Flying in and Getting Around

New Mexico is easy to reach by plane but a full day's drive from major metro areas in the neighboring states of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. Unless you're a big fan of long road trips (the scenery getting here is spectacular, especially coming from Arizona, Utah, and Colorado), it generally makes the most sense to fly here.

Northern and central New Mexico's main air gateway is Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), which is served by virtually all of the nation's major domestic airlines as well as some smaller regional ones; there are direct flights from all major West Coast and Midwest cities and a number of big East Coast cities. From here it's an easy 60-minute drive to Santa Fe, or a 2½-hour drive to Taos (shuttle services are available). Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF) also has daily service on American Airlines to Dallas and Los Angeles. To reach southern New Mexico, it's more convenient to fly into El Paso International Airport (ELP), 50 mi southeast of Las Cruces, 160 mi southeast of Silver City, 135 mi southwest of Ruidoso, and 160 mi southwest of Carlsbad. El Paso's airport is smaller but still has direct flights from many major carriers. There are also flights between El Paso and Albuquerque, and a handful of cities around the state (Ruidoso, Carlsbad, Alamogordo) have regional air service.

A car is your best way to get around the region, whether traveling among New Mexico's main cities, or even exploring them in depth. You can see much of Downtown Santa Fe, Taos, Ruidoso, and Silver City on foot or using buses, but in Albuquerque and Las Cruces a car is really a necessity for any serious touring and exploring.

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