Thinking about a trip to the Grand Canyon with your kids? Wondering how family-friendly the hikes, campsites & area is in the Grand Canyon? Well, I’m your personal travel guinea pig! My family loves an adventure & want to share our recent week-long epic camping trip where we hopped from Houston, TX to the Grand Canyon (& lots of places in between)! I am happy to answer any questions you might have, just drop them in the comments. So let’s get started on this family-friendly Grand Canyon camping trip where we learned that it can snow in March at the Grand Canyon!
Let’s start with our family, at the time of this trip our kids are age 5 & 11. This was my daughter’s first time having no sort of carrier for hikes (since we tend to do longer hikes) since we forgot a key piece to our piggyback rider (you can see my favorite carriers for hiking here) so all hikes we did were with our two kiddos. And even though I talk about everything being accessible for my two kids but the entire trip is one I would do again alone or with my husband in a heartbeat! We ended up with one day we were able to hike & explore due to weather but are already making plans to explore more of this beautiful National Park.
Where to family camp in Grand Canyon in March
We stayed two nights at the Mather Campground in the Grand Canyon. The campsites in the Mather Campground are roomy with private parking in front of each campsite that makes packing/unpacking your gear easy. Each campsite also had a fire ring, picnic table & we noticed that restrooms were within an easy walking distance to all the campsites. There is a bathhouse/small store/laundry center located right before turning into Mather Campground that is very convenient. We were able to toss in a load of laundry, take showers (coin operated & you can buy a token in the store) & grab a coffee all at once.
Also, yes it can snow in March in the Grand Canyon!
Grand Canyon hikes (that kids can do!)
The Grand Canyon with kids can be an absolute blast as long as you plan ahead for the best hikes that your family can conquer together & are able to be flexible with your plans. Our whole week-long road trip was spent racing the rain which had us switching our plans (we originally planned to stay 3 nights in the Grand Canyon but rain/snow had us moving onto Zion quicker), so being flexible is a MUST! We didn’t get in nearly as much hiking in as we wanted but there’s always next time, so we make a list of the top hikes we want to do & go from there.
South Kaibab Trail
To visit these trails you will need to catch the Kaibab/Rim Route shuttle bus, there’s no visitor parking at the trailhead.
Ooh-Aah Point (1.8 miles round trip) – This out & pack trail descends quickly with switchbacks before leveling off & reaching Ooh-Aah point that makes for the perfect photo opportunity. There are also lots of rocks where people layout, have a snack, take a break & relax.
Cedar Ridge (3 miles round trip) – If Ooh-Aah point has you itching for more hiking you can continue on for a little over another half a mile for spectacular views & lots more switchbacks going down, just remember if you’re descending at the beginning of your hike that the hike back will be a steep one back but it’s certainly worth it for the spectacular views you’ll have of the Grand Canyon.
What to See at the Grand Canyon
Desert View Watchtower – the drive alone from the South Rim Visitor Center to the Desert View Watchtower is worth the drive but just wait until you come up on the 1932 stone watchtower that overlooks the Colorado River & gives you a 360* view from the observation deck. While in the Desert View area you can also visit the free Tusayan Museum & Ruins. There are also plenty of places to stop on the drive to the Desert View area to pull over for breathtaking sights of the Colorado River.
Tips for a successful Grand Canyon family trip
- Ride the free shuttle busses, they arrive every 10-15 minutes
- Fill up your hydration pack whenever you see drinking water available
- Make campground reservations ahead of times
- Let someone else do the cooking; with 7 food options skip the cooking & indulge! The Canyon Village Market & Deli “General Store” is affordable & has family favorites!
- Don’t worry about forgetting something, the General Store has groceries, camping supplies & gear rental
What to bring to Grand Canyon National Park
Camelbak – I don’t care how small my hike is, I find it easiest to just strap on my Camelbak (since I keep it stocked on hiking trips) filled with water. It also gives me a place to store anything I might want to store for the hikes (don’t forget to put a map in it). I opted for the 100 oz Camelbak while both of my kids have the Camelbak scout hydration pack (for more ideas for kid’s hiking gear check out this post). I fill my hydration pack every chance I get!
Snacks – I always have snacks in my backpack since I’m always with my family, so I like to be prepared. Even if I was on my own, I would still pack nuts, fresh fruit & a few protein bars.
Sunglasses – These are a must for desserts or near waters, the sun bounces & is extremely harsh on your eyes.
Sunscreen – ALWAYS use sunscreen, even an overcast day can leave your skin vulnerable to the sun. Two sunscreens I like that don’t break me out or feel heavy are this Alba sunscreen & this one from Sunbum, I also keep this stick sunscreen in my bag.
Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, I usually opt for my Patagonia baseball cap that’s worn well. If you want to keep the sun off your neck, a bucket hat is great for hiking too.
Hiking poles – Hiking poles are great for steep hikes, hikes that tend to have snow/water & for those with bad knees.