Sand Dunes Swimming Pool and RV is aptly named. This place is much more about being a swimming pool than an RV park. That said, both Trail and I very much enjoyed our stay here. It goes to show that there is more than one way to make an RV park a worthwhile place to stay. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to visit Great Sand Dunes National Park.
- Lots of animals in the park
- Discount on really great swimming pool
- Nice Laundry Room
- Very decent Wifi
- Nice on-site grill and snack shop
- No Sewer Hookups at sites (only single dump station)
- Poor directions for new campers
- Must pay for extra for swimming
- Pay showers in RV bathrooms
As RV parks go, this place is like no other we’ve been to. Its primary business is being a local swimming pool / resort but it has camp sites for tents and RV’s as well as a few cabins on the property as well. It is located in a desert but there is a large aquifer located deep underground that supplies them with naturally hot water they have used to make the place something of an oasis. The water comes out of the ground at around 98-110 degrees and they use it not only for the pool but also to irrigate the property, to create ponds, and as the camp water supply. This means your water hook up is also very warm water.
Arriving, we had a few initial disappointments. When you arrive, you need to check in at the swimming pool where they will assign you a space. The problem is they don’t hand out maps or give you any parking instructions. This is a problem because there is a good way to get parked here, and a bad way. The bad way is what the signs tend to lead you to try first. I had to back up my 52′ rig (Airstream + Truck) quite a long ways past propane tanks, rocks, and ditches to get back on the right track to park it. While staying there I had to waive off a number of other campers from making the same mistake.
The other big disappointment was they didn’t have full hookups. Sites have power (up to 50′ amps) and water, but no sewer. You have to use the central dump station if you want to flush your tanks. Since we arrived with empty tanks we managed to hold off until we left but if you are there a while you will need to hitch up to flush which is not much fun. They only have 10 sites with water, and 10 more offering only electricity.
The grounds are fairly nice. The warm water allows them to make a number of ponds on the property that host a great many fish and frogs all year round. Trips to the dumpster were always fun as you could stop and watch the frogs squeak and scatter on your arrival. The small ponds are practically choked with fish and tadpoles. Ducks and other birds have also taken up residence there. Much to Trails horror, the place is just about crawling with cottontail Rabbits. The water supply also means they have lots of trees and grass on the site despite its desert location. It’s not a gorgeous site, but it’s fairly pleasant.
The Laundry and bathrooms appeared to be quite new and thus were also clean and in good condition. Outside the laundry was a nice porch with chairs and make a lovely place to sit while waiting for the laundry. Because the park doesn’t have a lot of campers, the Wifi was unusually good, fairly fast and usable at just about any time, day or night. The bathrooms were private which is great, but the showers were coin operated which is less great. There were also only two, and because there are no sewer hookups, they were popular and often occupied.
What leads me to recommend this park is the Pool and its various amenities. You do have to pay to use it, but you get half off admission and they have various discount packages you can take advantage of. We got a punch card such that we could both go every other night we were there. The pool has a lot to offer and is well worth the price they charge.
The main attraction is a very large outdoor pool, deep enough for diving and wide enough for lap swimming. They have it divided up into three sections, shallow for play, medium for laps and lounging, deep for swimming and diving. It’s warm all year round as it’s fed by the underground water source. There is also a separate kiddie pool inside and a special therapy pool inside as well. The therapy pool is kind of like a really enormous hot tub. Inside there is a snack shop that sells a really impressive array of candy, soda, and other treats. They also rent pool toys of various kinds. Beyond the pool is a nice lawn with picnic areas, a stream, and a small waterslide for kids only.
If you get hungry or thirsty, they have the Mile Deep Grille, which offers a pretty huge array of foods and drinks. You can get Pizza, Hamburgers, Tacos, Salads, Sandwiches, Spring rolls, Pretzels, Shakes, Sundays, and on and on. The prices are pretty decent and the food is surprisingly good. Everything we ordered was very tasty and generous for the price. I was left wishing I could have tried out more items from the menu.
Best of all is the Greenhouse. If you pay an extra $5 ($2.50 for campers) you can go to the adults only area located inside a greenhouse off the main pool. It has a full bar where you can order not only drinks but also freshly baked cookies made to order. True to its name, it’s filled with various tropical and desert plants. It has 3 different hot tubs, a small sauna, and a long shallow pool running down the length of the building for lounging in. Tables and Deck chairs abound and the whole environment is really relaxing and fun. After a long day wandering the desert, playing in sand dunes, or looking at alligators an evening in the greenhouse is simply fantastic.
I really liked staying here and would do so again. What it lacks as an RV park it more than makes up for as a swimming resort. There is also quite a lot to do in the San Luis Valley so it makes a good base of operations in the area. The price is reasonable, especially if you take advantage of the pool discount. If you have no interest in swimming or eating at the grill you may enjoy your stay as much as we did.