The Grand Canyon is among the world’s most famous destinations and a memorable experience for your family vacation. Whether younger or older, your kids will love all the outdoor recreation, nature activities, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences they can have at the Grand Canyon. From mule rides to desert stargazing to whitewater rafting, find out all about family vacations to the Grand Canyon with kids, including the top resorts and attractions.

Ideas for family vacations in the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon offers a wide range of attractions for all ages and interests. Find out more about the top attractions and activities for kids in the Grand Canyon and plan your itinerary.

Try the Junior Ranger Program

If you want the kids to get the most out of the experience in the Grand Canyon, consider enrolling them in the Grand Canyon National Park’s Junior Ranger Program. The program offers an age-specific curriculum to teach kids about the canyon’s natural history and cultural significance through fun, nature-themed activities. Kids must complete appropriate activities and attend the ranger classes to get their official badge and certificate, which is an incredible souvenir.

Hike the Bright Angel Trail

The Bright Angel Trail is one of the Grand Canyon’s easiest and most family-friendly trails. The trail is wide and offers rest areas every few miles, so you can take a breather or turn back. While the trail is easy on the way down, some younger children may struggle to head back up. Be sure to pay attention to the weather and avoid hiking the trail during the heat of midday.

Bike along the Rim Trail

While parts of the canyon can be a little challenging with young kids, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly bike trails to explore. The Rim Trail offers a paved pathway, the Greenway section, that travels 5 miles along a level surface near the canyon. You can rent bikes for younger or older kids, as well as bikes with trailers for small children. The entrance to the Greenway section is near the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, which has many of the supplies you need.

Take a scenic train ride

Many kids enjoy train rides, and the Grand Canyon’s scenic train offers stunning views of the canyon without the challenging hikes. The Grand Canyon Railway Train is a restored World War II-era locomotive that played a vital role in getting people to the canyon before automobile access was developed. Now, the train offers nostalgic rides to and from the canyon. You’ll stop at the Grand Canyon Depot as well, which is one of the oldest-operating log train depots in the country. Another highlight of the experience is the mock train robbery with Wild-West bandits, who are actually costumed actors.

Take a rafting trip down the river

One of the most exciting experiences you can have at the Grand Canyon is taking a rafting trip down the Colorado River, the river that runs through the canyon. Several outfitters offer rafting trips for all ages, so you can take a leisurely ride down the river or opt for a thrilling ride on the rapids. Trips for families may include educational experiences, such as those geared toward science, natural history, or culture.

Tour the Yavapai Geology Museum

If you want to teach the kids more about the canyon’s unique geological history, the Yavapai Geology Museum is a must-visit attraction. The museum offers numerous educational displays on the geological history of the region, such as a massive topographical relief model where they can feel the differences in the landscape. You’ll also see rock column models of the North and South rims of the canyon, displays illustrating the different rock formations, and historic artwork and photographs about the canyon. After touring the museum, you can take the Trail of Time interpretive path to see more samples of canyon rocks.

Ride the Polar Express

During the winter season, Williams, Arizona, turns the landscape into the North Pole with a magical train ride. Hosting rides from November to January, the Polar Express travels through the nighttime wilderness of Arizona for enchanting views of the landscape. On the ride, you’ll enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while listening to a reading of the classic story. At the end, kids can meet with Santa and his reindeer to receive a special keepsake of the trip.

Take a ranger-led hike

If you want to experience the best of the Grand Canyon, but you’re concerned about where to go or what highlights to see with the kids, a ranger-led hike may be your best choice. You can book family-friendly ranger hikes that will take you on ideal hiking trails for adults and children. Rangers also offer plenty of information about the history and culture of the canyon. When you book your tour, be sure to tailor it to the highlights you want to see and the fitness level and age of your group.

Have a picnic at Shoshone Point

Shoshone Point is a lovely spot on the South Rim that offers incredible views of the canyon. Unlike many of the hikes to vista points, the hike to Shoshone Point is a mile-long dirt road that’s perfect for little legs. After hiking the short distance through the pine forest, you’ll reach the vista point and its picnic tables and restrooms. You can have a pleasant family picnic at the picturesque spot before heading out on the next adventure.

Go stargazing

While there’s a lot to see and do at the Grand Canyon, stargazing is one of the most impressive and underrated activities. The canyon has very little light pollution, ensuring that the sky is filled with visible stars for an amazing viewing experience. You’ll find several excellent spots for stargazing, including Lipan Point and Moran Point on the South Rim and the Desert View Watchtower. You can also book tours with a ranger to visit the best viewpoints and hear constellation talks about the night sky.

Explore the Tusayan Ruins

The Tusayan Ruins are a set of shelter remnants on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. When you visit, you can explore the excavated village to teach your kids about the human communities near the canyon and a little of the culture of the Ancestral Puebloans. The site also has a museum with exhibits showcasing jewelry, art, tools, and archaeological artifacts from the site. You could also take a ranger-led tour from the museum through part of the ruin site to learn more about the location.

Take a mule ride

A mule ride in the Grand Canyon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Mule rides are appropriate for adults and kids who are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall. Kids will love interacting with the adorable and friendly mules, and they can traverse the landscape more easily. You’ll not only have spectacular views of the canyon, but you’ll also learn a little about nature, the outdoors, and geology along the way. Be sure to take pictures to remember your trip.

Book the ultimate accommodation by the Grand Canyon on your family vacations

To get the most out of Grand Canyon family vacations, you'll need to book an accommodation that can handle you and your little ones while keeping everyone happy. You'll find quite a few different options available, so it's important to explore the varieties on offer before settling for any particular accommodation type. Take a look at some of the best local options for your family.

Grand Canyon family resorts

For a particularly relaxing and convenient experience, you may want to book your stay at one of the Grand Canyon family resorts. Here, you'll find a wide variety of amenities on offer along with plenty of space for your family to relax and take it easy during your trip. Stunning amenities like hot tubs and swimming pools are often available here along with on site restaurants and even attractions of their own like golf courses and playgrounds. This is where you want to book if you're looking to get pampered on your trip.

House rentals for Grand Canyon family vacations

When you book one of the house rentals around the Grand Canyon, you can enjoy a home away from home type experience. A lot of families tend to thrive when their environment isn't all that different from what they're used to, and that's exactly what you'll find with a house rental. If you're looking for something a bit more luxurious, however, you can find houses for rent that have even more amenities than you might be used to. Whatever your choice is, you'll find a few amenities that tend to be standard like a full kitchen and integrated WiFi.

Grand Canyon kids cabins

If your family is looking for a more outdoor-oriented adventure, you may want to book one of the Grand Canyon kids cabins. A cabin may not sound big enough for a whole family, but some of the local rentals here have plenty of space for you and your little ones to all sleep comfortably with the relative privacy you'd have at a house or resort. Cabins tend to be a bit more isolated as well making it easier to see the stunning natural features of the area.