Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a small state park off the beaten path that is worth staying a night, more if you have any dune toys like buggies, motor bikes, or ATVs. The campground had the nicest facilities of any park I've stayed at, and the pink dunes were impressive to see just sitting in the middle of the desert.
Location: Google Maps
I had heard some great reviews of Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, so we decided to stay there for the first night of our road trip. We didn't have any service as soon as we left the main highway 89, so be sure to save a map on your phone or have reliable directions. The road in is a slightly bumpy dirt road, but nothing my sedan couldn't handle.
All campsites were reserved online, and we somehow managed to snag the last walk in site when we arrived at sunset! We paid our $20 camping fee and headed to watch the sunset over the pink sand.
The picnic area had a modern grill, the bathrooms were clean and actually smelled nice, there were lots of available water spigots, and the group site looked especially spacious and comfortable for large groups. The only drawbacks are that the campground is in the middle of nowhere along a dirt road so there is no service if you get lost or stuck and a lot of the other sites were occupied by RV's, which can be loud at night. If the campground were full, we would have tried Ponderosa Grove Campground just north of the park.
Although we only visited Coral Pink Sand Dunes SP as a place to crash for the night this time around, I actually returned a month later to come dune boarding! You can rent sand sleds and dune boards from the kiosk for 10$ at the entrance.
Dune boarding was a lot harder and tiring than we thought! We quickly learned that you should wax it before every run, or else you'll stick to the sand and won't be able to gain enough speed. It's pretty windy on the dunes, and be sure to bring water while you are out there.