Content Produced in Partnership with Discover Ruidoso

Ski towns are typically associated with dollar signs, but if you’re craving a mountain getaway, it doesn’t have to break the bank. Let us tell you about a magical place where empty trails, wildflowers as far as the eye can see, porches ripe for wildlife watching, streets upon streets of art galleries and shops, and a cozy downtown await.

Where is this fairytale land you ask? Ruidoso is a charming city in central New Mexico with a distinct Southwest flair from the fringe-filled boutiques to green chile aplenty. Unless you’ve needed to escape the Texas heat, you have likely never heard of this oasis, but we’re here to tell you, it’s worth a look, especially if you value the dollar. Whether you’re in search of a romantic getaway with your honey or have the kids in tow, a trip to Ruidoso is a vacation everyone can get behind. This is what we like to call balling on a budget.

Stay: The Escape Resort

If you’re looking for a sexy getaway in the woods, The Escape is everything you’d hope it to be and more. Each bungalow is a standalone building, ensuring you the utmost in privacy. The casitas are exquisitely decorated in dark, sultry shades and lavishly furnished with fireplaces, media centers, steam showers, the comfiest bed you’ve ever laid on, and a Jacuzzi tub big enough for two. The spacious one-bedrooms are over 1,000 feet and would easily cost three times the price anywhere else. Plus, there’s a free bottle of wine and snacks waiting for you upon arrival!

Cost: $229/night for a one-bedroom casita

Relax: Make it a DIY Spa Day

Do a lap or two around downtown and one thing becomes abundantly clear: Ruidoso love pampering. A number of artisan vendors offer homemade soaps, bath salts, exfoliators, essential oils, lotions, and potions to give a little TLC to every inch of your body. Pick up a face mask from Rainwaters and melt your cares away in that huge Jacuzzi.

Cost: $3-5 per treatment

Drink: Wine About It

A wine tasting for a five spot? Yup, you read that right. Noisy Water Winery highlights some of New Mexico’s best local grapes and blends, especially its sweet varietals. And, Moscato doesn't disappoint either. You’ll choose three tasters from the two-page menu of reds and whites and get a bonus sample of the unique green chile wine (called “Besito Caliente,” or “a little hot kiss”). To stretch your dollar even further, also included are unlimited free artisan cheese pairings.

Cost: $5 for four wines

Dine: Pack a Picnic

Beyond bath and body goods, downtown is also bursting with gourmet shops to make sure you’re well fed. Pack a picnic of charcuterie, cheese, jams, and jellies from Sabor, along with some sweet treats from the fudge shop or Papa Bears Cupcake Emporium and head to the top of Monjeau Peak for sunset views over Ruidoso. If you feel like splurging a bit, an even better view can be found atop Sierra Blanca, which can be reached by taking the gondola at Ski Apache. You can see all the way to White Sands National Monument, which makes for a truly epic backdrop to a special evening.

Cost: $18 per person for the gondola ride

Do: Make it a Lake Day

Grindstone Lake is that quintessential place you remember your parents taking you to as a kid that you’ll always smile when you think about. Create that same nostalgic feel and fond memories with your own family by spending the day fishing, hiking, mountain biking or simply finding some zen watching the wind rustle the wildflowers (which stretch as far as the eye can see).

Cost: Free

Listen: Sounds at the Grounds

Sacred Grounds is a great spot to start or end your day. The neighborhood coffeehouse and gathering place often features live music, which offers an even bigger jolt than the caffeine buzz. The setting is picture-perfect with three expansive patios and decks overlooking the river making it a great place to relax and indulge in a homemade gelato.

Cost: $15 cover for bands