What land structure is 277 miles long, around 18 feet wide, over 16,000 feet deep, and has some of the cleanest air in the world? If you’re thinking of one of the Natural Wonders of the world, you’ve guessed it. We’re talking about the Grand Canyon. This area has some of the best views of the world, and should really be on everyone’s bucket list, regardless if you’re from the United States or not. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but pictures of the Grand Canyon are worth way more than that. You’ll see views that will stick with you for a life time, and may even be able to do some soul searching. I recently took a trip to the Grand Canyon, and wanted to pass on some of my insights to help you get the most out of your trip.
Arriving into Arizona
One of the nearest major airports is the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. I recommend flying into Arizona for your trip to the Grand Canyon. This is so you can explore some of the cool things this city has to offer. The temperature can get pretty warm in this part of the country, so the best months to visit are February, March, and April. The weather is still warm so you can enjoy some pool time, but it’s not in the triple digits just yet. I was lucky enough to have a friend host me for my trip, so I can’t say a whole lot about where to stay in the city, but AirBnB usually has some good options to choose from. Depending on how long you want your trip to be, I’d stay at least a night in Phoenix, and maybe even two to have enough time to explore everything the city offers.
Things to Do in Phoenix
- Explore Old Town Scottsdale: This is such a cute place to walk around. You’ll see cute boutique stores, cozy restaurants, and some very popular bars. Two of my favorite places were the Kazimierz World Wine Bar and Wasted Grain. This part of town has so much going on, it will not be hard to find a good night out.
- Desert Botanical Garden: Being from the Pacific Northwest, I rarely ever see the types of plants that grow in the Arizona climate. The Botanical Garden was so much fun. You’ll see tons of beautiful plants. The workers are also super knowledgeable and ready to answer all of your questions.
- Heard Museum: If you want to learn about Native American Indian tribes in the southwestern United States, this is the place. You’ll see a lot of artwork and learn a lot of the history.
- Eat dinner in Heritage Square: This is a charming square in Phoenix with a great selection of restaurants. Check out Pizzeria Bianco – It apparently has some of the best pizza in the nation.
- Hole-in-the-Rock: This is exactly how it sounds; a hole in a rock. A short hike from the parking lot takes you to a uniquely shaped rock that is a great photo opportunity.
- Charlie’s: This is a great gay bar in Phoenix. The place is always packed and the music is great. It’s a large venue with outdoor space, so you’ll have a great way to enjoy the Phoenix night life here.
The Grand Canyon
After you’re done exploring the amazing city that is Phoenix, Arizona, it’s time to head up to see the star of the show. You’ll need to rent a car, as you have a three and a half hour drive from Phoenix before you arrive at the south rim on your trip to the Grand Canyon. There is also a $30 entrance fee to be able to access the Grand Canyon. You can find more information HERE if you want more options to get to your destination. Most visitors start at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, and make their way to Mather Point. This will be your first site of the canyon, and it’s a view to remember.
There’s a trail that loops all the way around the canyon, so I recommend bringing a good pair of shoes for this. You can walk as far or as little as you want. The pathway is paved and has almost no elevation to it, so take a trek around and get away from the crowds. Most of the tourists don’t walk to far away from the main area, so if you walk a bit further, you can have some private views of the grand canyon. Bring a lunch with you and spend all day exploring the beauty of the canyon. They do have a free shuttle to drive you to certain areas, so check the visitor center for the schedule and destinations.
Accommodation Near the Grand Canyon
There is still a lot to explore, so I recommend staying a night somewhere close for your trip to the Grand Canyon. You can find a hotel nearby or go camping. You’ll be beat after spending all day exploring the canyon, so get a good night’s rest so you can do it all again tomorrow with the other sites to see. I think camping offers the best experience with this trip, but it really depends on the type of traveler you are and what amenities you need.
Outside the Grand Canyon
I think a day to explore the Canyon is enough for your trip to the Grand Canyon. You could always do an overnight camping trip into the canyon or around the canyon, but for there’s a lot more to see of Arizona outside of it. After a night of camping or staying in your hotel, jump in your car and head further east. Arizon is such a beautiful area of the country, so you need to try and see all that you can. Here are some other sites to see on your trip to the Grand Canyon..
- Horseshoe Bend: If you have an Instagram account, you’ve definitely seen a picture of this view. In the town of Page, Arizona, there is a meander of the Colorado River shaped like a horseshoe, and it provides a great backdrop for picture taking. From the south rim of the Grand Canyon, you really can’t see much of the Colorado River. This site makes up for that. This attraction is free and is a short 10 minutes walk from the parking lot.
- Antelope Canyon: Mother Nature did another amazing job with this canyon. The Antelope Canyon is a narrow gorge carved by water and mud. The natural lighting makes for another great photo opportunity. You do have to sign up for a tour and pay entry fees. You’ll also need to decide if you want to see the upper or lower (or both) part of the canyon. This is a great guide to help you make your decision on which option is best for you.
- Glen Canyon Dam: Another pretty view can be found here. This is a concrete arch-gravity dam that is one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States. You can find guided tours for your trip HERE.
- Navajo Bridge: Along 89A, you’ll find a pair of steel arch bridges spanning across the Colorado River. The bridges are an impressive site that include a lot of historical information.
- Sedona: This is a great stop on your way back to Phoenix. You’ll see some great sites of Red Rock State Park. There’s lots of hiking and exploring in this area. In the city, you’ll find a cute artsy community with lots of shopping and restaurants. This town is so charming, I would stay a night here if you have the time to spare. There’s so much to keep you busy. Sedona can be an overnight trip on your way back to Phoenix, or a quick pit stop.
I hope you get to see everything you want on your trip to the Grand Canyon. I hope you feel small standing next to this mass of earth. The world is such an amazing place, and the Grand Canyon really helps to show the pretty side of our planet. When visiting the Grand Canyon, you should at least set aside two nights to see everything on this list, but you could easily make this a three or four night trip if you really wanted to. Enjoy the sites, and remember that this world is beautiful. Let me know if you have anything to add to this list in the comments below!
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