These Are the Can’t-Miss Things to Do on a Ruidoso Getaway

The Evolve Team
The Evolve Team
October 20, 2020

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains’ southernmost peaks, Ruidoso is a year-round oasis perfect for visitors of all ages. Travelers can soak up the New Mexican sun with fun outdoor activities, try their luck at world-class casinos, or sit back and enjoy a Broadway-worthy show. Whether you’re planning a family vacation or an adult getaway, this wild western gem is sure to draw you in with its top things to do.

So go on and book a vacation rental in Ruidoso (like one of these charming Ruidoso cabins), then fill your itinerary with these must-do activities.

Explore the Outdoors in the Lincoln National Forest

Lincoln National Forest in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Lincoln County is perfectly situated between the Sacramento and Sierra Blanca Mountains, making it every outdoor lover’s dream. The public lands that make up the national forest are rich in wildlife, mountain views, and hiking trails, so you can definitely go on an unforgettable adventure in any season. 

If you visit in winter, you can also spend a day or two taking on the slopes at the southernmost major ski area in the nation. The peaks of the Ski Apache mountain resort reach over 12,000 feet, promising plenty of fresh powder days for experienced skiers and snowboarders. And if you’re just learning, the ski resort offers group and private lessons for future shredders of all ages.

Of course, warm-weather anglers won’t want to miss a pit-stop at Grindstone Lake, Alto Lake, or any of Ruidoso’s famed rainbow trout fishing spots. Kick back and cast your line while admiring an awe-inspiring mountain backdrop, or hop on a paddleboat and cruise across the water.

Step Back in Time to Relive Billy the Kid’s Legacy

Time stands still and the Wild West lives on at the Lincoln Historic Site. This well-preserved museum is made up of 16 adobe-style structures that, together, tell the vivid story of Billy the Kid, New Mexico’s most noted legend. You can also relive his legacy — along with other outlaws who once made the West so wild — at the Billy the Kid Museum and the scenic Billy the Kid Trail paying tribute to the iconic cowboy’s memory. 

Play Cowboy for the Day at Grindstone Stables

Man on horseback in a meadow with a backdrop of red rocks

Cowboy culture comes alive in the southwest, and Ruidoso puts you in the heart of it. Stop by the corral at Grindstone Stables, one of the oldest stables in the Ruidoso area, for horseback riding excursions. Ranging from one-hour guided tours to carriage rides through the canyon, Grindstone has itineraries to fit every age and skill level.

Exploring on horseback is a popular pastime in Ruidoso, and the town offers several horseback riding options so you can change up the scenery. Find some of Lincoln County’s best horse trails at Inn of the Mountain Gods, a multi-purpose resort with fun for the whole family, or stop by Bonita Stables for an intimate and authentic equestrian experience. 

Take a Day Trip to White Sands National Park

View of White Sand Dunes National Park in New Mexico

Just one hour outside of Ruidoso’s city limits lies one of New Mexico’s most popular destinations: White Sands National Park. This sprawling natural wonderland features 275 square miles of white gypsum sand dunes that are sure to make your jaw drop. The pristine park offers more than just an out-of-this-world landscape: there’s also plenty of outdoor activity and educational opportunities in every season.

The desert phenomenon is a hot spot for family fun, with hiking, sand sledding, and scenic drives waiting around every turn. Any kiddos in your crew will love participating in Junior Ranger programs, while nature fanatics will be first in line for walks and talks with Park Rangers.

Experience Nightlife, Casinos, and Broadway-Caliber Shows

You’ll find entertainment at all hours of the day in the village of Ruidoso. If gambling is your game, the Billy the Kid Casino has got you covered with over 300 slots machines and high-stakes horse racing ready to take your bets at the Ruidoso Downs Race Track. A trip to Ruidoso isn’t complete without stopping by the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort, a gaming, golfing, and dining hub known for being one of New Mexico’s most thrilling casinos, settled on the Mescalero Apache reservation.

Broadway-caliber shows are a must-see at the Spencer Theater of Performing Arts, a state-of-the-art performance hall offering upscale entertainment on a scenic mesa overlook. Check the venue’s schedule to make sure you can catch one of their outstanding cultural performances, whether it be world-class theater and dance or a symphony with incredible acoustics. After the show, stop by Midtown Ruidoso to peruse local restaurants, live music, and buzzing brew pubs and wineries. Be sure to bring a piece of the Wild West home with you by popping into one of the many gift shops in town.

Explore More of Ruidoso, New Mexico

Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities, arts and culture, or family-friendly fun, Ruidoso provides the perfect destination for an action-packed vacation. To learn more about visiting Ruidoso — including where to find a great vacation rental to serve as your home base — check out our vacation-made-easy guide to Ruidoso.

Rest Easy with Evolve

The moment you book your vacation, you should start looking forward to your trip — not worrying about the little details. When you choose Evolve for your Ruidoso vacation, you can feel confident that the home you book will live up to our standards.

Every Evolve vacation rental you book comes with a team of hospitality experts, and we’re here to help make your stay more comfortable 24/7. To help you feel even more confident, we created our Rest Easy Promise: if a stay doesn’t match our standards, we’ll make it right.

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