Arches National Park with Kids
You’re planning a family trip to the most amazing Arches National Park in Moab, so I am sure you have plenty of questions!
Where should I start? What should we visit? How hot will it be? How long should we visit the Arches National Park? How best to visit with kids?
I have put together this detailed guide so you can find all your questions about Arches National Park with kids – How best to visit, right here in this blog post.
Beautiful Arches National Park
The most important fact, I can assure you is, visiting Arches National Park with kids in just two days, is not enough! And this is my first advice, make sure you have at least 4 days.
We spent 8 days in Moab and there was not a single day where we were bored, or just had nothing to do. This place is amazing! Not only the Arches National Park, Moab in general has plenty of other great family attractions and places to see.
Arches National Park – what is it?
In simple words, it is a wonderland of red rocks and blue sky. Arches, towers, pinnacles, and balanced rocks make this park an endless playground and wonderful attraction. Over 2,000 arches have been cataloged in Arches National Park. Therefore plenty to see for everyone.
Located in southeast Utah, five miles north of Moab, Arches National Park protects an amazing landscape that includes the largest proliferation of arches in the world.
Plan your trip to the Arches National Park with kids
One of America’s youngest but also most visited National Parks. In peak season – March until October- reality will hit you when you’re sitting in a traffic jam, and that is just to enter the park. Suddenly your dream destination becomes a nightmare.
But STOP, it does not have to be like that, with a bit of planning ahead and utilising your time you can have the most amazing time in the Arches National Park with kids, like we had. And photos without anybody in your background will become a reality.
Arches National Park with kids is best visited by hiking. This allows you to see more, get away from the cars and the kids will be able to run around freely.
Click on Map to enlarge
Good to know before you visit
Make sure you have your admission to Arches National Park before arriving. Sometimes there is a line just for cars that already have the admission into the park. This avoids using the longer queue and the ticket is good for seven days. You can come and go any time with your seven-day pass. The price may change but when we visited it was US$ 30.- per car. If you visit several parks during your holiday you may want to get a yearly National Park pass. Check their website for more information on different passes and which NP’s are covered.
When to visit Arches National Park with kids
Choose your time wisely, if possible avoid peak holiday times and bank holiday weekends. If this is absolutely not possible due to your travel arrangements then TIME is your next most important factor.
If you have plenty of time you can choose your destination, enter the park early in the morning and head out again after a couple of hours and finish the day by the lake, or with a hike along the Colorado river.
People who only have 2 days, have not got this luxury and will have to stay in the Arches National Park. Whether it is jammed pack with tourists or empty. The pressure to drive and stop at all the main attractions is high and when there is no parking at your chosen stop, frustration rises and the level of enjoyment drops.
We have not experienced the stress and frustration as we had plenty of time, but we have witnessed plenty of families where it was clear that they are on a tight time schedule, the kids are hot, crying, dad is fuming and mum is just about to lose her patience. Is this how you want to visit the Arches National Park? Nope.
We visited 1st week in June, and although I believe we were lucky, as the temperature was around 25 degrees C, and only a few tourists. Only at the end of our stay (USA holidays starting) the park filled up and the temperature was rising well above 30 degrees.
I would absolutely LOVE to visit Arches National Park during winter time or early spring. To see the contrast of the white snow and the red rocks must be just beautiful.
How to avoid the crowds in Arches National Park
- PLAN; If you only have limited time, plan what you would really like to see, drive and hike. You may not be able to see it all, due to full parking places and congestion in the park.
- TIMING; Enter the park very early or as late as possible. Light is better if you are a photographer and temperatures will be lower.
- WEBCAMS; Before entering check the Arches National Park webcams. This can help you decide on whether you will enter now or wait.
- ADAPT; Be prepared to change your plan. Instead of visiting the famous Delicate Arch, head over and walk to the Window. I am sure you also have an amazing time.
- CAR POOLING; If you are a group, try to only go with one car as parking can be very limited.
- TAKE TIME; Also take your time. Quite often even with a lot of people, you can be at an attraction and as time goes on you do find yourself suddenly alone. Even if it is only for 30 min or so. This is now your time to snap away all these amazing family photos and make the most out of it. It happened to us at Double Arch. We had the whole site for us and it was amazing.
Tips & suggestions at Arches National Park with kids
- BUSY PLACES; These are the busy parking lots at most times in the Arches National Park:
- Devils Garden
- Delicate Arch
- The Windows
- CAMPERS & RV’s: If you have a large RV try to rent a smaller car. The parking is very, very limited for large vehicle and it will just bring you even more stress in finding a proper place during busy season.
- GUIDED HIKE: If your kids are older and you’re up for an adventure you may want to hike the Fiery Furnace. This needs to be pre-booked well in advance as it sells out super quickly. A natural labyrinth of narrow passages between towering sandstone walls. You must partake in a guided tour or obtain a hiking permit at the visitor center.
Stand alone houses
Hotels with pool
Where to stay – Arches National Park & Moab
Nearby Moab has plenty of hotels and accommodation to keep you within comfortable reach of Arches National Park.
We stayed in a housing complex with Airbnb. The place even had a communal pool which was welcome.
Below you will find a few accommodation suggestions that might be interesting for you. All have good ratings and some feature a swimming pool or hot tub.
If you prefer a campsite, no worries Moab has plenty of campsites for you.
Accommodation within Arches National Park
Devils Garden Campground is the only designated accommodation within Arches National Park. Sites are often reserved months ahead, and the campground is normally full during peak season.
Attractions around Arches National Park
And another reason why you should slow travel and make sure to have plenty of time when visiting Arches National Park with kids is to ensure not to miss the nearby attractions.
No matter what brought you to Arches NP, you will be surprised how much more there is.
I will link to this guide some other of our blogs later on when I have finished writing them, but for now check out these nearby beauties which I highly recommend.
- Hike to Dead Horse Point State Park
- Spend the day in Utah’s largest NP, Canyonlands
- Hiking to the Corona & Bowtie Arch
- River Rafting in the Colorado River. It was not like any river rafting on the Swiss rivers, rough and pumped with a lot of adrenaline. But it was nice for a family outing and even a cool dip in the river.
- Moab Giants, a fun park for the whole family, with life size dinosaurs, educational cinemas and other attractions.
- Spend the day at Kens Lake swimming.
- Have a picnic at the Musical playground in the Rotary Park.
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I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful when planning Arches National Park with Kids
If I have left anything out, please ask your questions in the comments below so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries also.