White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park

  US National Parks

VISIT White Sands National Park:

Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Park preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here.

Approximately 12,000 years ago, the land within the Tularosa Basin featured large lakes, streams, grasslands, and Ice Age mammals. As the climate warmed, rain and snowmelt dissolved gypsum from the surrounding mountains and carried it into the basin.

White Sands National Park was originally designated a National Monument in 1933, then redesignated as a national park by Congress and signed into law December 20, 2019. It is the most visited park in New Mexico.

Places to Stay While Visiting White Sands

There are no lodging options inside the park. However, there are a few nearby towns that offer various hotels, resorts, and Airbnb/VRBO options.

  • Alamogordo, NM (16 miles away)
  • Boles Acres, NM (19 miles)
  • Las Cruces, NM (52 miles)
  • Timberon, NM (66 miles)
  • El Paso, TX (95 miles)

Park Details

White Sands National Park was established on January 18, 1933, and has a total area of 145,762 acres (228 square miles, or 590 square kilometers).

Address 19955 Hwy 70 W, Alamogordo, NM, 88310
Phone575-479-6124
HoursAll year except Christmas. Gates open at 7am every day, with closing depending on season (usually around dusk).
Entrance Fee$25 per vehicle, valid for 7 days
Learn MoreOfficial Website

When to Visit: Weather vs. Peak Visitation

White Sands National Park is the 91st most visited park in the country.

We crunched 30 years of historical weather and/or park service data to find the best months to visit White Sands National Park. We looked for the optimal temperatures, the least amount of snow and rain, and stayed away from peak visitation months if we could help it. All this data then helped us paint a picture as to what the absolute best time to visit White Sands National Park is.

Our data shows the best months to visit White Sands National Park are May, June, July & August.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Park Visits45,05335,76698,11878,72385,19772,89186,43651,45347,15163,66956,41061,602
Precipitation1514971018525333231623
Avg Temp566068758492929085766455
Max Temp6671788593100999793867567
Avg Temp373943485766707063544337
Min Temp262729344256636351382824
Temperature values in °F; Precipitation in Inches

White Sands National Park Road Trips

Many family vacations consist of stringing one or more national parks together during a week-long trip. Creating these types of trips is our specialty! Here are the road trips we've created where White Sands National Park is visited.

Trip NameTrip MilesTrip Days
Continental Divide National Historic Trail RV Road Trip2,31514

Other Nearby National Park Sites

From national monuments, to historic sites to seashores and more, here are the other parks closest to White Sands National Park.

NameDistance
Chamizal National Memorial72 mi
Guadalupe Mountains National Park97 mi
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument102 mi
Carlsbad Caverns National Park109 mi
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument125 mi
Petroglyph National Monument166 mi
El Malpais National Monument181 mi
Chiricahua National Monument193 mi
Pecos National Historical Park193 mi
Fort Bowie National Historic Site195 mi

Nearby Campsites & RV Parks

If you are looking to pitch a tent or park an RV at a campsite near White Sands National Park, here is a list of the closest campsites in the surrounding area. They all have slightly different amenitites, so its best to check them all out instead of just chosing the first on the list.

NameDetailsMiles Away
Holloman AFB MilitaryAlamogordo, NM more 7 miles
Oliver Lee State ParkAlamogordo, NM more 15 miles
Alamo Peak RoadCloudcroft, NM more 22 miles
Lower Karr CanyonCloudcroft, NM more 22 miles
Upper Karr CanyonCloudcroft, NM more 24 miles
DeerheadCloudcroft, NM more 27 miles
Sleepy GrassCloudcroft, NM more 28 miles
PinesCloudcroft, NM more 28 miles
Upper FirCloudcroft, NM more 29 miles
ApacheCloudcroft, NM more 29 miles

Nearest Ski Resorts

For those of you who are the diehard outdoors type, visiting a national park on a ski trip can be quite the adventure. Here are the ski resorts within 100 miles of White Sands National Park:

NameLocationSummitDifficulty ScoreDistance
Ski ApacheAlto, NM12,000 ft47%48 mi

Nearest Airports

When visiting a National park, many people are faced with either a very long drive across country, or a much shorter flight. For those of you looking to fly into White Sands National Park, we've listed the closest airports in the area.

Large Airports

A large airport has scheduled major airline service with millions of passengers per year. This type of airport always accepts international flights. Here are the closest large airports to White Sands National Park.

NameCodeCityDistance
Phoenix Sky Harbor International AirportPHXPhoenix, AZ340 mi
Lake Havasu City International AirportLHSLake Havasu City, AZ477 mi
Denver International AirportDENDenver, CO496 mi
Medium Airports

A medium-sized airport has scheduled regional airline service. This type of airport may or may not accept international flights. Here are the closest medium-sized airports to White Sands National Park.

NameCodeCityDistance
El Paso International AirportELPEl Paso, TX68 mi
Roswell Air Center AirportROWRoswell, NM102 mi
Cavern City Air TerminalCNMCarlsbad, NM115 mi
Albuquerque International SunportABQAlbuquerque, NM158 mi
Midland International AirportMAFMidland, TX239 mi
Sierra Vista Municipal Airport / Libby Army Air FieldFHUFort Huachuca / Sierra Vista, AZ258 mi
Lubbock Preston Smith International AirportLBBLubbock, TX258 mi

Credits: Campground data provided by USCampgrounds.info. Map shapes from CartographyVectors. Weather data from NOAA. Airport data from OurAirports.com. Images from Unsplash, Flickr and Parks&Trips. All data has also been updated and augmented by Parks&Trips.