The 5 Best Places to Camp in New Mexico this Summer

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: August 10, 2022
© Pavone
Share this post on:
Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

New Mexico in the summer sounds like a hot proposition but there are many cool places to stay while visiting in the summer. Cool off in the campground pool or stay in the mountains where the temps are always moderate. Maybe you want to stay right in Santa Fe to experience everything the city has to offer. Here are the 5 best places to camp in New Mexico this summer!

1. White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park is one of the best places to visit this summer, there is not camping at the park but there is camping nearby at the Alamogordo/White Sands KOA.

© Kopka

Best National Parks to Visit in December - White Sands National Monument
Beautiful white sand as far as you can see!


There may not be any ocean beaches in New Mexico but there are the white sands of the largest gypsum dune field in the world. You can take the 16 mile round trip drive, stopping along the way to get out and hike through the dunes. At White Sands there is also a visitor center with access to the trails. Be sure to plan ahead and bring plenty of water when hiking in the desert dunes. Another unique activity is sand sledding, taking a plastic sled down the sand dunes, like snow sledding.

There are 10 primitive backcountry campsites at White Sands but they are CLOSED due to rehabilitation of the sites. Nearby is the Alamogordo/White Sands KOA Journey which is only about 20 minutes from White Sands National Park. They offer RV campsites with full hookups as well as tent sites and cabins. Enjoy the swimming pool, camp store and indoor rec room. Then head back to your campsite for a campfire and s’mores!

Alamogordo/White Sands KOA
LocationSouthern New Mexico between the Sacramento and
San Andres Mountain ranges 
Nearest CityAlamogordo, NM
Backcountry Camping at White SandsCurrently Closed, check website for updates
Alamogordo/White Sands KOA Journey20 minutes from White Sands
RV Sites70, some with full hookup, others with just electric
Tent Sites4 tent only sites
Cabins4 camping cabins
Picnic tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, swimming pool, rec room, playground, dog run
Pet FriendlyYes, they have a dog run
What makes it one of the bestClose to White Sands, cool off in the pool!

2. Organ Mountains, Desert Peaks National Monument/Aguirre Spring Campground

Largest deer - mule deer
One of the best places to camp in New Mexico this summer is the Aguirre Spring Campground at the Desert Peaks National Monument.


Not far from White Sands is the Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks National Monument. The pointed rock formation jut out of the ground to form tall, almost tree-like structures. There are two trails in the Aguirre Spring Recreation area, both are worth the trek. Try the Baylor Canyon Trail is a 6 mile trail where you can see the Baylor Peak on one side and the Organ Mountains on the other. Keep your eye open for mule deer, the Colorado chipmunk and hopefully not a mountain lion. The Pine Tree Trail is to the east of the campground and is a 4.6 mile loop trail that takes an average of 2 ½ hours, some recommend taking the loop counter clockwise for the best views!

After a 2 ½ hour hike head back to your campsite for some dinner and a nice camp fire. The Aguirre Springs Campground has 55 sites including some that can accommodate RV’s less than 23’. Definitely one of the best places to camp in New Mexico this summer!

Aguirre Spring Campground
LocationOn the east side of the Organ Mountains
Nearest CityOrgan, NM
RV Sites55 sites total, RV less than 23’
Tent SitesYes, all sites have a tent pad
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Grill at each siteYes
Fire pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesPit toilets, water at the entrance
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsNo, first come first serve
What makes it one of the bestAmazing views of Tularosa Basin and White Sands National Park

3. Last Chance Canyon, Carlsbad

New Mexico
Last Chance Canyon is a rock climbers dream! Camp for free along the Lincoln National Forest. Use it as a home base to explore surrounding Carlsbad!

© Pavone

Calling all rock climbers, Last Chance Canyon is the place to climb! With 15 distinct crags there is a comfort level for all climbers. In the summer expert climbers recommend Mad Cow Wall and Hueco Cave for epic climbs. Keep you eye open for bighorn sheep, red-tailed hawks and cooper hawks. If you want to stay for a while and try multiple climbing areas, get this, there is free camping on Lincoln National Forest right near the parking area. Remember that the altitude is pretty high, around 6,000 feet, so plan ahead for some cooler weather! Use this camping area as a home base for exploring the other parks near Carlsbad like the famous Carlsbad Caverns!

Lincoln National Forest
Location25 miles SW of Carlsbad, NM
Nearest CityCarlsbad, NM
RV/Tent SitesSpread out in the Lincoln National Forest
Picnic Tables at each siteNo
Fire Pit at each siteNo
AmenitiesRestrooms, the Pilot Travel Center in Carlsbad has two shower rooms with pay showers
Pet FriendlyYes, pets are allowed
ReservationsNot needed
What makes it one of the bestSome of the best rock climbing in New Mexico!

4. Rancheros De Santa Fe RV Park and Campground

Yorkshire Terrier dog and beagle dog chese
A very pet friendly campground is the Rancheros De Santa Fe RV Park and Campground. Convenient camping right in Santa Fe!

©ław Iciak

If you want to stay right in Santa Fe, one of the best places to camp in New Mexico is the Rancheros De Santa Fe RV Park and Campground. It is located on historic Route 66 it is just minutes from Old Town Santa Fe. The campground has RV site, tent sites and several camper cabins. Cool off in the swimming pool or take your dog to the “Okay Doggie Corral”. There is a fun playground and nightly movies during the summer. A really comfortable place to stay as a home base while visiting Santa Fe.

Rancheros De Santa Fe RV Park and Campground
LocationNE corner of Santa Fe
Nearest CitySanta Fe, NM
RV/Tent SitesYes
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, swimming pool,
playground, laundry, theater area
Pet FriendlyYes, visit the “Okay Doggie Corral”!
What makes it one of the bestModern campground right in Santa Fe!

5. Columbine Campground, Carson National Forest

For a peaceful camping experience try the banks of the Red River at Columbine Campground.


Do you want to camp right along the Red River? Then the Columbine Campground in Carson National Forest is the place to stay, with only 27 sites you are ensured to have a peaceful camping experience getting close to nature. For a challenging, yet awarding, experience try backpacking along the Columbine-Twinning Trail. This 8.5 mile trail is an “out and back” trail that takes around 4 ½ hours to complete. Pack a lunch to enjoy at the half-way point and sit back and enjoy the beautiful National Forest. Look for mule deer, elk, antelope and bighorn sheep. Be aware that you are in bear country, but encounters with humans are rare. After a day hike head back to your campsite for a relaxing evening with amazing views.

Columbine Campground
LocationIn the Carson National Forest
Nearest CityTaos
RV/Tent sites27 sites, 7 sites for trailers under 32’, 20 sites for campers and tents, basic sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
Pet FriendlyYes
What makes it one of the bestPeaceful camping right on the Red River!

Up Next:

More from A-Z Animals

The Featured Image

New Mexico
© Pavone

Share this post on:
About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.