what to do in kings canyon national park with kids

Tips for Visiting Kings Canyon National Park with Kids

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Looking for what to do in Kings Canyon National Park with kids? You’ve come to the right place! Kings Canyon National Park is one of the best National Parks to visit with kids and it quickly became one of our favorites! Read on for the best thing to do in Kings Canyon National Park with Kids.

what to do in kings canyon national park with kids

How to get to Kings Canyon National Park

The closest airport to Kings Canyon National Park is FAT, about 1 hour away. Orange County is 5 hours to Kings Canyon National Park. San Francisco is 4 hours to Kings Canyon National Park. Las Vegas is 6.5 hours to Kings Canyon National Park. We found it much easier to fly into FAT and then make the drive to Kings Canyon.

Best time to visit Kings Canyon National Park

While the park is open 24/7, the best time to visit Kings Canyon National Park is June through August, when the weather is most predictable. In the winter, many roads are closed due to snow so keep that in mind! We visited in late August and it was in the low 60s during the day, perfect for hiking!

Where to stay when visiting Kings Canyon National Park

If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Kings Canyon National Park, you’re in luck! Offering several lodges and lots of campgrounds, there are no shortage of accommodation options.

Camping near Kings Canyon National Park

There are 14 campgrounds between Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Be sure to check reservation requirements before you go as walk up bookings may not always be available.

Best family-friendly hotels near Kings Canyon National Park

Since we aren’t the camping types, we stayed near the John Muir Lodge at the Grant Grove Cabins. This lodge is centrally located between the two parks, making it the best place to stay when visiting both Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. We had a cabin with 2 beds, a private bathroom and electricity. Not all cabins have this, so be careful when booking if you want these amenities! These cabins don’t have ac however I can’t imagine a time when you’d actually need it. We had the heat on all night in August because it was in the 40s/50s overnight! The visitor center is on site here, a small market, gift shop and restaurant, making it one of the best places to stay when visiting Kings Canyon National Park with kids.

where to stay in kings canyon national park with kids
where to stay in kings canyon national park with kids
Our room inside the Grant Grove Cabins.

Things to bring when visiting Kings Canyon National Park with kids

  • Trekking Poles: You’ll be hiking a lot! Be sure to bring some trekking poles to help with the hikes.
  • Sun Hat: Don’t forget a hat! You’ll be spending lots of time outside in the hot sun.
  • National Parks Journal: We bring this one on all of our National Park trips and get stamps at each visitor center.
  • Sunscreen: Bluze Lizard is our favorite and one we have been using for over 9 years.

Books and games about Kings Canyon National Park

Things to do in Kings Canyon National Park with kids

Best kid-friendly hiking trail in Kings Canyon National Park

There are many kid-friendly hiking trails in Kings Canyon National Park, here are some of our favorites.

  • General Grant Tree Trail: This is a super short 0.3 mile trail and it’s located near the Grant Grove Cabins so if you are staying there, you are really close to it. This trail will take you to the second largest tree in the world. When you park, you’ll see many amazing trees so don’t just rush to this one! Something to keep in mind: there were a ton of bees and wasps here, we were quite surprised! We later noticed a sign warning visitors of their presence so be aware if anyone in your party is allergic to stings.
  • Roaring River Falls:This is a short, 0.3 mile out and back trail that takes you to a waterfall. While we did see some people jump into the water and even encouraged their kids to, I don’t recommend it. You have to climb over steep rocks to get to the water, it was deep and it was 62 degrees outside when we visited in August, the water being even colder!
  • Zumwalt Meadow Trail: This is a 1.5 mile loop trail, that is great for all skill levels and right in the middle of the canyon. The meadow is stunning and there is a river you can stop and play in as well.
best hiking trails in kings canyon national park with kids
Zumwalt Meadow Trail
best hiking trails in kings canyon national park with kids
Zumwalt Meadow Trail
best hiking trails in kings canyon national park with kids
Creek by the Zumwalt Meadow Trail
best hiking trails in kings canyon national park with kids
Zumwalt Meadow
best hiking trails in kings canyon national park with kids
Zumwalt Meadow Trail
best hiking trails in kings canyon national park with kids
Roaring River Falls
best hiking trails in kings canyon national park with kids
You’ll see these giant trees in the parking area for General Grant.
best hiking trails in kings canyon national park with kids
General Grant Trail.
best hiking trails in kings canyon national park with kids
General Grant Tree.

Junior Ranger program in Kings Canyon National Park

Just like all of the other US National Parks, Kings Canyon has a Junior Ranger program. This park shares the activity booklet and badge with Sequoia National Park so your kids will only earn one when visiting both parks.

what to do in kings canyon national park with kids
Kings Canyon Junior Ranger activity book

Where to eat with kids near Kings Canyon National Park

There aren’t many food options while here, so keep that in mind and plan accordingly! At the Grant Grove Village, you’ll find a small market that is pretty well stocked with all sorts of snacks, food and drinks.

what to do in kings canyon national park with kids
Surprisingly well stocked market!

Also at the Grant Grove Village, you’ll find a restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food isn’t going to be the best, but it’s the only place to get freshly made, hot food in the park. Here are just some examples of what they serve. Everything is surprisingly affordable, which was nice since we really didn’t have any other options!

restaurants in kings canyon national park with kids
Grilled chicken sandwich with vegetarian soup and kids burger.
restaurants in kings canyon national park with kids
Breakfast burrito and kids breakfast plate.
restaurants in kings canyon national park with kids
Personal pizza and kids mac and cheese.

If you are driving to Roaring River Falls or Zumwalt Meadows, about 20 minutes from the hotel you’ll come across an ice cream stand. You really can’t miss it since it’s the only thing on the road to these hikes! The man who owns it is super friendly and we enjoyed our ice cream here. There’s also a gas station here if you need some fuel.

kings canyon national parks where to eat
Be sure to stop for some ice cream!

Have you been to Kings Canyon National Park with kids? It quickly became one of our favorite National Parks to visit with kids, with amazing sites and fun hikes. Want to read this later? Pin one of the images below!

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