Exploring Saguaro National Park: A Perfect Destination for Families

 Exploring Saguaro National Park: A Perfect Destination for Families

Are you looking for a perfect family-friendly vacation spot? Saguaro National Park, located in Tucson, Arizona, is a beautiful place to explore with your family. This national park is a great family friendly stop when in Arizona as there are plenty of activities for kids of all ages, and the scenery is stunning.  Made up of two different areas, this national park is a paradise for nature lovers and hikers. It is a perfect place where families can create memories while exploring the beauty of nature. 

Here are a few tips for making the most of your visit to Saguaro National Park with kids.

Plan Ahead

The best way to make sure your family enjoys their time at Saguaro National Park is to plan ahead. Decide what you want to see and do, and then map out your route accordingly. This will help you avoid getting lost, and it will also help you make the most of your time. If you have younger kids, be sure to take plenty of breaks so they can run around and burn off some energy.

Pack snacks and drinks, and bring along some cash in case you want to buy souvenirs. It's also a good idea to pack sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses, even if it's not particularly sunny out. The desert can be very hot, even when it doesn't look like it. And finally, be sure to wear comfortable shoes! You'll be doing a lot of walking.

Cost to Visit Saguaro National Park

Vehicle Entrance Fee $25

This entrance fee is Valid for up to 7 consecutive days from the day of purchase at Saguaro National Park. You can either pay online or the fee is payable in-person at the visitor center.

Individual Entry Pass - $15.00

This entry fee is for a single person traveling on foot or by bicycle. Pay once and get access to both sides of the park for 7 days which you can pay in person or online. 

Motorcycle Pass - $20.00

This pass includes everyone traveling on a motorcycle, scooter, or similar motorized vehicle. Pay once and get access to both sides of the park for 7 days. You can pay in person or pay online.

You can buy an Annual Pass to all of the U.S. National Parks

The standard annual pass costs $80 and lasts one year from the time of purchase. The pass is valid for the car entering, as well as up to three additional adults 16 years or older.  

Things to do at Saguaro National Park with Kids

Visit the Visitor Center

The visitor center is an excellent starting point to explore the park, providing helpful information on the park’s history, wildlife, and hiking trails. There are ranger-led programs and interactive exhibits, which make it a perfect stop, especially for families with young children. The staff there can give you a map of the area and point out some of the highlights. They can also answer any questions you might have about the park or its history.

There are two visitor centers in the park—one in Tucson Mountain District (on the west side) and one in Rincon Mountain District (on the east side). Both visitor centers have restrooms, water fountains, and picnic areas. The Rincon Mountain District visitor center also has a gift shop.

Become a Junior Ranger

This is a program that teaches kids about the park’s wildlife and its history. In the program, junior rangers will learn ways to keep the park safe and ways for them to be responsible visitors to the park. All they need to do is pick up the activity booklet that the program provides at the visitor center, complete the activities, and take it to the park rangers to get sworn in as a junior ranger.

Watch a sunrise at Saguaro National Park

Get up early and witness the striking beauty of Tucson in the early morning light. A perfect spot for this would be Signal Hill, as it offers a 360-degree view of the mountains. It is a sight that you will remember forever.

Hike on Kid-Friendly Trails

There are several kid-friendly trails in the park, making it an ideal place for families with kids of all ages. Some of the popular trails include the Desert Ecology trail, which is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs, and the Cactus Forest trail, which highlights the beauty of the Saguaro cacti. Hiking on these trails with your family is an excellent way to witness the beauty of nature up close.

One of the best ways to explore Saguaro National Park is on foot. There are many different trails to choose from, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes. 

Check out Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs are ancient rock carvings that are over 800 years old, and they are a testament to the Native American culture that existed in the area. There are several places in the park, such as Signal Hill and Rincon Mountain, to see these rock carvings.

The Signal Hill Petroglyphs are home to the largest petroglyph site in the Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park. There are over 200 prehistoric Native American petroglyphs here. The Petroglyphs date back to between 550 and 1550 year ago.

Take a Scenic Drive through the National Park

Take a scenic drive through the national park: Finally, if your family prefers a more relaxing way to enjoy the stunning scenery around you, you can always take a scenic drive through the national park. The Cactus Forest Drive in Saguaro National Park- East provides a one-way, eight-mile paved loop road that showcases the breathtaking beauty of the Saguaro National Park. This drive is a great one to pack a lunch and stop at one of the picnic areas along the drive for lunch or snack! The Bajada Loop Drive in Saguaro National Park- West is a 6-mile drive along a dirt road. There are several trail heads along this road along with Signal Hill where you can see petroglyphs. 

The two scenic drives in Saguaro National Park are open from 7am to sunset.

Take Your Time

Saguaro National Park is a big place, so don't try to see everything in one day! Pick one or two things that interest you and your family the most, and take your time exploring them thoroughly. Remember that there's no rush—you can always come back another day to see more of this amazing place.

Saguaro National Park offers something for everyone in the family. It is a perfect destination for families looking to explore nature and the outdoors. From hiking on kid-friendly trails to becoming a junior ranger, it’s easy to see why this national park is a must-visit attraction in Tucson, Arizona. So, if you are looking for the perfect family-friendly vacation spot, book your trip to Saguaro National Park and create memories that you will cherish forever.