Family Friendly Travel Destinations

Tips for Visiting Zion National Park With Kids

zion with kids

This post may contain affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission if items are purchased via the link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

Are you heading to Zion National Park with kids and wondering what are the best things to do in Zion National Park for families ? We have you covered! Zion National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in the United States, so be sure to plan ahead if you need camping or hotel reservations. Here are some of the best things to do in Zion National Park with kids to help you plan your family trip to Zion National Park.

How to get to Zion National Park

Wondering what the closest airport to Zion National Park is? If you are flying in, Las Vegas has a major airport with cheap flights and is 2.5 hours from Zion National Park. We opted to fly to save hours of driving.

We live in Orange County CA and the drive to Zion National Park is 7.5 hours. Phoenix is 6 hours away, Salt Lake City is 4.5 hours and San Diego is 8 hours. It’s definitely doable to do a road trip if that’s your thing, but we wanted to drive as little as possible since we were planning to visit all 5 parks in the region.

Best time to visit Zion National Park

The best time to visit Zion National Park is is the spring (April-May) and fall (September-October). The temperatures are mild but not freezing or super hot like in the winter or summer months. We visited at the beginning of June and it wasn’t as hot as expected. Overcast on all of our days with a nice breeze, totally fine for hiking. We went to the Narrows at 6 am to avoid the heat like most suggested, however it was 55 degrees and so cold, not as fun as it would have been in the heat! So keep that in mind when choosing a time to hike the Narrows. The daytime temps were in the 90s but the mornings and evenings were very chilly in early June. The next day we decided to hike the Emerald Trail midday and it was 82, breezy and much better than the frigid morning temps!

Where to stay when visiting Zion National Park

Camping in Zion National Park

There are 3 campgrounds in Zion National Park. In Zion Canyon you’ll find the South and Watchman campgrounds and the Lava Point Campground is about an hour from the Zion Canyon. Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort is not run by the National Park service however it’s another option that is close to the park. It books up in advance, so be sure to make your reservations early!

Best family-friendly hotels near Zion National Park

Looking for the best hotel near Zion National Park? Look no further than the Springhill Suites by Marriott. The hotel is located less than a mile from Zion National Park, making it a great option when visiting the park. Our room was spacious with 2 queen beds, sofa trundle bed, fridge, microwave and a nice walk in closet to store our suitcases.

Pool at Springhill Suites
Splash pad at Springhill Suites

If you want to stay inside of the park, the Zion Lodge is right in the middle of the park across from the Emerald Trail and just a short shuttle ride away to the Narrows. They book up fast and weren’t available during our stay, so be sure to book early if you want to stay right inside of the park.

Grassy area in front of the Zion Lodge.

Things to bring when visiting Zion National Park with kids

You can rent hiking sticks and gear here.

Books and games about Zion National Park

Things to do in Zion National Park with kids

The most popular activity in Zion National Park is hiking. We hiked several of the popular trails and they’re all good for families with young kids. Here are some of the best kid-friendly hiking trails in Zion National Park.

Best kid-friendly hiking trails in Zion National Park

Zion Narrows Riverside Walk
The Narrows
The stick came in very handy!
The path to the Lower Pool is paved and easy for kids.
Lower Emerald Pool.
Pathway near the lower pool.
Walk up to the middle and upper pools.
Walk up to the upper pool.
Upper Emerald Pool.

Explore Zion National Park on a Bike

Right outside of the park is Zion Outfitter, where you can rent bikes for kids and adults. They even have trailers for those too young to pedal on their own. We rented a bike one afternoon and explored the Pa’rus trail by bike. From the store, you just cross the bridge and you are inside the park by the visitor center, where this trail begins. I highly recommend renting bikes for a few hours to explore this side of the park!

Pa’rus trail

Junior Ranger Program in Zion National Park

We love the Junior Ranger program and Zion National Park has a great one. Your kids will learn a lot about the park and the area and will earn a Junior Range badge after they complete the activities.

Zion National Park Junior Ranger Booklet
Getting sworn in as a Junior Ranger

Ranger-Led Programs for Junior Rangers

Be sure to check the daily schedule when you arrive so that your kids can attend some of the awesome ranger-led programs the park offers. We went to one about animals that live within the park and learned a ton about local snakes and rock squirrels.

Junior Ranger program about Zion animals.

Where to eat near Zion National Park with kids

Spotted Dog Cafe

This is one of our favorite kid-friendly restaurants near Zion. Their kid menu has some amazing items, including several that are just smaller portions of the adult menu. This is a popular place, so be sure to make reservations on OpenTable. Milana ordered the kids wild game meatloaf and I had the pesto pasta, which was amazing. Definitely recommend this place if you’re looking for a kid friendly restaurant near Zion.

Oscar’s Cafe

This Tex-Mex style restaurant is very popular, so come early or be prepared to wait! They have a nice selection of Mexican dishes as well as burgers. The kids menu portions are huge and filling and Milana loved her bean and cheese burrito. I ordered the shrimp tacos and they were great as well.

MeMe’s Cafe

Another popular place we tried was MeMe’s Cafe, a short walk from our hotel. If you like crepes, they have lots of them on the menu, both sweet and savory. They also have lots of sandwiches, burgers and salads. Milana had the ham and cheese crepe as her meal and I had a grilled chicken sandwich. For dessert, we shared the very berry crepe and it was really good!

Park House Cafe

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly breakfast restaurant in Zion, Park House is it! They have a nice back patio and great food. While our hotel had free buffet breakfast, we aren’t fan of the typical cereal/bacon/bagels and opted to go out for breakfast. I ordered their fruit parfait and Milana had the breakfast tacos. My California kid can eat avocados for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they loaded her taco with it. Both dishes were amazing!

Breakfast parfait
Breakfast tacos

Getting around Springdale and Zion National Park

If you’re coming to Zion National Park during summer, it will be really hard to find parking on the street or even in restaurant parking lots. Zion National Park runs a free shuttle system through the city of Springdale and there are shuttle stops conveniently located all throughout the town. We had one right in front of our hotel and used it multiple times to get to restaurants and shops.

Keep in mind that the city shuttle stops running at 6pm, something we didn’t know on our first day, and we ended up having to walk back to our hotel after dinner. Thankfully it was only a mile but be aware in case you venture far from your hotel!

You can also take the city shuttle to the first stop and enter the park via the pedestrian bridge if you want to avoid trying to find parking. From there, walk over to the visitor center where you will board a shuttle for the park. The shuttles have massive lines in the morning however by midday, you can walk right on. Just be mindful that if you aren’t back to take the shuttle to your hotel by 6, you are going to be walking quite a bit!

Shuttle stop in Springdale

We hope this kid-friendly guide to visiting Zion National Park has helped you plan your trip. Be sure to check out our other guides for National parks with kids as well as our Mighty 5 road trip itinerary. Want to save this to read later? Pin one of the images below.