Explore Better with Matt & Abby: Must-Do Activities in Grand Canyon National Park
There’s only one way to do the Grand Canyon, and that’s big (literally). If you didn’t know, the Grand Canyon is actually larger than the state of Rhode Island. With views for days and endless experiences, planning the perfect itinerary can be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, Explore Better helped make it easier on us when it came to making the most of our first time at Grand Canyon National Park. Here’s how it went…
How To Get To The Grand Canyon (South Rim)
We flew into Flagstaff, Arizona (Flagstaff Pulliam Airport) which is very convenient and has a lot of flight options no matter where you’re visiting from. After landing, it was a quick hour and a half drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Where To Stay In Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is split up into the South Rim, Grand Canyon West, Grand Canyon East, and the North Rim. Most travelers (including ourselves) end up staying in the South Rim. That’s where you’ll find the most amenities, accommodations, dining options and those iconic views. Not to mention, the drive down to the South Rim is insanely breathtaking, and conveniently located just a few short miles away from the park.
There are plenty of historic lodging options and hotels to choose from. We stayed at Yavapai Lodge®. Situated within Grand Canyon National Park, this charming hotel is in a prime location and only a short walk or bus ride away from the South Rim. The comfort extends beyond the guest rooms with plenty of opportunities to relax and recharge — think cozy seating, an outdoor patio, a casual restaurant, tavern, and coffee shop that opens early with snacks and lunch items to go for hiking adventures (the bagel sandwiches and burritos became our go-to).
What To Do In Grand Canyon
There’s no shortage of memorable adventures in Grand Canyon, but here’s our must-have list of experiences:
Yes, it’s really pink and it’s really cool. We ventured into the desert and onto Navajo Point in an incredibly awesome custom-built, heated pink Jeep® Wrangler. Not only did we get a ton of photo opp moments, but it was an interactive and fun way of learning more about the area.
Grand Canyon Hike
No trip to the Grand Canyon is complete without a hike. We wanted to get a closer look so we trekked down the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Ahh point (it’s just how it sounds by the way), located towards the bottom of the canyon. Looking up at the Grand Canyon in all its glory really put in perspective just how “grand” and remarkable this natural wonder is.
There’s no view like the one from the top. This helicopter ride took us all across the Grand Canyon and allowed us to discover everything from the expansive views to the great wilderness from the comfort of our ride.
Speaking of views from the top, another thrilling way of taking in all the scenic views is from 16,000 ft up in the air. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a first-timer, that’s one way you can cross two things off your bucket list. And yes, Matt did actually jump out of a plane.
Campfire, Smores & Stargazing at Yavapai Point
After (over) indulging in some smores over a cozy campfire about 5 minutes from our lodge, we headed to Yavapai Point to have an intimate experience with the open night sky. There is no light pollution and you can soak in the magnitude of just how big the Grand Canyon is. In fact, the canyon was quite bright from the stars and the moon.
Mather’s Point Sunrise
If you’re an early riser, you won’t want to miss the sunrise here. Even if you’re not, trust us when we say it’s worth the early call time. We grabbed some coffee and headed a quick 2 minute drive to Mather’s Point for an unbelievable sunrise that we’ll never forget.