Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top 5 Lessons Learned from Camping at the Grand Canyon

I haven't been camping since I was a teenager.  So, I asked my husband if we could pack up the kids and go.  He was game.  I had never seen the Grand Canyon and it was only a day's drive away.  So with 5 kids (including a 2-month-old baby), we went. Here is what we learned:

#5--Camping requires significantly more trunk space.  By the time we packed a tent, 4 sleeping bags, padding to go under the sleeping bags, a cot, small propane stove, and lantern, there was no more room.  We still had to pack clothes, pillows, diapers, jackets, food, first aid kit, etc.  By the time it was all done, it was a tight fit.

#4--Family Time is a wonderful thing. With all electronic toys left at home, we had plenty of time for all the stuff we never have time for.  Ghost stories, watching a sunset, star gazing, chasing chipmunks, playing cards, swinging in the hammock, hiking, roasting marshmallows. 

#3--The North Rim vs. the South Rim.  We live closer to the North Rim and considering the children asked "how much longer" when we had only been driving for 30 minutes it made sense.  The North Rim was almost deserted with only a handful of other visitors.  We easily found seats at the observations deck even during meal times (pizza with a world class view).   We were able to enjoy nature more and not fight crowds, traffic, or noise. Perfect. On the other hand, there is no city or even town near the North Rim.  A couple of stores, a lodge with a few restaurants including pizza, a few cabins, and a campground.  If you want to do something other than look at the view (like golfing or shopping, the North Rim is not for you).

#2--Unexpected Surprises.  Some of our favorite parts were not planned.  My husband loved seeing petroglyphs which we saw on the way back after passing a sign on the freeway.  We saw a herd of buffalo including a few babies.  Our boys were fascinated with chipmunks and squirrels.

#1--The View at the Grand Canyon.  Breathtaking.  Spectacular.  Enormous.  As we stood on the observation deck, the canyon extended as far as the eye could see in three directions (the parking lot being the fourth).   We walked to various lookout points where cliffs fall away from the path on both sides.  Unbelievable.  Larger than a picture can capture.  Stunning.  We were lucky enough to see it at sunset with a rainbow.  Memorable.


  1. Rebecca - thank you for sharing. I hope to visit the Grand Canyon someday with the family (we have three children). Sounds like you and Jesse had a fantastic time.


  2. Thanks. This is good to know (i wasn't familiar with the north rim/south rim). We went camping in yellowstone and loved it ... maybe the grand canyon is next!

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