A lot of people are looking for some fun things to do this summer… and one place will let you go sliding down some sand. 

Meteorologist Ryan DePhillips takes us to The Monahans Sandhills State Park.

Welcome to “The Sahara of The Southwest,” otherwise known as The Monahans Sandhills State Park.

It’s not as big as Africa’s Sahara Desert…but this 65-year-old state park is more than 3,800 acres and it’s a unique place to play in West Texas.

“We can’t go to Houston and we can’t go to Galveston and say, ‘hey, where are your sandhills?’”

Brenda Kizziar is the librarian at The Ward County Library…She says thousands of people visit this state park each year.

One of them is a local minister at The 3rd & Dwight Church of Christ in Monahans.

Sean Prather brings people from all over West Texas and New Mexico to the park.

“It’s fun to be able to bring people out and show them…It’s kind of like coming to the beach without the water.”

While there is no water there, many people…go sand surfing…Park officials say some of the dune are up to 70 feet high, which is quite a thrill for many, like local Sherry Hobbs.

“It’s quiet. It’s quiet, everybody out here is just wanting to get on the sand and slide down and eat a picnic and chill.”

And Brenda and her family have enjoyed this park for decades.

“My dad and my mom, when they were teenagers, they would come out here and the big thing then was sand surfing…and they would have little sandboards, probably about the size of a skateboard.”

Visitors can either bring their own discs or rent them at the park’s temporary headquarters.

And if sand surfing isn’t your thing, there’s also hiking, and camping, and other things to enjoy…including the scenery, which changes often.

Local Sean Bassham says he’s been visiting The Sandhills for many years.

“People who have been here for a while will know that like the dunes change from time to time. Some of the big ones have changed and changed location.”

And these “sand shinnery oaks” help keep the dunes intact. While they only grow to about three feet tall, Brenda tells me their roots go way below the surface, up to 90 feet!

Another cool fact…they make up the largest oak tree forest in North America.                                                                                                                                         

“Anybody that says that ‘West Texas is just flat and ugly and no trees…’ they really need to come see The Sandhills.”

Come see for yourself all of the unique things this park has to offer. In Monahans, I’m Ryan DePhillips, ABC Big 2 News.

Park Information:

-Temporary Headquarters: Due to renovations being done at The Dunagan Visitor Center through at least August of 2022, the headquarters location will continue to be in an old railroad container next to the historic Old Railroad Section House by The Sandhills Picnic Pavilion area.

-Phone Number to Contact: 432-557-3479

-Daily Hours of Operation: 8:30am-4:30pm

-Daily Hours Open to the Public: 8:00am-10:00pm

-Entry Fee: $4 per person 13 years & older / Free per person 12 years & younger

-To Rent Discs: $6 per person plus tax

-To Wax Discs: $1.29 per person plus tax