If you’re following along with my blog, our New Mexico journey began at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The next stop on our itinerary was White Sands National Monument, NM.
White Sands is in south, central New Mexico, about a three hour drive from Carlsbad, NM. If you read my earlier blog, you’ll know that New Mexico attractions are not close in distance but the added attraction (in my eyes) is seeing the landscape in between. Highway 82 between Artesia and Alamogordo takes you through the Lincoln National Forest. We saw a small Farmer’s Market with fresh fruits and vegetables along the way in Cloudcroft. While listed in Alamogordo, the White Sands National Monument is actually between Alamogordo and Las Cruces. (We stayed in Las Cruces that night and I would recommend our AirBnB location.)
The drive to the White Sands National Monument is much like driving through the rest of southern New Mexico, but upon arrival, you witness the phenomenon of the sand dunes in the middle of typical southern New Mexico landscape. This natural wonder is actually 275 square miles of the world’s largest gypsum dune field. It’s also described as an endless, waterless sea on TripAdvisor.
I would recommend stopping at the Visitor Center to gather information about the dunes. The Visitor Center shop has discs for sale (they purchase them back for a discounted price) that you can use to slide down the dunes. While we didn’t purchase the discs, we did see some attempting to slide and it appeared to be a little more difficult than we had imagined. We spent about an hour exploring the area and climbing dunes. We also saw some families who looked like they were making it an afternoon adventure for their children. They brought along beach toys for the sand and snacks.
It was 97 degrees about 3:30 p.m. when we arrived but when we drove out into the dunes, there was a breeze and cloud cover and it was so pleasant in spite of the temperature gauge. If you plan to spend much time at all, I would HIGHLY recommend sunscreen and water! While it was pleasant on the day we were there, I could definitely see the risk of sunburn and dehydration if you’re not prepared.
While I don’t consider White Sands National Monument a destination by itself, I do think it’s worth the drive if you’re on a road trip in the area. Feel free to contact me for our New Mexico Itinerary. And if you go, let me know your thoughts about White Sands National Monument!
For more of my New Mexico adventures, read about Carlsbad Caverns, the Zuhl Museum, Bandelier National Monument, Frontier Restaurant , Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, Chili Line Depot, Orlando’s New Mexican Cafe, and Habaneros Fresh Mexican Food.
Until we meet again…