The Grand Canyon is on many people’s bucket lists as a travel destination. It doesn’t have to wreck your vacation budget. It is in the northwest of Arizona, close to the borders of Utah and Nevada.
The kids under sixteen are admitted free. You need to pay $30 or more per carload when you drive into the park with your own vehicle, ride a bus, or pedal into the park.
The entry fee admits you into the North and South Rim sections of the park for an entire week. You don’t have to see all of it in one day!
The national park service sponsors free entrance days every year. You could coincide with your trip on a free entrance day or a weekend. You can also book accommodation well in advance as weekends draw a larger crowd.
Free Entrance days
- January: Martin Luther King Jr Day
- February: Presidents Day
- April: Weekends of National Park Week
- August: National Park Service Birthday
- September: National Public Lands Day
- November: Veterans Day Weekend
You can also buy an America the Beautiful pass to admit you into the national parks and federation recreational lands across the country. The pass costs less than $100 and it admits up to four adults to national parks across the whole country, including Grand Canyon National Park.
If you sleep in a modern hotel just outside Grand Canyon National Park in Tusayan, Arizona, expect to pay more than $200 per night at any time of year. Book a standard lodge room with a shared bathroom in Bright Angel Lodge because it’s less than half that price. During the summer season, you can book a room up to 13 months in advance as accommodations fill up early.
From October to March, you can use Grand Canyon National Park Lodge‘s online booking calendar to find availability during less-traveled times, such as the week after Thanksgiving through mid-December and the months of January and February. In the town of Valle, 30 miles south, or the city of Williams, 60 miles south, both have budget hotels less than an hour’s drive from the Canyon.
Camping is also a cheap option for staying at the Grand Canyon. Trailer Village RV Park is open all year and offers full hookups for less than $50 per night. Camping Reservations should be made well in advance. Mather Campground is the most popular campground in Grand Canyon National Park.
Past travelers have spent, on average, $39 on meals for one day and $30 on local transportation. The average hotel price in Grand Canyon National Park for a couple costs about $142. So, a trip to Grand Canyon National Park for two people for one-week costs on an average $1,823.
Besides looking at the canyon, there are Ranger talks, Junior Ranger programs, an archaeological site and museum, geology museum, gift shops, art museum, bookstores, visitor centers.
The best times to visit the Grand Canyon are March to May and September to November when daytime temperatures are cool and, the crowds are thin.