Sure, there’s plenty to see and do within the biggest state in the union. But when planning a day trip from Midland, think outside the Texas state line! Check out these three destinations six hours or less from home that are well worth the drive.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A little more than three hours east of Midland, discover Carlsbad Caverns in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Know before you go that in light of COVID-19, reservations are required. Entrance to the national park costs $15, and maps are available at the visitor center.
Descend into the caves on a somewhat steep hike through the Natural Entrance. On this 1.25-mile paved path, pass by features such as Devil's Spring, the Whale's Mouth, and Iceberg Rock, making your way to the Big Room. Or skip the walk altogether, and ride the elevators down.
Then, prepare to be awed. The Big Room is the largest single-cave chamber in North America. It was once described as, “The Grand Canyon with a roof over it,” by Will Rogers, an American movie star and comedian in the 1920s and ‘30s. Within the Big Room, follow the self-guided 1.25-mile walking path, or opt for the 0.6-mile route for a shorter tour.
Above ground, don’t leave without experiencing the Chihuahuan Desert landscape by exploring some of the surface trails within the park.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Six hours northwest of Midland, enjoy Santa Fe’s vast art scene, raved-about cuisine, and rich Southwestern culture. Downtown, explore myriad art galleries and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Hike, bike, golf, raft, kayak, or go horseback riding to enjoy the unique New Mexican terrain and views of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Before heading home, don’t miss Meow Wolf, an immersive psychedelic art installation inside a former bowling alley – you truly have to see it to believe it.
Grulla National Wildlife Refuge
Travel north from Midland three hours to find the Grulla National Wildlife Refuge on the High Plains of eastern New Mexico. The 3,236-acre refuge is largely occupied by an often dry yet massive lake bed called Salt Lake. Here, find a large concentration of sandhill cranes, as well as over 80 other species of birds. Wildlife photographers and birding enthusiasts recommend visiting the park at dawn or dusk on days when the temperatures aren’t overly hot and wind speeds are low.
Read more about adventures and activities close to home on the Sundance Creek blog.