Get Ready For Your White Sands Trip - Native Campervans

Get Ready For Your White Sands Trip

White Sands National Park

Want to visit mars without the hefty, multi-million-dollar price tag that billionaires like Bezos are offering? Try out White Sands National Park in a campervan. This otherworldly location is in New Mexico. When you enter the park, you’ll be transported into outer space; white sands as far as the eye can see, surrounded by a bank of brown yellow earth tone mountains.

White Sands National Park should be on every van traveler’s list if you’re going through or near New Mexico. As we approach Fall and the air starts to cool with that familiar fall chill in the air, it can be tempting to start to plan your winter tropical getaway.

Are you looking for somewhere that is reminiscent of the Caribbean without travel? White Sands National Park should be on your list this winter. We’ll give you the low down on all the information you need to take White Sands National Park by storm.


Getting to White Sands National Park

If you’re going to take your campervan to White Sands National Park, it is a little bit of a drive from the Denver, CO area, but it’s quick with the right travel companion! You can easily get to White Sands National Park in a day, with the total travel time clocking in at 8 hours and 43 minutes (564 miles).

If you’re looking to break up the trip a little, we recommend stopping in the other Las Vegas for the night. That’s right, you read that right. There is another Las Vegas, and it’s located in New Mexico! Las Vegas, New Mexico, is a good halfway spot on your way from Denver to White Sands National Park.

Las Vegas, NM is a short 5 hours from Denver, CO. Unique to the area is the Sabinoso Wilderness. The Sabinoso Wilderness is rugged canyon land dotted with ponderosas and other pines. There are several hikes to explore!

Grab a boondocking spot for the night and explore this unique area of New Mexico. Don’t linger too long because we’ve got to get you to White Sands National Park!

White Sands view

Things to know when visiting White Sands National Park

Admission Prices: White Sands National Park is operated by the National Parks Service, so admission prices are standard; a single-vehicle pass is $25.00. Make sure to check the admissions page regularly because the park can be closed unexpectedly for missile tests at the nearby missile range.

When to Visit: When to visit really depends on what you’re looking for! White Sands National Park is open year-round, so if you’re a summer traveler or a winter traveler, you’re in luck. Though, we recommend visiting the park in the fall or winter months. You can take advantage of all the great things about White Sands National Park without the crowds.

Driving: White Sands National Park is accessible by van or car. No reservations are required between the hours of 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Feel free to drive your van right up to the park entrance, pay the entrance fee, and enjoy all White Sands National Park has to offer!


Where to sleep

There are many great camping spots within an hour’s drive of the park. If you can swing it, the park offers a unique camping option for campervan travelers and backpackers alike.

White Sands National Park allows visitors to camp in the dunes. You can lay amongst the dunes and stare up at the massive sky, stars twinkling all night long. Although the primitive camping option is closed right now for restoration, it’s something to keep in mind for future travels!

In the meantime, check out a number of great camp spots to stay at during your campervan trip. We’ve listed a few of our favorites in the next few paragraphs.

Oliver Lee Memorial State Park has several parking spots ranging from primitive to developed sites. Primitive sites are not designated and have a vault toilet nearby. Developed sites have a site number, parking space, picnic table, and grill. You can make reservations online. Oliver Lee is only 30 minutes from White Sands National Park.

A great boondock option near the park is Baylor Canyon Rd Spur. This spot is located on BLM lands and has no frills. Fall asleep to beautiful canyons and have access to a variety of hiking trails if you’re looking to take a break from White Sands National Park.

Another stunning dispersed camp spot is Aguirre Spring Recreation Area and Campground. Picturesque mountain views and desert habitat are what you have to look forward to if you stay at this camp spot. This site is first come, first serve. Make sure to grab your spot early if you want to stay in this beautiful space. 

Camping White Sands

Things to do at White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park is full of things to do for every type of person! We’ve picked out our top three favorite activities.

Sledding

As the name suggests, the park is comprised of beautiful sand dunes as far as the eye can see. With sand dunes comes sledding! Grab a sled from the park gift shop or bring your own and climb up to the top of one of these glorious duns. Have fun for hours catching speed on sandy downhills.

Drive Dunes Drive

This is an 8-mile stretch of scenic highway that takes you through the park. You can pull off the road to explore exhibits, hiking trails, and the natural beauty of the area. Use caution when driving the last three miles of the road. While most of the road is paved, the last three miles are hard-packed sand.

Hike

There are a variety of hikes in White Sands National Park, with the shortest distance being less than a mile. We love the Alkali Flat Trail. This hike is a 4.5-mile loop that takes you through some of the largest dunes in the park.

This hike is difficult, so it’s important to be prepared with water and snacks! You’ll reach the Alkali Flat at the halfway point. Snap a few pics before turning around! If you’re looking for something a little different, there are several ranger-led hikes in the park. The ranger-guided hikes are great if you want to see the dunes and hear some of the history behind the park.


Dog in White Sands National Park

Have fun!

White Sands National Park is a place unlike any other. Our team at Native Campervans loves exploring the area and spending time among the dunes. Tag us on Instagram (@nativecampervans), so we can see what you get up to in one of our favorite locations. If there is a particular part of your trip to White Sands National Park that you absolutely loved, let us know in the comments. We can’t wait to see what you get up to!

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