Carlsbad, NM – This is a very nice campground located about 10 miles north of the small town of Carlsbad. If you’re staying here to visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park and/or Guadalupe Mountains National Park, as we were, it’s a pretty long drive that requires a fair amount of stop-and-go via traffic lights though the town. But the RV parks closer to the national parks have seen better days, so we traded a longer drive for a nicer park.
Our site was very long and wide, and also flat for easy leveling. All utilities worked well. This is a fairly large RV park, which makes for easy walking on those lazy “days off” from long hikes. Indeed, the campground brags if you walk the perimeter of the park and all interior roads you can accumulate 2 miles. The park is well cared for and staff were extremely helpful and friendly.
But my favorite aspect of this park is the home cooked BBQ, smoked right on site. We tried a sampler platter of brisket, sausage, and pulled pork, which also includes two sides and a roll. I didn’t expect much from BBQ made in a KOA, but boy was I wrong! The brisket and sausage were among the best we’ve had, which includes during our Texas BBQ taste off in 2018. The pulled pork was blah, and the sides were nothing special, but that’s easily excusable as soon as the brisket melts in your mouth. We ordered a second time a few days later (to check for consistency) and I mentioned to the lady at the front desk who takes orders how great this BBQ was, and she replied “well honey of course it’s good, the gentleman who smokes it is from Texas!”. And yes, it was just as good the second time.
From here we took day trips to hike in Guadalupe Mountains National Park and to hike and cave tour Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We also visited the Living Desert Zoo and Museum New Mexico State Park.
Campground website: Carlsbad KOA
Date of stay: December 16 – 27, 2018