A Family Friendly Road Trip to White Sands, New Mexico

A few months ago we went on a road trip from San Diego to Taos, New Mexico with a few stops in between. One of our favorite parts of our Southwest Tour was the day we spent at White Sands National Monument. The park is filled with rolling hills of gypsum salt as far as the eye can see, which happens to make an insane backdrop for photos. Luckily, we had our pal Taryn Kent with us to snap a few family pics for us while we were there! If you're thinking about going to White Sands for a family or friend vacation, I've listed some tips below!

  • It's a pretty far trek even from the closest airport so plan ahead with snacks and games to entertain the kiddos on the long drive.
  • We stopped at Whole Foods on our way out of town and filled two coolers with lots of snacks and drinks as well as plenty of food for a picnic
  • There are covered picnic tables to keep you cool while you eat so definitely go the picnic route for one meal!
  • Aim to get to the park either first thing in the morning or later afternoon. The temperatures can be crazy high there. We were there in April and it was already getting pretty toasty so imagine the summer temps! 
  • Also regarding temperatures: make sure to check the weather before you go! A friend of mine flew all the way out there only to be turned away once they got there because of a crazy wind storm. They also do missile testing out there and will sometimes close off the park for this. You can get all of this info before you leave at NPS.gov
  • If you get to the park in the late afternoon, you can have your picnic and then head out as soon as the park starts to close. We did a potty break on the way out and got the kiddos in their jammies for the drive to our Albuquerque Airbnb. It was a LONG drive after a long day but it made sense for the route we were taking. I'd recommend staying somewhere a little closer like Alamogordo or Las Cruces.
  • Try to stay for the moon rise! We caught it on a full moon and it was hands-down one of the most gorgeous scenes I've ever witnessed.
  • You can rent sleds and wax to sled down the dunes! Once you're done, you can sell them back to the gift shop and get a little bit of money back. You can also buy used sleds and wax for a little cheaper. Depending on the season and where you live, you may be able to get a sled at a sporting goods store for cheaper and bring it with you. Dusty ended up taking the trucks & wheels off his skateboard and skating down the hills! He and Gram also did some tandem sledding and had a blast.
Have you been to White Sands? What did you think?! Any tips to add?

You can read more about our trip, including more recommendations over at the Minnetonka blog.

Gram's boardshorts are Seaesta Surf & sandals are our fave Saltwater Sandals
My dress is Jen's Pirate Booty, moccs & hat are Minnetonka and jewels are Gunn & Swain

All photos by Taryn Kent



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