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Medano Creek with snowy mountains in the background. Right: A woman at Medano Creek.

Medano Creek with snowy mountains in the background. Right: A woman at Medano Creek.

The Centennial State is as landlocked as it gets in the United States.

It's actually the seventh driest state in the country, so you probably wouldn't expect to find many gorgeous bodies of water and sunny beaches in Colorado.

Remarkably, there is a small natural beach, called Medano Creek, which lies in the middle of the Great Sand Dunes National Park surrounded by the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.

The area is popularly regarded as the only true beach in the state and you can actually relax on the sandy shores, go for a quick dip in the cool water, or surf down the towering dunes.

If you're coming solely to experience the refreshing creek waters, you probably want to plan for a late springtime visit, say late May to early June, as the arid summer months can cause the bed to dry up.

As the water supplied to the beach comes from the snowmelt run-off that the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains emit, the size of the creek heavily depends on the time of year you visit, and the current snowfall or rainfall levels.

It runs at a steady surge when it's at its fullest. You can find up-to-date information about the water levels on the National Park Service official page.

To get to the beach you must pay an entrance fee of $25 per non-commercial vehicle.

From there, you can access the creek from the Great Dunes parking lot.

Medano Creek

Price: $25

Why You Need To Go: To play in the cold water and sand dunes, surrounded by snowy mountaintops.

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Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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