Trip One: At 450 feet above Lake Michigan, our kids enjoyed the challenge of climbing dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan. As a toddler, my daughter didn't go far. ABC's Good Morning America named Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as the "Most Beautiful Place in America". The National Park Service protects these dunes.
Trip Two: On a later vacation, we visited sand dunes protected by the state park system. Jockey's Ridge State Park has the tallest sand dunes on the Atlantic Coast. While located on the Outer Banks, Nags Head, North Carolina, the dunes are not located on the coastline beaches. Geologists believe hurricanes blew sand inland. At a height of 80 to 100 feet, my kids, niece, and nephew enjoyed doing cartwheels on the sand. We enjoyed the beauty of the sunset over the water.
d Dunes tiger beetle, only found within the 500 acres of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Conservationist worry about their extinction.
Here's 7 other sand dunes in the United States for your kids to explore:
1. Juniper Dunes, Washington (WA) for hiking, wire keeps out the off road vehicles (ORV) and motorcycles http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/juniper-dunes-wilderness
2. Syracuse Sand Dunes, Kansas for the family into adventure and able to use ORVs http://www.syracusesanddunes.com/
3. Killpecker, WY, another play zone for ORVs http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Rock_Springs/rec/dunes.html
4. Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, Utah (UT), the largest inland shifting system in the Pacific Northwest http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/site_info.php?siteid=85
5. Oregon Dunes, Oregon, if your kids are old enough, the family can go horseback riding on the dunes http://oregondunes.org/horse-riding.html
6. Great Sand Dunes National Park, 35 miles north of Alamosa, Colorado (CO), kids can even sled on the dunes http://www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/directions.htm
7. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana (IN) http://www.nps.gov/indu/forkids/index.htm
We've also been to the Indiana Dunes. It's also fun for kids, but don't expect perfect scenery...a few smokestakes could be in your horizon.