We left Carlsbad and headed up over the mountains through Cloudcroft, NM. We loved being back in the mountains again, and we even saw our first snow for this winter. The kids were SO excited to see snow, and we were all entranced with the white dusted tree tops. As we decended down the other side of the mountain, the landscaped changed quickly back to desert mountains and flats.
In the distance, White Sands National Park is visible - glistening white gypsum sand that covers over 275 square miles. Entry into White Sands is usually $25/car. (We lucked out and visited on free day!) You can drive through a long loop road into the dunes, and stop to climb and explore as much as you're willing.
The kids LOVED the dunes. They got a huge thrill from jumping off the side of the dunes and rolling down. I even joined in on a little fun too. The sand here is very dry and doesn't stick to you like beach sand, but it will still end up in every pocket and crevice.
It's definitely a beautiful sight to behold - white sand dunes as far as the eye can see with the San Andres Mountains as a backdrop. It was a little windy during our visit, but that didn't hamper any of our amusements.
Holloman Air Force Base borders the park, and military aircraft can often be seen doing touch-and-goes. They even use part of White Sands for missile testing.
We decided to boondocks at a Harvest Host location just north of White Sands - the Tularosa Vineyard. It was peaceful, quiet, and had amazing views!