New Mexico Mini Vacations :: White Sands National Monument

White Sands, New Mexico is truly a magical destination. If having an Instagram-worthy vacation destination is important to you (looking at you, fellow millennial moms!), this is THE place to go!

I had somehow managed to live in New Mexico for 28 years before I finally made my way to White Sands. And let me tell you, I could have kicked myself for not venturing to this amazing spot sooner.

While we only ventured to the monument for a day, it was such a fun-packed experience. We all wished we could have spent a full weekend soaking in the glorious beauty and fun this location has to offer!

One of the main things in the pro column for White Sands is that children 15 and under can enter the monument for free! Adults are just $5 each. We spent an entire afternoon there, so that seemed like a small price to pay. I wasn’t really sure what exactly would keep us entertained for the entire afternoon. But I think that’s just the over-planner in me. My four-year-old and two-year-old daughters enjoyed racing across the sand, sledding down the hills, drawing pictures with their fingers, and having a picnic out in nature. I forgot how fun it is to just act like a kid and enjoy being outside!

What to pack:

  • Sunglasses. This is a big one! The sand is, well, white. And southern New Mexico has some bright sun rays. So I wish I had remembered to bring tiny sunglasses for my kiddos. My hubby and I ended up letting them use ours ,which meant we endured the harsh reflection of the sun ourselves.
  • A picnic blanket. If we had brought a blanket, I may have curled up and taken a nap all afternoon!
  • LOTS of cold water. White Sands is a desert. And during the summer, the temperature can get into triple digits! Definitely come prepared to keep everyone hydrated.
  • Sunscreen/Hats. Remember how I said it is a desert? This is a no-brainer. 
  • A sled. The most fun we had was sitting on the sled with our girls and sliding down the hillside! It’s all the enjoyment of winter sledding, minus the bitter chill. 


Overall, White Sands has the unique ability to make $10 and a day of driving feel like adventuring into a new world. And that, my friends, is exactly the type of mini vacation I am all about for my children!

While we were happy to just run around and sled, they have entire programs of activities that may be better suited to school-age children and adults. I can’t wait to take my girls back and check out the Junior Ranger pack once they are old enough to earn a badge!

Happy road tripping, friends! May the potty breaks be infrequent and the memories last forever!

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