At first glance, sandboarding seems like a pretty new sport, modified in warmer climates from the obviously more popular activity of snowboarding. However, some indications suggest that ancient Egyptians used to slide down sand dunes on wooden planks when building structures or, more likely, for fun! Sandboarding appeals to a lot of folks for many different reasons—it’s usually a cheaper alternative to snow skiing, and the dunes are usually far less crowded than winter ski slopes. Plus, you certainly get the same adrenaline rush as traditional snow sports. If you’re wondering where to go to experience some epic sandboarding for yourself, try any one (or all!) of these top sandboarding destinations.
This 10-mile stretch of dunes along the Sea of Japan makes an excellent alternative day excursion if you’re vacationing in the Tottori prefecture. While you’ll have plenty of fun sandboarding, you can also ride camels, visit a sand sculpture museum and paraglide.
White Sands National Monument
Technically, the dunes at White Sands National Monument aren’t really made of sand, they’re made of gypsum. But “White Gypsum National Monument” doesn’t exactly have the same kind of ring to it, does it? At any rate, the dunes cover about 275 square miles. The benefit of all that gypsum is that it doesn’t conduct heat the way sand does, so you can walk on it barefoot all day long and not burn your feet. During periods when the moon is full, the park stays open late, offering a really unique nighttime sandboarding experience.
Kangaroo Island’s “Little Sahara” is a 1.2 square mile stretch of dunes that are a nature preserve to tons of amazing animals. When you’re not sandboarding, you can go kayaking and cycling throughout the preserve.
Eight miles north of the Chilean beach town of Vina del Mar, Concon offers some towering sand dunes, perfect for sandboarders. The views from the top are amazing, and they’re only surpassed by the ride back down to the bottom. The dunes also offer the best views of the sunset of anywhere in the city.
This 1,200-mile stretch of desert is probably the most coveted sandboarding spot in the world. The dunes here are the largest on the planet and you’re best off by booking an actual sandboarding tour if you visit the area.