By Kohleun Adamson, on July 24, 2019

How to Score Cheap Grand Canyon Tours

The stark natural beauty of the Grand Canyon is free for many visitors to enjoy. But if you want to bring a vehicle or learn about the area’s rich history, you’ll need to join a tour. Led by locals and experts, the best Grand Canyon tours bring the ancient desert to life for curious visitors. The personalized attention of a great guide can add hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to your expenses, so we’ve rounded up cheap Grand Canyon tours for each travel style.

Check out these deals and visit the Grand Canyon on cheap tours—no need to break your budget:

If you want to hike…

Grand Canyon National Park and the surrounding area is an affordable place for hiking enthusiasts of all experience levels. Join one of these tours to see local history and natural beauty up close and on foot:

Historic city sign for Jerome, Arizona against the backdrop of mountains and blue skies.
Via Nick Fox/
  • Spirit Walk Tour in Jerome: Jerome, Arizona is a quiet copper town with many reports of ghost encounters—so get spooky while exploring the past with Ghost Town Tours. A local guide takes you through the historical district, where rumors of haunted houses and old shops are around every corner.
  • Grand Canyon 4×4 Ride and South Rim Walking Tour: This tour takes you along former stagecoach roads and up to Yavapai Point to get an up-close perspective of the South Rim. If you want a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, this is one of the best deals for Grand Canyon tours you could ask for.

If you’re traveling with kids…

Visiting the Grand Canyon can be a great adventure for the whole family. Just look for tours with entertaining guides, clearly stated safety precautions, and exciting learning opportunities. These tours fit the bill:

Grand Canyon Railway train on a route through trees on a cheap Grand Canyon tour for families of all ages
Via Rob Bixby/Flickr
  • Grand Canyon Railway Day Trip: The railway tour starts and concludes at Williams Depot, and includes snacks. Tour guides will teach and entertain you and travelers of all ages. All aboard the Grand Canyon Railway!
  • Kids Adventure Course: Take a break from tour buses and 4x4s to take on the outdoor ropes and climbing challenges at Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. You and the kids will swing through the trees, cross suspended bridges, and more.

If you prefer a slower pace…

Don’t miss the finer details of Northern Arizona culture. Choose a tour that gives you time to explore the arts and architecture of local Native communities. These tours are a good place to start:

Group of travelers enjoying views of red rock mountains from comfortable benches on their cheap Grand Canyon tour
Via Grand Canyon National Park/Flickr
  • Grand Canyon Tour & Route 66 Tour: Take a ride down the iconic Route 66 and see the Grand Canyon with DETOURS Arizona. You’ll see historical ruins, shop, and explore at your own pace.
  • Grand Canyon Experience Luxury Tour from Sedona: These Grand Canyon Jeep tours from Pink Jeep Tours include transportation from several Sedona and Phoenix hotels, gourmet lunch, an expert tour guide, and entrance fees to the national park—all for an affordable price.

If you want an aerial view…

One of the best ways to see the Grand Canyon is from above. Cheap Grand Canyon helicopter tours can be hard to come by, but we’ve got you covered with tours under $300, depending on your booking dates.

Blue sky and layered red rock formations from inside a cheap helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.
Via Master1305/
  • Grand Canyon Spirit Tour: The Grand Canyon Spirit Tour by Maverick Tours will take you from the South Rim to the North Rim, so you can look down into the canyon. Compare the landscapes on each side of the Colorado River, and enjoy sights few ever get to see.
  • North Canyon Helicopter Tour: Fly through the famous Dragon Corridor on this tour by Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters. Learn about the canyon’s colorful rock formations and natural history. This tour is offered in multiple languages.

If you’re staying in Las Vegas…

Las Vegas is a scenic 250-mile drive to the Grand Canyon. In fact, many Grand Canyon tour packages pick you up in Las Vegas for an unforgettable road trip. Now you know where to go when you’re ready to trade neon lights for big blue skies.

Aerial view of the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, Hoover Dam, and the Colorado River surrounded by rugged rock formations and a slightly cloudy blue sky
Via MariaX/
  • Full-Day Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tour: Join this day trip with SWEETours to add some natural beauty to your Vegas excursion. Roll along Route 66 and stop at Hoover Dam on your way to the South Rim. Snacks, lunch, and water are included, and rates for these Grand Canyon bus tours often dip below $65 per person.
  • Multi-Stop Grand Canyon South Rim Tour: Bring your camera for these day trips by Grand Canyon Destinations. The multi-stop itinerary takes you to viewpoints and landmarks throughout Southern Nevada and Northern Arizona. Capture the moment as you cross the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

Travel tips for getting the best Grand Canyon deals

Rock formations and clear sky layered in natural stripes of red, pale green, blue, and golden yellow seen from Desert View Drive—one of the best Grand Canyon tour routes.

Here are some of the savviest ways to nab a Grand Canyon deal:

  • Book ahead and visit during autumn or spring for the best rates.
  • Book with a group. Some Grand Canyon tour package deals charge for tours as lump sums, and you’ll get a better deal if you have friends or relatives to split the cost.
  • Leave your car at the hotel and bike or hike into Grand Canyon National Park to skip parking fees.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle and top it off whenever you get the chance. Buying bottled water can become expensive, and reducing your plastic use will help preserve the park.
  • Pack a picnic for dinner with a view. Desert View Drive is especially stunning. Drive between the South Rim and East Entrance and stop anywhere along the way.

Grand Canyon tour FAQs

Can you see the Grand Canyon for free?

Yes, you can see the Grand Canyon for free if you plan a self-guided tour with a guide from the park ranger. You do not need any permits or reservations for day visits to hike and explore, but you will need to make arrangements and pay to bring a motorized vehicle or take a rafting trip on the Colorado River.

Which is better, North Rim or South Rim?

Grand Canyon tours of South Rim tend to be more popular for several reasons. South Rim is easier to get to and features several vantage points that are both wheelchair-accessible and safe for supervised children. Located close to more hotels and restaurants, South Rim is also ideal for first-time visitors who want to experience the Grand Canyon’s beauty without added travel logistics.  That being said, many visitors prefer the North Rim for its more secluded trails and ranger-led experiences. It’s also a favorite among nature photographers.

What time of day is best to visit the Grand Canyon?

The best time of day to visit Grand Canyon National Park is usually early in the morning and in the evening when the area is less crowded. During the warmer months, visiting before noon will help you avoid uncomfortable temperatures. 

Can you drive your car into the Grand Canyon?

You can drive into Grand Canyon National Park, but you really don’t want to drive into the actual canyon itself. The South Rim is accessible with most road-safe vehicles. You’ll have to pay an entrance fee of $30 for each vehicle and all its passengers; these are good for 7 days. Motorcycle entrance fees are $25, and individual entrance fees for visitors who walk, bike, or arrive with a tour group are $15, so bringing your friends or family in your own vehicle can save quite a bit of money.

How much time do you need at the Grand Canyon?

The amount of time you need to visit the Grand Canyon depends on your travel style. If you’re an avid hiker and adventurer, consider setting aside two days for the South Rim and two days for the North Rim. This will give you plenty of time to enjoy a couple different Grand Canyon National Park tours and explore on your own. Check out the park’s and make time to experience the region’s Native and Southwestern cultures.

Add these cheap Grand Canyon tours to your itinerary and check out other Grand Canyon attractions for your big adventure. We’ve got all the info you need to visit the Grand Canyon on a budget—it’s time for a big adventure with a small price tag.

Header image: Via Kris Wiktor/