Grand Canyon Vacation Planning: Your Biggest Challenge

Good morning travelers. Today’s TripAdvisor forum thread has to do with what is probably the biggest challenge for people planning a Grand Canyon vacation.   To sum it up, it’s “so much to see, so little time!”

OP ‘Alex D’ writes:

I’m starting to plan a trip for my family to the Grand Canyon area and am finding that its a little bit overwhelming with pretty much no knowledge of the area (we’re from the east coast). We’re family of 4, 2 fairly active mid 50’s adults and 2 20 something boys and are looking at spending a week in the area. I as wondering if anyone has advice regarding an itinerary for a road trip starting from Sedona, with possible stops including Bryce canyon, Antelope Canyon, Zion, Lake Powell, etc. I’m not sure if you can do all of those in just one week, and would appreciate any insight into whats best to see or leave out.

Sedona resident and Arizona Destination Expert RedRox responds:

All of the destinations are desirable, but none wil be meaningful if you include them all and just rush through. Less is more. Quality time is more important on your Grand Canyon vacation than numbers of places. … Skip Zion and Bryce. Give Sedona 3-4 nights, Grand Canyon National Park 1-2 nights and Page 2-3 nights, OR do Zion 2 nights, Bryce 1 night, Page 2-3 nights and Grand Canyon National Park 1-2 nights.

Indeed, trying to squeeze too many destinations into the typical week-long vacation is something many Grand Canyon vacation planners attempt to do. In a separate thread, ‘vivian y’ is finding out that Utah’s Arches National Park looks to be close enough to include in one’s Grand Canyon vacation, but in reality, she’d be better off saving it for another visit. Hey it’s perfectly understandable, especially if you’re coming from overseas, or if you know that your Grand Canyon vacation is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime (or at least a blue moon) event. What’s more, there are so many attractions in addition to the Grand Canyon out here that it’s a shame not to try and see them all.

As for ‘Alex D,’ another bit of knowledge that would help us advise him better is knowing where he’s starting his trip from:

If Sedona is on your “wish list” (as it deserves to be), then I’d suggest flying into Phoenix (PHX). As RedRox says, if you do that, you might indeed want to take Zion and Bryce off the agenda since Sedona deserves some real quality time, 3 days at least. Page/Lake Powell also deserves a couple of nights as there is a lot to see and do there. 2 nights would also be ideal for Grand Canyon South Rim, but if you find yourself having to shave off any time, you can scoot by with just 1 night there because a good portion of your Grand Canyon sightseeing would actually occur on the drive to Page.

If Bryce and Zion are “must do’s,” then you might want to fly into Las Vegas instead of Phoenix. Very easy to do a 1-week Grand Canyon-Page-Bryce-Zion park loop using Las Vegas as your start/end point. But, you’d probably have to take Sedona out of that loop.

Or – and here’s where rental car dropoff fees may prove cost-prohibitive, but some people do this – you might start in Phoenix and end in Las Vegas. That way you can kind of have the best of all worlds, but then again, I’d recommend trying to find some extra time to make your “dream” Grand Canyon vacation a reality.

The American Southwest is anything but typical, especially when it comes to a Grand Canyon vacation. The “typical” week’s vacation that most of us take usually turns out to be insufficient time to see and experience all that’s out here. A better timeframe guideline for this part of the country: 10 days. Enough to enjoy some quality time at the destinations that warrant it, such as Sedona and Lake Powell, and enough to see everything on your “bucket list.”

Let Mitchell Tenpenny’s “Bucket List” inspire you too. He went from Phoenix to Sedona, from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim, from Grand Canyon South Rim to Monument Valley, from Monument Valley to Page/Lake Powell/Horseshoe Bend, from Page/Horseshoe Bend/Lake Powell to Las Vegas:

Here’s a video with some excellent ideas for Grand Canyon vacation itineraries using Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) and Las Vegas McCarran (LAS) airports as your – pardon the pun – “jumping off places:”

Till next time – make this day a “grand” one!

36 Responses

  1. I like your advice to not squeeze in too many destinations in your trip. You want to enjoy your trip, after all. I want to book a tour so I can see a lot of the canyon without having to stress about travelling.

  2. My husband and I have booked a flight to Phoenix from Belgium in November. We will have 12 days: The plan for now is to drive to Sedona for 2 nights. Then Grand Canyon for 2-3 nights (inside the park). Then Bryce and Zion (is it doable?). We also want to go to Los Angeles for 3 nights visiting friends. Then we will go back to Phoenix for our flight back to Belgium.

    Is it too rushed? Should we skip Bryce and Zion? What is the best route to Los Angeles?

    1. Jean,

      This is all doable, however, you will drive right past Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona on your way to Bryce and Zion…you may want to consider those stops.

      This would be a packed itinerary. 2 nights Sedona, 2 nights Grand Canyon, 1 night Page, 1 night Bryce, 1 night Zion, probably 1 night Vegas enroute to Los Angeles, 3 nights Los Angeles, then drive to Phoenix Sky Harbor to return to Belgium. Here’s the Route on Google Maps that I would recommend to you: https://goo.gl/maps/nV6RAtmY6vq

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  3. Hi,

    My husband and I are planning 6 day trip to Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. We wanted to cover both south and north rim. Also, we plan to do hiking and camping. How should we plan our trip? We plan to visit in first week of September.

    Regards,
    Shagun

  4. I really liked the advice to take some time to truly make the tour of the Grand Canyon worth it. This is really helpful since if you do parts of it in a short amount of time, then you won’t see all of it. My fiance and I will keep this in mind as we look into the Grand Canyon as a vacation spot.

  5. Hi, I am planning a road trip in that area for June, and I’m trying to figure out the best itinerary. I arrive late in Las Vegas at the 6 and leave early on the 16, so would probably sleep in Vegas from 6 to 7 and from 15 to 16. For the rest, I’m thinking 2 nights in Bryce, 3 in Zion, 1 in Page and 2 in the North Rim. Does that make sense? I feel a bit sad in leaving Monument Valley and Sedona out, but haven’t found a way to squeeze them in. Do you have any other suggestions? Thanks!!

    1. Julie,

      That’s a pretty In-Depth visit itinerary. I am wondering what you are going to do with 3 days in Zion unless you are a Very Avid hiker and are taking in the Narrows, Subway and Angels Landing…and more. It’s pretty warm in Zion…so 3 days will be a lot without more to do…that is where I’d squeeze a day out for Monument Valley, if you can. Yes, Sedona is probably just far enough out of the way that is would be better to combine with a Phoenix and South Rim of the Grand Canyon visit.

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  6. My husband and I would like to see Glacier National Park, The Grand Tetons, Antelope Canyon, Bryce, Zion, and Monument Valley.. (maybe the Grand Canyon). Is this doable or too long of a trip? The ones we think the we would like to see the most are Glacier National Park, the Grand Tetons and Antelope Canyon.

    1. Susan,

      Glacier and Grand Tetons are closer together. Antelope Canyon will be the farthest outlier for you. However, if you are crazy like me…sounds like a great road trip. I’ve driven from Fairbanks, Alaska to Key West, Florida via San Antonio, Texas in a week. It just takes some 24 hour a day driving…relief drivers are nice…sleeping in the back seat, not so much. I’ve also driven from Seattle, Washington to Page, Arizona (Antelope Canyon) in a day twice now…so, it’s all relative to your traveling comfort factor.

      So I’ll have to leave Doable and Too Long of a trip in your judgment. Yes, it’s doable…however, you might not be up for that much travel…

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  7. we would like to visit LA, Vegas and Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Antelope Canyon by a road trip within 7 days. Is that possible?
    My parents are older and wouldnt want to walk much but be able to see the highlights
    Thank you for your input.

    1. Chicks,

      Yes, it’s possible, however, it’ll be fairly quick.

      Spend most of your time in Zion, Antelope and the South Rim…would be my recommendation.

      However, I’m biased…I lived in Las Vegas and enjoy the Outdoors much more…

      Here’s a Google Map using Los Angeles as the beginning and ending point:
      https://goo.gl/maps/XCaqR9ZthRVo19i27

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  8. Hi Karlyn,
    Thanks for the time you put in to respond to these interesting itineraries. My wife and I are travelling to US in October this year from Australia and are very keen to visit Arizona and Utah. More than likely we will start driving from LA. We will have 17 days (have some flexibility around this). In no particular order, the “like to do” list includes the following: Sedona, Grand Canyon, Page, Bryce, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Zion, Monument Valley and up to Moab. Happy to be advised if I have missed anything!
    I know it sounds like a lot but need guidance on the route and potential timing. I’ve spent hours researching but have become somewhat confused as to sequence and timing. We have been to Vegas before so 1 night there is probably enough for us. Thanks again for your help!
    Regards
    Ross

    1. Ross,

      You are pretty much hitting all of the best highlights here in the area.

      Here’s the sequence I would recommend-
      Los Angeles – Las Vegas 1 night – Grand Canyon South Rim 2 nights – Sedona 1 or 2 nights – Monument Valley 1 night – Page/Antelope Canyon/Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell 2 or 3 nights (where I’m located) – Zion 1 or 2 nights – Bryce 1 or 2 nights – then over to Moab 2 or 3 nights via Highway 12 as I think you’ll enjoy this backcountry of Utah and you could see Capitol Reef National Park on the way if you want to. You’re closest departure point is either Salt Lake City or Denver from Moab. However, if your International flights are best priced out of Los Angeles (and I suspect they are…that’s how I visited Australia back in 2006)…you will need to hop on I-70 and head back to Los Angeles.

      Here’s a Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/Ts3SJMnSPJndoTVJA

      I hope this helps.

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  9. Hi, i was just wondering if grand canyon, antelope and horseshoe bend tours are doable in a day or two? Were staying at flagstaff (1night) then do grand canyon and antelope and horseshoe (for the whole day) and then stay at Las Vegas. Would highly appreciate your help in this. Thank you!

    1. MM,

      They are doable in One Long Day IF you can arrange everything around your Antelope Canyon Tour Time!

      You can go in the East Entrance off of Highway 89 coming from Flagstaff to Page to see the Grand Canyon, then continue up Highway 89 to Horseshoe Bend before or after your Antelope Canyon Tour time. Then it’s 4 1/2 hours to Las Vegas from there. The critical factor that drives the day is Antelope Canyon…which is selling out more and more in peak of season.

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  10. Hi Karlyn,

    I am just in the early stages of planning a trip for 2021 for my family of 4. My husband and I with our two boys who will be 16 and 14 at the time of travel. We are very active outdoors and would like hiking and maybe even rafting down the Colorado River. I am leaning more towards Sedona, Grand Canyon and my son, Bryce, doesn’t want to miss Bryce Canyon. We can probably take up to 12 days off. What would be your suggestions? I have also heard there is an amazing safari out somewhere near Sedona or Flagstaff?

    Thanks in advance,
    Diane

    1. Diane,

      At the Grand Canyon, you have the Viewpoints, Hiking, Air Tours, Ground Tours and more.

      There are 1-18 day Whitewater Rafting trips in the Grand Canyon:
      https://grandcanyon.com/planning/grand-canyon-rafting/
      https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/river-concessioners.htm

      Sedona has the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour that is a long term attraction. Oak Creek is beautiful to drive through, as well.

      If you are going to go to Bryce Canyon from the South Rim, you may as well include Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Page…and probably Zion, as well.

      Here is the link to the Out of Africa Safari park in Camp Verde, Arizona:
      https://outofafricapark.com/

      I like Rafting, Air Tours and Hiking, myself…and there’s plenty of each of those to chose from here in Northern Arizona.

      I hope this helps,

      Karlyn

  11. My husband and I want to plan a trip in mid to late May to Vegas and Grand Canyon amd are having trouble figuring out where we should flyin/out of. We would like to visit upper/lower Antelope, horseshoe bend, and possibly south rim? We’ve never been there before so it’s overwhelming trying to google how to plan this. Should we fly into Flagstaff and rent a car, see south rim for a couple days and drive to Antelope? Then drive to Vegas and say ya couple days and fly out of there? Should we fly in and out of Vegas and book a tour to take us to some destinations? We are pretty flexible with staying longer than a week and estimate about ten days?

    1. Amy,

      We usually recommend people fly in/out of Las Vegas for the reason that the Airfares to/from Vegas are the lowest in the area. Also, it’s a good starting/stopping point if you want to visit Grand Canyon West where the Skywalk is, the South Rim, East Rim (Horseshoe Bend/Antelope Canyon)…and the North Rim. It makes for a beautiful loop…and you can add in Sedona, Monument Valley, Zion National Park, and possibly Bryce Canyon National Park.

      Something like this:
      Las Vegas -> Grand Canyon West with Skywalk
      Grand Canyon West with Skywalk -> Sedona
      Sedona -> Grand Canyon South Rim
      Grand Canyon South Rim -> Monument Valley
      Monument Valley -> East Rim area: Page, Arizona with Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon
      East Rim/Page, Arizona -> North Rim of Grand Canyon
      North Rim of Grand Canyon -> Bryce Canyon National Park
      Bryce Canyon National Park -> Zion National Park
      Zion National Park -> Las Vegas

      That can be too much or too little depending on your Travel style. However, it would make for one very memorable visit to the Grand Canyon area!

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  12. Hi Karlyn,

    I am planning a trip with my husband and my daughter of 13 to the Grand Canyon mid July. We will driving from LA to Sedona 2-3 nights, then Grand Canyon 2-3 nights then Lac Powell 2-3 nights and then back to LA.
    Questions: Is it a good idea to Stay at “Under Canvas” at the Grand Canyon to visit the Grand Canyon or to visit Antelope/Lac Powell/horseshoe? We would like to stay there for the experience but I have no idea of the distance and the drive. What do you recommend? How should we plan our days around the Grand Canyon? Also if we stay in a different hotel to see Antelope/Lac Powell, is “Lac Powell resort” worth it? What do you recommend?
    My daughter love water sport and so we are looking hotel with pool beside “Under Canvas” of course.
    Last question but not least, can I bring my dog during that trip and is it fairly easy to find daycare for her during the time we can’t take her with us, or really not a good idea to bring her at all?

    Thank you,
    Merci,

    Sophie

  13. I was reading the suggestion of flying into Phoenix, spending 2-3 days in Sedona, then Page/ Lake Powell 2 nights, 2 nights Grand Canyon, then end and flying out of Las Vegas! Is it in this order. I also would like to go to the skywalk.

    1. Cheryl,

      If you are wanting to add the Grand Canyon Skywalk to that Itinerary, then you should Fly into Phoenix, go to Sedona, then go to Page/Lake Powell/Horseshoe Bend (hopefully, Antelope Canyon will Open again soon too!) and THEN go to Grand Canyon South Rim, and on to the Grand Canyon Skywalk as it is between the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. I hope this re-routing helps you in your visit to this area. Also, go watch Mitchell Tenpenny’s “Bucket List” video on YouTube to inspire you further: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhtvXNBoq5c

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  14. Karlyn,
    My husband and I are planning a Grand Canyon trip for approximately 8 days, but could possibly stretch it to 10. We have four children ages 17, 15, 15, and 13. We like to be active and would rather not spend more time driving than actually enjoying the sites. We are coming from the east coast and would be flying. I’d love some suggestions for how to make the most of our trip without feeling rushed. I’d appreciate any insight you’re willing to offer. We would really like to make the trip at the beginning of April 2022, however if the weather is not great then we can schedule it for mid May. Thank you so much!
    Jill

    1. Jill,

      I would invite you to watch Mitchell Tenpenny’s “Bucket List” video on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMalroN-wzY
      And, here is the VLOG which lays out his Itinerary which he landed in Phoenix then went out Las Vegas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJaYrPaeg_U
      They’re both kind of fun video’s to help you dream…now, he did this in January 2021 and the Antelope Canyon hike wasn’t open, so he visited Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell by Boat.

      Mid-May is better weather for water related activities…if Rafting interests you at all. Beginning of April can go either way…either be great or be rainy/snowy with wind. We won’t know until the day arrives.

      the Half Day Raft Trip in Page is a very popular activity when visiting.

      To take a leisurely enjoy the sites, drive less…I’d recommend the following:
      Fly into Phoenix, drive to Sedona…spend a day or two there.
      Drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim and spend at least 3 days/2 nights. Catch Sunrises and Sunsets. Visit the Viewpoints. Possibly a Helicopter, Airplane, or Hummer Tour. There’s the IMAX Theater that is a great show in Tusayan too.
      Drive to Page for Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon…also Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam are here too. So spend 2 days checking things out. There’s bicycling the Rim Trail in Page too…if that appeals.
      Then I’d head off to Zion National Park for 2 to 3 days and then fly out of Las Vegas.
      That’s a fairly relaxed Itinerary…however, if you were to cut anything out, you could trim off Page and Zion and spend more time in Grand Canyon and Sedona to make it very relaxing.

      I hope this helps,

      Karlyn

  15. Hello Karlyn,

    My family wanted to visit several places in your area at the beginning of June, but I could not get everything planned in time. Now we are looking at March 12-19. Our hope is to start in Los Vegas, drive to the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon, drive to Sedona, drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, drive to Monument Valley, drive to Page (Horsehoe Bend and Antelope Canyon), then the North Rim of the Grand Canyon before returning to Los Vegas.

    Here are my questions:
    1) Is March a good time for this trip?
    2) Is there anything you would scrap, considering we have only a week?
    3) Is there anything you would add?
    4) How many days/nights should we devote to each place? (“We” includes my husband and 21 year old son. My husband and I are hikers and kyakers. We originally had a much more robust trip planned, but I was out of my league in planning it and our son is not really into hiking that much. He does want to see the Grand Canyon. For these reasons, I pared back. However, I read your comments to other posters that less is more.)

    Thank you for your help!
    PDB

    1. PDB,

      I would invite you to watch Mitchell Tenpenny’s “Bucket List” video on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMalroN-wzY
      And, here is the VLOG which lays out his Itinerary which he landed in Phoenix then went out Las Vegas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJaYrPaeg_U
      They’re both kind of fun video’s to help you dream…now, he did this in January 2021 and the Antelope Canyon hike wasn’t open so he did it on Lake Powell by Boat.

      I just Googled where I believe you are from based upon your email address to see what kind of weather you are used to at that time of the year. Again, it’s an assumption on my part, however, Google says the average is from 37 – 61 degree’s…which is very similar to the Temp’s at the Skywalk, Sedona, Monument Valley and Page (Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon). The South Rim will be colder at night during March…yet can warm up dramatically during the day, by the way. It is drier out here, so it’ll feel warmer to you without the humidity. The caveat I always throw out in March is we can get snow storms that time of the year…and you need to be flexible in rearranging or spending more time at one of those locations than you had originally planned. The mountains around Flagstaff can be snow magnets…we hope as we’re in a major drought right now.

      1) Is March a good time for this trip?
      This is a very popular time of the year for this Trip as many Families visit for the Spring Break time period from School. Kayaking will be a bit cold still…so I’d leave that out of any plans. If you leave water related activities out of the plans…it’s a good time to visit. If you are wanting to go kayaking or swimming…which usually involve the Colorado River…it’s still too cold. Obviously, swimming at an inside pool is not an issue.
      With that said, the Half Day Raft Trip in Page is a very popular activity when visiting…and, honestly, it depends on the weather that day that you are there. It can be a beautiful Spring day or it can be windy and cold. You just don’t know until the day arrives.

      So, with weather covered…now let me try and pair down your itinerary from Las Vegas:
      Here’s a Google Map link of what this would look like – https://goo.gl/maps/eU69GUzBPrV6xuiZ7

      March 12th Fly into Las Vegas on March 12th, then stay the night to get a taste of Vegas.
      March 13th Drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West where you will visit the Skywalk and take the Ground Tour…then I’d head onto Sedona…it’ll be long day, though.
      March 14th Sedona – Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour or get the Visitor’s Guide and see the places around there you want to see. Then head to Grand Canyon South Rim that night.
      March 15th Sunrise Grand Canyon! Hike down the Bright Angel Trail a bit or more, see the Grand Canyon Village, Hermit’s Rest, eat at the El Tovar, Maswik Lodge, or Yavapai Lodge…visit more viewpoints…then Sunset Grand Canyon!
      March 16th Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Monument Valley out the East Entrance where you’ll see the Desertview Watchtower too – tour Monument Valley, then dinner at The View or Goulding’s Lodge. I prefer Goulding’s because I’ve gone there so much over time. The View is new to me.
      March 17th Drive from Monument Valley to Page (Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon) for an Antelope Canyon Tour around 11am – 1pm, then go to Horseshoe Bend. (I live here…and I forgot to mention Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam that you need to take a little time to Enjoy too! I take them for granted…Sorry!)
      March 18th Drive to Zion National Park because it’s on the way to Vegas…well, a little bit of diversion…but you’re here, so take it in. Spend the day viewing Zion on the Shuttle. Then off to Vegas or overnight in Springdale, Hurricane or St. George if you are flying out of Vegas on the 19th mid to late day or evening.
      March 19th Drive to Vegas or Fly Home!
      This is a fairly fast moving itinerary…but covers the major points you originally laid out. It’s a matter of IF you want to put more Discovery Time in there.

      NORTH RIM IS CLOSED in MARCH. The North Rim opens Annually from May 15th – October 15th…but normally the gates are not closed until December 1st unless there is a big snow storm. So this is paired off of your itinerary because of the time of the Year you are visiting. I put Zion National Park in there…because it’s all but on the way from Page to Vegas.

      2) Is there anything you would scrap, considering we have only a week?
      NORTH RIM gets scrapped because of the Time of Year automatically. It’s NOT Open.
      3) Is there anything you would add? Zion because it’s on the way to Vegas.
      4) How many days/nights should we devote to each place? (“We” includes my husband and 21 year old son. My husband and I are hikers and kyakers. We originally had a much more robust trip planned, but I was out of my league in planning it and our son is not really into hiking that much. He does want to see the Grand Canyon. For these reasons, I pared back. However, I read your comments to other posters that less is more.)

      Less is more…is very subjective. I have put it all in there for you above…it is moving. However, there’s flex time in there too. If you were to spend more time somewhere…I’d recommend the Grand Canyon. Sedona is primarily Hiking…but there’s Jeep Tours and UTV’s there too. The Grand Canyon has more viewpoints and places to visit and discover. I did put Sunrise and Sunset in there for you…those are like the two main things. You could work in a Helicopter or Airplane Tour too. Also, there’s Hummer Tours from Tusayan too!

      I love all of these places…so without knowing exactly what you like and expect…I covered them all for you. This itinerary will work…and you could spend more time in Zion with it too. There’s a lot to see there, as well.

      I hope this helps,

      Karlyn

  16. Hi, lots of great information but most travel plans include Vegas. Can you describe a trip seeing all the sights flying into Phoenix or ?. Should I try to do June instead of July? We are from Florida.

    1. Renee,

      For a direct, get value, get to the Canyon Itinerary, I would suggest the following:

      Fly into Phoenix, get your Rental Car
      Then go to Sedona and enjoy at least a day there, learn more here:
      https://visitsedona.com/
      Then go to the Grand Canyon and enjoy at least 3 days there…that’s what we’ve found works for most visitors…some people need more, some less.
      Must do’s at the Grand Canyon:
      – Sunrise and Sunset
      – Tour the Historic Grand Canyon Village area and Xanterra Grand Canyon Lodges has a great guide right here:
      https://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/content/uploads/2021/01/gcsr-2020brochure121319lorez.pdf
      – Visit the East and West Rim Drives of the South Rim including Desertview Watchtower and Hermits Rest amongst many other viewpoints along the way.
      – Optional, however, greatly enjoyable – Motorcoach Tours, Hummer Tours, Airplane Tours and Helicopter Tours to see it all from above and with Guides who can share so much.
      Then Return back to Phoenix.

      As for June or July from Florida…remember it’s much drier in the West…we joke about a dry heat, however, that will be no joke to you coming out of all of that humidity. The end of June and early July are the hottest times of the year at the Grand Canyon…with that said, it can still be a cool 40-50 degrees at Sunrise and then 80-90 degrees during the day…wide temperature swings. Both are beautiful, however, Monsoons tend to start in later July…and, unfortunately, the last few years forest fires proliferate in both June and July that can obscure your views in the Grand Canyon.

      So, Plan and come enjoy the Grand Canyon,

      Karlyn

  17. Hello,

    Your recommendations are superbly detailed and insightful for someone who’s never visited there–like us! I would like to bring my son for his fall break from school (he just turned 15) and we would be flying from Indiana 10/20-10/25 this year.

    With SO much to see and do in such little time to do it, I would really appreciate your suggestions on designing a route that would give us the ability to see the “must dos” while not being exhausted from trying too much.

    We enjoy road trips so my plan was to rent a car when we land in Phoenix and start our adventure. I’m wondering if we should also fly out of Phoenix, or perhaps somewhere else and also, should we try to squeeze any water activities in given that it will be October?

    Thank you!!

    1. Marsha,

      You are asking the question I am literally struggling to write a Book about right now…yet, we all want the Quickest Possible Answer…uh, for us! 🙂

      The Answer is what’s the Best Itinerary…so there’s 2 to 3 Itinerary’s that I think you should consider:

      1 – Fly into Phoenix, go to Sedona either drive thru or spend a day there doing a Jeep Tour or Hiking, then drive up Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff and on to Grand Canyon, spend a couple of days at the Grand Canyon (being sure you experience AT LEAST a Sunrise or Sunset, preferably BOTH) and go through the Grand Canyon Village and visit Yavapai Point, Mather Point and Grandview or even out to Desertview if you have the time, think about a Helicopter or Airplane tour to see it all from above too, then go to Page, Arizona and visit Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon (Glen Canyon Dam and Bridge along with Lake Powell are there to enjoy too), then back to Flagstaff via Wupatki if there’s time, then back down to Phoenix with a side stop to Montezuma’s Castle just off of I-17 to break up the trip back to Phoenix. That’s a tight 5 day itinerary…cut out things that don’t appeal to you.

      2 – Fly into Phoenix, go to Sedona either drive thru or spend a day there doing a Jeep Tour or Hiking, then drive up Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff and then to Grand Canyon, spend a couple of days (being sure you experience AT LEAST a Sunrise or Sunset, preferably BOTH) and go through the Grand Canyon Village and visit Yavapai Point, Mather Point and Grandview or even out to Desertview if you have the time, think about a Helicopter or Airplane tour to see it all from above too, then go to Page, Arizona and visit Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon (Glen Canyon Dam and Bridge along with Lake Powell are there to enjoy too), then go on to Bryce Canyon National Park (late October some snow sometimes shows up) and then back down through Zion National Park an on out to Las Vegas to return Home. Again, that’s a tight 5 day itinerary…cut out things that don’t appeal to you.

      3 – Fly into Phoenix, go to Sedona either drive thru or spend a day there doing a Jeep Tour or Hiking, then drive up Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff and then to Grand Canyon, spend a couple of days (being sure you experience AT LEAST a Sunrise or Sunset, preferably BOTH) and go through the Grand Canyon Village and visit Yavapai Point, Mather Point and Grandview or even out to Desertview if you have the time, think about a Helicopter or Airplane tour to see it all from above too, then go back down to I-40 and go over to Grand Canyon West via Kingman, AZ and walk on the Skywalk and see Eagle and Guano Point, then go visit Hoover Dam and Lake Mead on your way into Vegas (or just walk over the Colorado River Bridge)…and again return Home.

      Interestingly enough, Mitchell Tenpenny recorded his “Bucket List” video in January doing many of these activities…so, you can enjoy it on YouTube at:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhtvXNBoq5c
      (I failed to even tempt you with Monument Valley and the UTV in that Video is in Sedona…so if not a Jeep or Hiking in Sedona…the UTV’s have become wildly popular there too!)

      Now, I am a maximalist, so I’ve naturally tried to put TOO MUCH into all three of those itinerary’s. However, see which one appeals to you and go from there in trimming it down to what works for You and Your Family. Remember I’m a guy who’s wife simply wanted go straight home from Albuquerque in 6 1/2 hours and I talked her into going via Alamosa, Colorado (I thought putting Taos in that day might be too much!) because I wanted to go over Wolf Creek Pass and through Pagosa Springs…um 12 1/2 hours later…we got home! 🙂

      Oh yeah, you asked about Water activities…um, that’s right in the time period where you need to be dressed well for it. There is a Smooth Water Raft trip out of Page, Arizona from the base of Glen Canyon Dam that is gorgeous. So, you might consider that: https://www.riveradventures.com/horseshoe-bend-rafting-trips/horseshoe-bend-rafting-experience/half-day/ It depends on your tolerance for colder temps…now, in the West that means 40-50’s, sometimes 60-70’s in late October. It can be either a really cool day or divinely perfectly warm at the end of October. You won’t know until you get here. If you’re outdoor winter sports type people…it’s no big deal. If not, you might find it a cool. But, if you dress well in layers it can be a lot of fun and beautiful!

      I hope that helps!

      Enjoy your visit to the Canyon,

      Karlyn

      1. This is SO helpful–thank you!! I’m going to book the flights today and thinking in and out of Phoenix is best for us this trip.

        We would arrive mid-morning on the 20th and leave at noon on the 25th. I have no idea where to stay once there…do you recommend any options in Sedona and/or the Grand Canyon? Is it worth staying two nights in Sedona, which would leave us three nights to stay elsewhere?

        THANKS AGAIN!

  18. Hello!!! I’m planning a 3-day (thur-Sun) trip in mid May for my 15 yr anniversary. We want to fly into Pheonix,Az. We are outdoorsy and would like to do something adventurous (i.e. UTV or take flight) and also love food! We have to stop at Mesa, Az for an appt to see the progress on our toy hauler getting build (RV). What itinerary do you suggest? We are from Miami, Fl. We have done Vegas and driven to see Grand Canyon (helicopter tour) in the past. I would really appreciate your help! Thank you 🙂

    1. Adriana,

      Since you’re flying into Phoenix, I would recommend going through Sedona and possibly doing an ATV there. (Sedona is like being in the Canyon because you are below the rim of Redrock surrounding Sedona.) There are lots of UTV Rentals in Sedona: https://www.google.com/search?q=sedona+utv&rlz=1C1EJFC_enUS805US805&oq=sedona+utv&aqs=chrome.0.0i512l2j0i457i512j0i512l4j0i390l3.5151j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

      There is also a UTV Rental at the Grand Canyon, as well: https://www.grandcanyon-rentals.com/ This is more of a Forest UTV experience, although, you’ll be in Forest around Sedona too.

      And, if you’d like a Helicopter or Airplane Flight from the South Rim, check out these two links:
      EcoStar Imperial Helicopter Tour: https://grandcanyon.com/tours/south-rim-tours/imperial-with-ecostar-2/
      Grand Canyon South Rim Airplane Tour: https://grandcanyon.com/tours/south-rim-tours/grand-canyon-south-rim-airplane-tour/

      Enjoy your visit,

      Karlyn

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