Why You Should Take a Family Day Trip to White Sands New Mexico
White Sands National Park with kids is guaranteed to be a fun experience. This is the kind of place that you daydream about long after you visit. An other-worldly basin of brilliant white gypsum, cool sands shifting and molding to your every step, pulling you forward to dune and mountain filled horizons.
A mysterious place that, while full of scientific oddities and exotic wildlife, you can still jump on a cheap bit of plastic and slide down gypsum dunes screaming like a kid (with your kid) and laughing your face off.
And that’s just touching the surface of what’s possible with a Family Visit to White Sands National Monument.
Family Fun Day Trip
Gypsum Dune Sledding
Desert Horseback Rides
Midnight Dune Escapades
Deep Desert Backpacking
Soul Igniting Walk Through Gypsum Dunes
Unique Photography Experience
Junior Ranger Programs
Your time here can range anywhere from a fun little day trip with your kids to a surreal desert horseback ride and soul finding experience. Maybe if you’re lucky like I was, a little bit of all of it.
Our family happened to be driving West with no particular place to go. We were free exploring and openly discovering the world with our kiddos. Vanlife at its finest. We had just left Monohans Sands in Texas and were coming up on New Mexico. My Google Maps is full of my wishlist destinations and I saw we were close to White Sands National Park.
White Sands National Park Is A Must See Spot For Vanlife, RV Travel, or A Fun Family Destination In New Mexico.
After scrolling through a few shared google pictures I could tell it was a much deeper sands/desert experience than Monohans, and our family had loved that. So we took a little detour.
White Sands Park Is A Great Family Learning Destination
If you are an unschooling, road schooling, free learning family who likes to learn and discover together, White Sands won’t disappoint. The National Park offers a Junior Ranger activity book at the visitor center for self-guided family exploration and learning. Return it before you leave and your child can be sworn in as an Official White Sands Junior Dunes Ranger!
You can also take tours with park rangers to learn more in depth about the mysteries of this geological wonder.
If you only want a quick stop and still get your fill of learning activities, there is a simple deck trail with learning markers that share all kinds of fun facts.
FavoriteWhite Sands Fun Fact:If you find a plant atop a dune, you’re witnessing something quite amazing, for that plant is actually as tall as the dune it is standing on. This is because its roots have managed to find its way through the gypsum to the ground below. Imagine that plant naked with no gypsum to wear, standing 12ft tall, all skinny roots and a bush top.
I wonder if this is the kind of thought Dr. Suess would have scribbled in his notebook. I know I will tell my babes thats what their wild scrawls resemble when they surely come gloating them, feet and paper flying.. “Look Mama!”
We stayed in the sands all day. There are so many spots to drive around and explore. We ate lunch and supper and stayed til it was time for the gates to shut. The perks of having a kitchen in your van.
And since Pets Are Allowed in White Sands National Park, even our new pup, Sunni Moo Who, had an amazing time.
Exploring White Sands National Park Solo
White Sands is a perfect photography destination so I was thrilled I got to do a little solo woman travel and explore the desert with my camera. While my husband relaxed in the Van and let our little ones take a nap, I went out into the desert for an experience all my own.
The gypsum dunes are a fascinating photography subject and I would highly recommend any hobby or professional photographer to spend a few hours here. (Or an entire day because a couple hours is never enough!)
The ever-changing design of gypsum kept drawing me in and I must say, you really need to keep track of your surroundings out here. White Sands National Park is huge and you can easily find yourself confused on your whereabouts in this vast national park. After spotting a couple Horseback riding through the dunes, my excitement got the better of me and I blindly followed after them for a few shots. Soon after, I realized I barely knew where I was.
I turned my back to the mountain I followed in and eventually found my way back. After another hour of intentionally staying “lost”.
White Sands is well worth it to visit. The park is a perfect family and photography destination. It is less than an hour out of Las Cruces, and is an easy-access, quick little detour off HWY 10. Plus, Alamogordo is right outside the gates for a bite to eat and more fun exploring.
Have You Been Or Want To Visit White Sands?
Get An Art Print To Remember Or Inspire Your Visit Here. And leave a comment to let me and others know what you think of the park!