I would do anything and everything to avoid the touristy mess of Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas, but a trip to the dunes is worth the stress surrounding it. We visited with our rental car, so that we could escape quickly if need be! We parked and walked into the dunes through one of hotels, and the first sight of the sand is incredible. We could just see the sea beyond and headed off in that direction. My favorite part of the dunes visits is running/sliding and jumping down the mountains of sand. The sand glides down with you, and it looks like water running.
At the shore, the dunes fall back and a beach appears, with people relaxing and swimming. We saw a couple with a kite and promised ourselves we would remember one next time. We stayed for a couple of hours, then went home.... sandy and tired!