The Grand Canyon is often considered one of the Wonders of the World and was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979. Home to the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon National Park offers a lot of breath-taking views and unforgettable experiences. Tourists can do a lot of activities here including hiking, visiting museums and gift shops, driving along empty but beautiful roads, and even going on picnics. This national park should definitely be on everyone’s list of places to visit in this lifetime. Hopefully, this Grand Canyon National Park Travel Guide and the sightseeing map below will help plan your next trip!
When to Visit the grand canyon
It’s best to visit the Grand Canyon National Park from May to September when the weather’s great. It does get a little warm in the summer though!
How to Reach the grand canyon
By Plane – Nearby airports that are within driving distance can be found in Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
By Train – There are two train services along the South Rim trail. The Grand Canyon Railway offers train services along Williams, AZ (on I-40), and Grand Canyon Village. Another train service is Amtrak which offers services from AZ, Flagstaff to various locations nationwide.
By Bus – There are several bus services to choose from: One Day Tours Shuttle Service, Arizona Shuttle, Greyhound, Grand Canyon Shuttle Service, and the Trans-Canyon Shuttle.
By Car – You can rent a car if you’re coming from Phoenix or Las Vegas. Both routes are scenic and easy to drive. If you’re coming from Phoenix, it’ll be approximately a three to four hour drive. On the other hand, it takes four to four and a half hours to get to your destination if you’re coming from Las Vegas. Due to the lack of parking during holiday weekends, it’s strongly recommended to park at Tusayan and just take the shuttle to go up.
travel tips for grand canyon
Purchase tickets at the visitor center or other locations to save a lot of time.
Don’t forget you can park at the visitors center in Tusayan and take the shuttle so you don’t have to worry about parking!
Do a hike to fully enjoy the amazing views around the Canyon.
Have a picnic with a beautiful view of the canyon. Bring your lunch. Several picnic tables can be found around the park.
Don’t get dehydrated. Drink plenty of water during your Grand Canyon Trip.
Try some traditional Native American dishes which can be found throughout Arizona.
Typical Costs at the grand canyon
Admission is valid for seven days and includes both the North and South Rims. The entrance fee is $20 per person. For vehicles, the entrance fee is $35 which includes all its passengers. For motorcycles, the entrance fee is $30 which also includes all its passengers. People who are 15 years old and younger are admitted for free. For 2018, the entrance fee is free during Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 15), First Day of National Park Week (April 21), National Publics Lands Day (September 22), and Veterans Day (November 11).
You can bring your own snacks and meals. There are plenty of picnic table areas everywhere and with the amazing views, that makes for an amazing picnic lunch. Restaurant and snack bars are also located around the park. Some of the popular restaurants are Bright Angel (Price Range of Meals: $11-$30), (Price Range of Meals: $11-$30), Yavapai Lodge Restaurant (Price Range of Meals: $12-$26), and Arizona Room (Price Range of Meals: $15-$21).
Hotels can get pricey especially during peak season. Hotel can cost upwards of $300+ in Tusayan. There are also lodging options available inside the park if booking well in advance. You can find more info on that here.
Another option is staying in Flagstaff which is a larger city with more options so the rates were more reasonable for someone on a budget.
There are buses and stops throughout the park which are included in the entrance fee. However, you will need some way of getting from the airport to the park or at minimum the visitor’s center in Tusayan.
Top Places to Visit
Take the bus down
It’s an 8 mile route with breathtaking views of the Canyon. Powell’s point has a great 360-degree view of the Grand Canyon National Park.
Go to the Visitor
Go to the Visitor Center to purchase books and Grand Canyon souvenirs. There is also a lot of great information about the Grand Canyon itself there.
Take a trip to Havasu
The journey is perfect for hikers and adventurous people. The destination is definitely worth it. Blue-green waterfalls cascading down from the Grand Canyon’s red rock is an unforgettable and extremely beautiful sight.
Visit the Mather Point
Overlook on the South Rim
It’s a popular scenic viewpoint with canyon vistas. It’s near the Visitor Center and easily accessible by just taking the shuttle bus.
Go to the Geological Museum
located on the South Rim
It houses several small exhibits that illustrate the geological history of the Grand Canyon. It also has a bookstore and several labeled picture windows which look out into the Grand Canyon.
Visit the East and West Side
of the Grand Canyon
To get the complete Grand Canyon experience, you should visit both sides of the Canyon. You’ll be able to see the best views and experiences each of the two sides has to offer.
The Desert View Watchtower
The watchtower is one of the most popular spots in the Grand Canyon. It’s 70-foot high and made of stone. It offers amazing views of the Colorado River and the Canyon’s North Rim.
The Hermit Trail
The Hermit Trail is a well-maintained trail that is not as crowded which can be a great experience if you’re looking for a peaceful adventure and challenge.
Experience the Desert
Experience the Desert View Drive to get away from the huge crowds and just appreciate the amazing views. This route stretches out to 25 miles and offers the best views of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.