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Family Adventure on Native Lands

May 11, 2011

Connect with Culture, Combine Family Fun & Capture the Adventuresome Spirit of Arizona

When the dog days of summer meet the family, scratch the itch for freedom and take in the wide open spaces of Arizona. Twenty-two Native American Nations across the vibrant state entice families with limitless excursions and fascinating discoveries. Explore the enriching civilizations of the past. Connect with culture and combine family fun to capture the adventuresome spirit of Arizona.

Beside colorful high-soaring cliffs of sandstone, beyond small forests of Russian Olive and pine trees, uncover the ancient pueblo ruins of Canyon de Chelly. Reveal the many sights of the sprawling and secluded Navajo Nation by exhilarating jeep-tour across rugged terrain, or canter the canyon and ride horse-back through shallow washes and trails. Home to Natives for thousands of years, the living monument of Canyon de Chelly continues to sustain a community of Navajo people today. Discover artifacts like petro glyphs and dwellings once covered in plaster, constructed of timber, and adobe style bricks. Hike in the shadows of Spider Rock, the sandstone obelisk towering 800 feet above ground also home to the mythical Spider Woman of Navajo stories. The top of Spider Rock is said to be white from the sun-bleached bones of misbehaving Navajo children! Camp-out at Cottonwood Campground and retell tales of Navajo lore, or stay at the nearby lodge. Canyon de Chelly is the perfect place for families to learn about the importance of preserving natural resources, history and culture.

Bring your family to marvel at each of the three ancient cliff dwellings on Navajo National Monument. Imagine them as once home to generations of Puebloan families. Constructed of sandstone, mud mortar, and wood, the dwellings known as Keet Seel, Betatakin, and Inscription House are still intact today. Hike the 17 mile trail to Keet Seel for family fitness, get interactive on a guided tour, or walk the shorter trails behind the visitor’s center about a mile long. The educational trails identify indigenous flora and fauna, and display their significance to the Native cultures of the Navajo and Hopi. Overlook the remains of an Ice Age old forest, as the trail leads to the Betatakin dwelling.  Learn more while visiting the museum, or overnight outdoors at the campgrounds. Junior Ranger Programs are offered by Navajo National Monument at the visitor’s center. Encourage your wee ones to participate! 

Along the scenic shores of Lake Powell is the Navajo Nation owned and operated, Antelope Point marina. Boasting a beautiful backdrop and more shoreline to explore than the entire west coast of the U.S, Lake Powell offers a playground of family fun. Splash through the best boating waters by jet-ski, speed boat, or navigate the lake from the comforts of a custom houseboat rental, fully equipped with flat screens, and furnishings. Water slide, cannon- ball, or cast lines for a family catching contest. Go fish- for stripe bass, largemouth, smallmouth, walleye, black crappie and catfish.  Antelope Point offers rentals of all varieties, a full service launch, a fishing dock, the world’s largest floating restaurant, and guided tours to nearby Antelope Canyon.

The rising and falling sandstone curvatures of Antelope Canyon create gorgeous sloping angles not to be missed. Enjoy the sunshine hitting your family’s faces. Watch the natural light glow through the slot canyon during sunrise or sunset. Time after time Antelope Canyon creates amazing photo opportunities….Perfect for a new family portrait! Go your own wake, and make memories to last a lifetime in Page, AZ on Lake Powell.

Experience the journey of family life by way of the Navajo. Gain a new perspective from The Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City, AZ. Explore many engaging exhibits for children and adults alike. The quadrants of the museum represent the significance of the number four to Navajo culture. Walk in the footsteps of the Natives traveling clockwise from quadrant to quadrant, East, South, West, and North. With every bend experience a new introduction to the land, language, history, culture, and ceremonial life of the Navajo.

Whimsy and peace define the Tribal Lands of the Havasupai and their wonderful, cascading, blue-green water-falls. Awaiting your family for an unforgettable adventure, discover the captivating sanctuary of Havasupai Falls. Feel first hand, the spray of what may be the most photographed water-fall of the world, Havasu Falls. Mooney Falls roars as it plunges a thundering 200 feet to the pools beneath its path. Truly an oasis, the five falls can only be accessed by hike, horse, or helicopter. The hike to Havasupai Falls requires a trek of about 10 miles beginning at Hualapai Hilltop, found on the Hualapai Reservation located just north of Peach Springs. Camping and lodging reservations must be made in advance, but are well worth the wait! The trail carves its way down through narrow canyons, steep switchbacks and the village of Supai. Just beyond the village create your home away from home at the campgrounds. Arrive to the campsite and enjoy rewarding R and R after a long haul. Lull to sleep while listening to the sounds of the falls!

Peach Springs, AZ, is the tribal capital of the Hualapai, and is a great starting point to the family venture you envision. From here journey the landscape by way of river raft, off-road tour, or hike. Choose the Grand Canyon quest right for you and yours! North of Peach Springs, at Grand Canyon West, visit the SkyWalk at Eagle Point. Walk over the glass bridge, kids and fam hand and hand, while 4,000 feet above the Colorado River. Be sure to keep close, while looking to the depths of the canyon below!

Translated as "desert people," The Tohono O’odham Tribal Lands are located in southern Arizona. With wonderful mountains and gorgeous starry skies, the Tohono O'odham Nation, offers a wealth of family friendly explorations. Among these mountain ranges find the sacred Baboquivari Peak and Kitt Peak, both of which are sacred to the O’odham. Vistas and starry skies from these vantage points can be compared to no other. Admire the Milky Way, share dreams, and remember to shoot for the stars! View the same stars so significant to Native American culture through special viewing programs at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The observatory has the greatest number of telescopes in the world!

Resorts upon our Native Lands in Phoenix and the surrounding valley provide great getaways, summer winter fall or spring!  From golf, and five-star dining, to horseback riding, cultural centers, spas and shopping, what more could the modern family want? Chandler, AZ offers The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, on the Gila River Indian Community. Featuring three swimming pools, and a waterslide over 100 feet tall, stay cool poolside. Create a cannonball contest or rest afloat during a “dive-in” movie on the big screen!  The Radisson Fort McDowell Resort  of Fountain Hills is another great stay for strengthening family ties. Surrounded by the Sonoran desert the tribe offers cowboy games, adventures for kids and championship golf at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club. Talking Stick Resort, on the eastern border of Scottsdale, highlights a collection of postmodern art including pieces by artists of Native American descent. Experience tribal culture and Wild West wonder during a resort stay with attractions for every member of your family. And who says pooches aren’t people too? Bring even your best friend along to the doggie friendly Radisson and Sheraton resorts.

If shoveling all winter long leaves you longing for a way to enjoy the slosh and snow, visit Sunrise Mountain. A wonderful place for a wintertime wilderness retreat, Sunrise is located in the White Mountains on the Apache Reservation. Get cozy and share stories fireside at the lodge. Benefit from some of the best skiing in the Western U.S!  Welcoming all levels and types of expertise the mountain has 65 ski runs, as well as separate snowboarding, and bunny runs. Snowmobiling, cross country skiing, hunting, hiking, ice fishing, sledding and sleigh rides make Sunrise a recreational paradise and the perfect place to get active when it’s cold outside. Summertime in Sunrise offers just as much to enjoy with a marina and full service boat dock on Sunrise Lake. With plentiful Rainbow, Brook, and Apache Trout, the lake is a premier fishing destination.  

Freedom, excitement and variety are signature signs of an Arizona trip, always keeping visitors returning for more adventure. Leave the mountain vistas and native lands behind with a fresh point of view and new sense of fulfillment until the next time! Visit for photos and links or view the hyperlink directory to follow.

See the official Arizona travel and vacation guide from the Arizona Office of Tourism at Find in-depth AZ visitor information and videos about visiting the state of Arizona, including comprehensive directories of Arizona hotels, dining and shopping, as well as things to do and places to visit throughout the Grand Canyon State.

Hyperlink Directory
Canyon de Chelly
Jeep Tours
Tours by horseback

Navajo National Monument
Guided Navajo Tours
Antelope Point Marina
Lake Powell

Explore Navajo Interactive Museum

Havasupai Falls

Peach Springs

The Tohono O’odham Tribal Lands
Kitt Peak National Observatory

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa
Radisson Fort McDowell
Talking Stick


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