What to do in White Sands National Park with Kids
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Heading to White Sands National Park with kids and wondering what to do in White Sands National Park with kids? You’ve come to the right place! From hiking to dune sledding and the Junior Ranger program, we have some fun ideas for your visit to White Sands National Park with kids. This is another dog friendly National Park, so our Pug Frankie joined us and loved playing in the sand. White Sands National Park is one of the best National Parks to visit with kids and it quickly became a favorite!
How to get to White Sands National Park
The closest major airport to White Sands National Park is El Paso, TX, just 90 minutes away. Albuquerque is 3.5 hours away, Phoenix 6.5 hours away and Tucson just under 5 hours. You can easily combine this National Park with Saguaro, Petrified Forest, Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountain.
Best time to visit White Sands National Park
The best time to visit White Sands National Park is September through November, when the temperatures are mild and the winds are light. Spring time temperatures are also mild, however you can expect strong winds which isn’t very fun when you have sand blowing in your face. Summer temperatures reach nearly 100 degrees and while it’s a popular time to visit, it’s definitely not as enjoyable to be hiking in the sand in the hot summer sun. We visited the park in late November and it was 70 degrees and really nice out.
Where to stay when visiting White Sands National Park
Camping near White Sands National Park
Looking for campgrounds near White Sands National Park? While there is no camping within the park (primitive camping is closed until further notice), there are several RV and tent sites within one hour of the park entrance. Oliver Lee State Park is the closest, just 24 miles away.
Best family-friendly hotels near White Sands National Park
While there are no hotels inside of White Sands National Park, Alamogordo is less than 20 minutes from the park entrance and here you will find lots of family friendly hotels near White Sands National Park. We stayed in Carlsbad, which was a half hour to the park entrance.
Things to bring when visiting White Sands National Park with kids
- Sun Hat: There is no shade here, make sure your kids have a good quality sun hat to protect them from the sun!
- National Parks Journal: This comes on all of our National Park trips. We stamp it at the visitor center and Milana fills out info about each park as we go.
- Sunglasses: It is bright with all that white sand! Do not forget your sunglasses or you will be squinting the entire time.
Books and games about White Sands National Park
Things to do in White Sands National Park with kids
Wondering what to do in White Sands National Park with kids? Hiking the dunes is a fun way to explore and your kids will love playing in the sand. You can also go dune sledding and complete the Junior Ranger booklet to learn all about the park.
Best kid-friendly hiking trail in White Sands National Park
- Interdune Boardwalk: This 0.3 mile out and back trail is one where you are most likely to see wildlife.
- Dune Life Nature Trail: This is a 1 mile loop trail where you will walk on soft sand and need to climb two steep dunes.
- Playa Trail: Perfect if you have little ones, this half mile trail is an easy walk on flat ground.
Junior Ranger program in White Sands National Park
Just like all of the other National parks, White Sands National Park has a Junior Ranger program. Be sure to pick up your activity booklet to learn all about the park and earn a Junior Ranger badge.
Go sledding on the dunes
While we opted not to do this, you can buy sleds at the gift shop near the visitor center if you want to go sledding. New ones were $20 and used ones $15. If you plan to do this, stop at a Walmart on your way in and buy a cheap $5 sled to use on the dunes.
Where to eat with kids near White Sands National Park
The White Sands Trading gift shop has snacks and sandwiches inside the park. Las Cruces and Alamogordo are nearby cities with lots of restaurant options as well.
Have you visited White Sands National Park with kids? It quickly became one of our favorite parks and we loved that it was a dog friendly National Park. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop here!
Is it baby friendly? We are planning to go but I have a 3 month old as well.
As long as you baby wear, I don’t see why not. Definitely not stroller friendly!