The Absolute Best Camping Near Albuquerque

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: September 14, 2022
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Suppose you are visiting Albuquerque for the International Balloon Festival or want to spend time exploring the Old Town Albuquerque with its historic adobe buildings. In that case, there are some amazing campgrounds for you to stay at during your time in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There are modern resort-like campgrounds and primitive tent-only sites to experience desert life at its best. Read on to find out about the absolute best camping near Albuquerque.

1) Albuquerque KOA Journey

Although it is so close to the city, you will feel like you are camping in nature with spectacular views of the Sandia Mountains.

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On the eastern edge of town is the resort-like Albuquerque KOA with a swimming pool, indoor hot tub, sauna, and mini-golf, all right at the campground. Although it is so close to the city, you will feel like you are camping in nature with spectacular views of the Sandia Mountains. Spend the day exploring the Albuquerque Zoo (including some rare endangered animals like Asian Elephants, Malayan Tigers, and Sumatran Orangutans) or the downtown Old Town area for some shops and restaurants. Then head back to the campground for a pool dip before cooking dinner over your campfire. You can see why this is one of the absolute best places to camp near Albuquerque!

LocationEast of downtown Albuquerque
Distance from15 min (10 miles)
RV sitesYes, some with full hookups, pull-through sites, some with deluxe patios
Tent sitesYes, choice of private fenced tent sites with water and electricity, or basic sites in the tent village with water and electricity
CabinsYes, some sleep 6, some sleep 4, private bath and kitchenette
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, swimming pool, hot tub/sauna, camp store, playground
Pet FriendlyYes, a fenced dog park
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestResort-like amenities, including a swimming pool and hot tub!

2) Isleta Lakes RV Park

Isleta Lakes is one of the few places near Albuquerque where you can find excellent fishing.

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Although much of New Mexico is desert, there are water oasis in some areas like Isleta Lakes, which is just south of downtown Albuquerque. Built around the lake is the Isleta Lakes RV Park and Casino. You can’t go wrong for a mix of casino fun and fine dining, as well as a beautiful RV campground right next to the lake. There are two lakes with a trail that loops around them, great for hiking, biking, or just walking the dog. Isleta Lakes is one of the few places near Albuquerque where you can find excellent fishing, with the lakes stocked with Rainbow Trout in the winter and Channel Catfish in the summer.

The campground has 50 sites for RV’s with full hookups, Direct TV, and free Wi-Fi. While the campground has basic amenities like showers, laundry, and a convenience store, there is also a shuttle to the nearby casino. There is an 18-hole golf course across the street and shopping and restaurants nearby. So much to see and do all in one location!

LocationSouth of downtown, next to the Rio Grande
Distance from15 min (11 miles)
RV sitesYes, 50 sites with full hookups
Tent sitesNo, tent camping is not available
Picnic Tables at each siteNot at every site but throughout the park, some lakeside picnic tables
Fire Pit at each siteNo
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, convenience store, shuttle
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes, you also need a permit for fishing
What makes it one of the bestLake life in the desert, great fishing!

3) Cochiti Lake Campground

The Cochiti Campground is on the west side of the lake and has four loops with sites for RV’s and tents.

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Another one of the few lakes in Albuquerque is Cochiti Lake on the Rio Grande, just north of downtown. The lake is on the Pueblo de Cochiti Indian Reservation and is open to the public, but you need to make reservations. There is a large sandy swimming beach and a boat ramp for launching your sailboat, windsurf board, or kayaks/canoes/paddle boards.

The Cochiti Campground is on the west side of the lake and has four loops with sites for RV’s and tents. Some of the “Ringtail Cat Loop” sites have lake views! Review the amenities for each loop, with some having water and electricity, others no hookups, and a community water spigot. All sites have a picnic table and grill, but campfires are not allowed. Keep your eye out for one of the ospreys in the park, with four nesting poles built to keep them in the area. There are also beavers, river otters, coyotes, and deer.

LocationNorth of downtown
Distance from50 min (50 miles)
RV sitesYes, some with water and electric
Tent sitesYes
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteNo, wood campfires are not permitted
AmenitiesVault toilets, swimming beach, boat ramp
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestClassic camping experience right on the lake!

4) Turquoise Trail Campground

For an easier hike, head over to Travertine Falls park, where you can hike the 1.1 mile round trip trail to the waterfall and cave.

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Near Sandia Peak and the Travertine Falls is a smaller campground for RV’s and tents. They also have a few cabins available for rent. The sites are shaded and have a grassy area with a picnic table and grill. The tent sites are set apart from the RV sites for privacy but are also close to restrooms, hot showers, and a dishwashing station.

You can take a day trip to Sandia Peak, where you can take a hike along the mountains’ trails, or take the famous Sandia Tramway all the way to the top for some amazing views. Get a feel for what it might be like to be an eagle or hawk from the view at the top. For an easier hike, head over to Travertine Falls park, where you can hike the 1.1 mile round trip trail to the waterfall and cave. Another one of the absolute best places to camp near Albuquerque!

LocationEast of downtown
Distance from downtown Albuquerque25 min (22 miles)
RV/Tent SitesYes
CabinsYes, 1 with bathroom/kitchen, smaller cabins have electricity and heat with restrooms nearby
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, playground, gift shop
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestClose to the Sandia Tramway!

5) Coronado Campground

Coronado campground has a definite New Mexico flare with adobe-like shelters and traditional Native American paintings.

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North of downtown on the western banks of the Rio Grande is the Coronado Campground. This campground has a definite New Mexico flare with adobe-like shelters and traditional Native American paintings. It is an “urban campground” with a golf course, restaurants, and shops nearby. You can even walk to the Bosque Brewing Co.

The campground has 23 RV sites, some overlooking the river and a separate tent camping area. The sites do not offer full hookups, but water and electricity are available at the main shelters. There is access to the river for kayaks and canoes (no motorized boats), so you can take a nice float down the river or try fishing. You will likely see Great Blue herons or bald eagles while you peacefully float down the Rio Grande. A way to get away from it all, right near downtown Albuquerque!

LocationNorth of downtown in Bernalillo
Distance from25 min (20 miles)
RV sites23 sites, no hookups but water and electricity are available at the main shelter
Tent sitesYes, there is a tent camping area
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers,
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestCamping on the Rio Grande!

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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".

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Sources
  1. Kampgrounds of America, Available here: https://koa.com/campgrounds/albuquerque/
  2. Isleta Resorts, Available here: https://www.isleta.com/lakes-rv-park/rv-park/
  3. Recreation.gov., Available here: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/233461?tab=info
  4. Turquoise Rail Campground, Available here: https://www.turquoisetrailcampground.com/index.html
  5. Coronado Campground, Available here: https://files4.1.revize.com/bernalillo/Departments/Campground/CCBrochure_2022.pdf