Considered a sacred and mystical place by the ancients, Monahans Sandhills State Park is truly an otherworldly experience. With 3,840 acres of rolling sands, peaks, and valleys, stretching northwest for almost 200 miles all the way to New Mexico, you’ll think you’ve entered an entirely different country. The terrain is not the only unique thing about the park, either. The variety of plant life and wildlife will leave you astounded. When is the last time you saw a javelina or a feral hog in the wild? The area is also known for a wide variety of unusual birds, and you can pick up a birdwatching checklist from the camp host to see how many you can find.
With so much to do at Monahans Sandhills State Park, you won’t get bored for a minute. Explore the dunes on foot or slide down the rolling hills on a sand disk. Marvel at elegant sunsets, and watch wildlife thrive in a seemingly impossible environment. Picnic under a mesquite tree and ride your horse in the 800-acre equestrian area. Participate in a ranger program or check out nearby museums in Monahans or spend time in Odessa. The area is full of Native American history and artifacts for the historian or anthropology buff.
There’s something for everyone at Monahans Sandhills State Park, and with 26 campsites featuring electric and water hookups, shade shelter, fire rings, and picnic tables, you’ll enjoy this state park in comfort. In fact, with so much to experience in this surreal environment, you’ll want to make this park a yearly destination. So, for your next RV adventure, come and see why Native Americans from over 12,000 years ago and people still today appreciate this dramatic landscape.
Located in west Texas, Monahans Sandhills State Park is surrounded by three towns, Monahans, Odessa, and Midland. The park is just five miles north of Monahans, 31 miles southwest of Odessa, and 55 miles southwest of Midland off I-20, just after the railroad tracks.
Ample parking is available in the park. In addition to parking at the campsites, guests will also find parking at the Dunagan Visitor Center, at the Shin Oak Picnic Area, at the equestrian area, at the Sandhills Picnic Pavilion, and at the Pump Jack Picnic Area.
Monahans Sandhills State Park's campground, the Willow Draw Campground, is a small camping area with the amenities most RVers need to have a comfortable time. Choose from 26 standard campsites, each accommodating up to eight people. All campsites have water and 50-amp electrical hookups and come equipped with a BBQ grill, picnic table, shade shelter, and a fire ring. Bathrooms with showers and a dump station are nearby. A few sites can accommodate rigs up to 65 feet, but most take rigs between 35 and 50 feet. RVers may pick from pull-through or back in driveways. All sites are pet-friendly.
Monahans Sandhills State Park offers three different equestrian campsites to choose from. Each site houses up to eight people and two vehicles. No stalls or pens are provided for your horses. Guests must bring their own panels or temporary fencing. These are back-in sites, which are paved and can accommodate trailers up to 50 feet; maximum vehicle length is 55 feet. Electric and water hookups are included. Consider bringing a pop-up shade canopy because there is no natural shade in this area, and no tents are allowed in these sites.
Although the park accepts reservations, sites that are not reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you arrive after hours, choose your campsite and fill out the form at the self-pay station. In the morning, visit Park Headquarters before 9:00 am to verify your stay. All campers arriving on a first-come, first-served basis have the same amenities that campers who made reservations have.
Explore the ancient dunes on foot. With 3,840 acres of sand, you can make a day of it. Grab your camera, pack a lunch, and a lot of water and head out to survey this stretch of beauty that never looks the same twice. Catch a glimpse of a feral hog, a kangaroo rat, or even a javelina as you check out the peaks that rise up to 50 feet into the air. Stay for a bit of magic as the sun dips to touch the horizon. Just be careful to track your coordinates so that you can find your way back to the comfort of your trailer.
By far, the most popular activity at the park, sand-surfing on sand disks, is an adventure you won't want to miss. Much like sledding or snowboarding, you can fly down the steep sand hills and race through the twists and turns of this naturally formed playground; only you won't get frostbite! Hiking to the top with your disk is great exercise too, but be sure to bring lots of water and wear your sunscreen. You can rent a sand disc at the Dunagan Visitor Center or bring your own with you in your motorhome.
Monahans Sandhills State Park offers a variety of educational activities that are fun for the whole family through their ranger-led programs. During the peak season, you can find classes taught by park rangers on a variety of topics, such as desert survival, plant life, wildlife, and Native American history. There are activity packs for the kids available at the ranger station, and your child could even become a Junior Ranger! If you go to Texas state parks often, a fun thing to do is to try and have your kids earn a Junior Ranger badge at each park you visit.
Make sure to check out the Dunagan Visitor Center during your stay. This visitor center contains a wealth of information on the natural history of the area, including the cultural significance of its Native American past. Some interesting things you may want to see in the center are the explanations of how the dunes are created and how the wildlife and plant life thrive in the sandy environment. Birdwatching is available through the scenic window area of the visitor center. You can pick up a checklist, inviting you to find each of the wide variety of birds that frequent the area, such as the great horned owl, grouse, quail, woodpeckers, pigeons, doves, cuckoos, hummingbirds, hawks, falcons, and numerous other types of birds. While you are at the visitor center, rent your sand disk for some afternoon sand-surfing!
Geocaching is the latest craze among park-goers, and Monahans Sandhills State Park is a popular site for a cache at any time of the year. You can find coordinates on just about any geocaching website by putting in the park or area you intend to explore. Geocaching adventurers can also stop at the ranger station in the park to get some hints. Once you find the cache, make sure to leave an item for the next person to find and upload pictures and report your experiences online. Happy hunting!
Monahans Sandhills State Park is a beautiful place for horseback riding at any time of year. Taking in the serenity of the dunes on horseback is a great way to see more of the park on your RV vacation. The park does not rent horses, so you have to bring your own, but convenient equestrian campgrounds are available for your use. Ride your horse on the 800-acre equestrian landscape. There are no boring horse trails here. Ride where you want, but expect some sand, some brush, and a few mesquite trees. Relax back at the motor home at the end of a long ride, knowing your horse is safe and sheltered nearby.