Weekend Itinerary to Bryce Canyon National Park with Kids

Updated: Nov 20

Bryce is Utah's smallest National Park but in our opinion, the biggest for family adventure. Check out our money-saving itinerary for the best place to stay, things to do and food to eat.



TRAVEL DAY

  • Fill up on gas at Costco

  • Grab 2 days worth of hiking snacks and perishable items in a cooler (there are no close or inexpensive grocery stores in Bryce).

WHERE TO STAY

WHERE TO EAT

  • Dinner: IDK BBQ delicious, affordable and family sized portions

WHAT TO DO

  • Stargazing: Bryce is an internationally certified Dark Sky Park so the Milky Way is quite spectacular in the summer, so head to Sunset Point.


We have been to Bryce Canyon a few times over the years but in July 2020, we made a spur of the moment decision to head to Bryce to see the Neowise comet which only shows itself every 7,000 years.

It made us think of a story I heard about a dad who asked his son what his favorite summer memory after a series of vacations. the boy looked at his dad and said:

The thing I liked best this summer was the night you and I laid on the lawn and looked at the stars and talked.

Kids are simple. when we insert memories of nature with them, we more easily connect with them.


When we arrived at Bryce, we immediately felt transported to the Wild, Wild West. The kids were in awe of the beauty of the saloon style architecture against the colored sandstone rock formation. Ruby’s Inn has been around for over a hundred years and has a distinct Old West vibe to it, even after getting acquired by Best Western. Plus it sits right across from Old Bryce Town which has some cool gift shops and is make believe heaven for kids! They're super excited to come back when they're a little older to ride horses through the park like real cowboys.


DAY ONE

We loved feeling like cowboys and cowgirls going down into the canyon. The kids enjoyed the different formations, tunnels, arches, sand slides and free-standing trees and tree bridges.


At the bottom of the amphitheater there are places to rest, sit on logs and eat snacks. The littles were obsessed with all the sand so they took off their shoes for the last half of the hike and pretended to be hobbits from Lord of the Rings. The way up felt like a haul so we made a game to see which kid could obtain Thor's hammer the fastest by racing up the switchbacks.


These affordable items were lifesavers for us:

$27 Baby Carrier

$15 Kid Binoculars

$40 Velcro Kid's Nike shoes

$9 100 SPF Sunscreen

$15 Camo Pony-tail hat (to tuck hair in when you get sweaty).

Taking a 20 minute detour to Kodachrome Basin at sunset was well worth it. In 1948 National Geographic explored the area and found vivd colors in the formations and named it after Kodak's Kodachrome film known for its vibrant color. We were the only people in the park and saw more jackrabbits than humans. It was a nice and quiet place to be after spending the day on the more busy trails at Bryce.




DAY 2

Old Town Bryce was exceptionally magical for our kids. They thrived by playing make believe in the jail, getting ice cream, riding on the fake horses, seeing the real ones, picking out gems at the rock shop in our $5 cowboy hats! We even made jokes about what my son called "gubblebum" ice cream. After a hot hiking day, ice cream and laughter was just what the doctor ordered!



Mossy Cave Trail was also a highlight. It's a short, mostly flat hike alongside a river to the cave. But this trail is actually a double whammy because there's an awesome waterfall! The unexpected contrast of the waterfall against the orange hoodoos makes for a cool photo opp. You can wade in the river and get right up next to it and even walk behind it, reminiscent of the iconic scene in Last of the Mohicans. I wanted to jump through it yelling "Just stay alive! I will find you!" Missed opportunity - maybe next time.