One of the things that allured us to vacation in Vegas was the proximity to the Grand Canyon – a place neither of us had been, but always wanted to see.
We originally had planned on taking a day trip to the North Rim, but thank goodness I did a bit of research beforehand, because apparently the North Rim is only open seasonally from May 15th - October 15th each year. Since we were visiting May 1st - 7th, that wasn't going to work out.
After a bit more research, we decided to explore the South Rim, which is about 280 miles (or a 4½ hour drive each way) from Vegas. We read online that the South Rim is ‘less touristy’ than the West Rim, and its views offer more of what you think of, when you think of the Grand Canyon – whether that’s true or not I can’t say since we didn't go to West Rim, but I can tell you the South Rim was breathtaking. My photos don't do an ounce of justice to this magnificent wonder!
I’m not going to lie – the drive was a bit boring, but the desert mountains are fun to look at, especially coming from the Midwest. The landscapes out there are just so different than what we’re used to. On our drive, we spotted javelina, pronghorn, & wild horses, so that was kind of neat.
We stopped in Kingman, AZ to fuel up, and got robbed by stopping at the first gas station we saw. Seriously, we paid $0.25 more per gallon than if we’d just drove a few more miles; there were much cheaper gas stations in town. So watch out for that!
After passing through Williams, AZ, it’s just a bit further until the park entrance. The South Rim is part of the Grand CanyonNational Park, so there’s a fee to get in. We pre-purchased the $30 entrance fee in Tusayan, AZ, at the National Geographic Visitor Center to bypass the long lines at the entrance gate.
Once in the park, there are numerous parking areas, but it’s highly recommended to park and take the free shuttles for sightseeing, which is what we did. We found this short video helpful when planning our trip: How to See the SouthRim in 4 Hours or Less.
I was surprised by how much was in the park – lodging, grocery, restaurants, etc. – I guess I didn't know what to expect. What even further surpassed my expectations was the Grand Canyon itself. It’s SO MASSIVE. Pictures can’t even begin to exude the magnitude of this canyon...
We hiked a few paths around the canyon & spotted mule deer & elk bedded down -- they didn't even care we were there (they must be so used to people). We also saw a few creepy crawlers & lots of different birds -- Zac was in heaven.
We lucked out with the weather, too. It was slightly cool with a brisk wind at times, but the warm sun helped us to never feel too cold.
I highly recommend adding the Grand Canyon to your bucket list!