Monahans Sandhills State park is a small but extremely beautiful area with a total surface of a little over 3840 acres of sand dunes.
The park opened to the public in 1957. According to historical evidence, native Americans lived in the park 12,000 years ago.
The park is not the same size as other famous parks like White Sands and Great Sand Dunes, but it is equally beautiful and impressive.
Try to be in the park at sunset or sunrise, as the view is simply breathtaking.
The tallest dunes in the park can be up to 70 feet high. Because of the wind, their shape and height are always changing.
Inside the park is a road, picnic areas and camping areas where you can spend the night.
Location of Monahans sandhills state park TX
Monahans State Park is located in Ward County and Winkler County in southern Llano Estacado, bustling Permian Basin.
The town of Monahans is the closest town to the park, and the easiest way to get there is on Interstate 20, Exit 86.
Monahans Sandhills State Park reviews
Great place for young children, teens, and adults to have fun. Bring toboggan-style plastic sleds to ride down the dunes. They work the best. Limited saucers are available for rent at the park, but they sell out quickly.
Also, recommend bringing sunglasses or goggles as the wind can pick up mid-day blowing sand into your eyes if sledding on the dunes. There are covered shelters with picnic tables, flush toilets, camping sites with power and water hookups, and an RV dump station. There are also facilities for horses.
Types of dunes in Monahans Sandhill State Park
Many types of the active dunes can be found in Monahans Sandhills park, and the wind directly influences their shape and dimensions.
In the park, you will mostly find transverse dunes, which are dunes oriented perpendicular to the wind direction.
Then there are Akle dunes, which are dunes with undulating crests and slip faces in both directions.
These dunes appear because the winds blow from several directions, depending on the season.
During the winter storms, the wind direction is northwest; summer and early autumn blows from the southeast, while spring blows from the southwest.
Things to do in Monahans Sandhills State Park Texas
The park is the perfect destination for a day trip or a short holiday, as there are plenty of interesting things to do in the area.
The view is absolutely incredible, and the landscape is completely different from what you have seen in other parts of Texas.
I dropped below a list of the best activities you can try when visiting the park, activities grouped based on the time of the year when you choose to visit the dunes.
Exploring the dunes
Only this activity might take you a whole day, so pack a light lunch and a lot of water and hit the road.
With its 3840 acres, the park is quite big, and there are plenty of old dunes to explore on foot.
Don’t forget your camera, as you will get some of the most beautiful photos ever at sunset or sunrise and during the day!
Make sure you track your coordinates to be sure that you will be able to find your way back to your car.
The park offers a wide range of educational activities suitable for the entire family.
The most interesting classes taught by the park rangers are during summer when you can learn techniques for surviving in the desert and a lot of interesting information about local wildlife and the plants that can be found here.
There are also classes about Native American history, which are extremely interesting and useful for both kids and adults.
All sorts of activities are available for kids at the ranger station; if your kid is hard-working and talented, he/she might become a Junior Ranger.
By far, the most popular activity from the park, sand surfing on sand discs, is an extremely fun adventure for the entire family.
Like snowboarding or skiing, you can fly down the sand hills and do all kinds of twists and turns, depending on how experienced you are.
There are no lifts to get you on top of the dune, so hiking the dunes require some physical effort, too.
The sand discs can be rented from Dunagan Visitor Center, or you can bring your own if you have.
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During winter time
One of the most popular activities of the moment is geocaching, an outdoor activity that can be played in Monahans State Park.
You can play this game all year round, and all you have to do is select the park in the area you intend to explore and find coordinates for any site you want.
It is a good idea to stop at the ranger station in the park to get some hints and then start the game.
Monahans Sandhills State Park is extremely beautiful, and there is no better way to explore it than getting a horseback riding tour.
There are no horse-renting premises inside the park, but there are a few equestrian campgrounds close to the park.
Inside the park, there are no special trails for horseback riding. You can explore any part of the park you want by walking around.
Dunagan Visitor Center
Dunagan visitor center is definitely a place that you should not miss when exploring this beautiful state park.
At this center, you will find a lot of interesting and useful information about the history of the place and the Native American people that used to live there.
It is a good place to find answers to your questions, to find out how the dunes were created, what animals live in the park, and what plants you can see here.
From the window, you can observe birds like hawks, cuckoos, pigeons, grouse, great horned owls, falcons, hummingbirds, and many others.
You can rent sand disks from this center and spend the whole afternoon sand-surfing.
Facilities of Monahans Sandhills Texas
A visitor center, a ranger station, and a self-pay fee station are at the park’s entrance.
There are campsites with hookups inside the state park, very well delimited, with stunning views of the surroundings.
The area is beautiful, but it takes on a special feeling during the sunset. At that time, the dunes are golden, and the shadows from the plants on the sand look interesting.
Pets at Monahans State Park
You can bring your furry friend with you to the park if you keep an eye on it.
There might be some things you can’t do in the park, so it’s a good idea to call the park office and ask what those things are.
Sleeping close to Monahans Sandhill State Park
Monahans sandhills state park camping
Willow Draw Campground is the campsite’s name, where you can spend the night inside the state park.
It is a great place to bring your trailer or RV and relax (tents are not allowed in the park).
There are 26 campsites with water and electricity hookups in the park. Each site has a BBQ grill, picnic table, fire ring, and shade shelter.
Restrooms and showers are available, and there is a dump station near the campsite.
In addition to this campsite, there are also three equestrian campsites which can accommodate 2 vehicles.
These, too, have hookups for electricity and water, and your furry friends are welcome.
Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham Monahans
If you are looking for extra comfort, as I did, head to Microtel Inn and Suites, located in the beautiful town of Monahans.
You can relax in the outdoor swimming pool after a long day in the park or do some exercise in the hotel’s gym center.
I liked the rooms here, as they are spacious and come with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and a desk.
Breakfast is available at the property each morning, and you don’t have to pay anything extra for it.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.