Amazing Grand Canyon

As America’s marquee natural wonder, the Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s must-visit list. And because it encompasses more than a million acres of land, it’s a destination that demands more than a quick visit. Even if you’re only planning a brief look, don’t be surprised if you end up lingering much longer than you’d planned. The area surrounding the Grand Canyon has plenty of lodging to accommodate the crowds that come to marvel, but there are a few places that stand out as being the best places to stay.

Some people will inevitably end up arriving without having made reservations ahead of time, but whenever possible, I’d recommend making a hotel booking so that you can get the room that’s right for you. Lodging is available inside the park, but competition for those rooms can be fierce – don’t discount the options in surrounding towns. There’s often better availability, along with good comfort and value – all just a short drive from the park itself.

The tiny town of Tusayan, home to a population of about 600, is a quaint and cozy option located right at the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim. Because of its location, Tusayan thrives on visitors, so you’ll find plenty of options for dining, accommodation and shopping.

Flagstaff: A little bit further away (80 miles from the South Rim) is the town of Flagstaff, which blends college town atmosphere with the canyon area’s natural beauty and more than a hint of Route 66 nostalgia. Considering all those things together, Flagstaff can make an outstanding base for exploring the region. Its microbreweries, restaurants and hotels bring a little extra panache into the mix for travelers seeking a truly unique town.

Sedona: Located about two hours’ drive from the Grand Canyon, the town of Sedona enjoys one of the most spectacular settings in Arizona. Surrounded by red rock formations, gorges and mesas, Sedona is as worthy of exploration as the Canyon itself. Staying here might involve a little extra driving, but it also provides an opportunity to multiply the amount of spectacular sightseeing you can do.

Williams: Another town that caters to Grand Canyon visitors, Williams has plenty to offer. Like Flagstaff, it’s got Route 66 history, but it’s also located within the spectacular Kaibab National Forest and the Grand Canyon Railway rolls right through town. Its abundance of options for lodging, camping and RVing make it a worthwhile option to consider for a Grand Canyon trip.

Marianna Szoke