For our summer trip this year we decided to visit White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. I have to say that it’s something that I’ve never seen before in my life.
This is a great place to visit as a family for any age. This is a place where the adults can be kids, as well. You get a chance to sled down the sand dunes of all sizes. White Sands is a perfect location to get beautiful pictures of not just the scenery but with each other.
Things to Know Before You Go
Some things to know before you get to the monument are:
Make sure you pack a cooler of water
New Mexico gets extremely hot. Being in direct sun running up and down sand dunes so you are going to need plenty of water. They do sell water at the gift shop but that’s four miles away from where you are allowed to get out of your car and experience the dunes.
Bring something to cover your face
Since it is sand dunes you are going to want to make sure you pack sunglasses and bandanas – anything to cover your face. The winds in New Mexico get really strong and you don’t always know when they are going to hit. We got caught out on the dunes in the middle of a sand storm one of the days we were out there.
You are going to want to make sure you pack the proper shoes for being on the sand. Think about when you go to the beach, you don’t take tennis shoes to the beach do you? The sand is so soft you are going to want to make sure that you have shoes that you can take off and burry your toes. I don’t recommend wearing Toms as my mom quickly found out that it’s nearly impossible to get all the sand out of them.
A Towel or Wipes
Sand sticks to everything and gets everywhere, unless you want it all over your car you are going to want to make sure that you have something to clean off hands and feet.
Adjacent to the monument is White Sands Missile Range where they frequently test missiles. That being the case, for visitor safety they close the road into the monument for periods of up to three hours. U.S. Highway 70 between Alamogordo and Las Cruces is also closed during times of missile testing. Visitors on a tight schedule are encouraged to call the monument at 575-479-6124 ext. 236 the day before arrival to confirm hours of operation.
What Hours Should You Go
Since it does get so hot in New Mexico I recommend that you go right as they open at 7:00. You can enjoy the dunes before it gets hot. The park also does a free sunset tour at 7:00PM that is good to go to. You can get great sunset photos and learn a lot about the history of the park.
Adults (ages 16 and older): $5
Children (ages 15 and younger): Free
If you are currently serving in the military you are able to get yourself and your dependents in for free. As well as, get an annual pass to get into any National Park for free.
Remember, this is a Monument
When there, you will get to see a ton of strange plants growing out of the sand. It is prohibited to take anything from White Sands. Meaning, don’t think you can get away with taking a bottle of sand home with you. They do have a gift shop for you to get something to remember the trip, legally.