Ready to discover the best White Sands National Park camping spots? Here’s what you need to know before you pitch up.
People travel far and wide to admire this national park’s wave-like peaks of the shimmery white gypsum dunes. It’s understandable; a place that makes you feel like you’ve left earth should be on anyone’s bucket list.
If you’re wondering where to camp, let me help take all the stress out of planning your trip. From the top campsites to the tips you need to know before you go, get your camping gear ready because White Sands National Park is calling.
Best Spot for Camping in White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park Campground
White Sands National Park
- Open dates: currently closed for rehabilitation
- Types of camping available: tent camping
If you dream of actually camping inside the park, you’ve only got one option: the White Sands National Park campground. This is primitive, backcountry camping at its finest (which means it’s perfect for stargazing).
I mean it when I say primitive – there are no amenities on the campground. The nearest vault toilet is at the trailhead, one mile from the site.
Make sure you bring enough water, as you can only fill up at the Visitor Center, located six miles from the backcountry camping parking space. Also, expect to pay entrance and camping fees – it’s $3 for adults and $1.50 for anyone under 15.
Top tip: You can check the NPS.gov site for updates and information on reopening and entrance fees.
Best Camping Near White Sands National Park
Alamogordo/White Sands Koa Journey Campground
- Open dates: year-round
- Number of sites: +/- 70
- Types of camping available: tents, RV/campervan, cabins
- Amenities: restrooms, showers, laundromat, pool, horseshoe pit, picnic tables, and a dog park
This well-developed campground is ideal for large families and groups that don’t want to do without modern amenities such as Wi-Fi and cable TV. It’s conveniently located in Alamogordo, which means that you can reach WSNP in 17 minutes.
Ideal for RV camping near White Sands National Park, you’ll have access to electric hook-ups at 50 max amp. And, if you’re after something a little bit more lively, you can join in on the festivities offered by the Koa Journey and its friendly hosts, such as live music, pedal carts, a playground and tetherball (perfect for families with children and pets).
Check out their rates and availability right here.
Aguirre Spring Campground
- Open dates: year-round
- Number of sites: 55
- Types of camping available: tents and RVs (23 ft max length)
- Amenities: shelter shade, grill, tent pad, picnic tables
The Aguirre Spring is a well-maintained campground tucked in the foothills of the striking Organ Mountains. The rugged Chihuahuan Desert landscape surrounds you with seasonal springs and abundant plant species.
Its location, Las Cruces, is a thriving city near White Sands, New Mexico. Camping here is perfect for families, groups, couples and solo travellers who want a heavy dose of nature while still enjoying developed amenities.
Fees are $7 per campsite, and group sites cost $50 (group sites require a reservation).
Lower Karr Canyon Campground
- Open dates: year-round (the open season is in October)
- Types of camping available: tents only
- Amenities: picnic tables, fire rings, and a vault toilet
Lower Karr Canyon campground offers undeveloped sites dispersed above and below the Karr Canyon Picnic Area.
Here’s your opportunity for free camping near White Sands National Park — however, prepare well for the lack of amenities and facilities. That means you need to bring plenty of water along with you, especially in the summer months.
Regardless, this is a fantastic spot for avid campers seeking much-needed seclusion. Enjoy the serene settings, picnic sites and explore this charming forested area.
Cool Pines Campground
- Open dates: year-round
- Number of sites: 51
- Types of camping available: tents and RVs
- Amenities: dog park, laundry facilities, horseshoes, bathhouse, picnic tables, and fire rings
Cool Pines is slightly out of the way but an excellent camping spot if you don’t mind an hour’s drive to White Sands. It features many fantastic amenities to make you feel at home, including Wi-Fi, 51 full hook-up sites, restrooms and a laundry facility.
Nestled in the majestic Sacramento Mountains, this RV park opens up south central New Mexico for you to explore. Ideal for small groups, families and couples (up to four individuals per site), you can enjoy hiking, biking and bonding around the campfire in this isolated haven.
That said, it’s pretty pricy – prepare to pay a minimum of $45 daily. Find out more about weekly and monthly rates and reservations on Cool Pine’s official site.
Practical Tips for Booking Campgrounds In/Near White Sands National Park
- Wear a buff, protective sunglasses and closed shoes to protect you from the sand. Thank me later.
- Heading to multiple parks? You can use your America the Great National Parks Pass for entry.
- Consider the best time to visit White Sands National Park. While winter is much quieter, I didn’t experience the best weather during February (it was a little bit rainy). Then again, summer is far too crowded and insanely hot. Ultimately, the best time to visit would be in the fall, late October or early November.