Santa Fe makes a great base for exploring the entire North-central Rio Grande Valley, a region rich in Spanish-colonial and Native American heritage and abounding with scenic drives, dazzling geographical formations, colorful villages, and important historic sites. Every community and attraction covered could be visited as a day trip, but consider planning overnight excursions, too—you'll find a handful of wonderfully distinctive accommodations in these smaller villages.
It’s also practical to embark on some of these trips en route to Albuquerque or Taos. For example, you could drive the Turquoise Trail or visit Tent Rock National Monument on the way to Albuquerque. The side trips to points north—such as the High Road, Bandelier and Los Alamos, and Abiquiú and Georgia O’Keeffe Country—are worth investigating on your way to Taos.