The Great Wall of China for Kids | FUN Facts and 10 Things to Know Before Your Visit

The Great Wall of China is one of those attractions that should be on everyone’s bucket list. It truly is a remarkable architectural feat, and to see it in person is an incredible experience.

Although a bit more challenging, visiting the Great Wall of China with kids can be done, even if you are traveling with a baby or toddler.

If you are wondering if the Great Wall of China is good for children or you are planning a visit and want to know what to expect – this guide to visiting the Great Wall of China with kids includes everything you need to know, including some fun facts about the Great Wall of China for kids to help get your little ones excited about your upcoming adventure.

FIND THE BEST GUIDED TOURS OR TRANSFERS TO THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

About the Great Wall of China

A man carrying an umbrella down an uncrowded section of the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is one of the most famous attractions in the world.

The primary section of the Great Wall known as the Ming Great Wall spans more than 5,500 miles. But the total length of all sections of the Great Wall would add up to about 13,000 miles! 

To put that in perspective, imagine if there was a wall spanning the USA from the west coast to the east coast. That would be massive, right?

Now imagine if that wall continued across the entire Atlantic Ocean… in essence running from San Francisco all the way to London.

That is the approximate length of the Ming section of the Great Wall of China!  This staggering statistic alone is enough to quantify the Great Wall as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

It took more than 2,000 years to build the Great Wall, which means there are centuries of history built into this remarkable site. There are parts of the wall that have been reconstructed while other parts are only partially standing, and still others are in ruins.

It is one of the most famous landmarks in the world and one of the best places to visit in Asia for families.

Bandaling is the most popular portion of the Great Wall. It is the most visited and usually the most crowded section of the Great Wall. The primary reason for its popularity is simply its proximity to Beijing.

It is a convenient 1.5-2 hour drive from the center of Beijing, making it easy to access even if you only have one day in Beijing.

While it is typically crowded, we went on a cold, rainy day, so there were hardly any people beyond the first initial climb. At times, it felt like we had the site all to ourselves. 

Crowds thin out significantly the further you walk on the wall.

Visiting the Great Wall of China with Kids

The Great Wall of China with kids
Visiting the Great Wall of China with kids can be a great experience.

The Great Wall of China is not an easy or leisurely walk. I originally envisioned climbing a few flights of stairs and then casually strolling along a stone path that weaves through the countryside at a gradual incline. Boy, was I wrong!

Here are a few things to know before visiting the Great Wall of China with kids or without.

There are a lot of steep, uneven stairs

steep steps make it challenging to visit the Great Wall of China with young children
The steep steps can be challenging if visiting the Great Wall of China with young children.

The Great Wall of China, at least the section we visited, is in a mountainous area. You are constantly hiking up or down at a steep incline. And by “steep” I mean ridiculously steep. You will feel like it’s leg day at the gym during your trip to the Great Wall.

The stairs are not only steep, some of the steps are taller than usual and the stones are uneven. Some of the steps were almost as high as my knees. The steps can be a bit tricky and even dangerous for small children.

One of the most important things to know about the Great Wall of China for kids, is that you need to watch small children closely.

Make sure children hold onto the handrails to prevent slipping and falling. At least that shouldn’t be hard for them to do, considering the handrails are only about a foot high.

While the steps may be built for giants, the handrails were built for toddlers. The handrails are very low to the ground.

Take your time, and if possible, I recommend investing in a child carrier and wearing young children. The attraction is obviously not stroller friendly, so it’s either wear them in a travel baby carrier or let them walk.

Tip: I recommend this soft carrier for babies and this child carrier for toddlers. Both were lifesavers in the younger years traveling with our daughter.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE DEUTER KID COMFORT CHILD CARRIER HERE AND THE ERGO 360 BABY CARRIER HERE.

The Great Wall of China can get very crowded

Crowded section on the Great Wall.
The initial crowds right as you start your climb on the Great Wall of China.

Depending on the time of year you visit and the weather, the Great Wall can be extremely crowded.

Even on a rainy day in the off season we fought through the crowds at the beginning of the trek. This is another reason a child carrier would be beneficial if visiting the Great Wall with small children.

At the very least, I would make sure you have a child safety harness backpack with you if traveling with little ones who like to run ahead of you.

Additionally, expect more pushing and nudging both at the entrance to the wall and getting on the bus. Chinese tourists do not necessarily conform to the polite practice of queuing. This is a cultural difference that may seem rude to westerners who treat queuing as an artform.

Walking the Great Wall of China with kids is challenging

a woman walking down steep stairs on the Great Wall of China in the fog
A certain level of physical fitness is required to hike the Great Wall of China due to all the steep stairs and inclines.

We’ve already discussed the stairs and uneven stones. Depending on the section of the wall you visit there may be areas where the trek is more dangerous and challenging.

Even at Badaling, a certain level of fitness is required.

While visiting the Great Wall of China with kids is doable, make sure the area of the wall you are visiting is suitable for young trekkers. And be prepared for your children to get bored and tired of walking.

I’ll admit my daughter wasn’t the happiest little person while we were there. She was cold and it was wet, but we were only in China on a transit visa for 72 hours, so we had to make the most of it, despite the weather.

BOOK A TOUR TO THE BADALING SECTION OF THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA OR A TOUR TO THE MUTIANYU GREAT WALL 

FAQs, Tips, and other things to consider when visiting the Great Wall of China with kids

It is natural to have questions when planning a trip to another country or visiting an iconic landmark such as the Great Wall of China. 

Here are a few additional pointers, tips, and things to consider when visiting the Great Wall of China with kids.

How do you get to the Great Wall of China from Beijing?

The easiest way to get to the Great Wall of China as a tourist is to take a guided tour or hire a private transfer from Beijing.

You cannot rent a car in China without a Chinese driver’s license.

An international drivers license is not recognized in China.

Although I’ve read that there are ways to apply for a temporary driver’s license, nothing is an easy process in China, so a self-drive is likely out of the question.

Are there Bathrooms / Toilets at the Great Wall of China?

There are bathrooms along the Great Wall – at least there were at Badaling, the section that we visited. However, I wouldn’t expect that to be the case everywhere, particularly if you are visiting one of the more remote sections of the Chinese landmark.

We did not use the bathrooms while we were there, so I cannot speak to their cleanliness.

However, I would almost bet the bathrooms do not have toilet paper, as many public bathrooms in China do not. Bring your own just in case.

There is also a strong possibility the toilets are squat toilets. That is something else we came across quite a bit in China. Luckily, our potty training toddler did not need to use one, but I would be prepared just in case. 

How far is the Great Wall of China from Beijing? 

If you plan to visit the Great Wall of China with kids, bring some entertainment for the road trip there and back.

It’s roughly a two hour drive to the wall from central Beijing, so a few travel activities or small toys will go a long way. 

You will also want to pack snacks for your children to eat, as a day trip to the Great Wall of China will likely take at least 7 hours.

You can easily book a tour of the Great Wall of China that includes transportation.

What should you wear to the Great Wall of China?

Family photo taken on the Great Wall of China
Aside from good walking shoes, check the weather and be sure to pack accordingly.

A good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots is a must when visiting the Great Wall of China with kids or without! You want a shoe with a supportive sole since you will be doing a lot of walking, but you also want something that has a good grip in the event of rain.

The stone pavers can get extremely slippery when wet. It’s easy to slip and fall if visiting the Great Wall of China in the rain. We almost slipped a couple of times ourselves.

Because of the elevation, it will also be cooler at the wall than in Beijing, so you may need a lightweight jacket in spring or fall.

If you get to the wall and it’s raining, they sell ponchos outside the gates. They are inexpensive and ugly, but at least you’ll stay dry.

Don’t make the mistake I did. Check the weather ahead of time and bring a rain jacket if needed, otherwise you’ll be wearing a bright red trash bag in all your photos on The Great Wall of China. Admittedly, this was not my best look.

When is the best time to visit the Great Wall of China?

the great wall of china in the fall surrounded by trees with autumn foliage
The Great Wall of China is less crowded and is surrounded by beautiful color in the fall and spring.

Spring (April to May) and Autumn (September to November) are the most pleasant seasons to visit the Great Wall as the weather is generally mild, and the scenery is picturesque due to blooming flowers or colorful foliage.

You can also expect fewer tourists compared to the peak summer months. Summer (June to August) can be hot and humid, with lots of tourists, making it less ideal for some visitors.

Winter (December to February) can be quite cold and certain sections of the wall might be closed due to icy conditions, so while you can visit the Great Wall of China in winter, it’s generally not the best time for a visit unless you simply want to experience the wall covered in snow.

Do you need a guide to visit the Great Wall of China?

You don’t necessarily need a guide to visit the Great Wall of China, but an English-speaking guide will definitely be helpful during your visit.

Of all the countries we have visited, China had the most significant language barrier. 

Booking a guided tour not only takes away the stress of actually getting to the Great Wall of China, but a knowledgeable guide can enhance your visit by providing fun facts and historical information during your day trip.

What is the most important information to know about visiting the Great Wall of China with kids?

looking over the edge of the Great Wall.
Be extra cautious when visiting the Great Wall with kids, and do not let them climb on the edge of the wall, as falling would be extremely dangerous.

The most important thing to consider when planning a family trip to the Great Wall of China is the physical fitness level of every member of your family. Walking the wall is a hike rather than a walk.

Parts of the wall can be very challenging, so consider the age and endurance level of your kids when planning your visit. 

Safety considerations are also important to keep in mind. The steps can be steep and slippery.

Additionally, be sure to watch children carefully and do not let them climb on the wall or sit or stand in openings of the wall, as a fall from this height would be very dangerous.

Other Things to do around the Great Wall of China with Kids

At the entrance to the Great Wall of China
This Chinese saying translates to “He who does not climb the Great Wall is not a true man.”

There are a few restaurants and souvenir shops around Badaling where you can grab a bite to eat or have a cup of hot tea or a refreshing drink after your descent.

Keep your eye out for the Chinese saying above. It is written several times on walls and sculptures in the area. The saying translates to “He who does not climb the Great Wall is not a true man.”

You can get a certificate before you leave the attraction by showing your ticket to enter. This saying is inscribed on the certificate. You can also buy a souvenir photo for about 5 US dollars.

You can do this inside the visitors center right before you get to the parking lot. There were no English signs identifying this area. In fact, we only knew about it because we had an interpreter with us.

Still have questions about the Great Wall? Check out this short video of our walk along the world-famous tourist site.

Fun Facts about the Great Wall of China for Kids

To prepare your children for their visit to this world-renowned landmark, here are some fun facts about the Great Wall of China for kids.

  • The Great Wall of China is the longest manmade structure in the world.
  • If you add up the length of all portions of the Great Wall of China, including overlapping portions, the total would be over 13,000 miles!
  • The Great Wall of China is considered one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, along with the Roman Colosseum, Taj Mahal in India, Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, Machu Picchu, Chechen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and Petra in Jordan.
  • It took more than 2,000 years to build the Great Wall of China.
  • The Great Wall of China is built with a combination of bricks and stones

ALSO READ: HOW TO SPEND ONE DAY IN BEIJING WITH KIDS

Do you have a question or comment about visiting the Great Wall of China with kids? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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This guide to hiking the Great Wall of China with kids was first written in November 2017 but was most recently updated in November 2023 for accuracy and current travel information.

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24 comments on “The Great Wall of China for Kids | FUN Facts and 10 Things to Know Before Your Visit”

Avery looks like an astronaut in the first pic. So adorable! Must remember to do some uphill training before visiting the Great Wall. Haha! 😉

You seem to have had such bad luck with the weather. But it seems like you made the best of it!
We had been to China and of course on the wall years ago and the crowds were already big, but nothing in comparison to how it looks now. I have been playing with an idea of taking a city trip to Beijing with kids one day soon, so your tips are very useful.

I love reading about other parent-travelers! So far we’ve stuck to Europe, but my brother just moved to China and we’d love to go visit one of these days. Sounds like a carrier is a must though, yikes! My first kid will probably whine but the second one will be trying to leap off the stairs for funsies.

This was our first Asia trip with our daughter. She handled it surprisingly well. And if you have family there now, you definitely should go! And yes, a carrier is a must to keep rambunctious kiddos from jumping off the wall. 🙂

This looks like a challenging trip with a toddler! But rewarding on a rainy day to have the place almost to yourselves! This is on our list and these are great tips!

Great tips! Just curious, how do you travel with that toddler carrier? Do you carry it on or put it in checked luggage? Also what time of year did you go?

Thank you!

We bring it as a carry-on. Some airlines will make you gate check it, especially if overhead bins are full. Only one airline (a regional carrier in Mexico) made us check it and pay a baggage fee. We went in October.

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