"There are other ways to enjoy the dunes" Top 5 Page for this destination White Sands National Monument Local Custom Tip by toonsarah


Everyone has their own way of enjoying the White Sands. For us it was all about appreciating the landscape, getting away from other people to feel the rather eerie atmosphere, taking on the challenge of adequately capturing the dunes in our photos. But others were here to have fun!

Things were pretty quiet when we arrived just after 7.00 am, but as the morning wore on it got busier. By the time we returned to our car after doing part of the Alkali Flats trail (see my Things to Do tip) it was mid-morning, and we were surprised to see how much more full the parking area had become. A large coach had just drawn up, disgorging its passengers, and most of them looked as if they would be content to admire the dunes from just where they stood – certainly few of them had the footwear for hiking on soft shifting sands. For them the White Sands would be all about the views to be had from the road-side, which thankfully are pretty great. There were also quite a few family groups arriving and setting up for a day on the sands, just as if they were on a beach – although with no cooling water in which to take a dip, and no shelter (in this part of the park) from the sun’s heat, this would not be my idea of fun even in relatively temperate October!

Tobogganing down the dunes is also a popular pastime, and you can buy or hire toboggans at the Visitor Centre. We are perhaps more accustomed to appreciating the great landscapes of the US through its National Parks system and I was a little surprised at how accessible the dunes are here - there are no restrictions on where you can walk, or sled.

+++Next tip!+++

Review Helpfulness: 5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 22, 2012
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