New Mexico is home to the Grand Canyon with a roof. Though below the surface and under the radar, Carlsbad Caverns is so majestic that it plays in the biggest league of them all. But where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns for the best experience?
You have two main options for where to stay when visiting Carlsbad Caverns: Whites City and Carlsbad. Whites City is closer to the cave entrance, while Carlsbad offers a much bigger selection of hotels and amenities.
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Where to stay overview
- Whites City – Closest (but tiny)
- Carlsbad – Complete base
Best places to stay near Carlsbad Caverns
Deciding where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns is a pretty straightforward story. Either prioritize location or take advantage of better amenities in the next and significantly bigger town.
Whites City is as tiny as towns come but wins points as the final outpost before Carlsbad Caverns. If you opt for Whites City, don’t look past Whites City Cavern Inn — this low-key hotel is closest to Carlsbad Caverns.
But maybe you prefer amenities over location?
Carlsbad is the region’s hub with a wide range of Carlsbad Caverns accommodations, stores and restaurants. Spend the day in nature; then enjoy modern-day comfort as you bed down at Hyatt House.
Whites City – Where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns for best access
Set in the expanding New Mexico desert, Whites City is a humble option for where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This town is so small that it easily can be mistaken as only a roadhouse far away from civilization.
But don’t rule this town out just yet. Whites City has an ace in its sleeve.
Conveniently so, it’s only 7 miles (11 km) and under 15 minutes from Whites City to the heart of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. There, the park’s visitor center and number one attraction — North America’s biggest cave chamber, the Big Room — await.
This makes Whites City the best place to stay near Carlsbad Caverns for park access.
Just have in mind that not much is going on in Whites City. Here, the surrounding nature, dominated by the cacti-dotted Chihuahuan Desert, comes first and second.
However, Whites City’s gas station, grocery store and café fill important functions in a rural slice of New Mexico.
For a quirky experience, keep an eye out for the surprisingly fun gift shop in Whites City. Connected to the town’s grocery store, this gem offers a diversity of gifts, perfect for the memory shelf back home.
To sum up, Whites City is the option for where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns National Park than can be summarized with one word: location. This is a tiny town, but it provides the lodging closest to Carlsbad Caverns.
Pick Whites City for: Closest Carlsbad lodging.
Carlsbad, NM – Where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns for the highest comfort
It’s easy to see why Carlsbad is the most popular option for where to stay when visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Northeast of the park, Carlsbad is a convenient city with all the comforts you might crave for.
Firstly, the location is attractive. From the heart of Carlsbad, it’s just 27 miles (44 km) and 30 minutes to the Carlsbad Caverns adventure.
Secondly, Carlsbad provides all those appreciated amenities that it’s few and far between in this New Mexico region.
Enjoy a wide selection of lodging, ranging from relaxed motels to luxury hotels. Add to that a variety of restaurants and stores for groceries and other essentials.
In short, the comfort of Carlsbad makes the city the overall best place to stay near Carlsbad Caverns National Park. At hotels in Carlsbad, you sleep like a king just 30 minutes from the awe-inspiring Carlsbad Caverns.
Pick Carlsbad for: Prime comfort.
Recommended hotels in Carlsbad
Hyatt House – Modern hotel with pool near Carlsbad Caverns
Tour North America’s biggest cave chamber during daytime; then head to Hyatt House to enjoy modern-day comfort. This hotel near Carlsbad Caverns offers contemporary rooms and cozy outdoor areas, including a refreshing swimming pool for those sizzling New Mexico times.
Tips for staying at Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad Caverns is one of the most eye-popping natural attractions in the USA. However, with these tips you can make your Carlsbad Caverns stay even better.
- Reserve tickets – Reservations are required for Carlsbad Caverns. Therefore, make sure to request Carlsbad Caverns tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Pack for caving – While New Mexico in general is the definition of a sweltering destination, caves play by their own rules. As the Big Room in Carlsbad Caverns keeps an average temperature of 56°F (13ºC), it’s wise to bring several layers of clothes.
- Add another park – Are you a national park lover? Guadalupe Mountains, less than an hour away, and White Sands, 3.5 hours away, are popular parks to combine with Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Another appealing option is Big Bend, located 5.5 hours away.
Final words about where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns
Whites City boasts a unique far-away-from-it-all charm and is the closest option for where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns. However, pay attention to that the lodging options and amenities are limited here.
In contrast, Carlsbad offers the advantages of a bigger city, including a wide range accommodations. This regional hub lets you discover Carlsbad Caverns without compromising regarding comfort.
Where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns FAQ
Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about where to stay near Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico.
Most Carlsbad Caverns visitors stay in the well serviced gateway town of Carlsbad. In Carlsbad, you find a wide range of not only Carlsbad Caverns hotels but also all those other amenities you crave for, including stores and eateries.
Whites City is the town closest to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. From Whites City, it’s just 7 miles (11 km) and less than 15 minutes to the heart of Carlsbad Caverns, where you find the park’s visitor center and North America’s biggest cave chamber, the jaw-dropping Big Room.
You can soak up the best of Carlsbad Caverns in one day. The most popular experience, which involves entering the cave via the Natural Entrance and hiking through the Big Room, requires between 2 and 4 hours of your time depending on how often you want to stop.
Destinations near Carlsbad Caverns
Shared by the USA and Mexico, the vast Chihuahuan Desert is the continent’s largest. While you’re here, also consider the other three national parks that this off-the-beaten-track area holds.
- Guadalupe Mountains, TX – It’s under an hour from Carlsbad Caverns to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, meaning it’s an easy addition to your itinerary. Climb Texas’ four tallest peaks, or just gaze at them.
- White Sands, NM – The most laughter-dense national park in the USA, White Sands National Park invites visitors of all ages to try some sand sledding. You can, of course, enjoy those white dunes by foot too.
- Big Bend, TX – Bordered by Rio Grande, hidden Big Bend National Park is an unmatched scene for those who want to escape it all. Take in uncrowded vistas and indulge in fascinating history.
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