I’m here to tell you all the reasons you can should Elope at White Sands National Park! This is one of only two National Parks in New Mexico. There are an additional 11 national monuments in the state too. New Mexico’s landscapes are much less well known than the iconic parks of Utah, Arizona and California. But they are incredibly unique and never crowded. I loved my first trip to New Mexico and can’t wait to share all these amazing locations with you! The first couple that books a White Sands elopement with me is in for a special discount! Inquire here & keep reading to download my free New Mexico elopement locations map!
Where to Elope in White Sands National Park
This isn’t a very big park, but it does have a few different areas to explore. The first stop after the entrance station is one of my favorites – the dune walk. This walk goes up and down the bumpy sand dunes in a loop. The great thing about this area is the vegetation that adds interest to the scene. There is more wildlife in the Yuccas, Ocotillos, Agaves and Cactuses here than anywhere else in the park. There are several other picnic areas as you head west into the park. At the end, the real fun begins. Walk out into the dunes as far as you like to get to pristine rippled sand. This is the perfect National Park for a barefoot elopement! Who doesn’t love sand between their toes and an endless beach?!
Planning & Logistics
The sparkling white sand is made up of crushed gypsum. Wind changes the sand’s shapes every single day. The ecology and geology of the area is super fascinating! If you’re a nature lover or National Park freak like me, this is an amazing destination. Outside the park, there is a military missile testing area. Occasionally their tests will shut down the only road to the park. Call ahead to secure your plans! The park’s special use permit, which you will need to legally have your elopement, can be found here. Because you will need to note where you’ll be and when on the app, it’s best to get on board with a photographer who knows the park first.
What to do at White Sands
You guys! You can ride around on the dunes on horseback here! And if you’ve never been sledding down the sand dunes, don’t wait a moment longer! Sleds are for sale at the visitors center or you can bring your own. If you bring a group of 10 or so besties who are children at heart (or actual children) they will love this! The dunes can be quite steep, so thrill seekers of any level will love it. The ample picnic areas with shade make for a great spot to have a grill out. Or a competitive grill-off! You can even bike around the park or get a backcountry camping permit for an unforgettable experience.
When & Where to Elope in New Mexico
Without giving away too much about my favorite spots to elope in New Mexico, let me just say there are a lot! One mountain range looks like someone picked up the Tetons and moved them into the desert! There are springs, amazing hiking trails, mountains galore and NO crowds. Winter is a fabulous time for an elopement at White Sands. In the hotter months, expect to be active at sunrise or sunset. The city of Las Cruces has a vibrant and historic food scene. If you love food, don’t skip this place! Don’t miss a chance to camp out under the stars with your new spouse. There are even a few group camping areas you can reserve that are ADA accessible and have EPIC views.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my colorful guide, and that I’ve inspired you to adventure outdoors on your wedding day. This wild and colorful place is just itching for the right couple to grab it by the horns, sled down the dunes, camp under the stars and get married AF here!
So, want to explore my free New Mexico elopement map?
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A sample timeline for an awesome elopement day at White Sands National Park:
6:00 Sunrise First Look
6:30 Campsite waffles for breakfast
7:00 Begin 4 mile hike in the mountains
11:00 Head to White Sands
12:00 meet up with 10 closest loved ones for a cook off with Mexican corn and Horchata
1:00 Sand dune sledding or horseback ride in White Sands
4:00 Afternoon ceremony in the dunes
5:00 Sunset portraits
6:30 Twilight smores back at group campsite (Or hike to a backcountry campsite to spend the night truly alone!)
7:00 Starry first dance