I have lived my whole life in the Phoenix metro area. My dad took us to many places when we were younger but surprisingly enough, we never visited the Grand Canyon. I wonder if my parent’s had the same fears I did when my kids were young, that it may not be safe. This Summer when my niece was visiting, we decided that since the kids are older we could take them to the Grand Canyon.
I had actually been to the Grand Canyon twice as an adult, just never with the kids. When we went this Summer with the kids, I did some research and came up with plan on what we would do while we were there. I think sometimes people think “well, it’s just a hole”. Well, it’s so much more than that! We learned so much while we were there and the panoramic views are breathtaking.
We planned out a weekend to visit northern AZ and first stayed in Flagstaff. While in Flagstaff we did the AZ Snowbowl ski lifts.
If you haven’t been on the ski lifts yet, it’s a fun Summer adventure for all ages!
On the drive up to the Grand Canyon you can view a lot of beautiful scenery. It’s actually only about an hour and a half from Flagstaff so the drive isn’t that bad.
Before you head into the Grand Canyon park with your family, here are some important notes:
- Pack snacks, water bottles, sandwiches etc. You can bring food with you and keep it with you when you drive or in a backpack as you travel. Be sure to also bring sunscreen, bandaids, camera cards etc. If you go later in the Summer during monsoon season, be sure to bring an umbrella.
- Utilize the maps you receive when coming into the park. They will give you the best info on where to park, where to hike, where the shuttles meet etc. If you want to plan this out before you go, visit this link: http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/directions.htm
- Plan on driving in the park or taking the shuttles. The shuttles are actually free and are easier than stressing about driving and parking. We parked in the main parking lot in the south rim and then took the shuttles.
- The park gets busy, be sure your kids wear bright clothing and have your name on them in case they get separated from you.
- If you are going with kids, I highly suggest visiting the Visitor’s Center before going on your adventures. The rangers will give kids a fun book to take along the park so they can fill it out with details of what they learn. Then when you take it back to the Visitor’s Center, you get a special Jr. Ranger badge! The rangers were so much fun, they joked with the kids, gave them fun quizzes and made our experience that much better! Find more info here: http://www.nps.gov/grca/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm
- Check out the schedule for Park Ranger activities for families. This is a great opportunity for kid’s to learn and have fun while at the Grand Canyon! http://www.nps.gov/grca/forkids/index.htm
- Look for the railings throughout the park so you can take photos near them. My biggest fear was one of the kids slipping and falling but the park has rails throughout the park for everyone’s safety.
- Be prepared for weather by doing a forecast check on WeatherChannel.com. If you are planning a trip months out, use an almanac to see what future year’s weather have been. We went during monsoon season and it was sunny then dark and cloudy as you can see above. Be sure to stay close to shelter if you go during the monsoons to stay safe. It’s nothing to be worried about though, it was actually pretty cool getting to see the storms come through.
- Check out the wildlife! We saw birds, lizards, elk and more while visiting the Grand Canyon. Let the kid’s be the photographers and give them a camera to take pictures too.
- If your kids are older or you are visiting with just adults, the Grand Canyon has lots to offer as far as adventures. Next Summer I’d like to take the kid’s on the railway and maybe one day white water rafting! http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/things2do.htm
We loved visiting the Grand Canyon, we’ll definitely go back every Summer. There is so much to do there and while we only stayed for a day, there are plenty of places to stay and to camp near and in the Grand Canyon so you can visit multiple days. A great feature of the Grand Canyon is it’s only $25 per car for a 7 day visit.
If you have questions about visiting the Grand Canyon with kids, visit the FAQ website: http://www.nps.gov/grca/faqs.htm
Did you know the park has free days too? Check out the schedule here: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm