We have all seen photographs of the Grand Canyon, but you really need to see it in person to truly understand how incredible this Natural Wonder of the World actually is! From rocky hiking trails and adventurous rafting trips, to exploring museums and visitor centers, everyone can enjoy a family trip to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon. Many children do not enjoy the many hours spent in a car during a road trip, so to make the journey more enjoyable for everyone, print large copies of a road map and bring along some colored pencils or markers for children to track the journey. Don’t forget your sunglasses extra snacks and water for the drive. Pack up the family’s favorite outdoor equipment – maybe a frisbee or soccer ball – to burn off some energy at the rest stops along the way or download a new audio book, perhaps about the grand canyon, to keep their little ears and minds busy during the long stretches in the car.
The Grand Canyon is sectioned into four general areas – the South Rim, Grand Canyon West, Grand Canyon East, and the North Rim. Which rim is best for your visit depends on a few factors, such as: the time of year you are visiting, how much time you have, and what kind of activities you are interested in. The South Rim, open year around, is the most popular travel destination, with many visitor services and family-oriented activities. It is also the most easily accessible from most major Western cities. If you’re traveling through Las Vegas, the North Rim would be the place for you. This section also includes the popular and thrilling Glass Skywalk.
The Grand Canyon National Park charges an entrance fee of $35 per vehicle, or $15 per person, valid for seven days. State and national parks are popular destinations for family adventures, so check out the America the Beautiful pass which is valid for more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, including the Grand Canyon National Park. If you have a fourth-grader in the family, grab a complimentary park pass at https://www.everykidinapark.gov. This national program provides free access to a variety of parks for a whole year! Active military and their dependents also receive free admission with valid military ID. Be sure to check out the calendar for Free Entrance Days to National Parks at https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm.
Upon arrival at the Grand Canyon, choose from a variety of family-oriented activities. Hiking opportunities can be found on both the South and North Rim of the canyon. The Rim Trail, along the South Rim, is great for all skill levels with mostly paved trails. Hiking tips and advice can be found at https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hiking-faq.htm. Perfect for children ages 4-14, young adventurers can join the Junior Ranger Program free of charge. Visit a visitor center to pick up a booklet with required activities. Return the completed booklet to be reviewed by a ranger and receive an official Grand Canyon Junior Range Badge after you take the Junior Ranger pledge! Other activities include, rafting along the Colorado River, a helicopter tour over the scenic views of the canyon walls, or an IMAX film with a massive screen. For something a little more thrilling, check out the daring Skywalk found at the North Rim, where you have the chance to walk over the glass bridge hovering above the canyon floor.
For a unique adventure to get to the Grand Canyon, check out the Grand Canyon Railway located in Williams, Arizona. Half the excitement of this trip is getting there! Keeping the Wild West alive, tempers rise at the Grand Canyon Depot as the Cataract Creek Gang duels it out with the town’s Marshal. Have your camera ready to capture some photographs with the cowboy heroes and their brave horses before you board the restored train and begin your journey to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The excitement continues during the 65-mile journey with live entertainment, music, and history of the trains and railroads. Upon arrival, you have the freedom to explore the Grand Canyon for a few hours before heading back into town.
There are a handful of options for those looking for lodging at the Grand Canyon.
Staying at one of the popular historic lodges, such as El Tovar Hotel or Bright Angel Lodge, requires booking way in advance, as reservations tend to fill up quickly especially during the summer months. Many families choose to stay at one of the campgrounds around the North or South Rim of the canyon. All campsites require a backcountry permit, and planning ahead is also recommended. There are several accommodations available about 7 miles south of the Grand Canyon in Tusayan, Arizona.
If you’ve never experienced the views of the Grand Canyon and the adventure it has to offer for yourself, now’s the time to plan an exciting family road trip!
Check out some of our great Grand Canyon Products:
America the Beautiful National Parks Pass –
Grand Canyon West Skywalk –
Grand Canyon West Rim Helicopter and Boat Ride –
Grand Canyon IMAX Theater –
Grand Canyon Railway Day Trip –