If you’re looking to reconnect with nature and immerse yourself in the wondrous beauty of New Mexico, there’s no better way than by visiting the White Sands National Monument. It’s cozily tucked between the San Andreas Mountains and Sacramento in southern New Mexico, and it’s a truly unique experience. Whether you’re looking to discover the magic of the untamed wilds or simply take a few moments to stop and appreciate the spectacle of the world around you, the White Sands National Monument is where you need to be.
A Physical Adventure
Many compare the White Sands National Monument to an enormous playground—and they’re not wrong! From high-octane hikes up along some of the monument’s most stunning sights to relaxed backpacking trip from a quiet campground, there’s an abundance of options for staying active during your visit.
Are you a camping enthusiast ready to sleep beneath the stars? Consider a stay at one of the backcountry campsites sprinkled throughout the gypsum dunes. This unique experience requires a hike of at least one mile to the closest campsite as car and RV camping aren’t permitted to preserve the pristine beauty of the region. This means that proper preparation is an absolute must. If you’re worried that your phone’s battery or signal isn’t up to snuff for an extended stay in the wilderness, visit one of the AT&T stores in New Mexico for an upgrade and some charging accessories before you head out. When it comes to camping safety, you can never over-prepare.
If long hikes and cycling through the dunes isn’t quite your speed, remember that there’s a demarcated Dunes Drive. This allows you to experience an eight mile stretch of the White Sands National Monument at your own speed and from the comfort of your own car. The drive takes an estimated 45 minutes but it’s advisable to pad in additional time to your schedule to make sure you’re able to get out and explore a bit on the way.
Sledding Through New Mexico
When it comes to sledding, most people picture wintry landscapes and an abundance of snow. However, while New Mexico does get its fair share of winter precipitation, winter isn’t the only time you’re able to go sledding in the Land of Enchantment. The White Sands Monument offers its visitors the opportunity to shred up the dunes throughout most of the year, and it’s a thrilling experience that shouldn’t be missed.
While you’re able to bring your own sleds along for the trip, it’s recommended you purchase a waxed plastic snow saucer from the monument’s visitor center. These saucers get the best speed and keep you from getting stuck on the sand which isn’t slippery like snow. Make sure to pick dunes that slope more gently so you’re able to come to a safe halt. Nobody wants their vacation to end early because of a preventable injury! Make sure that your phone is charged up so you’re able to take photos and videos, because your friends won’t believe you when you tell them where you went sledding.
After an exciting day at the White Sands National Monument, chances are you’ll have worked up quite an appetite. Luckily, there are plenty of eateries that aren’t too far out of the way. One local favorite is Rizo’s Mexican Restaurant, which serves up the authentic flavors of the American Southwest at an incredibly reasonable price. Diners especially enjoy the tacos al pastor and the restaurant’s delicious array of sauces.
Another nearby eatery that’s a winner especially if you have the kids in tow is JAM-ing Hot Dogs. This quirky diner offers up its own unique twist on the classic American ballpark staple and turns each and every menu item into an eclectic combination of flavors, textures, and tastes. It’s a great option for the picky eater and will leave everyone with a full stomach and a smile on their face.
Explore the White Sands
Once you first lay your eyes on the majestic wonder of the White Sands National Monument, you may never want to leave. It’s a quiet, beautiful place full of adventure. Whether you’re looking for an unconventional family getaway or simply need some time for a zen moment in the middle of nature, the White Sands National Monument is an excellent getaway in a truly magical state.