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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

(4.3/5 based on 3,600+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: nature, scenic drive
The canyons, cacti, and thorny bushes of the southern New Mexico desert hide one of the U.S.'s great subterranean geological wonders, Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The collection of 119 water-carved limestone caves includes the Big Room, a chamber 191 m (625 ft) wide, 78 m (255 ft) high, and 1,220 m (4,000 ft) long, brimming with massive stalactites and stalagmites. The large scale of the Big Room makes it the fifth largest cavern in North America and the 28th largest in the world. Hiking trails lead down to the caverns and an elevator provides an even more direct route. The surrounding area has been designated a wilderness area to prevent development from affecting the caves, and a 14.5 km (9 mi) loop road through the desert landscape aboveground provides a nice complement to exploration of the caves below. Our United States trip itinerary planner combines visitor reviews with your personal interests to make an itinerary informed by experts, but tailored to suit your style.
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Where to stay

The only option for sleeping within Carlsbad Caverns National Park is to grab a free permit and pitch your own tent in the backcountry. You can, however, find a handful of places to stay in White's City, which sits at the park's entrance. Here you'll find campgrounds, a few economy hotels, a couple of dining establishments, and other entertainment options. About 40 km (25 mi) up the road, the small city of Carlsbad offers more choice for accommodations. Hotels here tend to show their age, but most are clean.
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