a large family hugs at a Grand Canyon National Park lookout point

Grand Canyon Activities for Families

Visiting Vegas with the family? Give your kids the once-in-a-lifetime experience and visit the Grand Canyon! You can reach the Grand Canyon in just a day’s time on a helicopter or airplane tour from Las Vegas. You’ll discover fantastic aerial views of the Mojave Desert, Hoover Dam, and the Colorado River. Some helicopter tours even include a landing at the very bottom of the canyon! 

Upon arrival at the canyon, you’ll find plenty of activities to keep your kids entertained and beautiful sights to explore. Learn more about how to get to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas and the best Grand Canyon activities for families.

kids on Helicopter tour

Which Rim of the Grand Canyon is Best for Family Activities?

The Grand Canyon is divided into the West Rim and the South Rim (the official Grand Canyon National Park). Both locations offer different but equally exciting family friendly activities and sightseeing opportunities. Which rim of the canyon should you choose?  

The West Rim is closer to Las Vegas and can be reached in just over an hour via helicopter tour. At the West Rim, you can experience a helicopter landing at the very bottom! You can also upgrade your helicopter tour to include a smooth water boating trip on the Colorado River or entry to the world-famous Skywalk Bridge. The West Rim offers a more rugged experience for nature-loving families who love to explore. 

At the South Rim, which can be reached on an airplane tour from Las Vegas, you can enjoy a scenic helicopter flight over the deepest and widest parts of the canyon. You can also explore multiple lookout points on a Hummer tour, which is a great option for families with young children who may not be able to walk long distances. The South Rim also has several restaurants, shops, and historic buildings to explore. 

Family poses at South Rim

What Are the Best Grand Canyon South Rim Activities?

If you’re only visiting the Grand Canyon National Park for a day, you’ll have to determine how to best spend your limited time at this incredible natural landmark. How do you see as many views of the canyon as possible? Here is our list of the best Grand Canyon South Rim activities that the whole family can enjoy. 

Desert View Watchtower

This historic cylindrical building was constructed in 1932. Designed by architect Mary Colter, the Desert View Watchtower was meticulously built with stone native to the area, giving it an earthen appearance as though it is part of the canyon itself. The watchtower is free to enter and provides a stunning view of the eastern portion of the Grand Canyon National Park. 

Grand Canyon Hiking

There are a great many hiking trails scattered throughout the Grand Canyon National Park. The Scenic Rim Trail stretches 13 miles and is paved almost the entire way – a great option for families to casually wander the canyon’s edge. Bright Angel Trail actually ventures down the canyon floor and is a popular bucket list item for hiking enthusiasts. Many who travel down Bright Angel Trail get overnight permits as the return hike back to the canyon rim is much more difficult and time consuming. Whether you’re a family of seasoned hikers or just want to explore, you can find a trail that’s the perfect distance and difficulty for you. 

Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger program is for children ages 4 and up. Its mission is to educate and excite the next generation about preserving natural locations like the Grand Canyon. If you visit the South Rim, stop at the Yavapai Geology Musuem, Kolb Studio, or the Grand Canyon Conservancy main store to pick up Junior Ranger activity books. Once your child has completed the book and participated in a ranger-led program, they’ll be awarded a special badge! 

Grand Canyon Hummer Tours

Want to visit all of the best Grand Canyon lookout points? Hop aboard a Hummer tour and you’ll stop at them all! These modified Hummer vehicles are designed specifically for sightseeing, with an open-air cab to enjoy the desert weather. Your professional driver will select the best locations to stop so your family can enjoy a variety of unique perspectives of the canyon walls. You’ll have time at each stop to take photos, explore, and make memories. You can also book your Hummer tour at sunset for even more incredible sightseeing. 

Yavapai Museum of Geology

Nestled right at the edge of Yavapai Point at the Grand Canyon National Park, the Yavapai Museum of Geology offers a variety of educational exhibits, models, and photographs, as well as a bookstore and a massive panoramic window for viewing this canyon. Best of all, the museum is free to visit and a great way to provide your kids with some fun education about the history of this region.

Grand Canyon Skywalk Guests

What Are the Best Grand Canyon West Rim Activities?

The Grand Canyon West is smaller than the national park but offers a fantastic, rugged landscape and unique experiences to get your children closer to nature. The West Rim is also typically less crowded than the South Rim, so your family can enjoy a more private and peaceful time at the Grand Canyon. You can reach the Grand Canyon West in just over an hour aboard a helicopter tour from Las Vegas. Check out our list of top activities to experience at the West Rim once you arrive. 

Grand Canyon Skywalk

This world-famous glass bottomed bridge extends over 70 feet past the edge of the Grand Canyon. You can quite literally step out in the air over the massive rock gorge and see the Colorado River beneath you. Tickets to enter the skywalk start at $64, but you can add Skywalk entry to other Grand Canyon helicopter tours and skip the line as well! 

Land on the Bottom of the Grand Canyon

The West Rim is the only region of the Grand Canyon where it is possible to actually land on the very bottom in a helicopter! This thrilling descent over the edge of the canyon passes between the striped canyon walls and lands all the way at the very bottom, right near the Colorado River. Grand Canyon helicopter tours that land on the bottom are the most exciting way to experience the West Rim from top to bottom! 

Colorado River Excursions

You can also upgrade your Grand Canyon helicopter tour to include a smooth Colorado River water boating excursion. After landing at the bottom of the canyon, a pontoon boat will be waiting to transport your family up and down the Colorado River between the massive canyon walls on either side of you. The cool spray of the river water provides some much-needed refreshment from the warm desert climate! 

Eagle Point

Eagle Point is a truly unique rock formation within the canyon wall at the West Rim. It bears a shocking resemblance to a giant eagle spreading its wings in flight. You can see Eagle point from across the canyon near the Skywalk Bridge or pose in front of it on the bridge itself. 

Guano Point

Another popular lookout point at the West Rim is called Guano Point. You can easily reach Guano Point aboard the free shuttle service available at this area of the park. Guano Point offers a near 430-degree view of the canyon, as it is essentially a rock peninsula that extends into the canyon gorge. You can even climb the hill at the end for an even better view! 

Grand Canyon helicopter tour

Book With Papillon Today!

If you and your kids are lovers of national parks, nature adventures, and outdoor activities, let Papillon handle your Grand Canyon vacation from Las Vegas. We offer in-depth and unforgettable tours to both the South Rim and the West Rim with a variety of touring features including helicopter tours, airplane flights, Hummer excursions, and more.  

Family Owned & Operated

Since our beginning in 1965, Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters has been family owned and operated. We pride ourselves on being the oldest and longest running air tour company in the world and value your family’s time – our flights depart daily with multiple available flight times that can fit into your schedule. 

Over 600,000 Happy Passengers Every Year

For nearly 60 years, we have brought families from around the world from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon on our spectacular helicopter tours and sightseeing airplane flights. We look forward to the opportunity to show your family the most magnificent natural landmark in the United States.