How to Spend One Day at the Grand Canyon South Rim with Kids

On our recent West USA family road trip, taking the kids to the Grand Canyon was high on our bucket list. After extensive research and recommendations from other travellers, we chose to visit and stay at the South Rim. However due to distances and driving time, this meant we only had 2 nights and 1 full day to spend here. Despite the time constraints, we packed a lot of fun and action into a short amount of time while visiting this natural wonder.

The Grand Canyon has been carved by the Colorado River over 6 million years, with a depth of over a mile and roughly 277 miles long. The Grand Canyon National Park spans more than a million acres in Arizona. Photographs of this place just don’t capture the sheer size of the canyon. Our first peek over the rim truly was breathtaking!

So if you are short on time but still want to visit this natural wonder (just like us!), below is our one day itinerary for visiting the Grand Canyon South Rim with kids.

Sunrise

Check the times for sunrise with your hotel or on the National Park site here, and set your alarm! The Grand Canyon is a paradise for photography, and you won’t want to miss the sun rising over the rim and lighting up the walls of the canyon.

Take a (very) scenic drive to Desert View

After sunrise, grab some breakfast and then take a drive along the scenic rim towards Desert View. You’ll find plenty of places and overlooks to pull up for photos along the way! Once at Desert View, climb the watchtower and admire the views of the Colorado River winding its way along the valley floor. Grab some lunch or pack a picnic to enjoy here!

Walk the Trail of Time

Spend the afternoon walking the rim on the Trail of Time. On the way, you’ll learn about the Grand Canyon’s history, geology and be able to admire the magnificent views.

Get your hike on

If you’ve still got some time spare and the kids are up for it, hike the start of one of the easier trails and view the walls of the canyon from below. The Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail are great for this.

Sign up for a Junior Ranger Program

Like many US National Parks, the Grand Canyon offers a Junior Ranger program for the kids. Participate in a ranger-led program, take the pledge, complete the activities in the South Rim Junior Ranger activity book, and receive your badge.

Sunset

Just like sunrise, watching the sun set over the canyon and lighting up the walls with pink and orange sunset hues is amazing.

Read more about our time Stateside here.

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