The Best Kid-Friendly National Parks Near Santa Fe
Interested in exploring the area around Santa Fe more?
These are the best kid-friendly national parks near Santa Fe.
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Bandelier National Monument
- Free Parking
- Restrooms and food at Visitor Center
- Picnic Grounds
- Overnight Camping
- Paved and unpaved paths of various difficulties and lengths
- Handicap-Accessible pathways and buildings
- Interactive exhibits
- Near Pinon Park Splash Pad
- Benches along the trails
- Paid entry and camping
Bandelier National Monument has something for everyone. Paved trails climbing ladders, overnight camping, backpacking trails, picnic areas, and more!
This National Monument has gained world renown for its unique experience of allowing visitors into the actual archeological sites. There are kivas and caves you can enter via wooden ladders. Kids love climbing into the caves and structures and hearing the echoes of their own voices–my kids certainly do, much to the delight of the other visitors.
There are unpaved and paved paths that allow people of all abilities to enjoy the park. My family found this the perfect place to host an active family reunion in which my 92-year-old grandfather was able to follow his great-grandchildren on the path in his wheelchair. There is a great picnic area sheltered by the forest that allows individual family parking that is well-spaced from other visitors.
A unique aspect of this park is the wildlife. The animals seem to know they are protected by the park and so freely graze near the pathway. My children were blown away by being able to be so close to deer. A small bat cave is cause for great excitement for little ones. Just beside the picnic area is a small stream that you can occasionally glimpse trout in or even a raccoon rinsing their food!
The visitor center offers running water restroom facilities and a snack shop.
Bandelier is near the Pinon Park Splash Pad. So if your kids aren’t worn out from hiking, cool off at the free splash pad!
For more information visit Bandelier’s website.
Pecos National Historical Park
- Free Parking
- Free Admission
- Dogs are welcome on most trails
- Restrooms at the visitor center
- Picnic Areas in multiple areas
- Near Monastery Lake and Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery
This park offers paved trails and strategically placed parking lots so if you would like to see the ruins without too much exertion, you can park nearby and easily walk or wheel over. For a full review click here.
Hyde Memorial State Park
- Paid day entry and overnight camping
- Restrooms at Visitor Center, Lodge, and campsites
- Playground for kids ages 2-12
- Unpaved Trails
- Trails of differing difficulty
Hyde Memorial State Park has completely different scenery than Bandelier National Monument and Pecos National Monument. Tucked away in the mountains, it offers views of beautiful pine and aspen trees, a mountain lodge, overnight camping and unpaved trails of differing difficulties. There is even a waterfall!
The restroom facilities separate from the lodge and visitor center are without running water.
During the fall this area has unrivaled views of the color change. If you’re visiting during Balloon Fiesta time, a quick trip to this area is well worth it!
Hyde Park’s mountain lodge is a great venue for special events such as weddings, corporate retreats, or family reunions. There is a playground onsite.
The park itself has a fee to visit, however on either side of it are unpaid parking areas, trails, and lookouts.
For more information visit their website.