Mesa Verde was gorgeous and rich in history, but when we headed to the Great Sand Dunes National Park it was for some good clean fun. The scenery here is gorgeous, with the smooth sand dunes backed by towering mountains. This was only a two night stop, but the boys had a blast sledding in the sand. Since we don’t have snow in Florida and the boys have never seen it, this was the only opportunity they have ever had to ride a sled.
The night we arrived, things were looking like they might storm. The wind was blowing hard, and the clouds rolled in fast. While it didn’t rain, the clouds did make for a brilliant sunset. The sand sleds can be rented at a little place outside the park, but they are $20 a day, so the first night, the boys and I walked down to the dunes from the campground and the climbed into a huge black garbage back to roll down the dunes in.
We woke up bright and early the next morning to stop by the visitor’s center and see the displays they have there. This is always one of the boys’ favorite parts of each stop. They can usually spend a good while going through exhibits in the centers. Here, they learned that the sand was magnetic. If you took a magnet and ran it over the sand, bits of black magnetized particles would come out and onto the magnet. They really got a kick out of that.
After exploring for a while we rented a sled and headed out to the dunes. Be sure to take plenty of water and prepare for a good workout, it isn’t so easy getting up the dunes, but sledding down sure it fun! We took a few breaks, but the day was mostly spent on the dunes. We attended a ranger program and the boys got to hold a little critter that lives deep under the sand.
The campground within the park is really nice. They do not have showers there, which kind of stinks since you are covered in sand, but there are cold water showers like you would see at the beach outside of the bathrooms down at the dunes. The views at the campsites are well worth the inconvenience of no showers though. There is a $15 entry fee for the carload into the park that is good for a week, and the Pinyon Flats Campsites are available for $20 per night.
Have you ever been sand sledding before?