15 Most Beautiful Small Towns in New Mexico You Must Explore

Last Updated on April 08, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Live your life in screaming color! New Mexico is a beautiful state known for golden deserts and glistening blue springs. Snow-capped mountains towering over the red-brown of southwestern deserts.

This is a great place to go for a bit of scenery you can seldom see elsewhere and the perfect state to find your next favorite unique small town.

New Mexico is also an incredibly environmentally diverse landscape, with a little something special to every inch of land.

To find your next favorite vacation spot, check out this bucket list of the top 15 most beautiful small towns in New Mexico.

Best Small Towns in New Mexico

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1: Tucumcari

Flickr/Mobilus In Mobili

History comes alive in Tucumcari! If you’re looking for those rustic, neon wild west nights, look no farther than historic Tucumcari.

As a beautiful mixture of Native American, Spanish, and southwestern influences, Tucumcari has a rich story beautifully told throughout its many attractions and historic towns.

The Historic District is one of the prime tourist spots in Tucumcari, without feeling crowded. Here you'll find buildings dating back to the '20s and even a massively impressive old-style Rock Island-Southern Pacific Train Station. There are tons of hidden gems, new and old, to unveil in the gorgeous Tucumcari.

This city is also a hot spot for art, expression, and everything in between. From museum to street art, Tucumcari is a vibrant display of all the things that make this city great.

From murals to museums, Tucumcari is a great place to dream up your next big project or just admire others! And be sure to check out the Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum for a raring good time.

2: Chimayo

Flickr/Eugene Kim

Everybody loves small towns for being removed from the hustle and bustle, but not everybody loves the long drives and isolation it takes to get there.

Chimayo is a beautiful, vibrant city just outside of Santa Fe and easily accessible from the airport or other neighboring cities.

Enjoy all the ease of a big city and all the charm of a small town with Chimayo. This city is known for a rich history, starting with the Pueblo Indians thousands of years previously, and known for its intricate and stunning weavers.

Chimayo might also sound familiar as a holy site. In this New Mexico small town resides the El Santuario de Chimayo, one of the most well-preserved sites in the area.

This historic Catholic church is notable for its incredible miracles and stopping point for the Holy Pilgrimage. Alongside some rich culture dating back hundreds to thousands of years, Chimayo is also famous for being a big southwestern farming land.

Come for getaways where you’ll truly 'get away' from the usual drum of life or immersive yourself in a totally new one: Chimayo does it all!

3: Gallup

Flickr/Wolfgang Staudt

Giddyup! This wild west town jam packs all the excitement of a big city getaway while still holding on to what makes this place special.

It’s residents! Ancestors and present company alike, Gallup citizens have been making this city a special place to visit for years.

To dip your toe in the rich and interesting history of this site, check out the Gallup Cultural Center. This is one of the best specialty museums within the area and features exhibits you just can’t find anywhere else. Much of this history is shared with modern-day residents as well, making Gallup one of a kind.

That being said, everybody loves a good memento! And Gallup is just the city for it. Check out Bill Malone’s Trading Company or the Gallup Flea Market for a shop till you drop day with a spin.

Here you’ll find antiques, southwestern style clothing, and experiences that will never be forgotten. Speaking of never forgetting, don’t forget to visit some of the cultural and historical centers in the city.

The Navajo Code Talker Museum and the Manuelito Visitor Center are absolute must-visits for any history buffs. Even for those who just enjoy the learning experience, Gallup is one of a kind.

4: Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa
Flickr/Stephen Harshman

Where the sun shines! Santa Rosa is famous for being one of New Mexico’s most beautiful small towns for a number of reasons.

With all that rich NM sunshine the state is often known for and history all its own, there is more than just a quick bucket list of things to do in Santa Rosa.

One of the local and tourist favorites, however, is an absolute can't miss! The Blue Hole isn’t just known in the southwest but draws in people from all over the country and even worldwide.

This little oasis is a gorgeous display of New Mexico at its best: hot sun and a cool down. Swim, play, tan, and so much more at this little slice of paradise.

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5: Silver City

Silver City
Flickr/Larry Lamsa

With its origins tied to old-school mining towns and southwestern charm, Silver City is one of the best small towns in New Mexico! A few miles out from Tucson, this city has a well-preserved history with buildings dating back to the 19th century.

This city became a booming, bustling town during the era of mining, and still holds many remnants of that past today.

There are numerous museums and even interactive tours or activities that heavily feature the mining that made this city what it is today.

That being said, despite its rush, Silver City has been able to retain what makes it so special. The quiet, calming nature surrounds life here and welcomes tourists to its gates. Silver City is a golden opportunity for a new adventure.

6: Taos

Flickr/Phillip Capper

No list of ‘Beautiful Small Towns in New Mexico’ would be complete without Taos! Maybe Taos is even what you first think of when small towns and New Mexico come into play, and with good reason.

Taos is a lively, vibrant, cultural hub of NM that brings the city and state alive. With the horizon featuring colossal mountains that paint the picture of beauty on a bright blue sky.

The architecture here is one of the best draws to the city as it is so personal, unique, historical, and dazzling to see in person. Heading downtown is one of the best ideas as you never know what you might find. Jaw-dropping art and food that is simply unmatched await in Taos.

Taos is also known for some great day activities for you and the whole family! Shred those slopes at Taos Ski Valley, or visit some of the sacred churches like the St. Francisco de Asis.

Visit the Taos Pueblo, a famous World Heritage Site, and get a breath of fresh air (and fun) at the Rio Grande Gorge. Taos is a diverse city with so much within its limits and just a short drive out from it. For one of the most versatile small towns, Taos is the place to go!

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in America

7: Roswell

Flickr/Jirka Matousek

We come in peace! This is one New Mexico small town you’ve probably heard of. Famous for the historic possible alien crash, numerous documentaries, and even two TV shows, Roswell is a little town with a big name.

Although the alien theme is perhaps the strongest pull to this city, there is plenty to do for those who don’t want to go too cosmic to getaway.

Roswell is a beautiful place with lots of sprawling lands to realign yourself and find some peace in your vacation. Visit a farm, hike the nearby Wildlife Refuge, or explore some delicious cuisine!

Of course, for those looking for a far-out adventure, Roswell is chock full of theme attractions. Museums, art centers, tours, reenactments, and even a research center all call Roswell home.

There are several shops with alien eateries, festivals, events, and even concerts that frequent Roswell. All of this and more is featured in a small city, meaning you’ll always feel like an individual here --- with plenty of room to pave your own way.

8: Chama

Flickr/Jerry Huddleston

Up in the Rockies resides one of New Mexico’s crown jewels to fun: Chama! Bordering Colorado and a bit farther from some of the main cities of New Mexico, Chama is removed from the action without feeling slow.

Chama is a place that has a charm all its own and truly needs to be experienced to fully describe the city as a whole.

Rodeos, art shows, and festivals are just three small but exciting frequent visitors to Chama, stirring up the local community to come out and show what Chama is made of.

Throughout the year, however, there are numerous activities to choose from. Check out the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad or try your hand at some outdoor sports in the surrounding, lush areas of Chama. If there’s one thing that’s for sure: Chama is full of charm!

9: Madrid


Also not quite that one! New Mexico may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Madrid, but this small town makes a name for itself.

As a feature of the famous Turquoise Trail, and nestled in the stunning Ortiz Mountains, Madrid is one stop you’re going to want to make.

Maybe even stay, because this city has so much to see that a weekend just might not cover it all. To start off, Madrid is just a few miles out from Cerrillos Hills State Park. A dazzling display of all the beauty in nature that New Mexico has to offer.

The city itself is a charming display of southwestern small town life. The city is surrounded by farms, whereas the downtown area is as lively as any place this great could be.

Enjoy your day perusing unique shops and stalls, listening to live music, enjoying new foods, and then go to sleep with all the sweet sounds of serenity.

10: Raton

Flickr/Patrick Pelletier

Just south of Colorado resides your new favorite city: Raton. Raton is the perfect blend of all things comfortable without ever feeling boring.

There are so many events to attend and activities to do without the crowds to dilute the fun. One of the best things to do in Raton is to return back to your childhood and play a little.

Check out the Raton Regional Aquatic Center or spend the day forging your own fun in the Sugarite Canyon State Park. Raton is a great place to simply explore what makes small towns so great!

11: Pecos

Flickr/Gary Cascio

If you’re looking for peace. This town is the epitome of relaxing. With mom & pop stores to line the streets and wide-open space for homes to find their own comfort, Pecos is perfect for the one who just wants to get away.

Read a book under the golden New Mexico sun, visit the Pecos Historical Park, or create your own adventure. There is plenty to explore and many gems to uncover all within this quaint small town.

Although most of New Mexico is known for this, the colors found in Pecos are nothing short of impressive! Vibrant oranges, reds, and greens come alive in the natural beauty that is this beautiful New Mexico small town.

12: Galisteo


Maybe you’re interested in New Mexico for the wide-open spaces and southwestern charm. And with good reason! However, few cities best represent this than the gorgeous Galisteo.

Galisteo is a beautiful blend of history and modernity coming into one experience that is all its own. Walk the historic downtown, peruse some of the local shops, and dine at the best eateries in the area.

There are so many places here that cannot be found elsewhere, and recommendations are best brought forth by the locals. Here in Galisteo, they know what’s good!

What’s nice about Galisteo is that this is a pretty quiet, quaint, and charming small town. You can stay overnight in the outskirts for the best sleep of your life and then walk to breakfast you’ll be forever dreaming of.

And it’s just a little bit more than 20 miles away from Santa Fe. Meaning you can spend your week for business or fun in a big city and then relax in a small town that feels like home.

13: Las Vegas

Las Vegas
Flickr/Greg Gjerdingen

Not quite that one! This one is a bit more small town, with all the western charms New Mexico is known for. This particular Vegas is known for quaint and unique shops from downtown to the outskirts--- with plenty to offer!

One of the best perks about visiting this city is all the wide-open space! Leaving the city center, you’ll be treated to scenes of vast farms with animals grazing and forests in the distance.

Not to mention the mountains! Las Vegas is just a few miles out from some truly life-changing hikes, and whether you spend your time in the city center or perusing the outskirts, Las Vegas will impress you.

If you’re looking for things to do, Las Vegas downtown is a small city with all the big city fun! Shopping, events, and more await but with a little small town charm incorporated into everything.

14: Socorro

Flickr/Mobilus In Mobili

Take a breath of fresh air! Socorro is a perfect New Mexico small town to relax and find your inner peace in nature. There are so many attractions to visit in such a beautiful small town; you’ll want more than just a weekend.

The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is an awe-inspiring display of nature and conservation. Watch the golden hour bleed into daylight, or wander around this reserve to find your new favorite winged friend. Or stretch your legs a little at the stunning Box Canyon Recreation Area.

Take a hike, bike, camp, or maybe even rock climb at this local and tourist favorite attraction. To get a deeper look at the world around you, check out Socorro’s Mineralogical Museum.

Beautiful crystals and fascinating minerals meet at one of New Mexico’s best museums. After a great day on the ground, look to the stars.

Socorro is notable for having a state-of-the-art National Radio Astronomy Observatory available for touring! Check out special events for nights for a celebration that’s simply cosmic!

15: Red River

Red River

A few miles out from Taos and Black Mountain resides one of New Mexico’s most charming small towns.

Settled on the peaks of New Mexico's mountains, the Red River has all the attractions of the surrounding big cities without all the stress of crowds.

Red River is a great place to ski in the winter and hike in the summer --- with plenty to do in between! Coming in with a population of just under 500, Red River knows how to make your vacation unique.

During the season, every Saturday features a torchlight parade on the slopes and during the summer, check out the specials on white water rafting.

Plan a visit to New Mexico Small Towns!

New Mexico is a beautifully diverse and effortlessly memorable state to spend your next vacation in! Whether you’re looking to escape it all, or simply to find some small town gems, this state is here to deliver.

Try activities like ziplining, hiking, kayaking, skiing or maybe relax a little on a secluded farm away from all the noise of working life.

Rise with the sun for golden hour hikes or sleep under the stars at the numerous parks and reserves available in this travel oasis. Whatever you choose, make it with you! A visit to New Mexico small towns has a little bit of something for everyone!

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