Some people in the world, just love being on boards: skate boards, surfboards, snow boards, skis, sleds and less common, sand boards. While I’m not a huge boarder of any kind, I have surprisingly been sandboarding at a handful of places around the world. Below are a few places for sandboarding:
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park is located in Otero County near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The fees to enter vary based on day, week, or yearly passes. The minimum entry price is $25 per car.
The park, which is surrounded by the White Sand Missile Range, covers over 145,000 acres, of which 41% is a field of white sand dunes. The sand is composed of gypsum crystals.
The park was designated as a National Monument in 1933 and redesignated as a Park by Congress and signed into law in 2019 by President Trump. With 600,000 visitors, it is the most visited national park in New Mexico.
Technically, sandboarding isn’t the correct term for sliding down the white sand dunes in New Mexico. Uniquely, the best way to “sand board” the gypsum sand dunes is on a plastic sled after a rain. Unfortunately, it only rains about 8 inches a year in the area. Regardless, the plastic sleds may be purchased in the park gift shop or you may bring your own.
In addition to sand boarding, you may take a hike, do a dunes drive (on the road), backcountry camp only, or simply watch a lovely sunset.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is located in south central Colorado near the Town of Mosca. It covers 120 square miles of which 30 square miles are dunes. The Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the tallest sand dune, 750 feet, in North America. The dunes grow as the prevailing winds and storm winds collide.
Contrary to White Sands National Park, to sand board here, hope that it doesn’t rain. The sand damages the boards, and the retailers won’t rent them. The closest retailer to the park is Oasis, and they rent sleds and boards for $20 each. You may find other places that rent boards on the National Park’s website.
When we visited, our group of four rented two sleds and two boards. After one climb up only a 300-foot sand dune and sliding down, we were spent! We could have just gotten two boards and traded turns.
In addition to sand boarding at this park, visitors may hunt, fish, hike normal trails, bike, off-road, camp (both back country and in campgrounds), and more. While the park is located in the middle of nowhere (be sure to fill up with gas), it is near some of Colorado’s famous 14ers, Zapata Falls, and the Colorado Gators Reptile Park. For more information, visit my post, Great Fun and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Bruneau Dunes State Park
Bruneau Dunes State Park is located in Southwestern Idaho about one hour from Boise. There is a $7 day fee, or Idaho residents may pay $10 for an annual parks pass. That’s a no brainer! Out of state residents have to pay $40 for an annual pass which is still a bargain compared to Colorado Parks which is more than double that!
Bruneau Dunes State Park proudly claims the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America. The park will rent you sandboards for $15, and you can give the 470-foot dune a go.
In addition to sandboarding, the park features camping, hiking, biking, fishing on two small lakes, horseback riding, and amazing sunsets. There is also an observatory open on Friday and Saturday nights as well as night walks to see the Bruneau Dunes Tiger Beetles endemic to Idaho in only two areas of Owyhee County.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is located near Kanab, Utah. The day use fee is $10 per vehicle. The visitor center rents boards for $25.
The sand dunes come from the eroding Navajo sandstone. High winds pass through a notch and deposit the sands in the valley as the wind velocity slows. The dunes are estimated to be 10-15 thousand years old.
90% of these pretty, orange dunes are open to ATV riders, so it is best to stick to the other 10% for sandboarding. In addition to sandboarding, there is camping, hiking, rapelling, and off-roading.
Cerro Negro, Nicaragua
Cerro Negro is a 2,300-foot active volcano in the Cordillera de los Maribios near the village of Malpaisillo, Nicaragua. Its last eruption was in 1999. The lava flows from fractures at its base while ash spews up created the large cinder cone.
Boards, goggles, gloves and jumpsuits may be rented for $10. Just boards may be rented for $5. I highly recommend all the gear. I looked like a coal miner at the end of my run down the black, volcanic ash.
The hike up to the top over sharp volcanic rock requires some effort, especially in high winds. Be prepared for stinging sand and no hands for hiking, only for clinging onto the board.
The ride down is more like slow sledding and steering comes from dropping your heels into the rough terrain. Be sure to get a picture of you covered in soot at the end! For more details, see my post, Sand Boarding Down Cerro Negro
Wadi Rum, Jordan
It is probably a stretch to say you can sandboard in the Wadi Rum Desert, but we did it. We signed up for a two-night stay at a Bedouin Lifestyle Camp. During our stay, we sandboarded, camped, hiked, off-roaded, visited historic sites, drank lots of tea as we learned the Bedouin traditions, and more.
For sandboarding, Fayez drove us to the dune, and we took turns using the only sandboard. The sandboard was a snowboard from Europe which was missing the front straps and the back ones were sized for snow boots.
As a result, we just balanced on the board, went straight down the dune, and toppled over to stop. Some people sat on it as a sled too. Regardless, visiting the Wadi Rum Desert and other parts of Jordan like Petra is an amazing experience.
If you find yourselves in one of these places, give sandboarding a try or at least enjoy the beautiful views. ETB