7 Cool Vacation Destinations Near the Casino Apache Travel Center

Casino Apache Travel Center Attractions

Casino Apache Travel Center is one of just a few sensational vacation destinations in the Mescalero, New Mexico area. And it’s more than just a travel center, comprising both electronic gaming machines and table games, along with a few cool dining options.

Therefore, you can catch a breathtaking casino experience in the comfort of one of New Mexico’s premier travel centers. But you probably don’t want to spend all day and definitely not your entire vacation inside a travel center, even if it’s larger than a few of the state’s casinos.

So, what can you do? For one, you can visit the sister casino, Inn of the Mountain Gods. Or you can embark on some non-gaming vacation destinations near Casino Apache Travel Center.

Let’s discover them in today’s post.

Inn of the Mountain Gods

Head over to 287 Carrizo Canyon Road in Mescalero and you will find Inn of the Mountain Gods. This casino destination is great if you’re looking for more ways to play and win, and they also have a reputable hotel to stay in when you’re not gaming and hopefully winning.

Overall, you’re getting over 45,000 square feet of gaming space here, giving you hundreds of options at both old school video reels and new-age video games here at the slots. They also have casino promotions that you can take advantage of as a member of the Apache Spirit Club.

Along with the real money slots, you’re getting table games that feature popular staples like blackjack, craps, and roulette, along with a dedicated poker room, plus a sportsbook.

You’re also getting six food and drink options here at Inn of the Mountain Gods, a few more than you will find at the Casino Apache Travel Center. Along with diverse entertainment and hotel options, you can complete your getaway by visiting Inn of the Mountain Gods without the need to go anywhere else.

One reason is because they have so many amenities and activities right at the resort that you don’t need to go anywhere else. But if you want to go out and explore Mescalero, check out some of the content below. And check out other New Mexico casinos if you are in the state for an extended vacation.

Flying J Ranch

If you’re looking to step back to the Cowboy Era, Flying J Ranch is a place you need to be. Dress the part, and enjoy an evening full of Western music, chuck cooking, and relive everything the cowboy experienced during and after a full day’s worth of work.

Even if you’re not enamored with the cowboy lifestyle, a trip to Flying J Ranch is still worth it just for the experience. Best yet, it’s a phenomenal family-friendly attraction in the area. If you’re looking to entertain younger members of your travel group, Flying J Ranch is a good place to frequent.

Flying J Ranch in New Mexico

Having opened in 1982, the ranch has served over 1,000,000 tourists. And as it heads into its 41st year of operation, it has also held the title as the #1 Tourist Attraction in New Mexico. Open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, if this is something that interests you, book reservations and prepare for something amazing.

Billy the Kid Scenic Byway

In June 1995, the Federal Highway Commission granted Billy the Kid Scenic Byway the status of Scenic Historic Byway. Here, you will pass through a mixture of breathtaking landscapes and communities.

Arguably the finest road trip in New Mexico, treat the eyes to a mixture of landscapes from desert lands to forested scenery, mountainous terrain, and more. Plus, you will glimpse what small-town life looks like in New Mexico.

Odds are, you will need to take at least a few hours out of your day to drive through Billy the Kid Scenic Byway. But if you love diverse terrain plus a bit of culture, it’s worth taking a few hours off the casino floor to experience.

Once you’ve played your last hand for the day, hop into the car and drive into paradise. And best yet, there is no cost of entry.

Mescalero Apache Cultural Center and Museum

This is a great spot to learn about Apache culture, history, and its peoples’ way of life throughout the ages. But you’re getting more than a lesson in history and culture here.

Welcome Sign at Mescalero Apache Cultural Center and Museum In New Mexico

At the Mescalero Apache Cultural Center and Museum, you can also treat the eyes to a plethora of Apache-inspired arts, crafts, and artifacts. Check out the traditional Apache clothing, and if you’ve been here before, odds are they have rotated in or even built a new exhibit in your absence.

You won’t spend as much time at this vacation attraction. When you want to take no more than a couple of hours off from the casino floor, check out Mescalero Apache Cultural Center and Museum for a delightful mental break from the adrenaline-pumping gaming.

Ski Apache

Ski Apache is another attraction on today’s list that they open seasonally. The opposite of Flying J Ranch in Section 2, you will find Ski Apache open between Thanksgiving and Easter. Located at 1286 Ski Run Road in Alto, New Mexico, come over and explore outdoor life like never before.

And while they only open the place seasonally, you can still enjoy a few cool activities here at Ski Apache. Besides skiing, that is. If you’re into mountain biking, this is the best place in the area to engage in the activity. No mountain bike? No problem. Ski Apache has mountain bike rentals.

You can also experience the area from the air with their ziplining adventures. If you’re looking for a new kind of thrill, the zipline offers you the greatest view in the region.

Except when you’re treating the eyes to the Scenic Gondola for a calmer ride, yet every bit as epic, panoramic view of Southern New Mexico. You will really feel as though you’re on top of the world here, ascending to over 12,000 feet above sea level.

Check out the lush fields springing with wildlife and flora, evergreen woodlands, and clear, blue skies that stretch for miles. If there is ever a dynamic hot spot near Casino Apache Travel Center to visit, it might just be Ski Apache.

White Sands National Monument

If you’re cool with taking another long drive, White Sands National Monument is worth the visit. You will find it about an hour away from Casino Apache Travel Center. They call White Sands National Monument one of the “most unusual places on Earth.”

Yeah, if you’re looking for something beyond the norm, White Sands is worth checking out. If you’ve never heard of White Sands, TripAdvisor describes it as a “waterless sea,” as over 12,000 years ago, it was full of water and marine life.

Today, you can hike the dunes, sled down them, try to climb them, and in the distance, catch the mountains, the sunset descending over them, and some of the most unique cloud formations and sundogs perhaps in America.

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico

Overall, just by looking at the photos of this recipient of the 2021 Travelers Choice Award, the landscape, angle of the sunset, and cloud formations made me think of something straight out of Star Wars—or at the very least, what the surface of the planet Venus might look like.

Tourists claim that it’s like driving through snow (yes, you can drive through the dunes), and many will tell you it initially looks like a wasteland until you get a close-up, and there’s nothing like it. There are no trees. Hardly any wildlife. No waterfalls. And no life whatsoever around you next to those visiting the dunes.

But it might just contain the most epic scenery in America.

Lincoln National Forest

You will find Lincoln National Forest in South-Central New Mexico and it’s a great alternative to White Sands if you’re looking for something greener. It’s also great if you’re a road warrior just looking for a campground.

Known as the birthplace of Smokey the Bear—you may have met him when you were in grade school— Lincoln National Forest is also home to numerous recreational opportunities.

If you’re looking to go trail hiking or running, Lincoln National is another perfect place in the area to do so. As mentioned, they have several campgrounds scattered about. You will also find an amphitheater, several recreational areas, places for picnicking, nature and bird watching, and more.

Whether you’re into horseback riding, hunting, camping, or even winter sports, Lincoln National Forest is the opportune place in the area to spend all day if you need an extended break from the gaming floor at Casino Apache Travel Center.

In Summary

Overall, there are dozens of cool vacation destinations near Casino Apache Travel Center, and these are just seven of our favorites. Odds are, you will come across more places to add to your vacation itinerary to the region—especially if you’re hanging out at or near Inn of the Mountain Gods.

So, take a day or two from the gaming floor, explore Mescalero and the surrounding areas, and turn your trip to the casinos into an all-out vacation.

Have you visited Casino Apache Travel Center or any of the attractions above? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments and let us know where you went. We are looking forward to reading your stories.