I'm planning a 3 day visit to the Grand Canyon! I've never been and I need advice. We're hoping to drive from San Diego and visit the South Rim. Any suggestions on where to stay in park or within driving distance from the park? Where to eat, what tour experiences we can't miss (i.e. I was hoping to hike and do a short rafting tour), etc.? Thanks!
Trip Plan Details
- Bright Angel TrailBright Angel Trail, United Statesrecommended Bright Angel TrailOne of the real great trails on mule or foot. Go down to Indian springs or phantom ranch. Like a journey back in time. Bring water and decent boots.Recommended for:D'Maris Coffman
Bright Angel Trail is a must if you're going to be on the South Rim!
- Maswik Lodge1 Main St, PO Box 69910, Tusayan, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023recommended Maswik LodgeMy 5-stars In-N-Out reviews aren't suppose to be a direct comparison with my 5-stars fancy schmancy restaurants reviews. In addition, my reviews are based solely on my experience and this lodge gets 5 ... read morestars! Location: 5 stars It's inside the Grand Canyon and a 5 minute walk from a spectacular Grand Canyon view. Service: 5 stars Check-in and check-out was a breeze and staff was knowledgeable about where to hike and where to see sunset and sunrise. Accommodations: 4.5 stars It looks crappy outside IMHO but my friend actually thought it was cute. Inside, we both thought it was posh, well-kept, and clean for what we were paying and it's location. I also think our room was recently renovated. It looked freshly painted and the design was more modern than expected. We went in spring and didn't need air conditioning, which this room doesn't have. I can imagine why some people would hate this room in the summer where temperatures can be 90-100+ Fahrenheit. For us, we made use of the heater in the room and had a nice, comfortable sleep. The bed felt fairly new along with the sofa--firm but not too firm. Price: 5 stars At $92 per night before tax, I thought it was a fantastic deal. I'm not willing to waste time hiking early morning to drive to the Grand Canyon nor wake up earlier than I have to to drive in to see the sunrise. High noon is a #$*%, even in the spring, and the sunrise/sunset is %$#@ awesome! If you hike 11 miles per day with net elevation change of 3000+ ft it's nice to have a shower and room close by. WiFi: 0 star in actuality, 5 stars in disguise No WiFi in the room! WiFii is broken in the lobby area too! What! If this wasn't the Grand Canyon, automatic 3 stars at best for a room. But I can overlook it because it's the Grand Canyon. If there was WiFi, I'd probably be up until 2 am in my room or lobby area--whichever place has it and miss out on a lot of Grand Canyon opportunities. A blessing in disguise actually.Recommended for:
- Yavapai Lodge1 Main St, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023recommended Yavapai LodgeLike I said in my Maswik Lodge review, my 5-stars In-N-Out reviews aren't suppose to be a direct comparison with my 5-stars fancy schmancy restaurants reviews. In addition, my reviews are based solely ... read moreon my experience and this lodge gets 5 stars also! Location: 5 stars It's inside the Grand Canyon! Service: 5 stars Check-in and check-out was a breeze and staff was knowledgeable about where to hike and where to see sunset and sunrise. Accommodations: 5 stars The room was posh, well-kept, and clean for what we were paying and it's location. I also think our room was recently renovated. It looked freshly painted and the design was more modern than expected. We went in spring and didn't need air conditioning, which this room doesn't seem to have. I can imagine why some people would hate this room in the summer where temperatures can be 90-100+ Fahrenheit. Oddly, unlike Maswik Lodge, I didn't find a heater in the room. Oh well, didn't need air conditioning or a heater. Price: 5 stars At $114 per night before tax, I thought it was a fantastic deal. I'm not willing to waste time hiking early morning to drive to the Grand Canyon nor wake up earlier than I have to to drive in to see the sunrise. High noon is a #$*%, even in the spring, and the sunrise/sunset is %$#@ awesome! If you hike 12 miles per day with net elevation change of 3000+ ft it's nice to have a shower and room close by. WiFi: 2 stars in actuality, 5 stars in disguise No WiFi in the room! However, there was WiFi in the lobby. My friend only allowed me to use it for 20 minutes max. One shouldn't be online too much anyways while in the Grand Canyon!Recommended for:
recommended FlagstaffThis town is a great base camp for outdoor adventure. You can ski in the winter, hike in the summer, visit the Grand Canyon anytime. It's got bars, restaurants, and all kinds of lodging. I visited in ... read moreApril which offered hiking on comfortable cool days and a noticeable lack of crowds.Barbara Kossy
If you want to spend a night or two near but not IN the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff would be perfect. There are lots of great day hikes nearby (when there's no snow).
- Grand Canyon South Rim Visitor CenterGrand Canyon Village, Arizonarecommended Grand Canyon South Rim Visitor CenterA perfect place to visit on your first day in Grand Canyon National Park. Park, then take the short walk to the jaw-dropping views of the canyon at Mather Point. Come back to the visitor center to ... read morelearn more about it's geology and history, and to plan the rest of your visit. You can use the exhibits, talk to rangers, and buy guides, and pick up maps and shuttle bus schedules.Barbara Kossy
The rangers are incredibly helpful and friendly. They really want you to have a safe, fun, and interesting visit.
- South Kaibab TrailAlong the side road to Yaki Point, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023recommended South Kaibab TrailMaybe less well known than Bright Angel trail but this beautiful trail offers amazing views of the canyon even if you just hike for a couple of hours.Recommended for:
- Bright Angel Lodge and CabinsHighway 64, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023recommended Bright Angel Lodge and CabinsRecommended for:Arlo Hemphill
Another nice location - priced at the midrange - is the Bright Angel Lodge. It feels a little more touristy than El Tovar, but still sits directly on the rim - making for an exciting lodging experience!recommended Bright Angel Lodge and CabinsIf you're looking to stay right on the rim of the Grand Canyon, these historic national park cabins are a good bet for families. Wake up before down, and you can walk right out of your cabin to catch ... read moresunrise breaking over the canyon's wonderland of buttes. Rooms in the lodge are pretty bland, however, so make sure you get a cabin when making reservations (which you should do as far in advance as possible, especially during summer).
- El Tovar HotelApache Street and Center Road, South Rim; PO Box 699 10 Albright Street, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023recommended El Tovar HotelRecommended for:Arlo Hemphill
Hi Tiffany, I highly recommend staying directly on the South Rim. It's an inspirational experience in and of itself. There is a range of hotels, from near luxury to budget and camping spots along and just off the rim. The best hotel is the main lodge - El Tovar. It's a classic old hunting lodge with grand lobby that whisks you away to a bygone era of the American west.recommended El Tovar HotelRight on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, this historic hotel rises above the touristy spots to lay your head farther south in Tusayan. Originally built for tourists arriving by rail in the early ... read more20th century, this national park lodge is a landmark. Book far in advance, or try for a last-minute reservation by calling the toll-free reservations number starting 3 days before the day you want to stay. We've often gotten a last-minute cancellation that way. Tip: Skip the hotel's dining room, and head over to the Bright Angel Lodge's steakhouse (no reservations) or family-friendly diner instead.
recommended SedonaSedona is stunning. It's known for its red sand/dirt as well as its vortexes. One of the best places in the world to watch a sunset.Recommended for:Yulree Chun "@GogobotLA"
You won't need all three days for the Grand Canyon so I highly recommend visiting Sedona to catch a sunset there.
- Grand Canyon SkywalkEagle Point, Las Vegas, NV 89146recommended Grand Canyon SkywalkHey Tiffany, I checked this one out at West Canyon (closer to Vegas) and for $50 I think it was worth it. You put little cloth booties over your shoes and walk out on a glass structure so you can ... read morestare straight down into the Canyon. They end up charging you an extra $20 or something like that for a mandatory 1 mile round-trip bus-ride to the skywalk, so there is a hidden cost.Recommended for:Daniel Bowe
How'd the private Gogobot party go? If you make it out to Hawaii come say hey! I just recently moved-- I'm friend with Yen Phan-- the Gogobot Community Manager out here.
- Antelope CanyonAntelope Canyonrecommended Antelope CanyonOne of the most photographed slot canyons in the American southwest. It starts off as a little crevice in a dry riverbed but as you climb down the stairs it's a whole other world. Wander through the ... read moremile or so of sandstone slot canyon carved from flash flooding.Recommended for:
- Horseshoe BendPage, Arizonarecommended Horseshoe BendPark in a dirt parking lot off of highway 89 a couple miles south of Page, AZ, and walk a half mile to Horseshoe bend for one of the most spectacular sights in America. There's no railing, so take ... read moreyour time and edge carefully to the cliff to take pictures. wide angel lens highly recommended.Recommended for:Kevin Cheng
It's not exactly close to the south rim, but since you're in the state, might as well drive over and see this and Antelope canyon, which is right next door.
- Arizona Room10 Albright Avenue, Grand Canyon, AZrecommended Arizona RoomForget the fancy-schmancy dining room at the El Tovar hotel. The Arizona Room at Bright Angel Lodge serves the best vittles on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. They don't take reservations ... read more(which is great if you're a last-minute trip planner), so get there when they open for dinner and put your name on the list. Then swill a margarita on the back porch while you wait for you table to be called. Straight-up American steaks, baby back ribs, fresh fish and more (vegetarians OK, too). For breakfast or lunch, hit the Bright Angel Lodge's more casual family-style restaurant instead.Recommended for:Vegetarian
- Grand Canyon National ParkCenter Loop Rdrecommended Grand Canyon National ParkThe Great Wall of China, Angkor Wat, and the Grand Canyon....these are on my short list of must-do travel destinations that actually live up to all of the hype. If you've only got a day, visit the ... read moreSouth Rim, leaving your car behind in Mather Village and taking the free park shuttle buses to viewpoints and hiking trails along the rim. For more offbeat adventures, go to the North Rim (accessible via Utah, nearby Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks), which gets only 10% of the annual park visitors.Sara Benson
When are you going? That makes all the difference in recommendations for hikes, etc. Short rafting trips - did you mean a full-day trip? Anything shorter than that is harder to find. For a one-day trip, contact the Hualapai River Runers on the tribal reservation west of the park, near Peach Springs, AZ.
- Rim TrailWest Rim Drive, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023