I’m Cindy and I was born and raised in the Dallas metroplex. Welcome to my blog on Monahans Sandhills State Park! I have always had a passion for travel and exploring new places. Growing up, we never had a lot of money but I always found ways of trying to enjoy my passions on a budget.
When I first began blogging, I started my Mini Vacation Travel series in 2016 which were budget-friendly ways to take a vacation and have an awesome time. This included staycations within Dallas and various trips within Texas.
As I was working full time, I didn’t have the capacity to take a lot of long vacations so I found different places within Texas to visit. My Texas travels increased during the pandemic when I got laid off – so I had more flexibility in researching and discovering more places in this epic state. This led me to finding Monahans Sandhills State Park and what a place it was!
What Inspired my Trip to Monahans Sandhills State Park
I have always wanted to visit the Sahara Desert in Morocco and during the pandemic I had this big itch to go on an international trip. I also started a series a couple of years prior called Travel Around the World without a Passport. This was all about visiting Texas destinations or hotels that give an international feel without needing a passport or getting on a plane.
To set this international feel, I needed an outfit and an activity to do in the desert that would make me feel like I was in the Sahara in Morocco. So I thought of having a Moroccan style picnic in Monahans Sandhills State Park with tea and other small snacks like grapes, crackers, cheese and nuts.
I bought a Moroccan style blanket, tea pot, put together my outfit and had a Sahara playlist to get my mind in that mindset. It was a lot of fun! A cool experience that I was not able to do that others can is a camel trek with Texas Camel Corps. Doug has many treks that you can do on camelback.
I arrived at Monahans Sandhills State Park right before sunset, which was so beautiful to see the colors change and it was great for photos! I slept at a nearby hotel since the campsites were all booked up to sleep in the desert. Then I came back the next morning to spend the morning there too.
Highlights of Monahans Sandhills State Park
Monahans Sandhills State Park is a great place to visit if you want that international feel but without the price tag. This is one of the only places in Texas to see a “textbook desert”- where there is nothing but sand vs other desert areas where there are rocks, dirt and a lot of desert plants.
Seeing sand in every direction is truly a unique experience. Monahans Sandhills is a great place not just for singles and couples but for friends and families with young kids too. You can go sledding down the hills, have a picnic and look at the plant life that is out there including some beautiful white flowers. But the one thing you do not want to miss is the fiery sunset.
Watching the sunset was my favorite moment at Monahans. It was the perfect sunset because the sky was blue with no clouds, so it was a clear sunset and there weren’t a lot of people around. We could really enjoy it and admire how the landscape changed color. It was such a pretty sight.
I also loved taking photos there – I looked for the hills with no footprints. The area near the parking lot is where you get a lot of kids, so the sand isn’t as smooth. If you walk further out, you will find the dunes with little to no footprints and less people. It will feel like you are the only one there!
Where to Stay near the State Park
Near Monahans Sandhills State Park there are a lot of hotels nearby, especially in Midland. We stayed at a Super 8 by Wyndham Hotel which was very inexpensive, clean and they offered free breakfast. It was only 15 minutes from Monahans Sandhills. Stopping here from Dallas was a great way to break up the nine hour drive to Big Bend National Park.
Exploring the Texas Desert Mountain Area
Visiting Monahans Sandhills was part of my Texas Desert Mountain travel series. So after visiting here, we visited Marathon for a few days which was really cool. We stayed at the historic Gage Hotel which I recommend. From there you can visit the Davis Mountains and The Gage Hotel Gardens.
After that, we headed to Terlingua and went hiking in Big Bend National Park. We stayed in a tipi and a bubble hotel as well as at Lajitas Golf Resort in Lajitas which is near the Mexican border. The sunsets and sunrises are epic here with mountains and palm trees everywhere, like you are in Palm Springs. For photos and videos of these places check out my IG guide.
Tips for Visiting Monahans Sandhills State Park
Because Monahans is so big with no landmarks, be aware of what direction the parking lot is. Travel too far and you could lose your sense of direction and get lost. The wind blows and quickly erases your footsteps too.
If you are making this part of your Big Bend National Park trip, note that if you need supplies (especially at a Walmart) you should stop off in Midland. The only other grocery store is in Alpine where most people get their supplies like firewood, but Alpine is two hours away from Big Bend.
Also, cell phone service and Internet is very spotty once you leave Marathon – even if the hotel or campgrounds state that they have WiFi. If you plan on renting a car, get a car with GPS and print off important information such as driving directions, hotel information, etc. Also, note that there are no major hospitals in Terlingua where Big Bend National Park is located.