A Family Affair: Vacationing in Grand Canyon National Park

Family-Friendly Areas at the Grand Canyon
By Teresa Bitler
  |  Gorp.com
Rainbow over the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Rainbow over the Grand Canyon, Arizona (Tetra Images/Getty)

You can experience Grand Canyon National Park at three points: the South Rim, the North Rim, and Desert View. All three offer family-oriented activities and hikes, but if you only have a day, the South Rim is your best bet. The North Rim, however, is better suited to families who want a slower-paced, quieter visit.

South Rim
Mather Point offers your first chance to glimpse the canyon. You may want to park here and catch the free shuttle farther into the park. Or walk along the rim road to the Yavapai Geology Museum, where you’ll learn how the canyon was formed. In Grand Canyon Village, check out Kolb Studio, the Mary E.J. Colter-designed Hopi House, Verkamp’s Visitor Center, the train depot, and the mule barn. If you have the time, continue along Hermit Road for more overlooks and the chance to see another Colter-designed structure, Hermit’s Rest.

North Rim
The North Rim is open mid-May through mid-October. You can camp here, hike along the rim and into the canyon, and participate in ranger-led programs.

Desert View
Located 25 miles east of Grand Canyon Village along Highway 64, Desert View has 800-year-old ruins; a museum devoted to Pueblo Indian life at the Grand Canyon; and the 70-foot Desert View Watchtower, with astounding views from its upper level observation decks.

Grand Canyon West
Operated by the Hualapai Indians, Grand Canyon West consists of three overlooks and the Skywalk, a glass bridge that extends over the rim. It’s pricey—$70.95 per person, including the Skywalk, versus $25 per car at Grand Canyon National Park—and the overlooks aren’t as dramatic. Grand Canyon West is NOT part of Grand Canyon National Park.


Published: 16 Jul 2012 | Last Updated: 19 Jul 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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