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At a time when exaggeration is commonplace, the "grand" in Grand Canyon can feel like an understatement. In fact, the sandstone-banded canyon is more than grand—it's nature at its most majestic. Each year, upwards of 5 million visitors come to marvel at the Grand Canyon, making it a top sightseeing destination. Whether you arrive by luxury limousine, off-road Jeep, or vintage train, there are a plethora of things to do in and around the Grand Canyon. From tackling the Colorado River's splashy whitewater rapids to testing your mettle on a pulse-quickening canyon descent, the Grand Canyon promises jaw-dropping vistas and a healthy dose of activity.
With multiple access points, the Grand Canyon beckons with a region for every type of traveler. Open year-round, the South Rim is home to Grand Canyon Village and its myriad touristic treats, while the North Rim serves up spectacular views with a fraction of the foot traffic. Beyond the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon West is known for its cultural charms and glass-bottom Skywalk.
The South Rim is the Grand Canyon's home base for adventure, boasting an assortment of hotels and restaurants in Grand Canyon Village as well as outfitters who specialize in helicopter flights, bike rentals, and day hikes. Sunset is a favorite moment at the South Rim, but the secluded Desert View region flashes gold at sunrise, making it an attractive location for early risers.
Visited by only 10 percent of Grand Canyon tourists, the North Rim is the South Rim's unassuming older sibling, offering fabulous views without the fanfare. Following an easy trek to Bright Angel Point, sights of the Roaring Springs and Bright Angel Canyons abound, while a photography tour invites travelers to snap photos of the region with a sense of prowess.
Grand Canyon West
Operated by the Hualapai Native American Tribe, Grand Canyon West is a popular destination with visitors from Las Vegas who come to admire the scenery atop the cantilevered Skywalk at Eagle Point. Travelers often opt for combination tours that bundle helicopter, pontoon-boat, and air-conditioned-coach adventures with stops at Guano Point and Hualapai Ranch.
Beyond contemplating your existence while gazing into the middle distance, there are countless things to see in Grand Canyon National Park. The Yavapai Geological Museum provides shelter from the sun and a chance to see exhibits that document the canyon's geologic history while beholding the canyon in real time from the museum’s massive picture windows. The neighboring Hopi House lends insight into the history of the park and an opportunity to shop for Native American art, while the Lookout Studio contains another shop and a large telescope for ogling canyon walls.
A Grand Canyon getaway isn’t complete without an awe-inspiring adventure (or three). With tours to appeal to every type of traveler, Grand Canyon National Park has endless things to do. For those who want to see the area from above, consider booking an airplane tour that soars above Kaibab National Forest, the North Rim’s highest point, and the Zuni Point Corridor. Or, for the ultimate aerial adventure, arrange a skydiving experience and fly tandem above the gorge with a professional. Likewise, you can experience the charms of the Colorado River during a leisurely cruise on the slow-moving waters around Glen Canyon Dam or score big-time thrills on a combination helicopter tour and whitewater rafting experience that guarantees excitement. Finally, as dusk settles on the desert, consider treating yourself to a guided 4x4 sunset tour, with the opportunity to spot Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, and Merriam's turkeys while making your way along the canyon's edge at the prettiest time of the day.
Taking a break in Grand Canyon on a budget? The following can be seen for nothing.
Yavapai Geology Museum - Take the whole family and enjoy a journey of discovery through history together.
Hopi House - If you're planning to explore the area's history through its landmarks, jot this one down on your to-do list.
South Bass Trail - Let nature's rugged beauty here soothe your soul.
Grandview Point - Grab your blanket, pack some finger food and find a cozy area to relish nature.
If you're after a bit of fun in the sun, try these outdoor activities:
Get a family happy snap at Grand Canyon National Park — it's a big-name attraction.
If you're eager to experience the best of this place, pencil these attractions into your itinerary:
If you're vacationing on a shoestring budget, you may like to add the following cheap and cheerful activities and tours to your itinerary:
You could even leave your credit card in the hotel safe for the day, because these fabulous attractions will cost you nothing at all: