Family Vacations in New Mexico

Family Vacations in New Mexico: Carlsbad Caverns

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service. Cave tours at eerie Carlsbad Caverns range in difficulty from an easy walk-through to the crawling, climbing, and sliding variety.

Nature's artistic streak takes a fanciful turn in this famous and enormous cave system created by water dripping through an ancient reef made of porous limestone. More than 30 miles of the main cavern have been explored, and the three miles of caves that are open to visitors are among the largest and most magnificent underground formations in the world.

A variety of self-guided and ranger-led tours are available year-round, and high-speed elevators make the caves accessible to everyone. Visitors can independently tour parts of the biggest room in the cave complex, aptly named the Big Room, by using a state-of-the-art portable audio guide, and they can explore several other caves on guided tours.

The vast Big Room has a ceiling that arches 255 feet above the floor, and it contains a six-story stalagmite and the so-called Bottomless Pit, which is more than 700 feet deep. In the summer months bats that inhabit parts of the caverns are an additional attraction. Each evening at sunset the winged creatures swarm out of the cave's entrance to feed on insects in the surrounding area. The event is best observed at the Bat Flight Amphitheater at the cavern entrance.

After a visit to Carlsbad Caverns, brighten up a journey through New Mexico with a visit to colorful Santa Fe. You'll find more information on the next page.

Carlsbad Caverns Information

Address: 3225 National Parks Highway

Carlsbad, NM

Telephone: 505/785-2232

Hours of Operation: Dawn - Dusk, tours available 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Admission: $6 adult; kids free

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • New Mexico State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in New Mexico, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.