Many ATV owners enjoy the technical aspects to riding on sand and the dunes offer an unprecedented experience like nothing else.

Those who dabble on the sand dunes, after years of riding the track or trails, often return much sooner than later. "Heading to the dunes" offers memorable long weekend trips for those who live within a reasonable driving distance and sits on the bucket list for those far from them. Once you spend time on an endless sea of sand you'll wonder what took you so long to make the trip.

You will also discover, rather quickly, that you cannot translate your ATV prepared for the track or trails immediately to the dunes. You need a sand ATV so before you make travel plans, ensure you have the best ATV for the sand dunes.

ATVs on the dunes

ATV Sand Dunes

OK, before tuning out, you can skip the expensive shopping trip to the dealer for a sand ATV because a specific ATV for the sand dunes does not exist. Accordingly, if you plan on riding dunes and only riding dunes don't waste your time shopping for the best ATV for the sand dunes or a straight up sand ATV. Your current quad outfitted with some minor modifications should capably ride on sand and give you endless hours of fun.

Best ATV for Sand Dunes

But don't misunderstand. Some ATVs work far better on the sand than others. Riding a small bore ATV on the sand will give you fits especially when traversing the long hills that require significant power. Therefore, don't bother with a 125 or smaller, but - any brand - 250 ATV and bigger easily glides over the sand. Don't load up the truck or trailer just yet, read on to make the necessary changes to ensure a successful riding day or weekend trip.

Sand Dunes ATV Riding

Expect sand to get everywhere so get used to it now. But beyond preparing yourself, equip your ATV to not only power through the dunes but withstand the constant rain of sand to prevent premature wear or even permanent damage. Sand eventually finds its way into every corner and crevice so before making it a dune riding weekend, read the following guide and make sure you have crossed off all the sandy pre-ride prep boxes:

Sand dune riding on ATVs

ATV Paddle Tire or ATV Sand Tire

You have to install an ATV paddle tire which some also call a sand tire. You won't get very far in the dunes on track or trail tires so pull those off and replace with front and rear ATV paddle tires. A rear paddle tire has scoops or paddles that allow your quad to bust through the sand with little effort. The wheels commonly use a tire that has little tread other than a single protruding ridge down the center which acts as a steering guide. You can get away with leaving your regular front tires on but without the ATV sand tires in the rear you might as well stay home.

Shop all ATV sand and paddle tires.

OIL that ATV Air Filter

The best defense against sand getting into the engine comes from a well-oiled air filter. Of course, it's not the end of your ATV as the worse that could happen is an total engine rebuild. But, that's money and time if you know how to do it, otherwise a few days at the shop and even more money on mechanic's fees. So saturate the air filter well with the ATV air filter oil of your choice. The stickier the better! You might also consider adding a filter skin which provides a layer of protection and if you don't have the time to get one use panty hose.

Shop ATV air filters and ATV air filter oil. You can find the panty hose yourself!

Lubricate the Chain and Sprockets

You can't get away with the normal dose of chain lubricant and ride for the day in sand. We advise a thorough coat of lubricant on the ATV chain and sprockets along with using a wire brush to remove excess build-up of sand throughout the day. Reapply the chain lubricant during a break in riding, after using the brush to sweep away the extra sand. Following these guidelines helps prevent premature wear on the ATV drive train.

Shop wire brushes and chain lubricant if you need it.

ATV Coolant

Riding on sand demands more exertion for the engine than cruising on loamy dirt. Combine that extra effort with a hot summer sun - the time of year when most ATV riders hit the dunes - you can easily overheat the engine especially when running older coolant. If you have leftover anti-freeze from the winter months, drain that and replace with fresh coolant. If you spent the last few months on the track or trails, don't take a chance either. Dump that coolant and replace with any of these high-quality ATV coolants that work well to keep the engine from overheating when on the sand dunes: Engine Ice, Evans or Red Line WaterWetter.

Dune Whip and Flag

Finally, don't show up without a dune flag. You cannot ride without one and if you get caught expect a hefty fine. Install a dune flag and whip for your safety and the safety of others. It can be hard at times to see other riders in all the deep valleys and high hills. Coming over a crest only to meet another rider head-on ruins everyone's day. A dune flag allows you to see others and others to see you. Check with the state park you plan to ride for dune flag specifications. You can find a whip and flag at a dealership or area shops scattered around the dunes in nearby towns.