Just west of Odessa is Monahans Sandhills State Park and it is well worth an over night stay or a day trip. Monahans Sandhills State Park is 3840 acres of wind sculptured living sand dunes, some of which are up to 70 feet high. The park is only a small portion of a huge dune field that extends about 200 miles from south of Monahans westward and north into New Mexico. The Park is set in one of the areas where the dunes are still active and constantly being shaped by the wind and rain. The dunes grow and change shape due to seasonal prevailing winds and you can watch them change whenever the wind is blowing. The majority of the dunes are stabilized by vegetation.
Monahans Sandhills is very clean and well maintained and has a day use are on the edge of some of the tallest dunes. The campgrounds are beside some smaller dunes and a short walk to the larger dunes. When you visit the dunes you start to experience what it might be like in the Sahara Desert and you imagine that at any time you might see a camel or maybe even Lawrence of Arabia. Also, be prepared to find sand in places you never thought it could go and for weeks after your visit you’ll still find an occasional gain of sand whereever you have been.
We came to Monahans Sandhills to experience the sand dunes. We started at the Visitor Center and learned more about the dunes and area. Then it was off to enjoy the quarter mile interpretive trail, followed by a couple hours playing in the dunes. We rented a sand disc and slide down the hills, hiked around the top and bottom of the hills, rolled or ran down a few of them, and tried to figure out what animal or insect make the unusual tracks in the shifting sands. A week later we were still finding sand in the shoes, motorhome, and back at the house.
When we visited, we didn't stay long enough to check out other things to see and do nearby. Within the park, exploring and playing in the dunes, walking the trail, and enjoying the Visitor Center is all there is to do. Odessa is about 30 miles east.