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Sandboarding is one of those lesser-known adventure sports that has an underground following and offers an exciting hybrid of downhill descents and sandy terrain. It’s a lot like snowboarding, in that your feet are strapped to a board as you keep your balance and ride down a slope. However, this is a really unique experience that you can have on both desert and coastal journeys!
Depending on your interests and skill level, you can make sandboarding as hard-core or low-key as you like. Choose small, gentle dunes if you’re a first-timer or trying it with kids. Or pick a massive slope if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush! If you’ve ever been curious about this exciting sandy sport, consider traveling to some of these destinations and renting a board. They’re some of the best places to visit for sandboarding in terms of conditions, availability, and even lessons.
Great Sea of Sand – Siwa, Egypt
For the ultimate sandboarding experience, expert boarders should put the Great Sea of Sand on their bucket list. The dunes here reach 500 feet and many have angles of at least 70 degrees. The Al Katamiah Dunes are located about 50 miles southwest of Cairo. This typically isn’t a cheap trip to make, so start saving up now!
It takes about four or five hours to ride a bus from Lima to the little town of Huacachina, but it is well worth the journey for sand lovers. This area is known for its excellent sandboarding and dune buggy experiences, and it’s also a favorite tourism destination for backpackers. There’s a fun nightlife scene and lots of swimming pools in the area to cool off in after you board all day. Hostels and other budget accommodations are available here to make your trip more affordable. There are also some other great wineries to check out in the area if you’re looking for some other fun things to do in the area. Duna Grande in Ina is known as the largest dune in the world, and the Sandboarding Cup is typically held here.
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve – Mosca, Colorado
Everyone knows that Colorado is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise, but not everyone realizes that there are some great sandboarding opportunities here too. Head to Mosca to check out the Great Sand Dunes National Park and try out the tallest dunes in North America. There are more than 83,000 acres of desert landscape at this park, which is about four hours southwest of Denver. You can rent gear at a shop just outside the park entrance between April and October. There’s a swimming pool in nearby Hooper to take a much-deserved soak in after a day on the Colorado dunes.
Indiana Dunes State Park – Chesterton, Indiana
Indiana isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind when you think of sandy beaches, but there are actually some great dunes here for beginners. There are also a couple of local vendors that rent out sandboards for you to use when you visit. This area is an easy road trip from Chicago or Indianapolis and gives Midwesterners a great first taste of the sport. Try boarding near Kemil Beach, but don’t expect to get up a ton of speed. This is also a fun place for kids to try sand sledding.
Sand Master Park – Florence, Oregon
The mild and laid-back Oregon coast is a perfect destination for sandboarders, and San Master Park span 40 acres in the central coast region. This is a great place for all levels of boarders, and there are even clinics you can sign up for to learn the basic skills. Private lessons, family dune buggy tours, and even surfing are available here too.
Tottori Sand Dune – Japan
Although sandboarding culture isn’t as big in Asia as other parts of the world, the Tottori Sand Dune is a great place to give it a try in Japan. This is the largest dune area in the region and runs along the Sea of Japan coast. It’s becoming more popular between the months of April and November, and there are local guide companies here to show you the ropes. Other areas of Japan to give sandboarding a try are the Chiba and Shimoda dunes.
Cerro Negro Volcano – Nicaragua
Cerro Negro is a young, active volcano that has erupted a couple of dozen times, even in 1999. Experienced sandboarders will enjoy the difference in terrain that the volcano offers, but just be mindful that falls on the gravelly cinder could be a bit painful. Central American travel is often marked by jungles and beaches, so this spot offers a really unique way to experience the region’s natural landscape.
Monte Kaolino – Hirschau, Germany
There aren’t a ton of great sandboarding spots in Europe, but Monte Kaolino is an excellent place to try the sport in Germany. This is where Sandboarding World Championships have taken place, and there’ even a motorized chairlift to reach the top of the dunes. This is an excellent place for experienced boarders to travel to because you can reach high speeds and use your energy navigating down the dunes rather than having to climb back up them after each run.
Stockton Bight Sand Dunes – Australia
Australia is known for its wide-open, sandy terrain, and one of the best places to go boarding “down under” is at the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes. Here you’ll find dunes that reach heights of up to 130 feet and have slopes of 60 degrees. This is also a popular tourist spot for sand dune safaris and ATV four-wheel-drive tours if you’re looking for a slightly less intense experience in the sand. Since this spot is just a couple hours north of Sydney, it’s an easy day trip while you’re visiting the area.
Jockey's Ridge State Park – Nags Head, North Carolina
Along American’s eastern coast, Sandboard Magazine boasts of the great dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. This is a great place for beginners and families with kids to give sandboarding a try because the slopes are pretty gentle and there are local outfitters and guides in the area to help out with all your gear needs. Permits are typically needed to sandboard here, so plan ahead before you visit. This part of North Carolina is also known for hang gliding and kite flying, so why not try a few fun outdoor activities while you’re in the area?
Marina State Beach and Dunes Preserve – Marina, California
The California coast is an all-time favorite spot for outdoor adventure on the beach and in the water, so it should come as no surprise that there’s great sandboarding here. Hit up these dunes near Monterey off Highway 1; they’re perfect for beginners and even kids. Other great California dunes are at The Pit in Sand City, Seaside, and the Point Mugu Sand Dunes near Malibu.