As many of us sit through another cold, wet winter, it’s only natural to find ourselves daydreaming about hot, dry, sandy places. Sure, snowboarding is epic – but isn’t it great to get the same kind of fun sensation, minus the bitter cold and 10 layers of clothes? That’s what sandboarding is here for.
Although temperatures may vary, there are some places around the world where smooth surfaces of sand stay in their fluffy piles all year. If you’re ready to adventure your way to one, here are the best ones to check out:
1. Huacachina, Peru
What doesn’t Peru have? Alongside snow-capped peaks, shimmering lakes, breathtaking beaches and random llamas everywhere, it also has the second tallest sand dunes in the world – just hanging out in the tiny Ica Desert village of Huacachina.
Bring a camera for the epic views from the top of the dunes, where you can see an extraordinary green lagoon with palm trees on all sides is quite spectacular. For really stunning photos, schedule your sandboarding session closer to sunset.
2. Te Paki Recreation Reserve, New Zealand
After a 5-hour drive out of Auckland, you can reach Te Paki Recreation Reserve – one of the most diverse ecosystems in New Zealand. Near the end of the peninsula and past all the sheep pastures on the north side of Kaitaia, visitors can climb to the top of Te Paki’s dunes. Plus, down at the bottom, there are equally awesome opportunities to fish, surf, swim, and snorkel.
3. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Sand dunes might not be what most people picture in Colorado, but four hours from Denver, you can find the tallest ones in the U.S. at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and its golden prairies – surrounded by picturesque views of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which reach an impressive 13,000 feet.
4. Atacama Desert, Chile
Ready for the driest desert on earth? In the Atacama Desert, you can take a 3.5-hour sandboarding tour. And a bonus? The red-rock formations of the Salt Mountains that make for an incredible backdrop all the while.
5. Death Valley National Park, California
Sand dunes make up about 1 percent of Death Valley National Park, and they’re called the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. They have an easy trek upward of about 100 feet. And to boot, the other 3.4 million acres of the park consist of extraordinarily unique terrain worth exploring.