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The Grand Canyon is one of those places that everyone should see at least once in your lifetime. It’s a natural wonder that you have to see to believe. But, a trip to the Grand Canyon with kids can be challenging. To make your visit as smooth as possible, use these 9 smart tips during your trip.
We visited the Grand Canyon as part of a larger road trip recently. My son wasn’t crazy about this particular stop, but these tips definitely made this portion of our trip better.
Tip #1: Dress appropriately.
The weather at the Grand Canyon varies greatly, not only from season to season, but also by area. It can easily reach over 100 degrees on the canyon floor in the summer. And in the winter, it can snow at the rim.
So, prepare for your trip to the Grand Canyon with kids by checking the weather. Then dress appropriately for the temperatures and your planned activities.
Additionally, the terrain also varies by area. For example, the Rim Trail is mostly a flat, paved sidewalk, whereas the trails leading down into the canyon are dirt, rocky and sometimes steep. So, be sure to think about this when deciding what to wear.
Tip #2: What goes down, must come up.
Unlike hiking in the mountains, hiking the Grand Canyon saves the hard part for the end! Because you are hiking down into the canyon, you will have to do the uphill portion of your hike at the end.
This is important to keep in mind when deciding how far down into the canyon you want to hike, especially if you will have your kids with you. Don’t go so far down that your kids struggle to get back up to the top.
Tip #3: Stay hydrated.
Water is the key to life. This is especially true when hiking in hot weather.
It is very easy to become dehydrated when hiking at a place like the Grand Canyon in the summertime. And running out of water will make the hike back to the top even harder.
So, remember to take plenty of water with you. And make sure your kids stay hydrated as well.
Tip #4: Don’t overdo it.
Next on our list of tips for visiting the Grand Canyon with kids is to not overdo it. The thrill of hiking to the bottom and the magnificence of it all can tempt you to do too much.
But, it is vital that you keep your family’s physical capabilities in mind when exploring. Don’t overextend yourselves to the point that someone gets hurt. You can have a great trip while staying safe in the process.
Plus, if you push your family past the point of exhaustion, they will probably end up cranky and uncooperative. And this will lead to fighting and general unhappiness, which will leave you with less than desirable memories.
Tip #5: Know your family’s limits.
In addition to physical capabilities, you need to know, and remember, your family’s limits when it comes to patience and interest levels.
When I was planning our trip to the Grand Canyon, I knew my husband and son would lose interest in it after a couple hours. And I knew my husband would not want to hike down into the canyon. So, I planned for us to only spend about three hours there with the Rim Trail being our only hike.
Not pushing them to do more or to spend more time there made our trip much more pleasant. By the time they started to get cranky and bored, it was time to head out and do other things.
Tip #6: Take the train.
The next tip for a visit to the Grand Canyon with kids is to look into taking the Grand Canyon Railway. If your family is like mine and you only need a few hours to explore the Grand Canyon, consider taking the train for a added bit of fun.
The Grand Canyon Railway runs from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon and back. It is a historic train that has been running since the early 1900’s.
Taking the train to the Grand Canyon allows you to enjoy a relaxing and scenic train ride to and from the park. It also allows you to skip the hassle of driving and parking. Plus, your kids will enjoy it.
Tip #7: Don’t stand too close.
When going to the Grand Canyon with kids, make sure they don’t stand too close to the edge. While some areas along the rim have railings or rock walls, many places have no safety barriers.
Believe it or not, 2 or 3 people die from falling over the edge each year. And even more people get injured from falls.
So, keep your kids safe by watching them closely, especially in the areas without any barriers to prevent them from falling.
Tip #8: Respect the wildlife.
The Grand Canyon, like most of the national parks, are teeming with wildlife. And some of these animals are not shy around people.
During our trip, a squirrel sat within a foot of my husband and son. And a female elk wandered up to the Visitor’s Center, feeding on bushes within 10 feet of us and many other people.
Teach your kids to respect the wildlife they may encounter in the park. Don’t feed them. Give them their space. Teach them to admire the animals without interfering or causing them stress.
Generally speaking, if you don’t bother the animals, they won’t bother you.
Tip #9: Get your passport stamped.
Last on our list of tips for visiting the Grand Canyon with kids is to remember to get your national park passport stamped.
Anytime you visit a national park, you can stop in at the Visitor’s Center for a unique stamp to remember that park and your visit to it. These stamps are free, so they make a great souvenir for your kids to collect.
If you don’t have a national park passport already, you can order one online or pick one up at any national park visitor’s center or gift shop.
Even if you’re not a huge nature fan, the Grand Canyon is worth visiting at least once. It is a place everyone should see at some point in their lives. These tips will make your trip to the Grand Canyon with kids better than ever. Enjoy!
For more ideas on national parks to visit, see our posts on White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Mt. Alava, Arches National Park, and the National Park of American Samoa.
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!
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