Santa Fe Family Vacations

Photo Courtesy of Visit Santa Fe

Families Will Love

  • 300 days of sunshine
  • The oldest capital city full of heritage
  • Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Santa Fe Family Vacations Overview

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Full of heritage and culture, arts and outdoor recreation, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the country's oldest capital city, dating back to 1610, and its highest, at 7,000 feet above sea level. For visiting families, the colorful city offers loads of opportunities to learn about the history of New Mexico -- from its first Native American inhabitants to the Spaniards' arrival to American statehood. Visitors enjoy sampling delicious southwest cuisine, admiring world-famous art and architecture, and taking in the glorious natural scenery of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the foothills of the Rockies.

With 300 days of sunshine a year, and typical bright, blue-sky days, Santa Fe's great climate beckons all year long. Remember, though, that when you are out and about exploring the pedestrian-friendly downtown area, or hiking, river rafting, skiing or horseback riding in the nearby mountains or Santa Fe National Forest, that you are in high altitude. Visitors from the flatland should drink plenty of water and take it easy the first few days while you adjust to the thinner air.

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Full of heritage and culture, arts and outdoor recreation, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the country's oldest capital city, dating back to 1610, and its highest, at 7,000 feet above sea level. For visiting families, the colorful city offers loads of opportunities to learn about the history of New Mexico -- from its first Native American inhabitants to the Spaniards' arrival to American statehood. Visitors enjoy sampling delicious southwest cuisine, admiring world-famous art and architecture, and taking in the glorious natural scenery of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the foothills of the Rockies.

With 300 days of sunshine a year, and typical bright, blue-sky days, Santa Fe's great climate beckons all year long. Remember, though, that when you are out and about exploring the pedestrian-friendly downtown area, or hiking, river rafting, skiing or horseback riding in the nearby mountains or Santa Fe National Forest, that you are in high altitude. Visitors from the flatland should drink plenty of water and take it easy the first few days while you adjust to the thinner air.

Most visitors don't leave Santa Fe without visiting the Santa Fe Plaza, which has been the city's central gathering place since the 17th century. It is a National Historic Landmark, lined with shops, restaurants, churches, museums and centuries-old buildings. With grassy areas, shady trees and benches, the Plaza also a nice place for families to bring a picnic and people watch. From the Plaza, many family-friendly sights are within walking distance. Read Less

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Things to Do in Santa Fe

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Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

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Santa Fe Family Restaurants

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Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery

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Bumble Bees Baja Grill

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Cowgirl BBQ

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Latest Santa Fe Family Vacation Reviews

espressivist

08/13/2011

Mixing it up: something for the kids, something for the parents, something for everyone

Family was the initial draw, but there's enough to do in and around Santa Fe for middle and older kids and adults to reward several trips. We rented a house to accommodate everyone (to avoid destroying our relationship with family that live here!), from http://www.santafevacationrentals.com. You hav ... Family was the initial draw, but there's enough to do in and around Santa Fe for middle and older kids and adults to reward several trips. We rented a house to accommodate everyone (to avoid destroying our relationship with family that live here!), from http://www.santafevacationrentals.com. You have to tell them about the kids, because some of the homes have beautiful collections of pottery and other artwork, but we found a home with a pool -- a rarity in the high desert, but a great pleasure at the end of a hot day. (Yes, Santa Fe is at 7,000 feet, so it's not as hot as say Phoenix, but these days everywhere is getting hotter. The great thing is that it's cool at night.) The first thing we did our first day was take the open-air tram tour from Loretto Lines, http://www.toursofsantafe.com -- the vehicle made it fun for the kids (and a canvas roof protected us from the sun), and the driver actually entertained the grownups and the kids while giving us a good dose of Santa Fe culture and history in an hour and a half. We were well-oriented, and could decide how to budget our time. We picked it up outside the Loretto Chapel (http://www.lorettochapel.com), and were able to get the kids inside for a few minutes, anyway. It has the miraculous spiral staircase built by the stranger. It's absolutely beautiful, and the story held the kids' attention while we stole a few moments to enjoy the French style architecture -- so different from the soft, rounded adobe of most of the town. Of course, the kids heard the magic phrase Children's Museum, and while not as big as its big city namesakes, it was thoroughly entertaining -- giant bubbles, snakes, face painting, water works, vegetable gardens, demonstrations that illustrated pendulums, etc. A climbing wall-- our elder girl was still too short, but next year. Actually, we all enjoyed the bug exhibits. A local chef has been fascinated with insects all his life, and has collected thousands of them, and mounted them in giant glass cases which he lets the museum keep at least part of the year. You can see photos of the world's largest moth, butterfly, centipede, etc., etc. online at http://www.olivergreerbugexhibit.com (small fee, but it goes to a good cause.) I'm sorry to say we have not mastered the art of keeping the kids quiet at restaurants, so we were glad to find a couple that loved kids and served food we all could enjoy: Cowgirl Hall of Fame has an enclosed outdoor playspace where we could see the children but not hear (through the glass), and there's a restaurant a little ways out of town called Legal Tender, in the train station stop of Lamy. They could run around outside and we could watch them from the patio. Make sure to drive to one of the Native American pueblos. We went to Santa Clara, where we could climb into cave dwellings and see the ruins on top of the cliff. Also Bandelier National Park has a great visitors center and marked trails, and caves. We went horseback riding at Bishop's Lodge, up a forested trail (cool!). And we hit the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum (too small for the kids to lose it -- a perfect size), and the Folk Art Museum, which they were surprisingly bored by -- I guess because the thousands of dolls and little buildings from many cultures around the globe are all behind glass. Mom loved it, though - and the gift shop helped. There's more, but I hope that helps anyone else wondering if it's family-friendly. Our answer is a definite yes! Read More Read Less

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