One of the best parts about having a home-on-wheels is the freedom to head south for year-round sunshine. The southwest draws in thousands of snowbirds every year for good reason: the daytime temperatures stay pleasantly warm all winter and there is tons to see and do.
So instead of driving on the dangerous icy roads this winter, take your RV south for the season. These towns in Arizona and New Mexico have some amazing attractions as well as RV parks and campgrounds nearby.
1. Pie Town, New Mexico
This town on Route 60 (or “Pieway 60”) has been long famous for their locally baked pies. A sign posted in town will tell you how “the first merchant in town had such a demand for homemade pies and they were of such high quality that they became justly famous. Local folks as well as travelers began to refer to the community as Pie Town.”
Pie-O-Neer Pies serves both savory pies for lunch and sweet pies for dessert. You can get a slice from their Pie Bar as well as a cup of coffee and other beverages. They bake everything from traditional chocolate and apple pies to cream pies with meringue and their signature Chile Pies.
Pie Town Cafe is another local place where you can indulge in a quality slice. They serve creme, meringue, fruit & nut, and seasonal pies along with sugar-free and gluten-free options.
Every September, the town also hosts an annual Pie Festival. The event, which has been running for nearly 40 years, holds a huge pie-baking contest among other activities.
After filling up on pie all day, you probably won’t want to drive much. Pie Town RV Park is only minutes down the street from the cafes and offers pull-through sites with full hookups.
2. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Truth or Consequences was originally named Hot Springs but was later renamed after the title of a popular radio program. Despite the name change, the town is still a relaxing hot springs destination with thermal water that flows out of a rift along the Rio Grande River.
Riverbend Hot Springs is the only springs actually located along the river within the town’s hot springs district. They have lodging available or you can stay in one of the area’s many RV parks or nearby Elephant Butte State Park. The one-hour passes to use their pools costs $12 per person, or for $15 you can soak in their private clothing-optional pools.
Blackstone Hot Springs and La Paloma Hot Springs also have bathhouses in the hot springs district where you can soak. While you’re in town, take a day or two off from cooking and grab lunch at one of the town’s many local restaurants.
3. Ajo, Arizona
Ajo is less than an hour from the Mexican border in Southern Arizona. It’s also the closest town to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where you can see the unique organ pipe cactus with their many long, prickly arms.
What really makes this town worth the stop is the massive open-pit New Cornelia copper mine. This inactive mine just outside of the town measures about one and a half miles across at its widest point and 1,100 feet deep at the center. There is a lookout where you can stop and get views of the mine, as well as a museum where you can learn more about the history.
There are lots of RV parks and resorts in the Ajo area like the popular Ajo Heights RV Park. You can also dry camp for cheap at the NPS-run Twin Peaks campground within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
4. Carlsbad, New Mexico
Not to be confused with the California city of the same name, Carlsbad in southeast New Mexico is a peaceful city along the Pecos River. This town is the gateway to Carlsbad Caverns, a National Park with more than 100 underground caves.
The park consists of a network of cave passages filled with stalagmites, stalactites, and other formations. The largest chamber, “The Big Room” is 8.2 acres and the largest accessible cave chamber in North America.
Most people like to explore at their own pace on the Self-Guided Tours, but if you prefer having a guide with more information, consider taking one of their ranger-guided tours. You can enter the caves by hiking down the steep 1.25 mile Natural Entrance Trail, or by simply taking an elevator down into the caves.
From May-October, the park also has a Bat Flight Program, and in the summer they host Night Sky Events for stargazers. North of the park, you can also hike to a series of waterfalls at the Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area.
When you’re not exploring the caves, Carlsbad also has a relaxing beach park where you can go fishing, boating, or practice water sports like kayaking or canoeing. The national park doesn’t allow overnight camping, but there are lots of RV parks and campgrounds in the area. This includes an amazing KOA, a nearby state park, and some highly rated RV parks.
5. Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces is less than an hour from the Texas border in southeastern New Mexico. The town sits in the shadow of the Organ Mountains and is a short drive from the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.
Dripping Springs Natural Area is also close to Las Cruces with easy hiking trails among huge rock spires. White Sands National Monument is less than an hour away with massive sand dunes that you can hike or sled down.
You’ll also want to stop and browse the town’s huge year-round Farmers & Crafts Market. Their famous downtown market includes over 300 local farmers, artists, bakers, and vendors selling fresh produce and handmade artisan goods.
6. Bisbee, Arizona
Bisbee is a quaint historic town in the Mule Mountains of southeastern Arizona. It was originally founded as a mining town, and still maintains many old buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The town is filled with local shops, galleries, and a couple of informative museums where you can learn more about the area’s mining history. There is also a historic mine that you can still tour underground in a hard hat, headlamp, and yellow slicker.
7. Quartzsite, Arizona
No list of southwest towns would be complete without Quartzsite, Arizona. Thousands of RVers flock to this town along Interstate 10 every winter for its cheap boondocking, gem and mineral shows, and huge RV show.
You can pick up some gorgeous rocks, gems, and jewelry from the town’s huge open-air flea market and local shops. The annual RV show is free to attend every January and showcases the latest motorhomes and travel trailers on the market.
If you don’t mind camping without hookups, the Quartzsite area has acres of BLM land where you can boondock for cheap all winter. A long-term visitor’s pass only costs $180 and allows you to camp from September 15th to April 15th, or for as long as you’d like between those dates. You can also boondock for free nearby in KOFA National Wildlife Refuge.
8. Yuma, Arizona
Yuma in southwestern Arizona holds the record for the sunniest city on Earth. The town averages about 308 sunny days every year, compared the US average of only 205.
One of the most interesting things to do in town is tour the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. The first seven inmates in this former prison were locked into jail cells that they built for themselves. You can now walk through the old cells, the solitary chamber, the guard tower, and around the grounds, as well as see photographs and exhibits on the prison’s history.
Yuma has lots of RV parks and resorts, including many specifically for those 55 and older. You can find several of the parks conveniently located along Interstate 8 or just off the highway.