopping and dining options.

Las Palomas Hotel

Located right in the center of Santa Fe, Las Palomas Hotel is perfect for those who want to be right in the heart of the action. Shopping, dining, historic sites, museums, art galleries and more are all just a short stroll away. The hotel itself is decorated in the iconic New Mexico style, rich with Native American influence and colors. Rooms come standard with a refrigerator, microwave and fireplace, and there is a pool, spa and fitness center within the hotel.

El Rey Inn

Get a taste of the Old West at El Rey Inn, complete with vintage furniture as well as architecture and design that will transport you back in time. The property covers an expansive five acres and includes an immaculate garden, hot tub cabana, on-site fitness center, heated pool, children's' playground and greenhouse. Each of their rooms are individually furnished to reflect this bygone era, and some even come with an available fireplace and/or kitchen, depending upon your needs. El Rey Inn is also one of the most popular and highly rated hotels in Santa Fe.

Americas Best Value Lamplighter Inn

Last but certainly not least is Americas Best Value Lamplighter Inn and they definitely live up to their name. Despite being budget-friendly (prices start at around $60 a night) the hotel is clean, rooms are comfortable, and the staff helpful. Complimentary breakfast helps guests save even more money, as do the in-room refrigerators, and their indoor pool and hot tub is a great -- and free -- way for guests to relax after a long day.

Whether searching for a luxury hotel or spa, kid- or pet-friendly hotel, or budget-friendly accommodation options, Santa Fe has an ample selection of options. Have any questions? Feel free to ask away, I've visited the city nearly a dozen times!

  flickr   //   Ron Cogswell

Published in United States

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