Visiting the Grand Canyon with kids can be an amazing family vacation with enough options to make everyone happy. I remember traveling to different places as a kid that I thought were annoying and boring (yes, I thought the Grand Canyon was boring). However, when I look back at my experiences today, I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity (although I was less than grateful at the time).
The fact that I have seen one of the seven wonders of the world makes me feel special, and drives me to want to see more. If you are visiting the Grand Canyon with kids, it is important to allow them to help plan the itinerary. Remember, unhappy kiddos can derail even the best-planned family trip. Your kids don’t want to feel like they are being drug around to sights and activities that they do not want to do. Before you go, your children can help save money for the trip.
There are some minimum age requirements for certain activities so be sure to check before scheduling. The Grand Canyon offers family friendly hotels as well as a variety of food choices, and free drinking water throughout the park. Pack your suitcase and let’s get going.
Visiting the Grand Canyon with Kids by Shuttle Bus, Train, Helicopter, or Car.
The Grand Canyon National Park offers free shuttle buses in and around the South Rim Village and out to scenic overlooks. The three routes available for Spring 2016 are:
- Village Route (Blue) – connects the Visitor Center with the Village Facilities and Parking Areas.
- Kaibab Rim Route (Orange) – fastest way to get from the Visitor Center to Canyon Views.
- Hermit Road Route (Red) – scenic views along a Historic Road.
Available in May 2016, The Tusayan Route/Park & Ride option is excellent during the hectic summer season. The lines are long at the Entrance Station and parking is difficult on the South Rim. A better option is to park in the gateway community of Tusayan and ride the free shuttle bus into the park.
The Historic Grand Canyon Railway Tour is an excellent adventure while visiting the Grand Canyon with kids. Each car of this Arizona railroad has been restored to the original state of its maiden voyage of 1901. Sit back and enjoy the incredible views of the countryside on your way to the magnificent Grand Canyon. You will have some free time to explore the Grand Canyon, and a guided Grand Canyon rim tour is part of your tour.
There is no minimum age for the Helicopter Ride, so it is just a matter of getting your kids on board. Your baby can ride on your lap, and he or she flies for free. The easiest way to see the Grand Canyon with kids is by car because you can see the viewpoints on your schedule. However, parking around the South Rim can be difficult during the crowded summer months.
More Activities When Visiting The Grand Canyon With Kids
The Junior Ranger Program is offered in most National Parks across the country, for children 4 to 14 years old. Pick up a free copy of the Junior Ranger Program booklet at the Visitor Center.
Visit the Yavapai Geological Museum located in the Grand Canyon Village. This museum allows visitors to experience emotionally and intellectually the dominant geological processes still taking place in the canyon. The exhibits explain the deposition of the rock layers and the carving of the Grand Canyon.
The Rim Trails are the easiest for kids because they are flat and mostly paved. You can venture to the others, but remember once you go down; you have to hike back up, and you may end up carrying your little ones because they tired themselves out running down the trail!
The trail begins at Mather Point next to the Visitor Center. You can use a stroller on several parts of the Rim Trail. When hiking the Grand Canyon with kids, remember the walkway is not entirely fenced, so there are areas where you will be walking along the edge.
Rafting the Grand Canyon with kids requires them to be at least four years old. Most of the same-day boat trips depart from Page, which is a few hours away from the South Rim. One place to try for tours is The Colorado River Discovery Company.
Biking the Grand Canyon with kids is a fun adventure. The minimum age is eight. If you have small children, you may want to rent a bike and a trailer to pull the kids along rather than drive or take the shuttle. You may ride the bikes through the paved roads in the Grand Canyon Village or along the Rim Trail.
It is easy to find things to do when visiting the Grand Canyon with kids. You have so many choices including walking along the South Rim, exploring ancient Anasazi ruins, looking for fossils, riding mules, horseback riding, rafting, taking a helicopter ride, watching a movie, camping or going on a picnic. For more Guided Tours offered at the Grand Canyon.