The Family Vacationer Podcast hosts Rob Jones and Danny Evans invited me to talk to them about traveling to southern Utah with kids to visit the state’s Mighty 5 National Parks (Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Capitol Reef National Park). We covered everything: how to bribe your kid to hike using candy, how to avoid the half-mile line of cars to get into Arches, ….. I hope you will have a listen!

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Kristen Cummings


National Parks, Kids & Family




July 20, 2021

Podcasting is super fun for me, so I jumped at the chance to be on the Family Vacationer. They asked me to talk about what age to start hiking with kids, how to make them good hikers, and the best things to do at each of the Mighty 5 National Parks in Southern Utah that are kid-friendly. I will give you some tidbits here, but you will need to listen to the show for all the deets.

What is the Best Age to Start Hiking with Kids

I told Rob and Danny that I started hiking with my kids when they were born. No, really, I did. Of course, I was wearing them and doing all the work, but I was acclimatizing them to still, quiet time in the woods. It is never too early to start hiking with them. Once they are preschool age they can do their own hiking for easier hikes, but once they are about seven years old, they are capable of the same hikes most adults are!

canyoneering with kids in arches national park

What are Some Tips for Making Kids Good Hikers

I gave several tips on this subject… Bribes, comfort, special gear, patience and flexibility, and an extra-geeky, slightly-dweeby, yet effective motivator that I won’t spoil here.

Hiking with kids in arches national park

Utah’s Mighty 5 with Kids

Southern Utah has 5 National Parks, and numerous State Parks and National Monuments, as well. The Mighty 5 National Parks are:

  • Zion National Park
  • Bryce National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park

For each park we talked about best kid hikes, other family-friendly activities, and how the best lodgings typically have jeeps hanging from their signs. You’ll have to listen to the show for the major plot twist about Capitol Reef, but I won’t spoil that here…

Kristen Cummings, Blogger and Author of Touristish

I’m Kristen… your tour guide that will lead you away from the crowds of tourists and toward unique experiences that leave you only feeling touristish.


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What is Canyoneering?

No discussion about southern Utah is complete without talking about my favorite way to experience the backcountry: Canyoneering. We talked about what canyoneering is, and what ages the sport is appropriate for. You can bet there will be more detailed posts about this from me in the near future!

Listen to the episode in your favorite Podcast app, or by clicking below:

the family vacationer podcast
canyoneering arches national park with kids
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