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Travel tips: How to make the most of your Grand Canyon visit, according to the experts

If you want travel tips to have a better time at the Grand Canyon National Park, we have you covered

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon (Arizona).
Andrew Davey/The Manual

The U.S. has gorgeous places to visit if you know when to go, how to go, and what to do when you get there. Whether for spring break, summer vacation, or a weekend getaway, there are beautiful places everyone should visit at least once, and one of those is the Grand Canyon in Arizona. With a little help from the experts at the National Park Service, your Grand Canyon trip will be unforgettable.

Know when to go

There are always times that are better to go somewhere. For the Grand Canyon, each season has its ups and downs. Getting outside and into nature can be so calming, but if you’re fighting every other person in the country to see those views at the same time, it can be annoying.

  • If you don’t like crowds, don’t go in the summer or during normal breaks. The same-rules-apply as trying to go to Florida for the beaches. Spring break, summer vacations, and other standard school breaks will be busier. If crowds aren’t your thing, fall or winter would be the best time — minus the weather.
  • If you want to take the free shuttle, check the schedule first.

If you aren’t too concerned about crowds or weather, and you just want to make sure your transportation is taken care of, there are free shuttles, and a lot of them are year-round.

The best part of the canyon to visit

The South Rim

The South Rim is the favored section to visit, and for good reason. It’s open all year, so whatever your crowd or weather preference, you don’t have to worry about it being closed at times like the North Rim.

It also has

What to do

There are three main areas in the South Rim that make it the best area to stick to, and it all makes up the Grand Canyon Village.

  • The Historic District
  • The Market Plaza
  • The Visitor’s Center

The activities

  • Skydiving
  • Train rides
  • Bike rides
  • Helicopter rides
  • Wildlife viewing
Enjoying the view on top of the canyon

Expert tips for visiting the Grand Canyon during busy season

OK, we have to go over the not-so-fun travel tips to know when visiting Grand Canyon National Park, especially during peak times. (We’d all love to visit when the park is less crowded, but sometimes our schedules don’t allow that.) Here’s what the experts at the NPS have to say about visiting during the busy season:

  • You should either arrive early or late (before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m.).
  • The South Entrance Station Webcam can help you time your arrival wisely.
  • Buy your park pass online ahead of time. Then use Lane 1 at the South Entrance for a shorter wait time.
  • If you’re doing the Hermit Road scenic drive (and you should), go early. By mid-day, it gets pretty busy.
  • Forget driving and consider taking the train instead.

Want some more advice?

  • Bring your credit cards, as cash is a no-go right now.
  • You can’t camp everywhere, so check first.
  • A permit is needed for overnight stays.
  • During certain weeks, the Visitor’s Center has reduced hours/is closed for training.
  • You can’t bring your pet — only service dogs.

Now you’re ready to make the most of your visit to the Grand Canyon. You want to spend as much time as possible seeing the wildlife and nature sights without worrying about standing in line for three hours at the entrance waiting to get in or crying while looking for a parking spot. Instead, remember these travel tips and enjoy those majestic views that you won’t find anywhere else.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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