Grand Canyon Family Vacation

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Grand Canyon Family Vacation

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A Grand Canyon family vacation can be loads of fun.

When I first started looking into this trip, I thought to myself “how many hours can we spend just looking at this giant crevasse?”

As it turns out there is lots to do for the whole family; some great lodging options; delicious places to eat; and a multitude of vantage points each with their own unique view.

Mules on Bright Angel Trail - Grand Canyon
Mules on Bright Angel Trail – Grand Canyon
Desert Tower – Grand Canyon
Desert Tower – Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon - Mather Point
Mather Point – Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon - Yavapai Point
Boys at Yavapai Point – Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon - Yavapai Point
Grand Canyon – Yavapai Point

Our Grand Canyon family vacation took place when our boys were ages 13, 12, 10, and 4, so we weren’t going to do any rim-to-rim hiking, but there was a lot of adventurous things that we could do!

The National Park Service and their concessionaire, Xanterra, do an outstanding job of retaining the natural beauty of the canyon, yet still making it safely navigable for families and convenient in terms of amenities (food, lodging, and gift shops).

Here’s what our family would recommend:

Things to See & Do

It was well worth the time to get a view below the rim. Pack plenty of water and take your time. Dehydration is a bigger danger than falling off of the trail. This short hike was definitely a highlight of our Grand Canyon family vacation.

This flowed very smoothly and conveniently got us to the many park points that we wanted to see.

This neat gift shop / Native American museum is right in the heart of the Grand Canyon Village buildings on the south rim and definitely worth strolling through.

If you come in the east entrance, plan on stopping here first as it is 25+ miles east of Grand Canyon Village. Great views!

  • Ranger-Led Talks:

As part of the Junior Ranger Program our kids needed to attend a ranger-led talk…and I’m so glad that we did. We chose the California Condor talk and sat on benches at the rim while Ranger Robb gave us an enthusiastic and animated education on the California Condor, its history, endangered status, and why it’s important to our ecosystem. Any activity that can capture a 4 year old’s attention and an adult’s attention is well done in my book!

This was my favorite vista, by far, on our Grand Canyon family vacation. While the Canyon views everywhere were amazing…Mather Point was the kind of place I just wanted to hang out, gaze, and ponder life. It was awe-inspiring. Don’t miss it!

The geology museum was really neat. It’s located right on the rim’s edge with incredible views and binoculars for the kids to use (air-conditioned & indoors was nice, too!)

One of my concerns going into this vacation was when & where to go to see the sunset. I’m here to tell you that that are dozens of locations along the rim that will do the trick…we chose the one within walking distance of the ice cream cones! It was well worth the wait and pictures will hardly do it justice. As the sun sets, you can see different colors amongst the canyon’s layered rock – very beautiful.

I think that I learned as much from this activity as this kids! All of our boys participated (ages 4-13) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Places to Stay & Eat

  • Maswik Lodge:

We stayed in a nice cabin with two large queen beds, bathroom, and the option for an adjoining cabin. The lodge was within walking distance of the rim (5 minute walk) and had a very nice cafeteria-style restaurant with something in it for everyone. I’d stay here again.

  • Bright Angel Lodge:

We ate dinner here one night and enjoyed the views and the food. It was especially nice being able to walk off that big dinner along the rim trail and watch the sunset.

Great place for a rim-side seat and delicious meal. The lodge is the oldest one in the park and is a registered historical landmark. Lobby with wildlife mounts hanging on the walls is reminiscent of the Old Faithful Inn’s style and is worth stopping in to admire.

  • Thunderbird Lodge:

Aside from it’s advantageous rim-side location, this lodge is not much to get excited about. It looks like someone took our town’s high school building and transported it to the Grand Canyon…it really doesn’t fit, aesthetically speaking.

A Grand Canyon family vacation has something for everyone from parents to teenagers to toddlers.

There’s no other sight like it and the views will blow you away!

And just when you think you’re getting numb to the views you’ll get a unique perspective, another view, or a moment when you find yourself quietly marvelling at its majestic beauty.

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