No Frills Trip: Carlsbad, Roswell, and White Sands

No Frills Trip Itineraries are curated by me. I search the internet, use my personal experiences, and contact my friends to find you the best spots and hidden gems! Please note that websites often change and if you find one that is now extinct, let me know! Have something to add? Leave a comment, and I’ll make sure to add it to the trip for the next person.

Email Amy @ to get your own No Frills Trip designed for you and your family!


This trip you’re viewing was designed for a family with teens and pre-teens, leaving from Missouri.


NOTE: White Sands has certain closures due to testing at the White Sands Missile Range nearby. The park is usually closed for no more than 3 hours at a time. If you plan to visit, call the visitor center at 575-479-6124 to find out closure dates and times. You can also visit this page here, for the next upcoming closure.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

Roswell Tour MUST BOOK in advance! (about 2 hours from Carlsbad)


Day 5-7:

White Sands (3 hour drive from Roswell)

CAMPING OPTIONS (with map!):

  1. Do a tour or an event!
  • BOOK A TOUR! There are a lot of options night and day both.

Lake Lucero Tour (3 hours)


  1. Bring a sled! Here is where and how to sled:
  2. Hike! DO NOT HIKE ALONE. The sands shift, so always stick together.

Here are the park trails:

  1. Fun for younger kids. Get a pack:
  2. Websites to help you narrow down some things: (maps, prices, etc) (recommendations)

  1. Full Moon Night! July 27th, 8:30 p.m.
  2. Super fun, nearby, side trips:

Day 8-9:

  • Drive home


    • Get a polarized filter!




  • Sleds and snowboards. A rope is also recommended to help pull each other up the hills.
  • Sunscreen.
  • LOTS of lip balm w/ SPF in it.
  • A whistle for emergencies.
  • Fully charged cell phones. Reception is spotty.
  • A charged flashlight for after dark activities/hikes/ranger talks.
  • Fill up that tank of gas! Stations are few and far between!
  • Know the weather forecast. Summer can be full of lightning or rain storms.
  • Sunglasses sunglasses sunglasses! Polarized is best. Trust me.
  • Wet/dry bags for all your items you’ll take to White Sands. Sand gets EVERYWHERE.
  • Baby powder. Will help get the sand off you!
  • Jackets or coats for cave (56 degrees).
  • Sturdy shoes that are closed-toed for cave.
  • LOTS of water/bottles, camelbak packs, etc (more than you’d think–it’s hot and dry!)
  • Food that is high in salt and sugar (snacks, Gatorade).
  • Outside washing hose due to sand. I would shower at the campground, not in a camper.
  • Stuff to go on a picnic at the monuments.
  • Sometimes it gets really cold at night. Make sure your camper has anything you’d want for a fall MIssouri night! (i.e. blankets, heat, etc)

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