We had arrived at Arches National Park late in the evening and set up camp in the dark.
We didn’t see much of the park on the way in so we’re excited to start the day…99 degrees and hot desert sunshine wakes a person up early…LOL.
The kids enjoyed the rock climbing
(mountain climbing-seriously they were SO high!!) at our campsite, while others worked on Junior Ranger books and played in the sand.
Scott and I thought it might not be the best plan to walk around the park in the middle of the day…so as to avoid heatstroke (at worst) and 7 whiny hot people (at best), we drove into Moab to see what alternatives we could find.
We picked up some groceries (and lots of ice as we would not have the ability to keep the cooler plugged in while camping) and then decided to stay in town for lunch. We found an outdoor café (Peace Tree) that was completely shaded with water spray around the deck and enjoyed a delicious and cool meal!
I quickly looked up fun free things to do with kids in Moab and found a link to a local waterfall (Mill Creek North Fork Canyon swimming hole) that had swimming and rock slides. We asked the waitress and she said it was her kids’ favorite place to go when they were my kids’ ages. WIN!
Since we had the van (and therefore everything we own) – we were prepared with suits and water shoes and water bottles and a change of clothes. The only thing we did not have was a place to change – but we are creative so that didn’t stop us. The kids had a blast!
Scott and I thought it was pretty cool too – literally and figuratively. I couldn’t have imagined any other way to spend an afternoon in the desert. There was a waterfall that the big kids swam in and jumped off and sliding rocks that the littles used as their own little waterpark. There was a part of the slide that Scott could block – ala Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – the water pressure would build behind him and the kids would line up and when the pressure got too high – swoosh they all got pushed through…it was awesome.
By the time we got changed and back to the park, the temperatures had cooled a little bit so we explored the park. We saw Balanced Rock…
We hiked to Double Arch…
And then we hiked to Sand Dune Arch which was a riot. The path was essentially sand and the kids loved playing in it….they made sand angels and had all kinds of other sand fun.
And we also hiked to Landscape Arch which is the longest (a football field size). This also had a huge pile of sand to play in and the kids had a blast running up and down. All of the kids were able to do all of the hikes themselves – as was the case with all of the hikes we completed this vacation. The park guide maps and the rangers were great resources in planning our itineraries in each of the parks.
We headed back to camp and cooked hotdogs and a new dessert that Luke had made at scout camp that included peaches, brown sugar, and marshmallows (how can you go wrong?)
We saw the most amazing sunset through the arch by our tent site. We packed into our tent by quiet time and once the littles fell asleep, Scott, Joe, and I sat outside the tent talking until about midnight.
Joe has asked me several times to sleep out under the stars with him on this vacation – but due to bears, and mountain lions, and scorpions and tarantula, I had not yet done this…but tonight as a compromise and to keep us cooler (bonus) we took the rain shield off the tent…so we had a screen but that is all…Dax was sure it was going to rain but being that we are in a desert, we convinced him we would be OK. The supermoon was beautiful – and no scorpions or tarantulas got me (double bonus).
- Ultimate Road Trip Post 21 – Stop #25 Bryce Canyon National Park
- Ultimate Road Trip Post 22 – Stop #26 Arches National Park
- Ultimate Road Trip Post 23 – Stop #27 Canyonlands National Park
- Big Family Guide to Arches National Park with Kids – What You Need to Know to Plan Your Trip Plus 12 Tips
- 8-Day Utah’s Mighty 5 National Park Road Trip with Kids
- 8-Day Grand Circle Tour Itinerary with Kids: Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks Plus Grand Canyon