5 Ways to Save Time and Money on a Grand Canyon Vacation

There are plenty of landmarks in the world, and there are more than a few reasons that the Grand Canyon National Park’s main attraction is as widely admired as it is. A certain spirit of adventure is embodied in every stone and branch of the park, from the gaping chasm itself to the subtleties and sense of discovery found within the park’s quieter trails and campgrounds.

No matter who you are, something at the Grand Canyon National Park will make the trip worthwhile, and with such a universally appealing destination, there are more than a few tips that visitors would do well to memorize.

1.) Know the canyon and the park surrounding it.
Newcomers to the park should take a look at how the park is structured and plan your trip ahead very specifically, especially if you plan on visiting during the busier seasons. There are two entrances to the park, and they each provide a different experience. On the Grand Canyon South Rim, you’ll find plenty of year-round tourist attractions and places to stay. On the Grand Canyon North Rim, you’ll find a more personalized experience with fewer tourists and more luxorious lodging. The North Rim is closed during the winter, so play ahead. Just choosing which rim you visit can be difficult, but it’s one of the first decisions you have to make.

2.) Know what kind of experience you want and plan accordingly (and far in advance).
The Grand Canyon is astronomically popular, and it may take some visitors by surprise when they realize how difficult it is to book a reservation at one of the destination’s many historic lodges and hotels. There are other lodging options available, but if you’re dead set on getting the true Grand Canyon experience, make your reservations as far in advance as possible – you may be on a year-long waiting list. Choosing where you want to stay comes after choosing what you want to do, though, so make a list of things you want to do at the Grand Canyon and decide which rim can offer the best experience. If you have your heart set on a hotel, call instead of just checking online availability. Some vacancies don’t make it to the web page!

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3.) Prepare and plan ahead to save money and visit for free.
The overarching theme here is preparation, and being prepared can not only make your Grand Canyon trip more fun, but it can make it much less expensive. Bring food, water, sunscreen, walking sticks, first aid kits, and anything else you might need. Don’t hesitate to over-pack a little bit, and you could save big on in-park costs. The Grand Canyon National Park also offers free admission on several days of the year, including many national holidays. While other fees for camping and tours still apply, you can save $25 on your entrance fee!

4.) Different rims for different seasons
The North Rim is at its best during the Summer, and it’s closed entirely for the Winter, so if there are attractions on the North Rim you can’t miss, visit during the Summer! Alternatively, visiting the South Rim during the Winter (with the exclusion of the holidays) is a great way to save money and avoid getting stuck in huge crowds.

5.) Bring your bike and explore for free.
Many of the tours and attractions around the Grand Canyon National Park cost money, but good old-fashioned exploring and wandering is free. Make sure to stay within legal perimeters and set off on your bike to explore the historic Grand Canyon Village for free. Many trails within the park are open to bikers, and with free park admission on some days, you could even take to the trails for free. Camping is also fairly inexpensive, so don’t be afraid to explore the park on your own terms instead of paying for a guided tour.

What’s your favorite way to save money at the Grand Canyon? What is your dream itinerary for a Grand Canyon visit? Let us know in the comments section below!