If you’ve been on Instagram for more than five minutes, you’ve probably seen the spectacular view of the Colorado River from Horseshoe Bend or even the awe-inspiring Antelope Canyon. But did you know it’s here in Arizona – practically in our own backyard?? A mere 5 hours (which is more like 6 with toddlers) to Page Arizona, a place that feels like a world away. Beyond the beauty of Antelope Canyon, the City of Page offers even more sights and adventures, making it a perfect family getaway or even a great addition to a trip to the Grand Canyon.
My kids are small (3 & 1) so getting information on how suitable things are for small kids is sometimes hard to find, so I’m excited to share what I learned on our trip. If you’ve got older kids, you should be golden! In this post you’ll find some of our favorite places to explore while we are there and anything you need to know to make it a successful trip.
We have family in Utah and make that drive once or twice a year, often stopping in Page on our way there. From the East Valley, it’s a pretty simple drive to Page – just straight up the 17 to the 89. We usually make a pit stop in Flagstaff for a bathroom break, get gas (and lets be real, snacks!) and let the kids out for a few minutes if they are feeling restless. If you’re looking for sights to see along the route some options are Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monument. Keep in mind any of these stops would take a hour or more to explore.
If you’re not familiar with Antelope Canyon, there are two parts of the canyon – upper and lower. The Upper Canyon is most popular (It’s known for those gorgeous streams of light that shine in) but it is also more crowded and not all tour companies allow kids in the upper canyon. It’s also the more expensive of the two. While the walk through the canyon is supposed to be easier, it’s a lot more difficult to get to – and if you have babies or toddlers car seats are the main logistical concern here (something I did not want to hassle with). If your kids are older, this likely won’t be an issue for you.
The lower canyon is a little more difficult physically – the total distance is about a mile and took about an hour from start to finish (people stop to take looooots of photos). There are also stairs you must climb to get down into the canyon, plus a short set to get back out. At the time we took our tour, children under the age of 7 were free, but we had to make note of them attending when making our reservation. We chose to tour Lower Antelope Canyon – our 3 year old was able to do the stairs and hike the entire canyon on his own. We wore my 1 year old in a hiking backpack for a little over half of the hike, then she wanted to walk the rest with her brother.
A few things to know:
The canyons are on Navajo land, so the only way to visit is through a tour. I strongly suggest booking your tour in advance, as soon as you know when you’re traveling – days and times fill up quickly. We booked ours through Ken’s Tours and had an amazing guide. The canyon is open 7 days a week, but they do close if there is rain, as flash floods pose a huge risk. Before the tour starts, make sure the kids have had a good snack, some water and have used the restroom.
My kids did great on our tour, they were excited to explore and the rules were pretty simple to follow. The hardest part was waiting for the people in front of us to proceed through the canyon. We had to stay with our group, which at times felt like a painfully slow Disneyland line – which is so dang hard for a toddler to comprehend. We ended up falling back to the end of our group and letting them get some distance ahead so we could walk a little more freely.
Here’s another one of those amazing, ever so instagramable places. My sister in law grew up in Page and when I asked her about visiting Horseshoe Bend she told me she wouldn’t dare take her toddler there, or at least not until they finished building the railing. I took her warning to heart – let’s be real it’s literally a huge cliff! We still wanted to see it so we planned to wear the both kids for the hike, unfortunately I left our second carrier at home. We decided to bravely attempt it anyways (with many, many cautionary warnings to our 3 year old).
Much to our surprise, a good portion of the railing was finished, so he was able to get close to and see down below – without giving me a heart attack (while his sister slept the day away in the hiking carrier). We also ventured a little off to the side for a different view and a few photos, not daring too close to the edge. It turned out to be safe, fun and beautiful.
A few things to know:
Make sure to carry water (a MUST in Arizona, always), the entire hike has no shade. It’s about a ¾ mile – relatively easy, with a steady incline. It is currently free to visit (though, I have heard rumors that this may change once the rail is complete) so it is a busy place to visit, the parking lot is always crowded and usually at least 2 tour buses in the lot. As I mentioned before, keep a close eye on your kids, that drop off is no joke.
Glen Canyon Dam Overlook
This was not one of our planned stops in Page, but it ended up being one of my favorites. We left our hotel extremely early for our 10 am Antelope Canyon tour and had time to kill, so I pulled up Google maps and found this place close by. We parked and did a short hike down to the overlook – it took about 10 minutes. My 3 year old hiked it by himself and my husband held our 1 year old in his arms. It offered views of the Glen Canyon Dam and stunning views of the Colorado River. The best part was that we had the entire place to ourselves! There was a small wall all the way around so the kids were able to play a bit and we could still see out to admire the view. Check this out if you are wanting a similar view to Horseshoe Bend without the hike, crowds and safety risks.
Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam isn’t something we did on this trip, but will likely do on a future visit when the kids are a little older – I’m guessing my 3 year old would rather do almost anything than have to go on a tour of the dam. There is a visitors center and tours daily that are super affordable. This would be a great activity for kids who are a little older or small babies who will nap on the go.
Lake Powell & Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
What’s not to love about a lake? Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers things like boating, kayaking, swimming, camping – lots to see and do. Watercraft rentals are available at the marina. Both of our kids love spending time on boats and if you have older kids, jet skis would be a fun option as well. There is also hiking nearby and depending on water levels rainbow bridge would be a beautiful sight to see as well.
Where to eat
I can never pass up a chance to talk about food! Our favorite place to stop in Page is Big John’s Texas BBQ. Delicious BBQ plus fun outdoor seating (aka room for the kids to roam a bit). We always love Mexican food and have tried a couple in Page – El Tapatio one of our favs. On my list for next time: State 48 Tavern, a good burger is always my weakness.
Want more gorgeous hiking spots in Arizona? Here’s my favorite places to see those beautiful fall colors with your family. New to hiking with kids? One of the writers on our team dishes out all the benefits to hiking with your little ones and some good spots to hit the trails in the Phoenix area. Arizona is full of so much beauty, so get out there and explore all the Grand Canyon State has to offer!