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RedRaider89

Summer RV 3 week Trip from San Antonio need help

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Hello Esapers

After purchasing my First RV (Winnebago 2100BH Micro Minnie) I am looking to take a 3 week trip this summer with my Wife and our 7 year old daughter.   I have taken one Trip By Myself to pursue my latest passion Kayak Fishing on the Texas Coast a few months ago to get comfortable towing and setting up my RV, ect.

I will be leaving from San Antonio, TX and looking to travel up to New Mexico and then back home.  Looking to stay 1 week for each stop of our trip.  What places would you recommend in Texas and New Mexico? (or Ok).  

Edited by RedRaider89

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28 minutes ago, RedRaider89 said:

...sight seeing, shopping in Santa fe and hiking... 

Check out the Galleries on Canyon RoadTake a drive up Hyde Park Road (NM-475) to the Ski Basin. It is a great drive with a number of hiking trails along the way. Visit the Museums on the Hill.

 

We enjoyed Pecos National Historic Park not far Northwest of Santa Fe on I-25. Drive the Turquoise Trail(NM-14) and visit the shops in Madrid where the movie "Wild Hogs" was made. Tent Rocks National Monument is not far South of Sante Fe. Drive or hike up to the veterans memorial.

Edited by trailertraveler

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West Texas is just a place to "get through." Whatever you do, stay off of US 285 between Pecos, TX, and Carlsbad, NM. It's a terrible road made worse by heavy oil field and pipeline traffic. Find another route. In eastern New Mexico, I consider Carlsbad Caverns a must. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque is well worth the visit - especially if you have kids. What's not to like about Santa Fe (I lived there for a while) and Taos? They are beautiful and fun! Make reservations ahead of time for that time of year - especially in northern NM.

Rob (native New Mexican)

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In west TX you can stop in San Angelo and visit Ft. Concho National Historic Park. To the south are both Big Bend National Park and also the Big Bend Ranch State Park.  It could be hot at those two but there is much to see and do. Near the town of Ft. Davis there are two parks very close together, Davis Mountains State Park and closeby Ft. Davis National Historic Site.

It a popular belief that "West Texas is just a place to "get through." but there are things to see and do there and because of the popular belief, they are rarely very busy. 

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I probably wouldn't spend long there but I like Monahans Sand Hill SP and Balmorea SP and Hueco Tanks SP and I think it is the Guadalupe Mtns.National park at Pine Springs where you boondock on the Parking lot between Pecos and Carlsbad. I like the ones Kirk mentioned except if you are just passing through they are a pretty good drive except for  FT Concho.  Some where I think on 380 or 180 in Tx there are 2 rest stops (no facilities but  picnic table) that had such a nice view in the middle of nowhere that I spent a little over a day in each one even though they weren't much distance apart. I didn't make much time and distance on that leg. What a pity.:D

We once had new RV'r in SKP's that boondocked there (Pine Springs) and a freak gust of wind pushed her almost new Class A over on its side. No one else on the parking lot was affected. Tough lady with good insurance that fixed it to the tune of about $30K being it was only a few months old and she kept on touring. She volunteered once where I was and I ran in to her a few years later at DreamCatcher.

Edited by bigjim

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Thanks for all the replies.  This is what I am thinking.  San Antonio to Marfa, TX -> Marfa, TX to Guadalupe National Park and Carslbad Caverns -> then to Santa Fe.  Any suggestions where to stay on this route?  (RV Parks).  

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15 hours ago, RedRaider89 said:

...Carslbad Caverns -> then to Santa Fe.  Any suggestions where to stay on this route?  (RV Parks)...  

Not too far North of Carlsbad is the Escapees Coop Park, The Ranch, in Lakewood. Brantley Lake State Park is in that same area. If you go North from Carlsbad on US-285, just East of Roswell is Bottomless Lakes State Park. US-285 will take you all the way to Santa Fe. It is about 200 miles from Roswell to Santa Fe maybe a little more depending on where you are going to stay. Good road but not much in between. Vaughn has fuel and a couple of small RV parks.

A longer route would be to take US-380 West from Roswell. This will take you through Capitan where there is the Smokey Bear Historic Site, Fort Stanton and Lincoln Historic Site. Near Carrizozo on US-380 is Valley of Fires Recreation Area.

If you go through Albuquerque, as mentioned the Pueblo Cultural Center is interesting. There is also Petroglyph National Monument.

Edited by trailertraveler

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Since you're traveling in the summer with a 7-yr-old, I'd gear the trip for her and going 'cool' places.

I'd personally skip Marfa (you can do that for a weekend trip anytime since you're already in Texas - work in Davis Mtn. State Park)

I'd also skip Guadalupe unless you want to stay there for touring Carlsbad.  It's really a hiking park and will be hot in summer.

For Carlsbad Caverns we've stayed at Brantley Lake State Park. Then head to White Sands Nat'l Monument. At the Visitor Center you can rent 'sleds' for sledding the sands. This will also be hot so plan on going early morning. The rangers also put on some evening programs and if you're there during a full moon they'll do a full moon walk.

From White Sands you could go to Ruidoso and take in the Smokey Bear Historic Park and even attend a horse race in town, if scheduled.

Santa Fe - there's a nice national forest campground in the cool mountains just east of the city toward the ski area.  We've stayed at nearby Cochiti Lake Corp of Engineer campground which has hookups and walked through nearby Kasha-Katuwe Nat'l Monument with very unique formations that a child could use imagine on!  We then drove the car into Santa Fe and picked up the city bus for getting around town. Cochiti Lake office can give you good information for doing this. The bus is a cheap, fast, easy way to get around the city. The Farmer's Market makes a nice visit.  You can get a Visitor day pass for the local gym with a fun indoor pool.  Santa Fe Skies is a nice RV park if that's what you'd prefer.

You will be close to Bandelier Nat'l Monument with nice Indian ruins to explore and they have a pleasant campground - no hookups.

If going to Taos you could stay at Orilla BLM Rec Area nearby. Taos itself is basically expensive shopping and the Pueblo Ruins but taking the circular all-day drive is pleasant over to Eagle Nest and Red River areas. It's nice a cool up there!

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Three weeks may seem like a long time, but there are many more places to see and things to do than you will have time for. 

2 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

...Then head to White Sands Nat'l Monument...From White Sands you could go to Ruidoso and take in the Smokey Bear Historic Park and even attend a horse race in town, if scheduled...  

The Smokey Bear State Park is about 20 miles North of Ruidoso in Capitan making it about 90 miles from White Sands. If you do go to Alamogordo, Oliver Lee State Park has some campsites with water and electric and a dump station.  The New Mexico Museum of Space History is in Alamogordo. The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is not too far North of Alamogordo.

2 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

...Santa Fe - there's a nice national forest campground in the cool mountains just east of the city toward the ski area...

Hyde Memorial State Park is on the same road and has some electric sites and a dump station.

2 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

...If going to Taos you could stay at Orilla BLM Rec Area nearby. Taos itself is basically expensive shopping and the Pueblo Ruins but taking the circular all-day drive is pleasant over to Eagle Nest and Red River areas. It's nice a cool up there!...

The Taos Pueblo is still inhabited as it has been for about the past 1,000 years. If the weather is hot, we prefer to stay in Eagles Nest or Red River and make one day trip to Taos. There are several full hookup campgrounds in both. There are dry campsites at Eagles Nest Lake State Park,  Cimarron Canyon State Park and a number of Forest Service Campgrounds along the Red River between Red River and Questa.

Edited by trailertraveler

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Thanks again for all the replies.  2gypsies thanks for the sound advice on where to go.  Especially with a 7 year old to make the trip interesting.  I agree that Carlsbad Caverns is a "must see" destination, especially for a child. 

We are trying to keep the driving to no more than 5 hours a day.  Where would you recommend we camp for a few days on our route from San Antonio to Carlsbad Caverns that would be interesting to visit?  Fort Stockton?  Also the best RV Park on our Route from San Antonio with a stop over and close to Carlsbad.  Brantley Lake State Park is 50 miles away for Carlsbad Caverns.  Seems kind of far. However all the reviews on the nearby RV parks to Carlsbad Caverns look pretty bad to mediocre.

Trailertraveler Oliver Lee State Park Looks Awesome.  I think that is a definite stop.

What are some great RV Parks close to Santa Fe and Albuquerque? 

 

 

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There is a very nice RV Park in Junction, Texas. I  would chose Balmorhea State Park over Ft. Stockton. The Young one would enjoy the pool at Balmorhea. Ft. Stockton is now inhabited with Oil Field workers so parking is limited. You could also overnight at Seminole Canyon State Park. It has some very interesting Petroglyphs.

We stay at Santa Fe Skies in Santa Fe. They have big sites and a good view of the mountains.

US 385 between Roswell and Clines Corners is 90 miles of BORING.

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Unfortunately there are no good campsites close to Carlsbad Caverns. Guadalupe Nat'l Park would be the closest at 36 miles. It would be fine for a day trip to Carlsbad and we've done it... but not in summer. It has no electric.

Carlsbad KOA and Brantley Lake State Park are the best choices and they're both around 38 miles away.

We've stayed at Brantley and Guadalupe because we like natural surroundings and spent a few days. We hike to the top of Guadalupe   .:)... needed a day of rest afterward!

White's City RV at Carlsbad entrance gets awful reviews and is expensive to boot.  If you just stay there and spend the rest of the time at the Caverns I guess it would be tolerable just for sleeping. At least you'd have electric. According to the reviews just don't plan to use the bathrooms.

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions/new-mexico/carlsbad

Another suggestion for a stop but it might be too close to your home - Caverns of Sonora on I-10. We were impressed with the caverns as they were up close and intimate.  They also have a campground.

Balmorhea State Park is very nice. Does your child swim?  I don't recall but the water might be too deep for just putzing around. It's spring water so cold but in summer it might feel good.

As Trailertraveler stated, Oliver Lee is a very nice state park in New Mexico.

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1 hour ago, wtgeodog said:

...US 385 between Roswell and Clines Corners is 90 miles of BORING...

I think he is talking about US-285. US-385 is inTexas.

 

1 hour ago, RedRaider89 said:

...What are some great RV Parks close to Santa Fe and Albuquerque? ...

As 2gypsies mentioned, Cochiti Lake is popular. So much so lately that it can be hard to get a site with hookups without reservations at times. The Tetilla campground on the East side of the lake is often less crowded. Cochiti Lake is about 35 miles from downtown Santa Fe. Santa Fe Skies gets mentioned a lot. Never stayed there. We have stayed at Rancheros de Santa Fe. I would not call it great, but it is East of town and closer to the  Pecos River where I like to trout fish.

We have only stayed in Albuquerque during the balloon fiesta so no suggestions for there.

Edited by trailertraveler

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About the RV Parks close to Carlsbad Caverns.   Don't overlook the fact that you won't be staying very long in the RV Park you choose.  You just want a halfway decent place to park for two nights. You come in later in the afternoon, go see the bats fly out, come back go to bed.  Next day you do the cavern, come back eat, sleep & leave. 

Use RVParkReviews to find one that isn't horrible.  

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Three weeks.  Nice chunk of time for a vacation trip.  We always liked three weeks for a vacation, 2 weeks would work, but 3 weeks was always better.

Really, I would flat skip West Texas because of the summer heat. 

While I agree with the 5 hours a day driving, sometimes that is just not practical. 

With a 7 year old, driving 5 hours a day, staying in an RV Park, even with a pool, gets old pretty quick after a few days.  Get someplace and stay put in a campground for 3 days to a week.

What we did, way back when, with our two young kids.  We always took camping vacations.  We would drive for a couple of days at a 10-12 hour travel day to get some place.  Once in the area, we choose to visit, we would set up in a campground.  Almost always a NP, SP or NF campground so we were in the outdoors, not in a RV park right next to the RV next door. 

Once we were set up in the CG, the next days of our stay, we would drive 10 minutes to a half an hour to do whatever.  A hike, or some other thing we could do with the kids that they and us would enjoy.  Back at camp by 3pm, maybe at the latest 4pm.  Time around the CG as a family, playing or whatever.  Kids usually love just having undivided attention of both parents.  What we did not do, is to drive, see something, drive some more see something, doing that all day long.  Adults enjoy that sort of thing, kids don't. 

When we exhausted what we wanted to see or do in one area, we moved to someplace else usually within 1-3 hours drive time.  Then we would set up and 

Staying in NF & NP and some SP campgrounds means you need to learn how to dry camp, if you don't already have experience with dry camping/boondocking. 

 

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A possible place to go for cooler temps, would be Colorado Springs and then the mountains west of town.  Lots to see and do in Colorado Springs and then up US-24 to US-285. Fairplay has an interesting historic town to tour.  Then down US-285 to Great Sand Dunes NP, then on into New Mexico.  Not sure about specific places to recommend.  I usually spent quite a bit time browsing the internet looking and researching places which I think would interest us. 

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I go along with most of what has been covered but want to throw in at least a variation. Just for an overnight or two there is also the Ranch SKP co-op in the area. I would suggest you consider making at least a part of your extended time in the Albq. area and use it to hit Sante Fe also.  In the east mountain area just outside Albq. several campground plus a KOA in town and 3 on the west mesa.  In the east mountains 20 mins. from downtown is the Turquise trail Campground. Only real negative is I wasn't able to get over the air TV.  You are near the drive up to the overlook of the Sandia mountains in the Cibola NF. In town you can accesst the tram, East side you drive up. Lots of trails. Indian Pueblo cultural center, museums. Old town An hour or so from Tent Rocks and a little less for Cochiti Lake and campground.  Up the Turquise trail about 45-50minutes you hit Santa Fe after passing through old mining town of Madrid fun but basically. Albq. has a zoo and s bio park and places to ride bicycles that are long and flattish though at about 5000ft. elevation.  You can check out the parks to stay in Santa Fe area before hauling up there.. There is  Wildlife west animal park that has a Sat. night program available with music and barbecue about 30 mi. east of Albq. at Edgewood. There is an rv park there and at least 2 other parks in the area. Hidden Valley and Liesure Mountain.  The trick is not a lot of parks in and of themselves will amuse a 7 year old.  If U hit that area and I make it back this year I will be volunteering at the Sandia Ranger district and they have a good bit of info on the area. In Old Town there is a good info center with info for most of the state that is just off the square.

 

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I think I'd split a week (or better just do 2-3 days each) at Bahmorhea where you could swim in a unique place, and then Davis Mountains where you could do a star show at McDonald Observatory.  

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On 1/8/2018 at 3:02 PM, RedRaider89 said:

Hello Esapers

After purchasing my First RV (Winnebago 2100BH Micro Minnie) I am looking to take a 3 week trip this summer with my Wife and our 7 year old daughter.   I have taken one Trip By Myself to pursue my latest passion Kayak Fishing on the Texas Coast a few months ago to get comfortable towing and setting up my RV, ect.

I will be leaving from San Antonio, TX and looking to travel up to New Mexico and then back home.  Looking to stay 1 week for each stop of our trip.  What places would you recommend in Texas and New Mexico? (or Ok).  

Awful HOT that time oi year.

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I am from Texas so used to the heat.  But I agree.   Right now I just have 4 days in Davis Mountains State Park Planned June 10 -14.  I figure we could also travel to Marfa, Alpine and Balmorea from there as base camp.  Still trying to decide where we will go from there.  New Mexico?  Durango, CO?  Being my 2nd Trip in the RV (first trip was 2.5 hour drive to Aransas Pass/Rock Port)  I am hesitant to get over zealous since I am still new to towing/rving.

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Thanks everyone for all the replies and great suggestions. It has helped me so much in planning this first major RV trip.   In June we are going to leave San Antonio to stay in Davis Mountain State Park in Texas for 4 nights and visit surrounding attractions.  Then we are off to Brantley Lake State Park, NM for 4 nights to go see Carlsbad Caverns and also Guadalupe Nat'l Park, then on to Cochita Lake, NM for 5 nights to see Santa Fe, Bandelier National Monuments and other sites in the surrounding area (looking for suggestions).

We plan on driving back home to San Antonio and stay a night or maybe 2 in Lubbock, TX which is the halfway point.  I went to college in Lubbock and want to show the family.  Any suggestions where to stay for 2 nights?

 

Edited by RedRaider89

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