,New Mexico has never been one of my "must see" states. In fact, that's probably why it's one of the 15 left I had to visit. Although, after a night of driving around the town and countryside, I knew Taos was going to be a lot more than I expected.
Every place we visited looked as if it had a 100 stories to tell. Every corner was hella cute and I found myself thinking that before I went to Mexico, this is what I thought it would look like. Lol I'll shutup now so y'all can start planning your dreamy stay to this art community...
where we stayed:
My friend Zoe and I road tripped down to Taos at the end of October. Her sister lived in town and let us crash at her place. We couldn't be more grateful because her setup looked straight out of an Airbnb. It was gorgeous and had the prettiest mountain view.
We had such a special time catching up and she showed us the COOLEST places. If you ever have the chance to let a local show you around, please do it! When I was in Montana, I was so nervous to meet up with a friend of a friend. However, he ended up being so friendly and showing me a world of places I could have never found on my own. Finding the best places requires a little courage guys! You can do it :)
rio grande gorge:
For a tiny town, this place is chock full of beautiful landmarks. One being the Rio Grande Gorge, which I hadn't even heard of. It's super accessible and doesn't cost a thing! You can find space to park a little ways before the bridge.
This picture doesn't do it justice. I'm not super afraid of heights and my heart was racing just looking over the railing. Hence, why I have only one photo haha! Fun fact: For awhile, this bridge was referred to as the "Bridge to Nowhere," because during construction, there wasn't enough money to build a road on the other side.
ojo caliente resort:
Alright folks, this is my faaavorite spot we hit up on the trip. It was the most relaxing and refreshing fall evening of my life. Zoe's sister must've known exactly what we needed after an 11 hour drive. This spa is about 45 minutes north of Taos, but it is definitely worth the trek. You can find the directions here.
The spa is made up of 12 mineral hot springs, each pool doing something different for your body and skin. This resort is known to be one of the oldest natural health resorts in the United States! If you're looking to unwind specifically for one day of your trip, spend it here. In the spa and pool area, they have a strict whisper zone policy, which makes it so easy to find quiet.
After my visit to Montana, I was super bummed I didn't stop at a hot spring. Although, Ojo Caliente is everything you could ever want for a hot spring experience. Along with their pools, they also offer steam rooms and spa treatments. If you want to center your trip around this resort, they have plenty of lodging to accommodate you!
The pools can make you awfully thirsty, but don't worry, they have a wine bar and artesian restaurant on site. Their restaurant can get a little pricey, especially at dinner, so I suggest ordering a drink and some appetizers, til your back in Taos!
BUDGET TIP: The best way to get a great rate is to go Monday-Thursday. Which is, $24 per person before 6pm. If you want a better deal, wait til 6pm and get their sunset rate of $20 per person!
thriftin at pieces:
I feel like the best way to snag REAL souvenirs, is by heading to a thrift shop. We stopped at Pieces and found some really fun things. I bought a coffee mug and sorted through these beautiful rugs for a few minutes. Ugh, can you imagine how cool your living room would be with one of these? Next time I will save up a little and splurge!
coffee stop @ the spot:
Everybody needs a coffee pick-me-up. The Coffee Spot is a chill place to grab a cup and a bite to eat. I ordered their breakfast burrito and a black coffee. The burrito is $6.25, but guys, this thing is BIG. I barely finished it and it was like the best way to start my day. I didn't have to eat again for hours. If you're with someone, you can get two for $10!
The interior is very eclectic. Walls are painted teal and locals' artwork is scattered across the building. The ceiling is made from wood beams and adds a touch of warmness to your visit. Such a cozy place to enjoy breakfast!
hike at carson national forest:
And by hike, I mean take half of a hike or just sit n eat by these beautiful trees. Unless you're super in shape, then by all means, girl kill a trail! We started a trail and then turned around lol. That didn't mean we didn't soak up this scenery though!
A hiker or not, stop here and walk around Carson. These are some of tallest trees I've ever seen! They also have options for camping if you'd be into that. I'm pretty sure this place is free, we weren't stopped! Even if we were, I have my America the Beautiful pass that gets me into all national parks and sites. They're $80 for a full year and come in handy if you travel a lot! You can purchase one here.
explore downtown taos:
Usually, when I see "Explore Downtown" on any blog post, I roll my eyes. THAT'S SO VAGUE. I'm going to tell you exactly what stores we loved and why! One of our favorites was Michelle's Beach boutique. She has really cool clothes that remind me of Free People and the interior is CRAZY CUTE. It has jewelry, personalized soaps, unique belts, and an attic straight out of Sixteen Candles!
Next up, is Chocolate and Cashmere. This is the place to get a sweet treat while you're walking around! The cashmere was a little out of my price range lol, but you need to try this chocolate. I think I bought 2? I wasn't super hungry, but I still wanted to try them! Zo bought a box of four. I think one of mine was a creme brulee flavor and it was delicious!
Even if y'all don't have a dime to spend, walk around downtown. I mean it when I say you don't need to spend a thing to enjoy this culture and community! We went down right before Halloween and everything was so decorated. They had colorful lanterns, skeletons, and beautiful paper tissue flowers. I couldn't get over this pink corner that was in the middle of NOWHERE.
tap room break:
Stop at the Taos Tap Room for dinner! They have incredible cheesy garlic bread and good drinks. If I was a beer girl, I'm sure I would have been all over their beer menu. I ordered the Agave Wine Margarita instead for $7 and it was pretty nice.
While we were there, they had live music. It was such a great way to end a day of exploring. For our entree, we ordered one of their pizzas. If I go back, I'd love to try their wood fired wings! Kids are welcome here too, so bring them along :) I think they just have two different sections.
Wow, this is one of the coolest posts I've ever written. I would have never expected myself itching to go back so soon. Before you rule out any states, definitely try one out for a weekend first! You may be surprised. Ugh, now I'm aching to reserve a lodge at Ojo Caliente. I hope this helps you plan a BOMB trip to Taos!
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Travel bucket list:
Countries visited: 5
states left: 11