The Grand Canyon is a bucket-list destination for many family travelers, a one-of-a-kind site part of what makes the world we live in such a unique and beautiful place. If you’ve got a couple days to explore the canyon, consider some of these great activities at your disposal so you and the kids will be ready to start planning your return trip before you even leave the park.
Hike the Trails
There is no shortage of trails at the Grand Canyon, and you can find one to suit every skill level. Great family-friendly options like South Rim Trail (a paved walkway along the south rim) and Bright Angel Trail are the perfect skill level for kids and give you great views of the canyon along the way.
Ride the Rails
Grand Canyon Railway is a great way to get in and out of the park (with trains heading back and forth from Grand Canyon Village and the nearby town of Williams). Restored vintage locomotives follow the same route used by the canyon’s original explorers. The train is a great ride for kids, not just because they love trains, but also because the ride features wandering musicians and a cowboy show.
Take Advantage of the Junior Rangers Program
There is a Junior Rangers Program for kids up to age 7 and one for kids 8 and older to teach them about the park and how to take care of it. The program features great activity books kids can work on at different places throughout their visit to the park.
Take a Bike Ride
The Grand Canyon is bike-friendly and features 13 miles of roads and Greenway Trails. You can even rent an e-bike at the park next to the Visitor’s Center, and the bike trails often meet up with shuttle bus stops so you can load up the bikes and ride back to where you started if you or the kids get too tired.
Enjoy a Scenic Drive
The canyon’s South Rim is home to two scenic drives. The shorter Hermit Road is an easy 7-mile ride taking you from Grand Canyon Village to Hermit’s Rest, the remnants of a structure built in 1914. Along the way you can park in one of the many turnouts to check out the view and take photos. The Desert View Drive is a longer route, at 22 miles, and features a number of iconic scenes of the canyon along with plenty of places to picnic while you enjoy the view.
Watch the Sunset
The canyon is an amazing place to watch the sunset. Some of the best spots to watch it are Mather Point, just a short walk from the Visitor’s Center, and Moran Point, one of the turnouts along the Desert View Scenic Drive. For the early birds lucky enough to catch the sun rising, head to Hopi Point along Hermit Drive, Yavapai Point or Mather Point.
Gaze at the Stars
The one thing that always strikes me when I visit the Grand Canyon is the vastness of the night sky. I’m a city girl and, while I’ve spent plenty of nights far from civilization staring at stars, there is something ethereal about stargazing in the Grand Canyon. This is a great way to pass the time after the sun goes down and teach kids all about constellations they may not get to see at home.
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