New Mexico is a year-round destination, with skiing, snowmobiling, and snowboarding in the winter; and rafting, camping, cycling, hiking, golf, and other recreational pursuits in the spring and summer. Festivals run throughout the year, including the Whole Enchilada Festival, International Balloon Fiesta, and State Fair. The most popular time to visit is during the summer, especially with international visitors, and winter in the ski areas is a strong second. The mountain areas are particularly busy during these seasons. The lowlands are busy with snowbirds in the winter. Christmas is a busy time throughout New Mexico. Santa Fe is popular during all seasons, as is Taos to a lesser degree.
- high season: June to August, December to March
- shoulder season: April to May, September to November
New Mexico has a semiarid subtropical climate, with light precipitation, plenty of sunshine, and low relative humidity. However, the weather varies by time of year and by elevation. Summer rains begin around August and snow falls in the mountains during the winter. Depending on specific location, summer temperatures can hit highs in the high 80s to mid-90s in the summer, while they can drop below freezing in the winter. However, when it's snowing in the high country, it's warm enough for golf in the lowlands. And when it's hot in the summer, it's cool in the mountains.
Fall events such as the State Fair and the Balloon Fiesta generate millions of visitors to New Mexico, while community events year-round entertain smaller numbers.
Some shops will close in the winter, but they are few and far between. In general, most are open year-round, although hours may be reduced in off-season months based on location.
When to Save
Costs are generally higher than the rest of the year during summer, and during winter in ski towns.
When to Book
In general, New Mexico can be an ideal impulse buy, as anytime is a good time to book, even at the last minute. Also, most cities have more than adequate lodging available year-round. Exceptions include Santa Fe and Taos, which may require a little forethought, and ski lodges in the height of ski season.
Information provided by the New Mexico Tourism Department.