One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is best known for its painted desert, sandstone canyons, and mighty Colorado River, which flows through the valley. Although the park was officially created by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, Teddy Roosevelt set the groundwork, urging Americans to safeguard the spectacular beauty in their midst. "Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness," said Roosevelt. "You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children's children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see." So, get moving! For more information on Grand Canyon National Park, click here.
While you're there
Hop on one of the park's free shuttle buses and head to the overlooks along the South Rim's Hermit Road or rent bikes and follow the Rim Trail, a series of paved and dirt trails that wend along the canyon rim for 7.8 miles. If your kids are adventuresome (and not afraid of heights!), sign up for one of the park's famous mule rides down the canyon's narrow paths.
Where to stay
Book a room at Bright Angel Lodge, a popular South Rim hotel designed in 1935 by noted architect Mary Jane Colter. The check-in point for the park's mule rides, the lodge charges $94 per night for a standard room with bath and $183 for a cabin with fireplace. For more information on the Bright Angel Lodge, click here.
* All hotel prices are approximate.
The Grand Canyon is one of the best places in the U.S. for kids to see the majestic California condor, one of the rarest birds in the world. Learn about the endangered animal's ongoing struggle for survival at one of the informative ranger-led Condor Talks at Lookout Studio on the South Rim. The free one-hour talks are held daily at 4:30 p.m., but parking is limited, so catch a ride on the Village Loop shuttle bus.
If you like this destination, and are interested in a variety of other travel spots, feel free to visit the following websites:
You will find travel information for a number of agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, National Park Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.