The Grand Canyon is a great place to connect with your kids away from the distractions of everyday life! Families cherish their time together in the remarkable setting of the canyon. River trips can be a step outside of your children’s comfort zone (that’s a good thing!) and making sure they are physically comfortable goes a long way towards an enjoyable trip. Here are some tips to help make rafting with kids easier and to get the most out of your Grand Canyon adventure. Although we speak about kids below, these tips apply to everyone.
Kids tend to have a harder time regulating their body temperature compared to adults. The canyon temperatures can be extreme, alternating between cold water and hot air. It is important to make sure they have plenty of layers for rafting in the early morning when the canyon is in shade or if it becomes overcast. As it warms up they can take off these layers. Usually what works best is underwear or swimsuit made of synthetic material (not cotton) as the bottom layer, then quick-dry shirt and shorts/pants. If it’s chilly, a fleece jacket can add some extra warmth. Rafting in the mornings can be chilly. For those early mornings, or if a lot of rapids are expected, finish the layers with good quality rain gear.
A large part of time on the river will be spent in the strong Arizona sun, so protecting your family is extremely important. Speaking from personal experience, being sunburnt on a river trip is very unpleasant! The best way to protect your skin is by covering it up. Use hats and long-sleeved shirts to keep the sun off, and bring a sarong to not only cover-up, but to also dunk in the water to help keep cool. Make sure sunscreen is applied, and reapplied, to exposed areas like the back of the neck and the tops of feet.
The canyon tends to make everyone pretty hungry. Luckily, we bring along a variety of sweet and salty snacks as well as fresh fruit that will be accessible on the rafts during the day. In addition to being delicious, the sweet and salty snacks play an important role in keeping the body hydrated. So ask your fellow guests to pass the cookies.
It is easy to get dehydrated in the dry, desert environment of the canyon. Be sure your kids are drinking enough water and consider adding our provided electrolytes to their water to help them stay healthy, happy and hydrated. Electrolytes add flavor too!
Entertainment for downtime:
There will be some downtime during your trip, especially if you are on a weeklong trip. Kids (and adults) may want to bring a football, frisbee, bocce ball or similar to play while they are at camp.
Keep in mind that Grand Canyon is a rugged wilderness environment and when rafting with kids it can be potentially dangerous. Make sure your kids listen well and can be responsible on the rafts and in the backcountry. If they can do that, they will have an awesome time!