Choose from 42 Fun Things to Do in Denali National Park
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon averages 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) above sea level, with natural wonders including Navajo Point, Hermit Road, and the Abyss. Grand Canyon Village is home to a variety of historic buildings, while other popular stops include the Grand Canyon Railway Depot, the Bright Angel Lodge, Kolb Studio, and the Desert View Watchtower, which features work by Hopi artists and incorporates Native American art and design.
- The Canyon View Visitor Center, near the south entrance, stocks maps, books, and videos, while the Cameron Trading Post, outside the east entrance to the park, boasts a selection of souvenirs and supplies.
- Stop by the Hopi House Gift Store and Art Gallery to see art and crafts from the local tribes.
- If driving, be sure you have plenty of gas in your car before setting out for the canyon; there are few service stations in this remote part of Arizona.
Located in the Arizona national park, the South Rim is a three-hour drive from Las Vegas or a short plane ride via Grand Canyon Airport. Driving from Flagstaff, take US 180 directly to the South Rim or US 89 to Arizona 64 and the east entrance to the park.
When to Get There
The South Rim gets quite crowded with visitors in the summertime. Consider visiting in the shoulder season, or booking a South Rim bus or jeep tour so you don't have to struggle with traffic and parking.
Hiking the Grand Canyon South Rim
- Secure your belongings to avoid accidentally dropping anything into the spring.
- For safety purposes, stay on the boardwalk and don’t walk on the edge of the spring.
- Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Dress for the weather with lots of sun protection.
- Plenty of photo opportunities make this a top choice for photographers.
- Fort McHenry is a must-visit for history buffs and first-time visitors to Baltimore.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- The national park visitor center is accessible to wheelchair users, and the fort itself is mostly accessible.
- Pets are welcome on the fort grounds outside the historic area.
- There is no fee to access the park.
- Boca Chita Key and Elliot Key are open year-round for boat-in camping on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Most snorkel and scuba tours include the use of equipment, but you can bring your own if you like.
- Nature lovers can combine a stop here with visits to nearby Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
- The weather is typically dry and sunny throughout the year with some winter storms. Bring layers and a jacket in the winter, wear shorts and light clothing in the spring, and avoid summer unless you want to experience temperatures as hot as 120°F (49°C).
- Stay hydrated with plenty of water no matter what time of year you visit, and keep it in on hand for emergencies.
- During summer, restrict outdoor activities to early morning; stick to paved roads in an air-conditioned vehicle.
- Furnace Creek Visitor Center offers informational exhibits, a bookstore, a short film, and ranger talks.
- Arches National Park is a must-see attraction for adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of water. Shade is rare in the park’s desert environment.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- The Arches Visitor Center offers free Wi-Fi.
- Several trails, picnic grounds, and viewpoints are wheelchair accessible, as is the Arches Visitor Center.
- Denali is so massive, it creates its own weather. Keep your eyes on the peak since it can appear out of thin air at any moment and then disappear just as quickly.
- Pack plenty of layers; Alaska weather can change at any moment.
- Photographers will love the unobstructed views of Denali from Reflection Pond.
- The farther you travel into the park, the bigger Denali appears and the better your chances are of seeing it.
On the southern tip of Point Loma, at the top of hill, you'll find Cabrillo National Monument. The spot is San Diego’s finest locale for history and fine views across the bay to San Diego's downtown. It's also the best place in San Diego to see the gray whale migration (January to March) from land. After a few minutes here, you may forget you’re in a major metropolitan area.
The visitors center at Cabrillo National Monument has an excellent presentation on Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s 1542 voyage up the California coast, plus good exhibits on the native inhabitants and the area’s natural history. Also here is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which is appointed with late-19th century pieces, including lamps and picture frames hand-covered with hundreds of shells. On the ocean side, you can drive or walk down to the tide pools (at low tide) to look for anemones, starfish, crabs, and limpets.
Cabrillo National Monument is located southwest of downtown, on Point Loma, which juts out into the Pacific Ocean directly west of San Diego Bay. You can get here by car or take a bus from Old Town Transit Station. Plan to spend about 90 minutes here. Keep in mind that even on sunny days temperatures can be cool, so bring a jacket. The site has some great spots to have a picnic, so pack a basket, as there are no food options here.
The saw-grass marsh is teeming with an abundance of Everglades residents, including alligators, turtles, anhingas (a type of water bird found in the Everglades; the name means snake bird or devil bird), herons, cormorants, egrets and many other birds. Because the boardwalk allows visitors to wander among the wildlife, it consequently makes the animals and birds less afraid of humans, allowing closer viewing of alligators, anhingas and other native species.
Exploring the Anhinga Trail also allows guests to view the flora of the Everglades, from the saw-grass prairies towards the end of the trail to the pond apples, a native tree that has apples that appeal to wildlife, but not humans. If you have a limited amount of time, walking the Anhinga Trail is a must-do for wildlife viewing and for a taste of all that the Everglades has to offer.
- Without stopping, each section of the loop takes roughly four hours to drive.
- Bring plenty of snacks and water in case of traffic delays.
- Expect larger crowds and traffic in summer and during construction.
- Look out for wildlife like moose, bears, and elk during the scenic drive.
- Glen Canyon Dam is a must-see for history buffs and those with an interest in engineering.
- Day trips to the dam and other area attractions from Sedona, Flagstaff, or the Grand Canyon can last several hours.
- Bags and purses are not permitted on tours of the dam.
- The North Rim is a must-see for nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts.
- See the rim on an aerial tour or from the ground in a Jeep or ATV.
- Due to the distances involved, tours from Las Vegas can last up to 10 hours.
- There isn’t much shade at the Grand Canyon, so remember to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- Be prepared for traffic during summer’s peak visitation. Beat the crowds by arriving early and buying your visitor’s pass online, or booking a tour in advance.
- The weather is constantly changing on the Maine coast, so be prepared with sunscreen and dress in layers so you can peel off gear when the sun is out.
- The park allows pets so long as they are kept on a leash.
- Crater Lake National Park is a must-visit for adventure travelers, photographers, and families.
- Dress in layers; conditions can be cold and windy even in the summer.
- Public Wi-Fi is available at the Crater Lake Lodge and Annie Creek Restaurant.
- Cell phone coverage is unreliable in many areas of the park, so plan ahead.
- Developed areas of the park are generally accessible to wheelchair users, with the exception of the Sinnott Memorial Overlook.
- Denali National Park is ideal for animal and nature lovers but offers fewer outdoor activities than other parks.
- Only one road traverses the park—Denali Park Road—92 miles (148 kilometers) of which only 15 miles (25 kilometers) are paved; if you wish to go beyond, you must walk, bike, or take the park bus tour.
- The Denali Visitor Center and Eielson Visitor Center provide information, exhibits, ranger talks, and other services.
- Grand Teton National Park is a must-see for adventure travelers, outdoors enthusiasts, and wildlife watchers.
- Bring comfortable, waterproof shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Dress in layers, as temperatures in the park vary widely due to altitude and other conditions.
- Cell service is widely available throughout Grand Teton National Park.
- The park’s four visitor centers, one information station, and some pathways and trails are accessible to wheelchair users and strollers.
- Angels Landing is a must for adventure travelers.
- The Angels Landing hike can be made in four to five hours.
- Wear sturdy hiking shoes suitable for walking on uneven surfaces.
- Dress in thin layers—the climate in Zion can change quickly—and don’t forget sun protection.
- You need a moderate level of physical fitness to complete the hike; it’s not recommended for those with a fear of heights.
- Plan to drink plenty of water during a day trip to the Dry Tortugas; tours can last 10 hours or more, and it’s easy to get dehydrated without even feeling thirsty.
- Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
- Some charter boats are wheelchair accessible, but visitors should give advance notice. Fort Jefferson has three floors, with only the first accessible to wheelchair users.