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  1. #1
    bisous is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default Best way to do the Grand Canyon?

    Everyone in my family would like to visit the Grand Canyon and it turns out its sort of on the way to visit a few family members. Wed like to make a short diversion there. What is a good, affordable way to make a memorable visit there?

    For reference, it would be DH and I and our 4 kids aged 6 to 16. TIA!!

  2. #2
    lizzywednesday is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    We visited last spring and the ILs treated us to a package through the Grand Canyon Railroad - we drove from Phoenix up to Williams (AZ), stayed overnight at the Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel, took the sightseer train and then a highlights bus tour around the South Rim.

    It's expensive, the included food is dreadful (I have nothing kind to say about the dinner or the lunch), and while the bus tour is cool some folks may feel a little rushed, so I'm not sure that's the "best" way to do it, but it was still 100% worth the trip.

    I'd be open to hearing from other folks who did things differently.

    If you decide to skip a tour group, and you have a 4th grader in your family, sign up for the Every Kid in a Park National Parks pass to get into the park. It runs every school year from September 1st through August 31st.
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  3. #3
    bisous is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizzywednesday View Post
    We visited last spring and the ILs treated us to a package through the Grand Canyon Railroad - we drove from Phoenix up to Williams (AZ), stayed overnight at the Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel, took the sightseer train and then a highlights bus tour around the South Rim.

    It's expensive, the included food is dreadful (I have nothing kind to say about the dinner or the lunch), and while the bus tour is cool some folks may feel a little rushed, so I'm not sure that's the "best" way to do it, but it was still 100% worth the trip.

    I'd be open to hearing from other folks who did things differently.

    If you decide to skip a tour group, and you have a 4th grader in your family, sign up for the Every Kid in a Park National Parks pass to get into the park. It runs every school year from September 1st through August 31st.
    Thanks! The railroad looks like a fun experience but well have to see on the cost. DS1 has a lifelong free access pass to National Parks due to his type 1 diabetes so were set there!

  4. #4
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    Check rates, but I think if you stay in Tusyan (sp??) it might be cheaper. Drive from LA to there, stay the night. Drive in early, park your car, and then take the shuttle bus all around the South Rim. You can see a lot in a day. I would not hike down Bright Angel trail--it is a zoo. You could do a relatively short hike out to Shoshone Point, which is really pretty. I would suggest going out to see Hermit's Rest--it is a really interesting area. Check out the ww.nps.gov site on the Grand Canyon and look at the park newsletter. You really do have to use the shuttle anymore. The parking lots are full and you can't really drive from one place to the next. (at least in April)

    At the end of the day, you could drive to Page or Kanab and spend the night there. Then it is 6 hours up to SLC--if that is the way you were going. If you are heading to St. George, then that's a different route.
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  5. #5
    mmsmom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    It’s a site where “self touring” is the suggested method. There really is no need to pay for a tour. It is easy to see on your own. We did do a bike tour with Bright Angel rentals and it was really good. There is a lot of good information on the Trip Advisor Forum. Interestingly though the forum says the bike tour is a waste because you are in the woods the whole time which is completely untrue! We were in woods for about 10 minutes and the rest of the 2 hour tour you are on the rim with views. Most people suggest you spend one night in the park so you can see one sunset and one sunrise. One night/2 days is really plenty of time. We flew in/out of Phoenix and also did Page, Sedona & Scottsdale. Also remember driving at night is not advised... you miss the views and apparently there are animals on roads.

  6. #6
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsmom View Post
    Its a site where self touring is the suggested method. There really is no need to pay for a tour. It is easy to see on your own. We did do a bike tour with Bright Angel rentals and it was really good. There is a lot of good information on the Trip Advisor Forum. Interestingly though the forum says the bike tour is a waste because you are in the woods the whole time which is completely untrue! We were in woods for about 10 minutes and the rest of the 2 hour tour you are on the rim with views. Most people suggest you spend one night in the park so you can see one sunset and one sunrise. One night/2 days is really plenty of time. We flew in/out of Phoenix and also did Page, Sedona & Scottsdale. Also remember driving at night is not advised... you miss the views and apparently there are animals on roads.
    Quick hijack- where in the park should one stay? I need to plan a bucket list trip for my mom and I know nothing!


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  7. #7
    PunkyBoo is online now Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by StantonHyde View Post
    Check rates, but I think if you stay in Tusyan (sp??) it might be cheaper. Drive from LA to there, stay the night. Drive in early, park your car, and then take the shuttle bus all around the South Rim. You can see a lot in a day. I would not hike down Bright Angel trail--it is a zoo. You could do a relatively short hike out to Shoshone Point, which is really pretty. I would suggest going out to see Hermit's Rest--it is a really interesting area. Check out the ww.nps.gov site on the Grand Canyon and look at the park newsletter. You really do have to use the shuttle anymore. The parking lots are full and you can't really drive from one place to the next. (at least in April)

    At the end of the day, you could drive to Page or Kanab and spend the night there. Then it is 6 hours up to SLC--if that is the way you were going. If you are heading to St. George, then that's a different route.
    I agree with PP. We stayed in Tusayan, less than 1 mile from the south rim entrance. We got up early and followed the south rim from one end to the next. We were in our car, in and out whenever we found an outlook or short hike we felt like seeing, until we got to the spot where we had to park and take the shuttle. We all felt satisfied that we saw the entire south rim in one day. My kids did the junior ranger program there; the whole day was amazing. So we spent 2 nights in Tusayan, and it cost less than half what we would have spent for one night within the park. We did this as part of a bigger road trip. We also loved going to Bearizona, which is just a bit south of Grand canyon in Williams. A woman in the grand canyon shuttle told me about it and it was well worth the addition to our trip.

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  8. #8
    WatchingThemGrow is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    We stayed in one of the national park lodges 1/4 mile from the rim. We got up did bright angel with just a few other people. It was really nice to be able to access the trails before crowds rolled in.We did the junior ranger books from the national Park service once the crowds started rolling in.


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  9. #9
    bisous is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    My sister told me we have to do Bearizona, lol! I like the idea of spending a night there to experience sunrise and sunset and the tusayan rec sounds promising.

    We have family well stay with in Phoenix and were visiting my sister in Lubbock. I dont know how these locations intersect but Im going to play around a little bit!

  10. #10
    PunkyBoo is online now Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Sounds like you'd be on highway 40. We've done several trips along highway 40, but only as far East as the Petrified Forest in Arizona. We are also SoCal residents, and have added onto our annual trip to the Colorado River/Laughlin for several trips. Let me know if you'd like recs for other places along that route!
    Quote Originally Posted by bisous View Post
    My sister told me we have to do Bearizona, lol! I like the idea of spending a night there to experience sunrise and sunset and the tusayan rec sounds promising.

    We have family well stay with in Phoenix and were visiting my sister in Lubbock. I dont know how these locations intersect but Im going to play around a little bit!
    Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Baby Bargains mobile app
    Please excuse all my typos- typing on a kindle fire!
    Member of "I Love Brussels Sprouts" Society
    Mama to DS1 Punkin (2/04) and DS2 Boo (1/09)

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