Date visited: Aug 6th 2017
This gorgeous space in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico is quite magical. Despite all of the incredible places that have blown me away in this country, it’s still a little hard to believe this white sand oasis is located right here in our own backyard.
Miles and miles of pristine white sand as far as the eye can see….and not much else! It’s magnificent! Peaceful, serene and absolutely stunning. Even more so than I imagined. It’s been on my bucket-list for awhile now, and it was certainly worth the wait. We could’ve stayed forever!! FOREVER!!!
Sand sledding is the thing to do here especially if you have kiddos with you. You can rent sleds from the gift shop which is not to be confused with the visitors center. Neat that they have both here! It’s $14.99 per sled and $1.99 for wax. They buy back sleds for $5 and wax for .50 so hold onto your receipt! We found it was easiest to sled down a path that had already been made. It’s a bit of a workout climbing back and down the hills so I suggest wearing sturdy shoes, not flip flops. Kiddos wore Keens but any water to playground shoe would work for easy sand dumping.
The sand keeps cool while the sun shines bright and is VERY hot. Bring lots of water, sunscreen and sunnies in summer months! It’s a neat idea to bring food for a picnic break as there’s not really much around and there are shaded table and grills available!
After the paved road you enter sand only driving area where it’s a maximum of 25 miles per hour. You will most likely be the only vehicle on the road for awhile so make sure you stay the speed limit because if you get stuck, there’s no reception! From there you can turn off and park directly at the bottom of whichever hill you so desire. Give it a test run, drive and move to another. So easy and there’s so many to try! It seems as if they go on for infinity!!
If you want to be THEE coolest parent ever let your kiddo drive after they ride the dunes! And by that I mean let them sit on your lap going 5 miles an hour and let them steer because there’s no one around!!! Very cool! Very rare! I may or may not have done this. My kids may or may not have loved this. I may or may not have scored major cool mom points for life. Oh, and my youngest may or may not have driven strictly in circles causing me to get really tea cup ride at Disney nauseous.
Don’t be alarmed, but you will run into a Border Patrol leaving the park heading west on 70.
Oh, and watch out for rattles hiding out by the visitor center!!
Beside the sleds, the gift shop also has cold drinks and icy treats as well as locally made Najavo goods including beautiful hand beaded barrettes we also purchased. Worth a stop by the gift shop even if you aren’t renting sleds.
This National Monument should be high on your list if you’re a National Park Geek such as myself. And even if you’re not, go!! Now!! I urge you to hike up to the top of that hill and just take a moment to look around in silence and stand in complete awe.
Oh, and if you’ve been to Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado like we have and think you’ve already “done” sand dunes…think again. This is totally different and absolutely worth the journey! It’s pure magic!!