IF YOU GO
Santa Fe New Mexican
Parts of White Sands National Park look more like moonscapes than landscapes, and it’s perfectly normal to crave terra firma after a day on the dunes. The city of Alamogordo, a quick 15-minute drive from the park, offers small-town charm on an easyto-navigate scale. Originally planned to house railroad workers and their families in the final years of the 19th century, Alamogordo has been a popular stop since the hamlet’s otherworldly environs were protected as a national monument in the 1930s. (The town attracted more visitors after it became home to Holloman Air Force Base in 1942. The base borders White Sands Missile Range, whose testing activities sometimes pauses the park’s operations.) There are plenty of places to stay and eat in this charming town. Travelers might do best heading to Alamogordo’s downtown district and its main thoroughfare, North White Sands Boulevard, where the majority of restaurants and hotels are located. Stop into CJ’s Si Señor Restaurant or Rizo’s Restaurant for classic Mexican fare. Locals and visitors imbibe at 575 Brewing Company and Picacho Peak Brewing Company. They sip vintages from locally grown grapes at D.H. Lescombes Winery and Bistro and at Heart of the Desert. If you stay the night, consider skipping the chain hotels and staying at the Classic Desert Aire Hotel, which looks like it was plucked right out of the 1950s, albeit with modern comforts like a gym and Wi-Fi.