Drop into some hot springs at Jemez Springs—either primitive or developed. Hikers can reach the natural pools at Spence Hot Springs or McCauley Warm Springs, both in the Santa Fe National Forest. For in-town soaking, check out the four mineral pools at Jemez Hot Springs or the Jemez Springs Bath House, a nonprofit, village-run spot for a soak and massage. ORDER UP: Los Ojos Restaurant & Saloon, in Jemez Springs, slings burgers and wings and pours drinks in a space with strong Western vibes (think cowboy boots and deer trophies behind a wood and corrugated metal front). Owner Monique Alton suggests the Cucumber Smash, which mixes Albuquerque-made Safe House Teller Genuine Vodka with cucumbers muddled in St-Germain liqueur, a squeeze of lime, and a splash of soda. “After you’ve been in hot water, it’s super refreshing, light, and a little effervescent,” Alton says. “Cucumber makes everything feel like a spa day.”

Ojo Santa Fe features diverse pools on lush grounds, from tranquil tubs by a pond to lively swims in a large saltwater pool. Photograph courtesy of Ojo Santa Fe.


Pools scatter across Ojo Santa Fe’s verdant grounds, with options to pick your vibe: Lounge in the cuplike tubs overlooking a pond, or soak in the summer swimming scene at the large saltwater pool. ORDER UP: Sandals and swim covers make fine attire for patio dining at the on-site Blue Heron Restaurant, where a Corrales-made Milagro Vineyards wine pairs with whatever catches your eye on the all-day brunch or dinner menu. At their sister property to the north, Ojo Caliente, look for seasonal produce from the on-site farm featured in dinner salads at the spa’s Artesian Restaurant, as well as ethically raised meat sourced from Santa Fe’s Beck & Bulow and unique teas crafted by tea.o.graphy, in Taos.

Dive into the Blue Hole. Photograph by Steven St. John.


Scuba diving in New Mexico? Yep, at the Blue Hole. This stunning azure pocket of water pops out of red mesas near Santa Rosa and includes a system of submerged caves. Underwater visibility stretches to 100 feet. Swimmers can dive off the surrounding cliffs, but brace yourself: The water hovers consistently at a brisk 62 degrees. ORDER UP: Refresh with street tacos and an agua fresca at Chico’s Tortas y Piñas Lokas on nearby Route 66.

Elephant Butte Lake draws anglers of all ages for its bass, walleye, catfish, crappie, and stripers. Photograph by Stefan Wachs.


Beach yourself at Elephant Butte Lake State Park. The state’s largest lake provides more than 36,000 acres for jet skis, cruisers, and houseboats to lace the water with wakes and stir up some fun. With more than 200 miles of shoreline, there’s also ample opportunity to just dip your toes or cast a line. ORDER UP: Just outside the park, Bigfoot Restaurant specializes in burgers, sandwiches, and vegetarian food with European twists. Owner Stephen Gentry lovingly curates the approachable wine list. “Wine is often in a realm that scares people off,” he says. “But I want to make sure people can enjoy it with a burger and french fries.”

Cool off at Bosque Brewery with specialty brews like the strawberry-basil blonde ale, Perpetual Sunset. Photograph courtesy of Bosque Brewing.


The Bosque Brewery and Taproom North location in Bernalillo perches near river access at the US 550 bridge. The spot is often a take-out point for boats that float the Río Grande from the Angostura Diversion Dam in Algodones, as well as a favored location to launch river trips and for swimming and fishing. ORDER UP: “Riding the river is super fun, but it always gives you that little bit of baked heat,” says Josiah Jensen, general manager of Bosque North. “A nice way to cool down is with a cold beer.” He recommends the Perpetual Sunset, a strawberry-basil blonde ale brewed with 50 pounds of fresh basil. “People come in off the river and into North all the time,” he says.

Raft the Río Grande with Los Rios River Runners. Photograph by NMTD.


The Río Grande Gorge holds the river’s prime rafting terrain, including the Orilla Verde and the Race Course, a go-to white-water trip with stacked rapids often runnable most of the summer. The Pilar Yacht Club restaurant (no yachts required) sits on NM 68 near the take-out for one, and the put-in for the other. For the last two years, the Yacht Club has shared its space with Los Rios River Runners rafting company, making it the perfect spot to stock up on those last-minute necessities, like sunscreen, hats, and waterproof cases. ORDER UP: Most people come in the door hungry, says Rico Salazar, who’s owned the Yacht Club for 26 years. He loves being close to the river and the tourists and boaters it draws. The menu includes breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and tamales, served until 6 p.m. for an early dinner. Plus, it might just be your only outpost for a cup of coffee between Española and Taos.

Read more: Meet five species of animals and plants threatened by our shifting water issues.