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Overview

For more than ten millennia, humans have roamed the vast landscape of perpetually shifting sand west of modern-day Midland-Odessa. Spanish explorers first visited the dunes of the Permian Basin in the 16th century, dubbing them "Los Medanos." Today, the dunes remain just about as remote and inaccessible as they were in the conquistador's days, as most of the series of dunefields that straddle the Texas-New Mexico border are on private property, with one notable exception: Monahans Sandhills State Park. Visitors come here to surf and sled on the dunes, as well as hike and take summertime "camel treks" in this desert ...

For more than ten millennia, humans have roamed the vast landscape of perpetually shifting sand west of modern-day Midland-Odessa. Spanish explorers first visited the dunes of the Permian Basin in the 16th century, dubbing them "Los Medanos." Today, the dunes remain just about as remote and inaccessible as they were in the conquistador's days, as most of the series of dunefields that straddle the Texas-New Mexico border are on private property, with one notable exception: Monahans Sandhills State Park. Visitors come here to surf and sled on the dunes, as well as hike and take summertime "camel treks" in this desert wonderland.

Monahans is the closest city to the state park, featuring the Million Barrel Museum, an empty reservoir where a lake of oil was once stored. In Midland-Odessa, there are numerous hotels and motels for overnighters, and a number of museums and other attractions. In Odessa, the Globe Theatre of the Great Southwest is one of the most faithful reproductions of William Shakespeare's home stage in England. Midland's top attractions include the Museum of the Great Southwest and the George W. Bush Childhood Home.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and fall; summers are hot and winters are fairly cold.