I can honestly say that I never thought I’d find myself sledding down a sand dune, but there I was, sledding on an orange saucer down a dune at White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I really didn’t know it was possible until I started planning out the cross-country road trip we took last summer.
Located three hours southeast of Albuquerque, White Sands National Monument is a must-visit with kids. We stayed at the nearby Holiday Inn Express and they were kind enough to let us borrow snow saucers, as well as wax to make sure the saucers were in top shape for sliding down the dunes.
It took a little while to find really good sledding dunes, but once we did, my kids and I went down again and again. I timed our visit to White Sands for sunset and I was more than happy to relax and lay on the dunes while watching the sun dip below the horizon.
As a bonus, there was a full moon that we watched rise up into the sky. In summer, White Sands National Monument offers ranger-led full moon hikes to explore the dunes in a new way. Also, if you just go for sledding, you can buy a saucer in the park gift shop (you’ll get back a part of the cost if you return the sled).
In addition to White Sands, there are several other state and national parks that are prime spots for sledding and sandboarding on the dunes. Enjoy this quick sand dune guide and have fun. 🙂
Jockey’s Ridge State Park (North Carolina)
It’s a must to visit Jockey’s Ridge State Park to go sandboarding and kite-flying. Or, learn to hang glide with Kitty Hawk Kites. Kids as young as four can take lessons. Boasting the tallest natural dune on the East Coast, Jockey’s Ridge State Park is ideal for soft landings. Also, look for Sunset on the Ridge, a popular program held nearly every evening during summer months.
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (Colorado)
At a place called Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve you can expect some serious sand sledding, and I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Located about four hours from Denver, go to Great Sand Dunes for hiking, camping, and of course, sand sledding and sandboarding. Rent a specially-designed sled or board at Oasis Store, just outside the park. Bring a swimsuit to splash around at Medano Creek.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Michigan)
In Michigan, head to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to go sledding down the dunes. Before you go, know that you can only sled down the Dune Climb in the winter and when it’s covered with snow. You can race down on sleds, inflatable tubes or toboggans, but only on the Dune Climb and on no other sand dunes at the national lakeshore.
Bruneau Dunes State Park (Idaho)
Located about an hour southeast of Boise, Bruneau Dunes State Park is a fun place to go skiing, sledding or boarding on the sand dunes. Rent sleds from the park or bring along a good piece of wax-covered cardboard and get ready for some serious sliding down the sand dunes. You’ll also find several miles of walking trails, as well as an observatory and about 100 campsites at Bruneau Dunes.
Beyond the five picks above, there are a variety of other sand dunes across the country that are perfect for sand sledding, like Kelso Sand Dunes in California and Sand Master Park in Oregon. Or, check out DuneGuide.com. This sand dune guide is a great resource for this must-do experience. Have fun!