Plan The Perfect Grand Canyon Family Trip In 2024

There’s no more spectacular and recognizable natural landmark in the US than the Grand Canyon. A visit to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona’s northwestern region can be a family trip of a lifetime. 

The national park encompasses stunning canyons and beautiful Colorado River tributaries. The Grand Canyon was declared a National Monument in 1908 by Theodore Roosevelt and subsequently given National Park status in 1919. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  

Need To Know Before Visiting The Grand Canyon 

The Grand Canyon is one of the country’s most popular nature spots, but given the sheer size of the national park and its enduring popularity, it’s undoubtedly a family road trip that needs a little bit of pre-planning. Maybe not the degree of planning as a Disney World vacation, but you do need to book well in advance for your preferred choice of dates and accommodation. 

Understanding The Size And Scale Of The Grand Canyon 

It is important to note when planning to visit the Grand Canyon with kids that there are multiple ways to enter and experience this natural wonder.  

The Grand Canyon is split up into four distinct sections. Two of these sections fall within Grand Canyon National Park and are accessed in very different directions, the South Rim and the North Rim.  

Due to its higher altitude (over 1000 ft higher than the southern part of the national park), you’ll find the North Rim is only open from May to mid-October (or the first snowfall) due to inclement weather closing roads, whilst the South Rim is open 24 hours, year-round.  

Grand Canyon East Rim is located to the northeast and is known for bringing guests closer to the Little Colorado River and the Glen Canyon Recreation Area, bordering southern Utah.   

Grand Canyon West Rim falls within the Hualapai Indian Reservation. It is most famously home to the Grand Canyon Skywalk (more below!). 

We will larger be referring in this article to attractions and features of the Grand Canyon that fall within the Grand Canyon National Park, but bear in mind there are other sections you can visit that do not require a national parks pass (though other entry fees may apply). 

Entry Permits For Grand Canyon National Park 

  • A singular vehicle permit is $35, valid for 7 consecutive days from purchase.  
  • You can also purchase motorcycle permits for $30 or individual permits are $20. 
  • Alternatively, if you’ll be visiting a few national parks in the next 12 months, invest in an America the Beautiful Pass, just $80 per year, or see if you’ve got a family member eligible for the 4th Grader Pass– Every Kid Outdoors.  
  • Purchasing your entry pass in advance will save you time at the entrance! 
  • At present, there’s no timed entry permit required to Grand Canyon National Park, but we can certainly see this changing in the future if crowd numbers continue.  

Getting To The Grand Canyon 

The Grand Canyon, in the northwestern corner of Arizona, is not readily accessible from any major city by public transport. Accordingly, you will need to organize a tour or your own transportation. 

You can search for your car hire here:  

The closest large international airport to Grand Canyon National Park is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This airport is just over 3.5 hours from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  You can also enter from airports in Flagstaff or Sedona, but these are much smaller airports. 

Alternatively, many visitors, particularly to the West Rim, will commence their journey in Las Vegas.  

The south entrance is about 2 miles north of Tusayan on the SR64. It is the closest entrance to Grand Canyon Village, where you’ll find some of the best viewpoints and major facilities in the park. 

Closest Towns To Grand Canyon Village

To help you calculate your journey times, these are distances to Grand Canyon Village:

  • Williams, AZ – 59 miles (1 hour 15 minutes) 
  • Flagstaff, AZ – 79 miles (1 hour 45 minutes) 
  • Sedona, AZ – 114 miles  (2 hours 5 minutes)
  • Kingman, AZ – 172 miles (2 hours 45 minutes) 
  • Phoenix, AZ – 228 miles (3 hours 40 minutes) 
  • Las Vegas, NV – 280 miles (4 hours 25 minutes)

More on accommodation options near the Grand Canyon below.

Enter From The East – Desert View Road 

The eastern entrance to the South Rim of the national park is called Desert View Road. Fewer cars enter from this side, and it makes the ideal starting point if you’re setting out from the north, such as visiting Zion or Bryce National Parks in Utah first, or coming from Monument Valley will be the most logical entry point.  

USA Plan the Perfect Grand Canyon Family Trip - Monument Valley, Utah

NB Although open year-round, Desert View Road can occasionally be closed in winter months due to heavy snowfall or icy conditions. Check conditions here before setting out.  

Rim-to-Rim: Grand Canyon South Rim to North Rim

If you wish to travel between Grand Canyon Village, South Rim, and North Rim, bear in mind, it is over 200 miles and around a 4-hour journey. You can take the Desert View Road to exit the South Rim side of the national park and US89 north, then US89A west to reach the North Rim entrance.

Important Tips on Entry to the Grand Canyon South Entrance 

With popularity comes queues; even off-peak, you can find huge queues build up at the park’s South Entrance, but there are a few ways you can beat the crowds: 

  • Travel off-peak – easier said than done if you’re restricted with school breaks. Generally, spring break is less crowded than winter or summer and brings with it milder weather that’s good for hiking and outdoor activities.  
  • Stay in the national park – visitors staying at one of the national park lodges or campsites, although often rustic, can take advantage of their position starting within the park to bat the morning rush.  
  • Stay nearby and go early – the early bird gets the best parking spots, fewer crowds, and beats the midday heat if you have longer hikes planned. The town of Tusayan is just a couple of miles from the entrance of the park, or try nearby Williams for more choices in accommodation and a shorter drive to start the day. We’d recommend getting in before 8 AM. Between 9-10 AM is when the queues really start to form. 
  • Use the Desert View Road entrance – sure, it might add 40 or so minutes to your journey if you are approaching the national park from the south, but it beats sitting in a queue for 2 hours, right? Plus, there’s plenty to see along this South Rim scenic route – more below!   
  • Use the Tusayan Route Shuttle – Got your park permit already? Your group can travel in the free shuttle and skip the queue at the entrance gate, traveling directly to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, then use the parks shuttle service to get around (summer only).  
  • Take the train! – did you know there’s a vintage train service that runs from nearby Williams and into the heart of the park at Bright Angel Lodge – more below!  
  • Take a helicopter – if you want to skip the traffic altogether, why not splurge on a scenic helicopter ride? Undoubtedly a trip of a lifetime!   

How Many Days Do You Need At The Grand Canyon? 

Anytime at Grand Canyon National Park will be amazing – in fact, it’s even possible to fit in a visit to the South Rim on a day trip from Las Vegas – but a minimum of 3 days is recommended to enjoy the many amazing activities and spectacular hikes we’ll be describing here.  

If you’re planning a longer trip in the Southwest, you may also want to check out our itineraries for: 

When To Visit The Grand Canyon 

When we say off-peak, it can be a little bit of a misnomer for such a busy park. Understandably, the South Rim is busiest at peak school breaks, summer and winter, and spring break. If you are tied to travel only in school breaks, spring brings the most pleasant weather and fewer crowds than summer. 

Think about the times of day and week too. It gets busier after 9 am, with crowds peaking everywhere in the middle of the day, and weekends are always busier.  

If you’re thinking of attending on the designated free national park entry days, good luck. Only the patient (or very brave!) will attempt this!   

Winter can still be surprisingly busy, particularly during the popular Christmas to New Year period but comes with the disadvantage storms can hit, and unexpected road closures may hamper your journey. Don’t forget ice on the shaded trails can be difficult to deal with too.  

What To Pack for Your Grand Canyon Family Trip 

This will depend a little on your season. In addition to our road trip essentials to keep you going through the journey, we suggest you also bring:  

  • A refillable bottle or hydration pack (take advantage of refill stations spotted around the park) 
  • Hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses 
  • Comfortable closed-toed shoes for hiking 
  • Snacks, snacks, and more snacks (do not rely on dining options within the park as they’re limited 
  • A small first-aid kit 
  • Binoculars – the best way to enjoy those spectacular views 
  • A flashlight if you’re staying for evening adventures 

Things To Do At Grand Canyon National Park 

Here’s what we suggest you have on your itinerary for the park – noting you don’t have to start at the visitor center; you can tackle the key attractions in any order!

If you can, park your car at the Grand Canyon visitor center and take shuttles within the park, it will ease congestion and parking panic within the national park

Don’t forget to download our Grand Canyon Checklist – jump to the bottom of this page for our free download!

Exploring Grand Canyon South Rim 

We’ll start with the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, as it is by far the most popular part of the park. The fact that it’s year-round open means that those visiting in the winter can only visit the South Rim, but there is so much to do and see at the South Rim. 

USA Plan the Perfect Grand Canyon Family Trip - Grand Canyon South Rim

Hiking The South Rim 

The Grand Canyon National Park has some great options for hiking. Whether you are seeking something short and easy for little legs or those with limited mobility, or a much longer challenge for experienced hikers, there’s a little something for everyone to be found in the South Rim section of the park.  

Grand Canyon Rim Trail: Mules To Mather Point 

  • Distance: 6 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 413 ft 
  • Rating: Easy 

The entire rim trail stretches from the South Kaibab Trail to Hermit’s Rest and is 13 miles long. This is a great trail for all skill levels, as it’s mostly paved and lined. This dog-friendly stretch offers spectacular views of the South Rim. 

Grand Canyon Rim Trail 

  • Distance: 12.7 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 583 ft 
  • Rating: Easy 

This dog-friendly trail takes you around the entire South Rim in an easy 12.7 miles. This easy trail is great for all skill levels and is paved. You’ll notice markers telling you how far you’ve traveled both in feet and in years. This easy walk provides stunning views of the South Rim, and there are several shuttle bus stops along the trail, so you don’t need to complete the whole thing.  

Bright Angel Trail 

  • Distance: 15.3 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 4,478 ft 
  • Rating: Difficult 

For a day hike, you can’t beat the Bright Angel Trail, which drops in the canyon right at the village, making it an incredibly convenient hike. This hike is not for the faint of heart, with a rating of difficult at 15.3 miles.  

Note for smaller legs; there are rest houses located a mile and a half and three miles below the rim if you need turn-around points. We’d highly recommend you avoid these during the peak heat of the day. 

NB before you think of hiking down and back with the kids- remember it’s about 4 hours down and 6 to 8 hours back up. Plan wisely! 

South Kaibab Trail 

  • Distance: 2.8 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 1,102 ft 
  • Rating: Moderate  

The South Kaibab Trail is another popular south rim trail that begins at Yaki Point. It is a day hike to the mule-hitching post of Cedar Ridge. Be prepared because this trail offers very little shade, no water, and a steep incline. In the winter and early spring, it can also become incredibly icy.  

The South Kaibab Trail is also the quickest way to the bottom of the canyon.  Ooh Aah Point is a popular stopping point. It takes about 30-40 minutes down – add 50% more time for the climb back! 

Ooh Aah Point Grand Canyon Arizona

Bike The Rim 

If hiking doesn’t appeal to the kids, what about biking? The Greenway section of the Rim trail, between the Visitor Center and the South Kaibab trailhead, is paved with no vehicular traffic. Pick up your bikes for the 10-mile return journey from Bright Angel Bicycle Rentals.

You also have the option to take a shuttle, making it an easier one-way journey from Hermit Road to Hermit’s rest.  

NB the shuttle is optional in winter, but from March to the end of November, Hermit Road is closed to cars. 

Visit Yavapai Geology Museum  

Found at the South Rim, about 1.5 along the Rim Trail, this is a fascinating stop for junior geology lovers. The 3D map is a great study to put the size and grandeur into perspective.  

You can continue your journey outdoors on the interpretative path, Trail in Time.  The best part about this walk, no steep hills, and it’s stroller friendly! 

Become A Junior Ranger 

Like many US national parks, one of the best activities for kids is picking up a junior range booklet from the visitor center and completing the junior ranger activities to earn a badge. 

Also, look out for the specialized children’s ranger programs available over the summer months. 

Stop At As Many Viewpoints As Possible 

The main point of interest for most visitors to the Grand Canyon is taking in the simply epic views. These are some of the most popular viewing points within the South Rim section of the national park. 

Hopi Point 

The Hopi Point viewpoint is along the South Rim Trail and is known for being the best sunset location in the entire park. You’ll get stunning views of the Colorado River, cutting into the canyon as the sun sets. 

USA Guide To Grand Canyon National Park - Hopi Point, Arizona

Desert View 

This unique viewpoint provides gorgeous views of the open canyon. The Desert Watchtower was built in 1932 and still remains on the cliff’s edge. 

USA Guide To Grand Canyon National Park - Desert View, Arizona

Mather Point 

Mather Point is the go-to scenic viewpoint on the South Rim, and for a good reason. It’s an iconic view that is a great introduction to the absolute immensity of the Grand Canyon. 

USA Guide To Grand Canyon National Park - Mather Point, Arizona

Shoshone Point 

If you want to beat the crowds, this underrated viewpoint that provides stunning views. There’s an easy grade 20-minute walk involved to get there, but you’ll be rewarded with incredible 180-degree views of the Grand Canyon (allow 2.2 miles return). 

USA Guide To Grand Canyon National Park - Shoshone Point, Arizona

Boat The Colorado River 

There are two different ways to boat the Colorado River; you can either use a paddle raft or a motorized raft. The motorized rafts are immense at around 30 feet and are packed with riders, though you can take kids as young as eight years old.  

USA Guide To Grand Canyon National Park - Colorado River, Arizona

The human-propelled counterpart provides a more nature-friendly option, though due to the strenuous nature of the activity, your passengers need to be over 12.  

There are dozens of rafting companies that offer boat rides on the Colorado River. These companies offer everything from 1-day trips to 18-day epic adventures. Some of the most popular suppliers to consider are:  

Take A Train Ride 

For a unique way to experience the park, you can catch the vintage train that travels the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, which is approximately 2.5 hours from Phoenix.  

The train offers several classes of carriage, from the budget-friendly Pullman to the dome-roofed first-class cabins, where snacks and drinks are included (grown-up drinks are available for purchase too!).  

More than just a train ride, there’s a pre-journey shoot-out show, live performers aboard, and on the return journey (total spoiler alert), there’s even an orchestrated heist! Probably best to be prepared in case the little ones scare easily.  

The train departs daily from Williams at 9:30 AM and arrives at the historical village in the Grand Canyon at 11:45 AM. You get three hours of free time to explore before departing at 3:30 PM, returning to Williams at 5:45 PM (one hour earlier in November and December). 

Take A Helicopter Tour 

If the budget will allow, there’s no better way to cap off your Grand Canyon National Park experience than taking a bird’s eye view on a helicopter tour. Some of the most reputable providers include: 

Exploring The North Rim Of The Grand Canyon 

Entry to the North Rim – generally open May to October – can be found 30 miles south of Jacob Lake on Highway 67. You are not far here from the Utah border, so it makes the ideal addition to a Utah Mighty 5 road trip if you have an extra day to spare.  

USA Plan the Perfect Grand Canyon Family Trip - Grand Canyon North Rim

Hiking The North Rim

There are some easy short hikes and lookouts families can tackle in the North Rim section of the park. For example, it’s only a 0.5-mile paved walk to Bright Angel Point, or try the lookout points at Point Imperial and Cape Royal scenic drive. 

For the fitter and more experienced hikers:  

Widforss Trail 

  • Distance: 9.1 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 1,036 ft 
  • Rating: Moderate 

The North Rim provides a completely different hiking experience than the South Rim. On the Widforss Trail, you’ll experience a blend of spectacular forest and canyon scenery. The trail was named after Gunnar Widforss, who lived at and painted the Grand Canyon in the 1930s. 

Viewpoints Scenic Drive

Allow yourself at least half a day to take in the winding drive and incredible viewpoints at Point Imperial, Walhalla Point, and Cape Royal.

Point Imperial is the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet, overlooking the Painted Desert and the eastern end of the Grand Canyon.

View from Point Imperial,, Grand Canyon to the area known as Painted Hills Arizona

Cape Royal is a popular point for sunrise and sunset, offering sweeping views to both the east and the west. You’ll be able to catch a glimpse of Desert View Watchtower on the South Rim.

Exploring The Grand Canyon East Rim 

Although not officially part of the national park, you’ll find the eastern portion of the Grand Canyon still has many spectacular sites that any intrepid travelers may still want to add to their bucket list. You’ll experience fewer crowds and over-tourism here. 

Here are a few points of interest you’ll want to add to your itinerary: 

Horseshoe Bend 

Probably one of the most famously photographed parts of the Colorado River, near Page, Arizona. It is found 5 miles downstream from Glen Canyon Dam. You’ll need a 1-mile walk to get to the viewing point. 

Horseshoe Bend in Arizona epic views of the Colorado River - east of Grand Canyon

Lake Powell 

Also located in Glen Canyon Recreation Area. Although it is technically man-made as it’s a reservoir, it’s still one of the greatest natural wonders between Utah and Arizona, popular with boating enthusiasts, water skiers, fishers, and campers. 

Sunset over Lake Powell Arizona

Antelope Canyon 

Set on Navajo land, “The Corkscrew” and “The Crack” (Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon) are some of the most incredible slot canyons in the Southwest.

Lower Antelope Canyon is recommended only for experienced hikers, whilst intrepid travelers with children are permitted on tours to Upper Antelope Canyon.  

Note that you must use an authorized Navajo tour company to access these slot canyons.  

Inside the Antelope slot canyons

Little Colorado River Gorge 

Little it isn’t with 45 miles of a narrow gorge, 3000 feet deep at points. However, with its colorless grey stone walls, you’ll see the significant difference to the Grand Canyon. It makes the perfect scenic stop on your way to the Grand Canyon. 

There is an entry fee payable on arrival – $8 per person per day; it is NOT covered by your National Parks Pass. 

Marble Canyon 

This marks the point where the Little Colorado River tributary and the Colorado River meet. You can get a view from Navajo Bridge off Highway 89A. You can also drop into the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center and undertake a self-guided tour across the bridge (April to October). 

Marble canyon at the tributary that leads to Grand Canyon

Visit The Skywalk Of The West Rim 

While the West Rim of the Grand Canyon technically isn’t inside of Grand Canyon National Park, the Skywalk is a fascinating modern addition you can add to your trip to the canyon.  

The West Rim is on the tribal lands of the Hualapai, and the Skywalk itself is a horseshoe-shaped bridge with a glass bottom suspended 4,000 feet over the Colorado River. It gives you unparalleled views of the canyon below, all while helping you conquer your fear of heights. 

USA Guide To Grand Canyon National Park - Skywalk Of The West Rim, Arizona

The Skywalk is accessible from Vegas in just 2 hours, making it a popular choice for day trippers just to glimpse the Grand Canyon. If you head directly to the West Rim from Phoenix, it is a 4-hour drive.  

Open to the public with an admission fee, starting from $66 per person including the Skywalk – prices vary depending on how you want to package your tickets, with the inclusion of meals, the Skywalk, and the Zipline possible with your West Rim entry fee.  

Where To Stay Inside Grand Canyon National Park 

There are lodging options within the national park at both the South Rim and North Rim (bearing in mind seasonal closures). Remember, reservations at national park properties open a year out – you’ll want to be fast on the keyboard for popular dates. 

  • Important Note: Phantom Ranch is the only accommodation available at the foot of the Grand Canyon – before you get too excited, be mindful that you need to enter a lottery! Yup, up to 15 months in advance slots open; bookings are currently on hold until February 1, 2023, for stays in April 2024.

Campgrounds At The Grand Canyon

Campgrounds can be found along the north and south rims. 

  • Mather Campground – reservation required 
  • Trailer Village (RVs only) – reservation required 
  • Desert View Campground (closed winter) – reservation and a limited number first come basis, and they fill early, so probably not ideal for families.   
  • North Rim Campground – reservation required, no RV Hook up (May 15 to October 15 only)
  • Backcountry permits are required for all overnight trips in Grand Canyon National Park. You can submit an application on the first day of the month five months in advance.  

National Park Lodges

Most families will choose the lodge accommodation if staying within the park. We’ve summarised the available lodges here but read on for more details

 Location / RatingBooking Room sizes 
Bright Angel Lodge  South Rim – 3*Check hereSleeps up to 3
El Tovar Hotel  South Rim – 2.5*Check hereSleeps up to 5
Kachina Lodge  South Rim – 2.5*Check hereSleeps up to 4
Thunderbird Lodge  South Rim – 2.5*Check hereSleeps up to 4
Maswik Lodge  South Rim – 2.5*Check hereSleeps up to 5
Yavapai Lodge South Rim – 2*Check hereSleeps up to 5
Grand Canyon Lodge  North Rim Check hereSleeps up to 6

South Rim Lodges 

Bright Angel Lodge 

9 Village Loop Drive, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023 

The Bright Angel Lodge is one of the most popular lodging options near the South Rim. There are 90 lodging units with free Wi-Fi access. If you choose the Bright Angel Lodge, you’ll have quick and easy access to some of the park’s most beloved hiking trails and attractions.  

USA Guide To Grand Canyon National Park - Bright Angel Lodge, Arizona

You have the option between the main historic lodge and surrounding cabins. Several dining options can also be found at Bright Angel, making it a popular family choice (though note the dining options can’t be pre-booked and max 3 per room). 

Learn more about Bright Angel LodgeCheck availability with Hotels.com 

El Tovar Hotel 

9 Village Loop Drive, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023 

El Tovar opened in the early 1900s at the end of the railroad lines and was regarded as one of the most elegant lodges west of the Mississippi. This 78-room historic lodge offers on-site restaurant and concierge services.  

USA Guide To Grand Canyon National Park - El Tovar, Arizona

From the outside, it’s the oldest and grandest of the lodges. Inside, though, it’s fairly basic, but you’re really paying for the location – there are wonderful external views (not from most rooms), and you’re within walking distance to Rim Village. 

Most rooms sleep 2/4, but a Deluxe Queen can sleep up to 5.

Find out more about El Tovar | Check availability with Hotels.com 

Kachina Lodge 

5 Village Loop Drive, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023 

This modern lodge is right along the Grand Canyon Rim, meaning many of the rooms have partial canyon views. This 49-room lodge offers Wi-Fi, but no elevators and limited cell phone service.  

It’s perfect for those looking for beautiful views and wanting to unplug – rooms can sleep up to 4.

Find out more about Kachina Lodge | Check availability with Hotels.com 

Thunderbird Lodge 

10 Albright Ave, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023 

If you’re looking for a slightly more budget-friendly option, Thunderbird Lodge is possibly the one for you.

This 55-room property is located between El Tovar and Bright Angel Lodge. Note that there are no elevators in the Thunderbird Lodge, and you’ll need to check in at the Bright Angel Lodge.  

If you’re on a budget, then this lodge is a great option for you.

Find out more about Thunderbird Lodge | Check availability with Hotels.com 

Maswik Lodge 

202 Village Loop Drive, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023 

Another budget-friendly option to try is Maswik Lodge, nestled in the Ponderosa Pine Forest, 0.25 miles from the Canyon’s edge. The lodge gets its name from a Hopi Kachina who, legend has it, guards the Grand Canyon. 

This 280-room lodge is in a great location and is a little more budget-friendly than other lodgings in the park, from $140 per night. The hotel is divided into the older North lodge and the newer south lodge, some with kitchenettes. Double Queen rooms can sleep families of up to 5.

Find out more about the Maswik Lodge | Check availability with hotels.com

Yavapai Lodge 

11 Yavapai Lodge Road, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

This is a rather basic national park lodging, around 1 mile from the South Rim, but what you lack in views you can make up for in convenience, being near the general store and other amenities (including local brews!) which makes it a preferred choice with many families.

Some rooms here can sleep up to 6, which is ideal for your larger family. The lodge is also pet-friendly.  

Find out more about Yavapai Lodge | Check availability with hotels.com 

NB, none of the lodges offer guaranteed parking on site. Consider in your plans you may need to park in overflow parking and shuttle to your lodgings.

North Rim Lodging 

Only opens seasonally, approximately mid-May to mid-October. 

Accommodation options within the national park are limited at the North Rim, with only one lodge and one campground. There are further options outside the park at Jacob Lake.

Grand Canyon Lodge 

AZ-67, North Rim, AZ 86052 

The only lodge-style accommodation at Grand Canyon North Rim is Grand Canyon Lodge. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, this is a budget-friendly option that includes laundry facilities, a coffee shop, and a general store, among other amenities.  

USA Guide To Grand Canyon National Park - Grand Canyon Lodge, Arizona

There are options for motel-style rooms through to cabins that can sleep up to 6.

Find out more about the Grand Canyon Lodge

Where To Stay Near The Grand Canyon 

Also, consider staying just outside of the national park for a much wider range of accommodation options. 

Bear in mind our points above about getting into the South Entrance early, though, to beat the queues if you’re not actually staying in the national park. 

South Rim – Nearby Accommodation

  • Also, outside the park, if you’re traveling with an RV, you might find your best option is Grand Canyon / Williams KOA which has both RV and tent camping available.  

West Rim – Nearby Accommodation

Run by the Hualapai tribe, at Grand Canyon West, you’ll find cabins and RV parking.

Alternatively, look at Hualapai Lodge, located in Peach Springs, about 90 minutes from the West Rim, along the historic Route 66.

Where To Eat At Grand Canyon National Park 

There are plentiful meal options available within the National Park, but do bear in mind, as we’ve mentioned just a few times now, crowds!  

Only El Tovar can be reserved in advance at South Rim. The rest are first come and may not be able to seat your party (without a long wait) at meal times. Food options may also be limited toward the end of mealtimes.

South Rim Dining Options 

  • Market Plaza 
  • Yavapai Lodge Tavern (lunch and dinner)
  • Yavapai Lodge Restaurant (breakfast and dinner)
  • El Tovar Dining Room (takes reservations) 
  • El Tovar Lounge (takes reservations) 
  • Arizona Steakhouse
  • Bright Angel Fountain (grab-and-go) 
  • Bright Angel Tavern (drinks and light dinner)
  • Maswik Food Court (grab-and-go)
  • Maswik Lodge Pizza Pub (dine-in only)
  • Desert View Market & Deli 
  • Hermit’s Rest Snack Bar

We highly recommend packing a picnic lunch if you’re traveling with kids to remove the mealtime stress. You’ll find more options if you pick these up en route at Flagstaff or Williams. It’s a good idea to have a cooler for your car and an insulated backpack for this.

North Rim Dining Options 

Family dining options at North Rima are more limited but still offer some options: 

  • Grand Canyon Lodge Dining Room (breakfast, lunch, and dinner by reservation)
  • Roughrider Saloon (adult drinks and coffee, cakes)
  • Deli In The Pines (lunch and dinner)

Final Tips For Visiting Grand Canyon National Park 

Before setting off for your Grand Canyon road trip, you may find these final reminders helpful.  

  • You’ll need to pack plenty of patience! Remembering Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular National Parks in the United States, and you’ll have to deal with crowds no matter what time of year you visit. 
  • Make reservations well in advance (start looking 13 months out) if you want to stay inside the park.
  • A shuttle service is offered within the Grand Canyon National Park to make getting around easier for guests– use it! Do allow yourselves plenty of time, though, and remember it’s first come, first on.  
  • Although Grand Canyon National park permits dogs, they are not permitted below the canyon rim. They can, however, hike the trails with you. Just watch the extreme summer temperatures.  
  • Whilst falling into the canyon is rare, there are many steep cliffs with no rails. You may want to consider harnesses for small children prone to wandering or infant carriers.  
  • Although South Rim remains open year-round, the trails can be icy in the winter – consider your clothing choices carefully and crampons for the hiking trails. Watch for last-minute closures. 
  • Sturdy trainers or closed-toe hiking sandals are a must in summer; forget the flip-flops if you’re planning any of the hikes off paved roads. 
  • Don’t rely just on Google Maps! You won’t always have a cell signal; Have a downloaded version or a paper map depending on your preference for ‘just in case”
  • Remember to employ all the principles of leave no trace. Stick to the trails, and do not feed the wildlife! People have been injured by many of the park animals, including squirrels, bison, deer, and elk. It’s important not to approach or feed animals for their safety, as well as yours. 
  • Be prepared for excessive heat if you are visiting in the summer and hiking. Summer temperatures inside the canyon can easily exceed 115 degrees in the summer. 
  • Driving in the summer, make sure you take on board our desert driving tips 
  • Are you crossing into Arizona from the surrounding states? Be aware that Arizona uses MST and DOES NOT move the clocks forward for daylight savings (in winter, they are in the same time zone as Nevada, in winter, they align with Utah). Adding to any confusion, note that areas that fall under Navajo nation DO follow MDT!

Grand Canyon Checklist

Click on the image below if you’d like to download your very own Grand Canyon Checklist to ensure you don’t miss any of the highlights of one of the grandest road trip destinations in the US!

Grand Canyon Checklist graphic - click to download the original PDF

No matter what you do during your visit to the Grand Canyon, one thing is for sure; you won’t forget the time spent at the picturesque canyon. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!  

download your free road trip checklist click here button

© Family Road Trip

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