There really is no wrong season to travel to Taos, New Mexico — the laid-back lifestyle and friendly locals make it a year-round destination for families. But, if possible, head to the area while there’s still snow on the mountains (February and March are best) combined with the desert sun; you’ll find breathtaking views and perfect conditions for spring skiing.
Admittedly, it’s not the easiest place to get to: Most flights from Canada land in Albuquerque or, if you’re lucky, Sante Fe (stay for a few days in SF if you have a chance!), and you’ll need to rent a car for the 2½-hour drive. But if you plan ahead — bring a bag full of books and activities — you’ll be able to enjoy the scenic drive through mountain ranges and quaint villages.
Once you get to Taos, rent a traditional adobe-style residence and live like the locals. Popular areas include the downtown core, Blueberry Hill and Arroyo Seco. From these locations, you can easily drive to one of the ski areas. If you go to Taos Ski Valley, you must find the remote Abe’s Cantina y Cocina and stop for a burrito; it’s on the main road, but ask anyone for directions. Rent bikes or hike the many trails, go rafting down the Rio Grande, try fly-fishing, or do some serious eating. For breakfast, try Michael’s Kitchen Café & Bakery for huevos rancheros; head to Bent Street Café & Deli for lunch and order their tamale plates or check out their vegetarian/vegan options. For dinner, the local favourite is the Trading Post Café & Gallery with delicious Italian fare in an art-filled setting.
Snapshot moment: Drive to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge (16 kilometres northwest of Taos). At 200 metres, it’s the fifth-highest bridge in the USA. Movie buffs may remember it from such films as Natural Born Killers, She’s Having a Baby, Wild Hogs and Terminator: Salvation.
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