We had an amazing adventure today at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. This park is located in the southwest corner of Utah near Zion National Park. It is pretty remote, and most of the people there are either just having a look, or riding ATVs. We were doing neither.
We went to play in the sand, which is not so much coral pink as it is burnt orange. In the small Visitor’s Center, they even have a display called “Sands from Around the World” with hundreds of tiny bottles of sand of all different colors, and Coral Pink sand is definitely unique.
When we got out into the sand, we were especially impressed. The sand is as soft and fine as sugar, and of course, the boys were in heaven. We had packed a few sand toys like shovels and pails, and we tried to rent a wooden sand board for sledding, but they were all out. Still we had a great time playing.
One amazing thing about the sand was that it was moist and cool just a few inches down. We wondered if this was a springtime phenomenon as we were at the park in early April. We’d dig just a bit, and the sand would be perfect for cooling your toes. It was just moist enough that you could pack it into a pail and it would hold its shape perfectly when you tipped it out.
Later, we made friends with some campers (there is a nice campground at the park) who let us borrow a sandboard. We had a great time riding down the dunes. It is very much like sledding on snow except there is a more abrupt stop at the bottom.
Next time you are in the area of Zion, take the extra 45 minutes driving time and head to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park!
Tips for Families:
- Take sand toys if you have them available. We had a few shovels and pails and one car, all of which got plenty of use.
- Take your own sled, but it needs to be wood or plastic. The sled we borrowed in Coral Pink was made of wood, which is pretty durable, and we waxed after every other use. We used plastic saucers in White Sands National Park, and waxed often, and they worked great. The wax is KEY!
- Take hats and sunscreen. Even during the first week of April it was plenty hot in this part of the state. It must be a furnace in July!
- Wear sunglasses. Sand dunes are formed by the wind. It was constantly wind, but there were sudden gusts now and then, and a slight breeze most of the time. The sunglasses kept the sand out of our eyes.
- Wear flip-flops. The sand wasn’t unbearably hot (in April), but there are some rocky places as you are walking out to the dunes. The flip-flops were nice for the journey, even though you take them off as soon as you get there.
- Take a bathroom break right when you pull into the parking lot. There is a nice restroom and then you can buy a little time before you have to hike back to the bathrooms.