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10 Best Things to Do in New Mexico in July 2024

There’s plenty of events in and around the Mescalero Apache Reservation near Ruidoso NM this July, including 4th of July celebrations, arts and crafts exhibitions, free movies, and adrenaline pumping rodeos. If you’re going to be in town this July, check out these family-friendly festivals and events that you won’t want to miss!

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Close up of a cowboy on horseback.

Entertainment & Shows in July

Flying J Ranch

Just a short drive from the Inn of the Mountain Gods, this authentic ranch offers an unforgettable chuckwagon supper. Enjoy a hearty meal under the stars while listening to live music and cowboy tales around a crackling campfire. The whole family will love the exciting rodeo show at Flying J Ranch, featuring bull riding, barrel racing, and trick roping. This immersive experience for families also offers the opportunity to pan for gold, ride ponies, and more. 

Smokey Bear Stampede

The Smokey Bear Stampede is one of the nation’s largest open rodeo weekends, with ranch rodeos, traditional rodeos, and goat roping every day of this event July 3 – 6. The festival will be brimming with patriotic festivities, including a parade starting at 10 am, rodeos every day, a beer garden, and a fireworks extravaganza on July 4th. Rodeo admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children ages 6-12. 

Colorful trees line a river near the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico.

Outdoor Recreation in July

Lincoln National Forest

Escape the heat this July and enjoy the cool shade of Lincoln National Forest. One of the most popular places for outdoor recreation in New Mexico, this wilderness area is a nature lover’s paradise, offering endless opportunities for hiking, biking, and relaxing. Explore hiking trails that wind through towering pines, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the New Mexico wilderness. 

White Sands National Monument

Prepare to be mesmerized by the otherworldly beauty of White Sands National Monument. This unique landscape is a must-see during your July visit to New Mexico, as the seemingly-endless glistening white dunes create a breathtaking sight under the summer sun. Take a leisurely stroll across the soft sand, try your hand at sand sledding, or relax and admire the stunning scenery. 

This July at White Sands National Monument: moonlight hikes! Stroll the gorgeous landscape under a full moon. 

July 4th fireworks display.

Family Friendly Fun in July

Star Spangled Celebration at Inn of the Mountain Gods

This Independence Day celebration takes place right on the Inn of the Mountain Gods property. The excitement begins at noon with face painting, rock climbing, obstacle course slides, jumping balloons, and more! All of the fun culminates in the “biggest and longest fireworks show in New Mexico.” Pyrotechnics will light up the New Mexico sky above Lake Mescalero to close this 4th of July celebration. This family-friendly event is free to attend. Wristbands are available for $10 which grants access to jumping balloons and other activities.

Pillow’s Funtrackers

If you’re looking for a fun-filled day for the whole family near Mescalero, head to Pillow’s Funtrackers. This New Mexico amusement park offers thrilling rides, exciting go-kart tracks, and challenging mini-golf courses. Cool off in the water park, test your skills in the arcade, or indulge in delicious treats at the snack bar. Pillow’s Funtrackers is the perfect place to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Friends sipping white wine at a winery.

Festivals & Markets in July

Ruidoso Art and Wine Festival

The Ruidoso Art & Wine Festival will take over the Ruidoso Convention Center with more than 100 of the country’s most talented artists displaying their crafts and artwork. Artistic mediums include photography, paintings, ceramic, glass, jewelry, and much more. The 53rd annual Ruidoso Art and Wine Festival will take place on the following days:

  • Friday, July 26th, 2024: noon – 6 pm
  • Saturday, July 27th, 2024: 10 am – 5 pm
  • Sunday, July 28th, 2024: 11 am – 5 pm

Midtown Market in Ruidoso

Savor the flavors of local cuisine from food trucks and vendors, treat yourself to fresh produce, and enjoy live music and entertainment at Ruidoso’s Midtown Market! Every Saturday from June to October, artists, bakers, wineries, material artists, and more bring a curated selection of their best wares to this popular Ruidoso market. 

Smokey bear historical park exterior.

Educational & Historical

Fort Stanton Historic Site

Delve into the rich history of the American Southwest at Fort Stanton Historic Site. This 19th-century military fort played a crucial role in the region’s development, serving as a base, a hospital, and even a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. Explore well-preserved buildings, walk through the parade grounds, and learn about the diverse cultures that shaped this historic site near Mescalero. 

Smokey Bear Historical Park

Pay homage to one of America’s most beloved icons at Smokey Bear Historical Park. This unique park tells the story of Smokey Bear, a symbol of wildfire prevention. Explore interactive exhibits, learn about fire safety, and discover this national treasure’s journey from bear cub with burned paws to an internationally-recognized symbol of fire safety and wildfire prevention.  Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens, have a picnic lunch, and snap a photo with the famous Smokey Bear statue.

Looking for somewhere to stay in New Mexico this July? Book your stay at Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino!

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