White Sands National Monument, one of the more unique national landmarks, is one of the most popular locations around the area. It would make sense to call it a National Park but National Parks are created by Congress while National Monuments are created by the President. With sand composed of gypsum, this body of land is the largest composite of this type in the world. Imagine driving through a winter wonderland but the snow does not melt. That is this place. Visitors can enjoy sledding down the hills, relaxing on the hills, or taking picturesque photos. Sometimes, you can see desert critters crawling around on the white sand. They are mostly white due to predators that have already picked off the non-white ones: natural selection at its best. Most of the plants growing from the sand have adapted to the desert climate. The stalks growing above ground are much smaller than the roots that have taken ahold underneath. These long roots are needed to draw water out from the reservoirs which are only a few feet under the sand. Who would expect to find so much water in a desert? In the West, view the San Andreas Mountain Range. In the East, view the Guadalupe Mountains. Even though the park only takes 15 minutes to drive through, one can spend an afternoon there. It is located relatively far from everything else except an aviation museum but the scenery is quite unique. Whether you have a family or enjoy taking photos by yourself, you will find something to enjoy in this park. From San Antonio, the total drive was around 12 hours. Luckily, there are few New Mexico police patrols and the roads are 80 MPH in some places, even on the smaller ones.