Colorado Vacations 
Family Travel Colorado 
Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Amenities for Families at the Great Sand Dunes National Park

Photo: The world's biggest 
sandbox is in Colorado. 

At the
Great Sand Dunes
National Park
and Preserve
kids can play
for hours
in Medano Creek,
near the base
of the dunes.

Photo: The dunes have been piling up for centuries near the base of the mountains. 

Did You Know?

The Great Sand Dunes National Park offers the best place in North America to see a rare hydrological phenomenon called surge flow.

During the spring runoff, when the creek at the foot of the dunes swells, ripples grow into sand waves or bores, which can be an inch high or a foot deep.

These bores roll downstream, and create endless entertainment for kids and their parents playing in the water.

Dining and Lodging in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve:

Restaurants and Picnic Areas

There are no restaurants within the park or preserve.

However, four picnic areas offer lunch spots with spectacular views. Only the Mosca Creek Picnic Ground is accessible via a paved road and has drinking water, raised fire grills for charcoal only, and restrooms. The others, Ponderosa Point, Sand Pit, and Castle Creek lie along the four-wheel drive Medano Pass Road. All offer picnic tables. 

Lodging and Camping

No hotel lodging is available inside the park, although just outside the boundary the Great Sand Dunes Lodge is a small motel offering a deck with barbeque grills and beautiful views of the mountains and dunes. It also has an indoor heated swimming pool. Contact them at 719/378-2900 or

The Pinyon Flats Campground has 88 sites and is open year round. Reservations are not accepted. Fees run $14 12 per night, and include a site with a fire grate and picnic table. Drinking water, flush toilets, and a trash removal dumpster are available. You can buy firewood at the visitor center or in the campground. Sites will accommodate RVs and tents, and many have spectacular views of the sand dunes and the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains. On busy weekends, like Memorial Day and the 4th of July, rangers recommend arriving several nights early to ensure getting a spot.

primitive camping permits can be obtained from the visitor center.

The Great Sand Dunes Oasis, located on US Highway 150 just outside the park boundary, runs a campground with showers. It has 100 non-hookup sites, 20 hook up sites, camping cabins, and group tent sites. Families can buy gas there and shop at the convenience store for necessities or souvenirs. They have ice for your cooler, firewood, and a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They claim their homemade pies and old-fashioned milk shakes are famous. You can also wash a load of clothes at their laundromat. The Oasis rents two motel rooms in a duplex building at that location as well. For information, contact 719/378-2222.