7 Things to Do in Page Arizona (with Kids)

Glen Canyon DamIf you are like most people, you have no clue what or where Page, Arizona is. As I recount our recent road trip through Arizona and Utah all I see are blank stares when I get to our time in Page. Turns out most people have never heard of Page. It’s not too surprising considering Page is a small town (Pop. less than 8,000) sitting on the edge of Navajo Nation and Lake Powell a few miles from the border of Utah. The few travelers who have heard of it, know it as only the place they drive through on their way to/from the Grand Canyon and/or as quick stop over point to view Horseshoe Bend.

I am here to tell you that you are missing out. There is so much on offer in Page that visitors really should, no scratch that, need to give it a bit more time. This was one of our favorite stops on our road trip through some incredibly beautiful states.

Without further ado, our top 7 things to do in Page, Arizona (with or without kids).

1. Go Down Under at Antelope Canyon (Lower and Upper)

Lower Antelope CanyonThis is a must do. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon formed by the erosion of the soft ever present Navajo sandstone. During the rainy season, rainwater runs into the canyons picking up speed and sand, re-shaping and smoothing the narrow passageways into the curving stones you see today. It is absolutely surreal to be surrounded by curving walls, made entirely by natural processes.

The canyons are divided into Lower Antelope Canyon and Upper Antelope Canyon. The main difference between the canyons is the ease of getting in/out. Upper Anteleope Canyon, the most visited, is at ground level and does not require any climbing. Lower Antelope Canyon requires a certain level of mobility as you are required to descend into the canyon on very steep stairs/ladders and move between the levels of canyons on various types of steps. For adventurous families, the Lower Canyon provides a great obstacle course for your little ones (4 and up). Our kids enjoyed the circle formations of the rocks and running their hands and feet through the sandy floor, but they LOVED the adventure and challenge of climbing up and down steep staircases!

Antelope CanyonThe canyons are very busy in the summer. If you know when you will be in town, book your tour as early as possible to ensure you get a time slot during the best light of the day. During the summer, this time is between 11-2. Don’t worry if you didn’t book in advance, there seems to always be space for small parties on the morning and afternoon tours. For the Lower Canyon, we recommend Ken’s Tours and Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours for the Upper Canyon.  Be warned, during the busy summer season, the canyons are jam packed with people, which does take away from the meditative quality of the experience, but not the awe and wonderment.

2. Stand on the Edge at Horseshoe Bend

HorseShoe BendIf you are one of the few who know of Page because of Horseshoe Bend, you will have seen the amazing photos. If you aren’t, Horseshoe bend is exactly that, a horseshoe meander of the Colorado River. Standing high on the cliffs above the river, you get a great view of the bend…way way down below! See if you can spot a tent or kayak on the bank of the river – they are the size of an ant. Seriously. However, if you visit during the day you will likely see plenty of blue boats dotting the river below.

Visiting Horseshoe bend can be a bit scary to be honest (with or without children). There are no guard rails, just a very steep drop off from a very high cliff. And of course to get the perfect photo, you have to stand right on the edge with your wide angle lens. I jokingly (kind of?!) said I was going to tie my son up to a pole if he went with us. Unfortunately, there were no poles, so he didn’t go with us.

Horseshoe BendIf you are nervous about how your little ones will act, it might be best to take turns taking in the view as adults only. Kids will enjoy playing further back on the trail in the sand or looking for wild animals. We saw lizards and rabbits during our early morning visit.

Sunset and late afternoon are the busiest times, but also the most beautiful times to take photos. The viewpoint is a short 15 minute walk up a sandy rolling hill.  If you visit during the summer, expect high temperatures. There is no shade, water or bathroom facilities, so plan in advance.

3. Get Chilly (in 110°F) on the Colorado River

Colorado River Discoveries Boat TourBeing out on the water is a true highlight and a unique way to see the Glen Canyon Dam and Horseshoe Bend. There are an abundance of tours for both Lake Powell and the Colorado River. Tours range from 1.5 hours on the lake to half day or full day rafting excursions on the Colorado River including opportunities to get out and hike to Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

A great option with kids is the half day rafting adventure which starts with a drive through a pitch black 2 mile tunnel. Here you will cruise towards Horseshoe Bend to see ancient petroglyphs, spot wildlife and stop for a break to dip your toes (feet and body if you are brave) in year round 47°F ice cold water.

4. Hike to Hanging Garden

Hanging Garden HikeMost evenings in the summer (until end of Sept) a ranger from Glen Canyon Recreation Area hosts a guided hike to the Hanging Garden. It is a short 1 mile roundtrip easy walk. This short hike leads you to a lush hanging garden on the underbelly of Navajo sandstone cliffs overlooking the Colorado River and Lake Powell. The trail is lined by rocks on either side to guide you almost the entire way to the hanging garden. A small rock scramble might be required to get up close to the hanging garden depending on how you approach the cliff. This hike offers a surprising view into the astonishingly uniqueness of the desert. While walking, take your time and notice the desert around you. Check out the lizard trails, search for moqui marbles (smooth, round balls of compacted sandstone encased in a “shell” of iron compounds), snake skeletons and a variety of small wildlife.

Turn off is one quarter mile (.4km) east of Glen Canyon Bridge (the opposite side from Carl Hayden Visitor Center) on Hwy 89. Parking is available at the trailhead is off of Hwy 89. Look for a small white sign off the highway advertising the guided hike.

5. Explore Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon DamOne of the many skipped tourist attractions here is the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Sitting atop the Glen Canyon Dam with expansive views over the dam below and interesting interactive displays inside, the Carl Hayden Visitor Center is a beautiful place to start your explorations. Spend time to explore the visitor center and speak with the staff about what options you have for getting the most out of your visit to the area.

For a hands on look at the dam that is operated here, sign up for the 45 min tours occurring several times a day. Tours are only $5 and well worth the time. You will walk across the dam wall and venture into the factory below.

Carl Hayden Visitor CenterIf you have kids with you, don’t forget to pick up your Junior Park Ranger booklet for the opportunity to get two badges – one for Glen Canyon and one for Rainbow Bridge (even if you didn’t visit it). The Carl Hayden Visitor Center is a great mid-day activity during the sweltering summer months. In the summer months (until end of Sept), rangers are on hand at the center with fun activities for children between 2-4pm daily.

6. Discover Dinosaurs at the Dinosaur Project

Dinosaur ProjectTechnically this is not in Page or even in Arizona. It’s about 15 miles away from Page, across the border in Utah. The Big Water Visitor Center for Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument  is another great activity for the middle of the day when it’s super hot (or on your way to/from Zion National Park or Kanab). The Dinosaur project at the center provides a fun outing for kids (and adults) to learn more about dinosaur fossils found in the area. Grand Staircase-Escalante does not have a Junior Ranger badge program. Instead kids can earn a Junior Scientist badge which is large, gold and according to our kids pretty awesome.

If heat is not a factor during your visit, there are a few hikes you can start from the center that lead to fossils still in the ground. Ask the rangers inside the center for more information on how to find these.

7. Eat & Watch a Live Show at Into the Grand

7-into-the-grand-1Into the Grand is a multi-cultural venue serving dinner (and dessert) as well as showcasing a traditional form of Native American dance. The Navajo performers entertain and educate guests on Navajo people and culture. Into the Grand is a family run establishment with the owners taking time to answer your questions and make sure you have a great time. Enjoy a night out riveted by Navajo dance while munching on delicious traditional food.

In addition to the 7 items listed above, there are even more things to do in the area that we didn’t get to experience. One of these is sunset at Studhorse Point. I give this one to you as a bonus with the hopes that you will check it out and report back to me!

Bonus: Sunset at Studhorse Point

StudHorse Point

(Photo via Flickr)

A few miles from Page is one of the most extraordinary places, Vermillion-Cliffs Wilderness.  Unfortunately most visitors don’t get to see this area as the main sight is available only by (very) limited permit. It’s called The Wave and I am sure you have seen photos of it. For those of us not lucky enough to get a permit, a quick view into some of the amazingness of this area can be seen at sunset at Studhorse Point.

The hoodos of Studhorse point are easily accessible even though they sit a bit below the rim of the cliff. To get here, you will need to go on an adventure.  If there has been rain recently, check in with the visitor center at Glen Canyon Dam for more information on the road quality. Click here for a map. The turn off is 0.7 miles east of Greenehaven Drive off Highway 89. Follow the map closely as there are many small roads in the area. If you make it (or have been), let me know how it is.

011-IMG_1354Rather than just a stop off point, Page makes a great base for families (or anyone) to explore the region at a leisurely pace. If you are in a group, considering renting a house with a pool to keep cool during the hot summer days. Whatever you choose, take the time to explore this beautiful corner of Arizona.



Booking.com

What time is it?

With Page, Arizona only a few miles away from the border of Utah and sitting so close to Navajo Nation, your phone (nor you) will ever have any idea what time it really is! Arizona does not observe Day Light Savings time, however both Utah and Navajo Nation do, which can make it very confusing when your mobile phone bounces between satellites.



 

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7 Things to do in Page Arizona (with kids)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Responses to “7 Things to Do in Page Arizona (with Kids)”

  1. Anna Says:

    Arizona is so unique! I want to visit all these places one day, especially the Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon!
    Anna recently posted…A walk around Downtown LAMy Profile

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  2. Jill Says:

    We recently did a road trip through Arizona and Utah and spent a day in Page. We rented a pontoon boat on Lake Powell for the morning and did Antelope Canyon (with the ever entertaining Leonard as our guide) with Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours. We were so disappointed that Into the Grand’s show didn’t start until 7pm so we missed it – and the navajo fry bread. Next time though. Beautiful country and we so enjoyed Page.

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      I know I also wished the show started a bit earlier! Better for families. Did you guys drive your own pontoon boat? I think our ‘raft’ was considered a pontoon. Such a beautiful part of the country for sure.

      Reply

  3. Lo @ Travel the Unbeaten Path Says:

    Page, Horseshoe and Antelope are on the very top of our Arizona to-do list, and we can’t wait to go this Fall (hopefully!) – the little one still enjoys being carried around in the Ergo, thankfully, otherwise heck yea we would keep him safely away. Yikes! Pinning this for later, thanks!
    Lo @ Travel the Unbeaten Path recently posted…A guide to Sedona II: Food, Art, and More Breathtaking ViewsMy Profile

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  4. RobRob@TravelLatte(.net) Says:

    That is such a great area of Arizona! Vermillion Cliffs are indeed stunning and Antelope Canyon is so unique – even with all of the tourism now. My favorite is camping and boating on Lake Powell, which will take your breath away with its sheer cliffs and formations. Great post, guys!
    RobRob@TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…Amtrak Train Days Offer a Reason to RideMy Profile

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  5. Paula McInerney Says:

    Arizona is such a unique place that appears to be a photographers paradise.
    Paula McInerney recently posted…The Top 12 Towns in EurobodallaMy Profile

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  6. Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages Says:

    How incredible to have so many amazing things to experience in one place!
    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust this week
    Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages recently posted…Friday Favourite: Inked in ColourMy Profile

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  7. Amber Says:

    I am one of those people you mentioned… I have NEVER heard of page. But, Antelope Canyon looks amazing. As did many other things you mentioned on your list. We have visit Phoenix, Tempe and are in Tucson currently visiting Tanque Verde Ranch. We are planning to do a Grand Canyon Trip too so maybe we can squeeze page in and visit for a few days. Thanks for sharing!!
    Amber recently posted…Disneyland ~G I V E A W A Y~ Time!!!My Profile

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  8. Monica @WeTravelTogether Says:

    Arizona is such a beautiful place! Hope we’ll get the chance to visit soon :)
    Monica @WeTravelTogether recently posted…Ekeberg ParkMy Profile

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  9. Anda Says:

    I love Arizona especially in fall and early spring. That pool looks grandiose. Dinner and show at Into the Grand sounds very interesting. I’ll check it out next time I’ll visit.
    Anda recently posted…The Weekly Postcard: Winter in Mono LakeMy Profile

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  10. Ruth Says:

    You would not get blank stares from me when talking about Page. I have never been to the area but it is part of one of those road trips I want to do some day. Thanks for the recommendations. There are a lot of things here I didn’t know about.
    Ruth recently posted…Yosemite National Park: Glacier PointMy Profile

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  11. Lauren @ Justin Plus Lauren Says:

    I keep reading about how amazing Arizona is, and I really want to go there! So many incredible natural places. You’ve inspired me to want to go! :)
    Lauren @ Justin Plus Lauren recently posted…Zen Trastevere: A Cozy B&B in a Charming NeighborhoodMy Profile

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  12. Shobha Says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Antelope Canyon! It doesn’t seem to have a bad photo. Now I see there’s a lot more to Arizona. Thanks for the info.
    Shobha recently posted…The Truth About Toucans (and Photo Contest Giveaway)My Profile

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  13. Nilay Says:

    hi there,

    i would like to do this trip on my own, by my self.. unlike anybody else :)) i will hit the road from los angeles just like you, and plan to stay at Kingman for the night, and continue to GC the next day. so i was wondering, where would you suggest for me to stay? Grand Canyon village or Page? Because i have plenty of time and want to spend some time around Grand Canyon and Page.

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      Definitely stay in Grand Canyon village if you can and then head to page afterwards for a few days. It’s a few hours between the two places so best if you can do them separately.

      Reply

  14. Bob Bales Says:

    Would love to visit Antelope Canyon, don’t know if my poor knees could handle all the climbing but that’s why they make Advil. Great photos btw.
    Bob Bales recently posted…The 10 Best Beer Festivals When You Can’t Make OktoberfestMy Profile

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