What a treat White Sands is! It is basically one big beach where you can sled. Really! When you get to White Sands, you can rent a sled, one of those cheap, plastic disk sleds (or bring your own!!) at the Visitor’s Center. They also sell chunks of wax so you can be sure to achieve the fastest speeds possible (not very fast).
The park is not very big, in fact the partially-paved loop road is just 8 miles, but will take you an hour without stops. But, you’ll want to stop! Get out, hike up to the top of some of the dunes and slide down on your sled. Go for it to your heart (or glutes) content!
We also walked along some of the boardwalk walks, which was lovely. We also ventured off for the Dune Life trail. It is 1.6 miles that is well marked and filled with interpretive signs about the wildlife of the sand dunes. One thing to consider as you plan your day and your hikes is that while the hiking distances might not be long, you are walking through loose sand and sometimes confronting big gusts of wind. So, do plan for more time to hike 1.6 miles than it would take you on a flat or paved surface.
A few tips: White Sands is in a remote area. There is a bathroom at the Visitor’s Center and a few throughout the park. There is little else. So, bring food and water. Wear sunscreen. And, remember, the southern New Mexico desert can have extreme temperature changes; be prepared. You can visit White Sands in conjunction with a visit to Truth or Consequences. It would be perfect to do so.
One final note, given our political climate, and the potential for your freedoms to be infringed upon, I also want to note that the proximity of White Sands to the Mexican border means that there are an abundance of random and official Border Control check-points. If you or anyone in the car is undocumented, this might not be the spot for you to visit (which boils my blood to say, but I want you to be safe!). Here is a handy tip sheet from the ACLU about what to do if stopped by Border Patrol.