Being the incredible Natural World Wonder that it is, it’s no surprise that 5 million people make their way to see the Grand Canyon every year. Unfortunately, being the tourist attraction that it is, it can be a little challenging to navigate the best way to go about visiting. To help you out, we’ve asked men’s lifestyle and travel blogger Joe Miragliotta of JoesDaily.com to put together a list of different amazing and memorable ways to check it out!
I’m going to be completely honest with you: if you’re a living person and don’t have the Grand Canyon somewhere on your bucket list, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. While it’s true that there are plenty of jokes to be had about it being nothing more than a “glorified hole in the ground,” those that have been know that the combined vista and atmosphere are truly pretty magical. While deciding to visit the Grand Canyon isn’t a difficult one to make, with so many options to choose from, exactly HOW you want to experience it definitely can be. Below you’ll find 8 great ideas to help you out with your decision, so you can get to booking and enjoying your incredible vacation.
Let’s jump in with one of the more significant ways to take anything in, shall we? As you’re doubtlessly aware, the Grand Canyon is kind of big. Like 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide big. While those huge numbers might be a little difficult to equate to visualize in any meaningful way, taking to the air to see it is going to give you the best chance at putting it in perspective. Admittedly, the price tag for checking out the GC by air isn’t the cheapest way to go. However, it’s going to give you a pretty great story to report back to all of your friends—and that’s not even including the other things that generally come with the package you’re purchasing. Depending on whatever else you might be into, you can easily find tours that also include anything from wine tasting to horseback rides. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, eh?
If the idea of taking a helicopter ride sounds a little too adrenaline intensive to you, perhaps a relaxing train ride is more your speed. You get to sit back, relax, and take in the spectacular scenery and probably some Old-West vibes as well. Depending on where you’re leaving from—most are out of the general Flagstaff, AZ area—a typical ride will last anywhere from 12 hours to a full two days. As with most forms of shared transportation, tickets can be purchased for coach, first, and luxury classes, so you can enjoy everything from bench seating and soft drinks to luxurious furniture and a full bar with your incredible views. Regardless of where you end up, however, you’re sure to have an amazing and relaxing day.
And now, the final part of the iconic trifecta: automobiles (or, buses, in this instance). As you can no doubt guess, taking this means of transport is going to have quite a few similarities to the train tours mentioned above, but with the benefit of the route taken not being limited to the presence of train tracks. Most tours leave out of Las Vegas and cover the South and West Rims with a stop at the Hoover Dam on the way. While you might not have options for different classes of tickets, the coaches are typical of the luxury variety, so you’re sure to enjoy a comfortable ride—something rather important when your trip is going to be somewhere around 12 hours long.
I’m not exactly sure why, but when I think about the Grand Canyon, a beautiful desert is generally what comes to mind … not water. As it goes, though, this doesn’t make sense at all, as the canyon itself was carved out by the Colorado River throughout millions of years. So, while visiting the top of the canyon will yield a bit of a dusty scene, touring it from the bottom will be quite the opposite. If you happen to be a fan of leisurely taking in a peaceful atmosphere as you casually float along a river, *this* is absolutely the way you want to go about visiting this Wonder of the natural world. As with most of the tours on this list, a rafting excursion will take you about half a day from start to finish—though, not all of that will be on the water. The trip usually starts with a bus tour along the top of the canyon (so you’ll be treated to two perspectives) followed by a long ride down the river, gentle enough that you can feel confident bringing along your camera.
For those of you that happened to be on the other side of things on the sky vehicle debate and would instead prefer a little more adventure, might I suggest taking things a HUGE step further by skydiving over the Grand Canyon. Not only will you get the bird’s-eye view like those taking things in via plane and helicopter, but you’ll also get to see it up-close-and-personal as you head toward it in a much more vertical way than most. If you’ve never been skydiving before, but still find the idea intriguing, you’re far from the only one. As it turns out, a quick scan of reviews for some companies will reveal that many satisfied patrons are complete rookies and, honestly, I can’t say I’m surprised. I mean, what better location to be able to include in your first-jump story?
Speaking of adrenaline rush: if you’re interested in getting the feel of being in a dangerously thrilling situation without actually putting yourself in any actual danger, the Skywalk is perfect for you. Located at Eagle Point in Grand Canyon West, 4,000 feet above the ground, this hemispherical glass bridge extends 70 feet over the canyon floor and offers a unique panorama for anyone and everyone willing to walk across it. Tickets for this incredible experience start at about $60—a little pricey until you consider it also includes access to other viewpoints as well. If you’re looking to add a little more fun into the mix, packages including just about everything else on this list can also easily be found.
Of course, not everyone that wants to visit the Grand Canyon is in a position to spend a whole lot doing it. If you do happen to be on a tight budget, inarguably, the best way to check things out will be to drive up and see it on your own. While it might not come with anything fancy like a wine lunch or free-falling through the sky, anyone that’s been knows the landscape is unquestionably all the prize anyone needs when making this particular pilgrimage. To be sure you’re making the most of your time and getting the biggest bang for your buck, I would highly recommend doing a little research before you head out (looking at you spontaneous road-trippers…you know who you are), lest you wind up at a point where you have to pay for entry. For a safe—and awesome—bet, consider camping out at the national park itself. Camping fees are relatively cheap, and you only have to step outside your tent to admire the scenery you’re after.
Finally, those that enjoy the vibe of camping but prefer to have a few more creature comforts at their disposal will most likely want to take things up a notch and opt for glamping instead. With tons of places up and down the Grand Canyon area, potential patrons certainly have their pick of where to stay when it comes to this recent trend. From king-sized canvas near the Grand Staircase to an all-inclusive stay right at the GC, all it takes is a quick search, and you’ll be well on your way to an amazing, rustic vacation with views to last a lifetime. As for how to *actually* see the canyon, I’ll refer you to numbers 1-7 above.
Joe Miragliotta of Joe’s Daily is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.
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