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Driving to South Rim from Sedona w/ 3 kids (8, 6, 2.5)

Ny, Ny
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Driving to South Rim from Sedona w/ 3 kids (8, 6, 2.5)

We are driving to GCNP from Sedona in the evening. We plan to arrive, spend one night, see the sun rise and then hike all over during the day and leave again in the evening to drive back to Flagstaff.

Question is what would you suggest we do around the South rim all day long with 3 kids? Should we just plan to hike some trails and take in the sights? Should we drive to the West and do the skywalk - how far is it? Just looking for some things to do other than walk around (if anything)

If going to the South Rim is not the best choice if we only have one day then where else should we go? Seems to be a straight shot from Sedona. Thanks!

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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1. Re: Driving to South Rim from Sedona w/ 3 kids (8, 6, 2.5)

Drive only in daylight. Take the short route to the main gate. 89A to I-17 to I-40 west to AZ64 (at Williams) north into the park. The drive will take about 2 hours. Arrive well before sunset to get situated in your lodging and then out to the rim a good hour before sunset.

Spend your time the next morning touring the rim path and historic buildings in the hotel zone. Then drive east along the rim following AZ64 to Desert View and the east gate of the park. Stop at the key view points. Don't skip Desert View and the tower there, as it will be your last look at the canyon, and for many, the most memorable.

Continue on AZ64 down to Cameron. Stop for a meal at the historic Cameron Trading Post. Then follow 89 south to Flagstaff. Cameron to Flag will take about an hour. If you have an extra hour or two, take the detour loop through Wupatki ruins and Sunset Crater volcanic region between Cameron and Flag.

I repeat. Do not drive in the dark. Plan your time so that you arrive well before sunset.

Ny, Ny
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2. Re: Driving to South Rim from Sedona w/ 3 kids (8, 6, 2.5)

Why do we need to arrive before dark? Is this so we can experience the amazing sunset or because roads are poorly labeled?

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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3. Re: Driving to South Rim from Sedona w/ 3 kids (8, 6, 2.5)

The road signs are clearly marked. It's not about getting lost. But yes, you really should arrive at the GCNP an hour before sunset so you can enjoy it. The most important reason to not drive in the darkness though is because it is so dark. Your eyes and your brain aren't used to darkness like you'll experience in northern AZ. And the roads will be mostly absent of vehicular traffic but loaded with wildlife. Critters as small as skunks and raccoons and as large as deer and elk will be plentiful, though you won't see them until you are literally on top of them. Hit one and it will do way more than damage your car or injure your family members and kill or injure the beast. It will spoil your vacation.

If you are planning so much that you are forced to drive in darkness, you need to rethink your plans. You're trying to do too much in too little time.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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4. Re: Driving to South Rim from Sedona w/ 3 kids (8, 6, 2.5)

Plenty to do for an entire day, have the older kids do the Junior Ranger program. Check www.nps.gov/grca for ideas, maps etc.

I would try to get lodging inside the park and if not there, then Tusayan. They if the youngest needs a rest, your hotel room will be close. Also in Tusayan is an IMAX.

Skip the Skywalk a big tourist trap and a long drive from the south rim.

5. Re: Driving to South Rim from Sedona w/ 3 kids (8, 6, 2.5)

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