Summer is coming upon us quickly, and unlike last year, families looking for a day or weekend getaway have plenty of options. 

Plan a family road trip this summer to any of these 8-day trip options from El Paso to Southern New Mexico. 

Explore New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, camp and picnic at the Aguirre Spring Campground, or visit a living desert zoo. 

Take your pick – there’s a little something for everyone:     

Aguirre Spring Campground

Posted by John D Grant on Sunday, March 22, 2020

  • Distance from El Paso: The Aguirre Spring Campground nestled in the Organ Mountains recreational area, off of U.S. 70, about 15 miles east of Las Cruces. 
  • Site: Families will find over 50 family camping and picnic sites, plus hiking trails and horseback riding. 
  • Admission: $3 per vehicle 
  • Information: (505) 525-4300 

Alameda Park Zoo  

Isn’t it beautiful? 😍
Make sure to stop by and see all of the new and future improvements.

Posted by Alameda Park Zoo on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

  • Distance from El Paso: Alameda Park Zoo is located off North White Sands Blvd. (U.S. 54/70), Alamogordo.  
  • Site: The zoo is part of the park that lines Alamogordo's main highway and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  
  • Admission: $2.20 for adults, $1.10 for children and seniors.  
  • Information: (505) 439-4290.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park  

Are you planning a Memorial Day Weekend visit to the park? You will not be alone! As the kickoff to summer, we...

Posted by Carlsbad Caverns National Park on Sunday, May 2, 2021

  • Distance from El Paso: Carlsbad Caverns is located about 160 miles East of El Paso.  
  • Site: The natural caverns are a sight to be seen, and visitors can walk to the main caverns through the natural cave opening with additional tours offered 
  • Hours: The caverns open at 8 a.m. daily, and the last elevator down leaves at 3:30 p.m. - the last walk-in is 2 p.m. (hours extended 1 1/2 hours in summer).  
  • Admission: Cost is $6, $3 for ages 6-15, for seniors with a discount card. 
  • Information: (505) 785-2232 or visit www.nps.gov/cave.

City of Rocks State Park  

Posted by Barbara Kriens Kite on Sunday, May 9, 2021

  • Distance from El Paso: Between Deming and Silver City, the City of Rocks State Park is located about four miles east of U.S. 180 off NM 61.  
  • Site: The City of Rocks is known for its peculiar formation as time has eroded and sculpted the rock city out of volcanic material 
  • Admission: $3 
  • Information: (505) 536-2800.

Dripping Springs Natural Area

Rebeca Rodriguez
  • Distance from El Paso: Dripping Springs recreational area is located about 10 miles east of Las Cruces at the base of the Organ Mountains at the end of Dripping Springs Road (eastern extension of University Avenue). 
  • Site: Dripping Springs features several hiking trails and a picnic area. No pets are allowed (except for assistance animals). 
  • Hours: Gates open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
  • Admission: $3 per vehicle  
  • Information: (505) 522-1219.

Fort Selden State Monument

Buffalo Soldiers were stationed at Fort Selden on and off during the 1800s. Sergeant Richard Anderson was one of them....

Posted by Fort Selden Historic Site on Monday, February 15, 2021

  • Distance from El Paso: Located 13 miles north of Las Cruces is the 19th-century adobe fort of Fort Seldon. (From Las Cruces, take I-25 North to Exit 19) 
  • Site: Designated as an NM State Monument in 1974, Fort Seldon is a state historic site with an onsite visitor center featuring exhibitions and living history demonstrations on frontier and military life. 
  • Admission: $3 (age 16 and under free) 
  • Information: (505) 526-8911.

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park

Posted by Casey Tyler on Monday, May 10, 2021

  • Distance from El Paso: Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park is located about 168 miles East of El Paso via US-180 E/US-62 E. 
  • Site: The NM zoo and park offers visitors an up-close view of mammals, reptiles, and birds that inhabit the Chihuahuan Desert.  
  • Admission: $3 ($1 ages 7-12, free for 6 and under).  
  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 3:30 p.m.)  
  • Information: (505) 887-5516

White Sands National Monument  

The life and landscape of White Sands National Park is constantly transforming. The shifting gypsum sand conceals and...

Posted by White Sands National Park on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

  • Distance from El Paso: The White Sands National Monument is located about 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo, N.M., on U.S. 70. 
  • Site: The year-round attraction offers extraordinary vistas, relaxing hikes, and ranger-guided Sunset Stroll Nature Walks are offered an hour before sunset. Find Lake Lucero tours offered on the last weekend of each month - (Reservations are required two weeks before the tour)
  • Hours: The visitor center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Dunes Drive from 7 a.m. to sunset with expanded hours in the summertime.  
  • Admission: $3 for adults.
  • Information: (505) 479-6124 or www.nps.gov/whsa. 

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.