Do’s and Don’ts When Taking a Family Vacation at the Grand Canyon
Any natural wonder is worth exploring with your family, especially if it’s as unique and awe-inspiring as the Grand Canyon. Given its remote location in northern Arizona and the scope of this national park, however, planning a trip to the Grand Canyon poses its own set of challenges. If you’re hoping to make the most of your time there, whether it’s a day trip or a multi-day backpacking trip into the depths of one of the canyon’s many trails, we have some helpful tips on how to plan and execute an amazing family vacation at this natural wonder. Read on for everything you need to know about planning a trip to the Grand Canyon!
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Do: Stay on the South Rim.
The most iconic view of the Grand Canyon is from the South Rim, where the canyon walls rise up more than a mile from the Colorado River far below. If you’re with family, this is the best option anyway, since the North Rim is only open to visitors from mid-May to mid-October and a remote backcountry trail to the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon Trail, ends at the South Rim. The South Rim also has more year-round amenities and services, including restaurants, lodging, and park facilities like the shuttle system and the excellent Grand Canyon Field Institute educational programs. Of course, the South Rim is still a fully wild place, so make sure everyone in your family is up for the challenge.
Do: Visit at sunrise and sunset.
The Grand Canyon may be one of the most spectacular places on Earth, but it also has a reputation for being crowded. This is especially true in summer, when the park is at its busiest and the most popular trailheads can be backed up for hours as visitors wait for their chance to hike down into the canyon. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the canyon in peace and quiet by visiting the canyon at sunrise or sunset. This means actually arriving at the viewpoints at dawn or before sunset to secure yout spots. Sunrise provides a serene introduction to the day that’s easy on the crowds, especially on the South Rim, where the first light of day comes over the canyon’s eastern edge. Sunset isn’t quite as easy on crowds, but it’s a wildly romantic experience that’s well worth a little waiting around for. In fact, some of the most stunning photos of the canyon are shot at sunrise or sunset, and these hours are also the best times to avoid the worst of the summer heat.
Don’t: Forget the sunscreen!
The Grand Canyon is a desert, and the sun can be intense even in the cooler months. A day spent hiking down into the canyon or out on the trails above the canyon rim can be a real wake-up call in terms of how much sunlight a family is exposed to. Don’t let sunburn ruin your trip altogether! Bring plenty of sunscreens, wear sun-protective clothing, and take frequent breaks in the shade. You might also consider visiting the Grand Canyon in fall or spring when the sun is less intense and the crowds are lighter, or even trying a winter trip when the canyon is blanketed in snow and the landscape is transformed with magical ethereal beauty.
Don’t: Forget to pack your rain gear.
The Grand Canyon can be a rainforest, a desert, or a snowy landscape all in the same day, and rainstorms can come out of nowhere, even in the drier months. The famous El Niño weather pattern can cause the Grand Canyon to experience above-average rainfall, and even if it doesn’t rain where you are, it may be raining in the canyon. Don’t risk getting caught out in a wild storm in the canyon and ruining your vacation. Bring along your rain gear and keep an eye on the weather forecast if you’re visiting during the rainy season. The Grand Canyon is a constantly shifting landscape and can experience persistent storms, flash floods, and other natural phenomena. Be prepared for anything and everything the canyon has to offer.
Do: Plan ahead with an itinerary for your visit.
The Grand Canyon is a big place, and you don’t want to miss out on any of it. That’s a lot of ground to cover, even in a single day. Don’t try to squeeze too much into a single visit or you’ll end up overwhelmed and exhausted, and you’ll miss out on the chance to really soak in the magic of the canyon. Don’t worry! There is a lot to do at the Grand Canyon, but you’ll want to keep things manageable. A good first step is to create an itinerary for your visit, including which hiking trails and overlooks you’d like to explore. You may also want to check out the Grand Canyon’s free app for park information, including expert tips on what not to miss on your visit. Don’t forget to include time for rest and relaxation, and make sure to allow extra time for road travel to and from the Grand Canyon. The most important thing is to be aware of your family’s abilities and choose your activities accordingly!
Don’t: Assume you can see everything in one day.
It’s possible to see a lot of the Grand Canyon in a day, but don’t expect to cover the entire park in one visit. There are a few locations you will want to make sure to see, such as the South Rim, the Colorado River, and the Desert View Watchtower, but most people will only be able to see one or two trails. You can, of course, return to the Grand Canyon on future vacations, but you’ll want to make sure everyone in your family has a memorable experience their first time there. Don’t try to cover too much ground in a single day, and don’t get discouraged if you can’t see everything you’d hoped to.
Take a family vacation at the Grand Canyon with Christianson Tours!
The Grand Canyon is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world and is a must-see destination for any family vacation. When planning your trip, keep these tips in mind to make the most of your visit to this natural wonder. The Grand Canyon is a place worth visiting more than once, so don’t feel like you have to see everything in one trip. Take your time, and make sure to enjoy every moment of your family vacation to this natural wonder.
Now that you know what to expect, you can better plan and enjoy your trip to one of the world’s most amazing natural landscapes. Whether you’re exploring the canyon’s South Rim or hiking down into the depths of the canyon, make sure to take your time, enjoy the view, and appreciate the rich legacy of the Grand Canyon. With Christianson Tours, rest assured you’ll get a memorable and safe trip to the Grand Canyon with the family.