Outlaw couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow fled to Carlsbad, New Mexico, in 1932 to find sanctuary from the cops. Granted, most of us would disapprove of how they made a living (robbing banks), but you have to admit: the pair had good taste when it came to picking a hideout.
Most visitors to the region would agree. The area surrounding Carlsbad, in particular, consists of scenic desert hills with legendary historic sites and state and national parks in every direction. Ninety years after Bonnie and Clyde’s visit, the small city, nicknamed the Pearl of the Pecos, continues to thrive as an oasis in the desert. The town has pleasant, treelined streets with friendly residents and the wide Pecos River flowing through it. Excellent restaurants, water recreation and microbreweries keep visitors busy.
Bonnie & Clyde’s RV Getaway RV Park
Bonnie and Clyde’s RV Getaway RV Park, named after the infamous couple, puts travelers close to everything this region offers. Located eight miles north of Carlsbad and nestled in a 30-acre ranch, the park surrounds visitors with sweeping views of Southwest scenery. The 40-space park treats guests to roomy spaces that accommodate slideouts. Guests enjoy friendly service and ample picnic shelters, grills and tables.
The park is kid-friendly, with a safe environment and a playground for burning off energy. Anglers can hone their skills in the park’s fishing pond. A coin-operated laundry is available, and full-hookup sites powered by 30- and 50-amp power keep RVers comfortable. The Wi-Fi supports streaming and is available for two devices per overnight site.
The park sits close to several desert trails, with the Pecos River flowing less than a mile north. Guests who explore the surrounding area can examine the stone foundation of the gas station that purportedly played a role in one of Bonnie and Clyde’s most outrageous crimes. According to historical accounts, the couple kidnapped Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe Johns in Carlsbad after the officer had discovered their hideout. The outlaws fled and stopped at the station — with their hostage in the backseat — to refuel before fleeing to San Antonio, Texas, where they stole another car and dropped off their captive just outside of town.
Several tourist attractions lie within a short drive of Bonnie and Clyde’s RV Getaway:
Close to the park, motorists can take U.S. Route 285 south to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which protects a vast subterranean environment. The park encompasses 113 caves, some of which lie more than 1,000 feet underground. The spectacular Big Room stretches 4,000 feet long and rises 255 feet high at its highest point. Follow the big room trail to see cave pools. To enter the park, tourists can follow the switchback paths into the caverns’ natural entrance or ride an elevator down from the Visitor Center.
Flowing through Carlsbad, the Pecos River entices visitors to take a dip in the cool current. At the bend of the River, lake Carlsbad Beach Park has sandy shores and a swim beach. Follow the current on land by walking or cycling on the RiverWalk. The waterway becomes Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area at the south end of town. On the banks, outfitters rent kayaks, paddleboards and paddleboats.
With a colorful Neon Sign, Yellow Brix Restaurant serves dishes that range from a Cowboy Rib-Eye to New Mexico Chicken Tortilla Soup. The restaurant also roasts its own coffee beans. Elsewhere in town, the Lucky Bull Grill serves up the Lucky Bull sandwich, a ⅓-pound fresh beef patty on a brioche bun with pepper jack, bacon, green chili and a fried egg. Beer lovers should order a tall glass at Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Company, serving everything from the Vienna Lager to its Mostly Mosaic IPA. Throughout the year, special events like Christmas on the Pecos and Brewfest put the talents of locals on display.
On Carlsbad’s west side, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park exhibits animals and plants that are indigenous to the area. Visitors take the 1.3-mile self-guided tour to see a reptile exhibit, tortoises, bison and black bears in a desert setting. Plant life on display includes succulents, cholla and agave. To the north, Brantley Lake State Park is the place to go for boating, kayaking, canoeing and fishing for Bass and catfish.
North of Bonnie and Clyde’s on U.S. Route 285, the small town of Artesia showcases amazing cultural attractions. See the many compelling street sculptures throughout town and take in a show at the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center.