An Austin to Ruidoso, New Mexico, road trip makes it easy to experience the varied terrain, unique cultures, and history of Texas and New Mexico. Make a stop in one - or several - of the towns that make up Texas' celebrated Hill Country. From the hilly region of Central Texas, you'll be able to go through the high plains and desert areas that West Texas and eastern New Mexico are known for. While you're on the way to the forested, mountain area of Ruidoso, you'll have plenty of opportunities to see some unusual sights. From scenic national and state parks to riverside cities to museums and even UFOs, this RV road trip is sure to have something for everyone.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
One of the locations you will want to visit on your Austin to Ruidoso road trip is the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, which is one hour and 10 minutes from Austin. Sites that you can tour inside this park include the LBJ Ranch, Johnson Settlement, and the home where the 34th president grew up. Stopping by the Visitor Center gives you a chance to see exhibits that focus on Johnson's life before, after, and during his presidency.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to Texas' highest mountain, Guadalupe Peak, standing at an impressive 8,749 feet, three hours and 17 minutes from Ruidoso. The Frijole Ranch falls within the confines of this park, which also includes a former coach station that has been restored. There is a ranching museum on site that will help you learn more about this area during your Austin to Ruidoso RV road trip, including early ranching efforts and the settlers who came to this area.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park boasts an impressive landscape of white gypsum sand dunes at the site of a former missile range. The park is host to over 600 wildlife species that include bobcats, coyotes, and roadrunners that are easy to spot throughout the park. Horseback riding, hiking, and sledding down the sand dunes are among some of the most popular activities in this park.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, two hours and 54 minutes from Ruidoso, has a collection of limestone caves that are famous for their stunning formations. One of the highlights for many people is watching the bats that live in the caves taking flight at sunset. You can have a picnic or go hiking if you want to as the park has trails of varying difficulty levels to suit all needs.
Bastrop State Park
Bastrop State Park is 50 minutes from Austin and has been open since 1937, making it one of the state's oldest parks. The park has rebounded from a wildfire in 2011 and remains a popular place for taking pictures, especially with several Civilian Conservation Corps buildings still standing. Swimming, fishing, and hiking are among some of the most popular activities to enjoy in this park.
Lake Whitney State Park
Lake Whitney State Park, two hours and 20 minutes from Austin is an excellent addition to your Austin to Ruidoso road trip. The beautiful lake setting is perfect for activities like fishing or boating as well as fishing. Because the park spans around 1,000 acres, there is plenty of room to go hiking and there are great opportunities to spot wildlife.
Big Spring State Park
Big Spring State Park is four hours and 36 minutes from Austin, about halfway on your road trip from Austin to Ruidoso. A 200-foot bluff provides some excellent scenic views that are ideal for photography and birdwatching. The loop that surrounds the park is perfectly suited to bicycling and was part of a Civilian Conservation Corps project.
Oasis State Park
Oasis State Park is two hours and 44 minutes from Ruidoso and is somewhat off the beaten path, so it's perfect if you're looking for a quiet place to stop. A small reservoir provides an ideal place to spend some time fishing. There are also trails that let you hike through the sand dunes and see desert wildlife, including birds, lizards, and jackrabbits.
Bottomless Lakes State Park
Bottomless Lakes State Park is one hour and 36 minutes from Ruidoso, with a unique landscape that includes red rock cliffs overlooking nine lake-sized sinkholes. The water here reaches depths of 17 to 90 feet, making the park an excellent option for scuba diving. Fishing for rainbow trout, bird and wildlife-watching, and hiking are also excellent ways to pass the time.
Congress Avenue Bridge
Located two minutes from the center of Austin's downtown area, the Congress Avenue Bridge is an arch-style bridge famous because of the bat population that roosts underneath it. A sight that locals and tourists alike enjoy is seeing the bats take flight each evening, and the event is popular enough that it's the subject of local tours. The Congress Avenue area is a perfect location to grab something to eat before the next part of your journey.
Fort Concho Museum
The Fort Concho Museum is an exciting stop three hours and 16 minutes from Austin along the path of your Austin to Ruidoso road trip. This museum is on the site of a former Army post established after the Civil War, designed to help protect settlers in the area. You can enjoy exhibits that cover local life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as daily life at the post.
Moss Creek Lake
Moss Creek Lake is a lake created by the city of Big Spring, Texas, four hours and 54 minutes from Austin that makes a great stop on your Austin to Ruidoso road trip itinerary. Although primarily created as a reservoir, the lake also serves a recreational purpose that makes it a popular location. There is a swimming area as well as a dirt bike track, paintball course, and playground.
International UFO Museum and Research Center
The International UFO Museum and Research Center is one hour and 19 minutes from Ruidoso and has an extensive collection of UFO-related displays with photos from around the world. Many of the exhibits relate to the alleged 1947 UFO crash that made Roswell famous. As the museum has grown, it has added photos and possible evidence of other UFO sightings.
Your Austin to Ruidoso road trip allows you to pass through some beautiful Texas and New Mexico towns that have an interesting history worth learning more about. The route that passes through Eden, San Angelo, Big Spring, Brownfield, and Roswell provides plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery. Texas and New Mexico both have sufficient dump stations for your needs during travel.
Eden is an agricultural center that also has a small arts community. Stay at one of the local campgrounds to give yourself a chance to relax on your trip.
San Angelo, Texas
San Angelo is host to a downtown area of beautifully restored buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as a scenic riverwalk area. The campgrounds in the area make it easy for you to enjoy your time in the region.
Big Spring, Texas
Big Spring has a history of being a crossroads in Texas, from ancient times all the way up through the modern era. Campgrounds here provide a convenient place to relax during your trip so that you can enjoy your stay.
Brownfield has an agricultural history, which you can explore at the Terry County Heritage Museum. Campgrounds nearby help give you a place to stay near anything you intend to check out in the area.
Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell is famous for its UFO-related attractions and also has several convenient shopping and dining options. Campgrounds will help you get the rest that you need during your journey.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Austin to Ruidoso, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Austin or Ruidoso.