Set your alarm clock
Getting to Sand Dunes early bring a variety of benefits. As with all national parks, you’ll avoid crowds by arriving at first light. If you aren’t camping, this can be difficult because there aren’t many places to stay within a 30 minute drive. The wind is typically less in the morning too. This means spending less time cleaning sand out of your gear later.
Wear real shoes
You may think you’re headed to something like a day at the beach when you head to Great Sand Dunes, but what most people forget about the beach is how ridiculously hot the sand gets when you’re not in the water. The same principle applies here as your feet can take a real beating, especially as you get toward midday. With dunes as tall as 750 feet, you’ll want actual support for your feet if you choose to tackle one of these peaks.
You can rent sand sleds or sand boards from the nearby town of Alamosa. In theory, you can also rent them at the park (we saw signs) but we didn't actually see the place to pick them up. Use lots of the wax and prepare to have sand everywhere, but this is a hilarious memory not to be missed.
Protect your stuff
You’re spending the day in a giant sandbox so expect sand to get everywhere! This can be more than just an inconvenience when it comes to expensive electronic equipment and cameras so make sure to have a protective bag. Similarly, blowing sand can get in your eyes, ears, and mouth so be sure that little ones are covered up and that you bring plenty of water.
Blaze a trail
You be making your own trail in the sand and it’s easy to forget how hard it is to walk in sand. The nice thing is you can point to where you want to go and forge your own path. Many people choose to wear hiking boots and some go bare foot, but you’ll want shoes available as it approaches late morning. Keep in mind you will get sand in your shoes not matter what so just roll with it.