In Carlsbad New Mexico, I expected to see amazing cavern formations and beautiful desert spring blooms, but what I didn’t expect to find in the New Mexico desert was a fun swim beach and park! As the Pecos River flows through the picturesque town of Carlsbad it’s held at Lake Carlsbad, and the beach park offers a wonderful way for tourist and locals to spend a day!
Know Before You Go
Swimming, playing and parking are all FREE!
Restrooms are located at the RiverWalk Recreation Center.
Carlsbad Cruises sells snowcones, drinks and other treats.
La Patrona, Carlsbad’s favorite food truck, needs to set up shop during the summer at the beach, as there is currently no other food available at the park! Pack a picnic lunch!
During our visit over Spring Break, the temperatures were in the low 70’s, with a high wind, keeping people off the boats but there was still someone swimming in the chilly water! During summer, I can only imagine it’s filled with kids and joyful laughter! Don’t forget the sand toys for playing on the sandy beach!
Water toys and floats are welcome, too!
Paddleboats, Paddleboard and Kayaks
Explore the Pecos River, which has a dam, creating Lake Carlsbad with a constant water level. Paddleboats, paddleboards and kayaks are all available for rent at the beach. Click HERE for rates and more information.
Sit back and enjoy a one hour guided tour of the Pecos River on the Bella Sera, with a history of the area, including the historic Avalon Dam and flumes, which were built in 1909 to irrigate the desert. At the time it was built, it was the largest concrete structure in the world, and it is still in use today! The boat accommodates up to 49 people and runs daily during the summer. Click HERE for rates and more information.
RiverWalk Hike and Bike Trail
Bring your bikes, skates or just comfortable shoes for a 6+ mile trail around Lake Carlsbad!
There are several picnic tables located along the river, under shady trees where you can hang out while the kids swim. Pack a picnic or some hot dogs, as they have grills at the tables, too.
My kids just love big wooden playgrounds, and this one on the shores of the Pecos doesn’t disappoint. It’s across the river from the swim beach, but there is a bridge that connects them!
Bring a set of checkers to play on the built in tables, or let the kids make their own (a great project for a rainy day) using bottle caps (like Sprite), or do like the pioneer kids, cutting up a corn cob into checker-size pieces and painting!
This FREE recreation center on the Pecos River has games such as foosball, ping-pong, pool table, 1/2 basketball court, racquetball court and a fitness center. Outside is a large skate park.
Things To Do in Carlsbad
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is really incredible, not only for the caverns but for the summer bat flights, star gazing and backcountry trails, as well! Click HERE to read more!
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park showcase native animals and plants found in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. There are so many things I wanted to do during our visit to Carlsbad, but didn’t have time, and this is definitely one of them! Click HERE to visit their website.
Another interesting park in Carlsbad is Carlsbad Springs Park near the flumes, with a historic old bath house (no longer open) and the springs, which drew people to the area for their rich mineral content.
White’s City, while not an actual city, is located at the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and offers hotel rooms, cabins, short-term apartments and tent camping, as well as a restaurant and fun gift shops! The seasonal pool and waterslide is open to all overnight guest at White’s City.
Pecos River Beach Park and RiverWalk
101 N Halagueno St, Carlsbad
Click HERE to visit their website.
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