This summer we took our 10 year old twins and our 7 year old to the Grand Canyon. I am really wondering why I did not take them earlier?! What an experience!
Here are five tips you need when visiting the Grand Canyon with kids. And find out how your 4th grader can get your whole family in to the National Park for FREE.
- Book in Advance – We only planned our hotel room about one month before our trip date – we were seriously slacking on committing to these vacation plans. Fortunately, we were lucky to find a great hotel in Tusayan, AZ, which is just south of the South Rim park entrance but not on the National Park property. Next time, I would plan much further ahead so we could have stayed in the park.
- Plan Ahead – There is so much to see and do at the Grand Canyon, I don’t know how you could fit it all in. You really have to plan ahead. We saw less than 5% of the park and I would love to go back to do more. We visited the South Rim at Bright Angel Lodge and trail head. But I would add the IMAX movie, North Rim, and Park Museum to my list of things to do at the Grand Canyon next time.
- Pack Appropriately – Let me just say, we did not pack the right clothes for the children. The temperature at the Grand Canyon swung from a cool 40 degrees to 80 degrees in a few short hours, plus it was very windy at the rim. Since we were coming from a sizzling 110 degrees in Phoenix, we packed shorts and tank tops for the kids. They were freezing in the AM. Remember to pack layers for yourself and the kids. We also forgot to pack them hats (these were really needed during our 3 mile hike).
- Be Careful – We hiked the Bright Angel Trail. It is one of the best trails, but it is steep and you have to be very careful. Between watching out for the children, watching my own footing, and trying to stay hydrated, it is a tough hike. We completed the 1.5 mile hike to the first rest stop and then made the grueling hike back out. One and a half miles doesn’t seem like very long, but somehow on the trail it feels like twice that. Even though I was carrying a CamelBak, I did run out of water at the end. It took us over 2 hours and we were beat (well, the kids were fine but I was tired!). It was getting very hot in the sun by the time we got done. Next time, I would start out earlier.
- Prepare to be Amazed – There is no doubt that the Grand Canyon is truly a Natural Wonder of the World. It is so large that it was hard for my brain to even understand what I was seeing. The kids LOVED it. They were so proud to live in the state that holds such an awesome site. Plus add in all of the wildlife that we saw (elk, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and beautiful birds), this is a trip that they will not soon forget.
Read this post on how your 4th grader can get you in to the National Park for free here.
Have you taken the kids to the Grand Canyon? Do you have additional tips to add to our list or not to be missed things to see. Please comment below!