Over 4 million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. That number is even more impressive once you realize how difficult it actually is to get to the Grand Canyon.
Because they get so many visitors, the folks in our host town of Tusayan, AZ know how to take good care of out-of-towners. To understand your lodging options you should first take a second to understand this little town.
The town is basically made up of the highway that runs right down the middle with 5 hotels, a campground, a couple general stores, the IMAX theater and several restaurants on either side of the highway. From when you first come into town from the south to when you exit on the north the whole town is only about a half mile long. That means, any hotel in town is walking distance to the start/finish. Once in Tusayan, you’ll park your car and walk to where you need to go, you can even grab the shuttle into the park. Surrounding town in just about every direction is the Kaibab National Forest.
North of town about a mile and a half is the National Park boundary and a few miles further gets to Grand Canyon Village and the rim of the canyon. Inside the park there are 6 hotels (all managed by Xanterra), a grocery store, a couple of campgrounds a great visitors center and a few other shops.
Getting To Tusayan
There are lots of different ways to get to the Grand Canyon. We want you to be aware of two great resources to help you plan your trip to The Grand Canyon: The National Park Service website and the website thecanyon.com.
Each of these are still quite a ways from The South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is just a little over 3 hours from Phoenix to Tusayan, and about 4 hours from Las Vegas. From Flagstaff it is only about an hour drive.
If you have the means, the airport you really want to fly into is the Grand Canyon Airport. This airport is in Tusayan, minutes from the hotels in town and minutes from the park! This airport is primarily used for scenic tours but it also has limited commercial services.
You can find driving directions from surrounding areas here. If you're driving from somewhere even further away than those locations listed, you have a couple of options.
From the West
If you’re coming from The West you are going to come through Las Vegas. There aren’t too many alternate routes.
From the East
From The East your options would be to take the southern route through New Mexico into Arizona and up through Flagstaff.
If you come from a more northern route you can cut down through the eastern part of the state of Utah and down the 191 right past Moab (and Arches!). If you come this way you will go through Navajo land and enter the park on the East and approach on Desert View Drive. The views on this route are plentiful and much less crowded than those inside Grand Canyon Village. It is definitely worth your time.
Where to Stay
We recommend staying in Tusayan, AZ. It’s a very small town, but has lots of lodging options. Pretty much everything is in walking distance from the start and finish line. You can find lodging options in Tusayan here.
Booking.com: Booking.com is a travel metasearch engine for lodging reservations. Click this link to begin searching nearby lodging!
If you’re having trouble finding lodging in Tusayan, we list out some other options in the surrounding towns in this blog post.
What To Do
The Grand Canyon National Geographic Visitor Centre is home to everything you need to get the most from your visit. Located at the Grand Canyon South Rim, the Visitor Centre offers an interesting and informative overview of Arizona’s famous landmark, as well as maps, brochures, tour and park entrance tickets. You’ll also find the ticket desk, exhibits, restrooms, store, and cafe in this building along with the world famous IMAX movie, Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets.
Pink Jeep Tours has been offering off-road tours since 1960! Their eco-historical experience is a must for anyone wanting to add a little bit deeper look at The Grand Canyon to their visit.
All Jeep® tour options include the IMAX movie experience, Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets ($13.75 value)
Choose the tour package that best meets your needs. We couldn’t be happier to have their support!