Things to Do Near the Grand Canyon
Over the summer, we visited the Grand Canyon. We stayed in the nearby town of Tusayan (not even 10 minutes from the South Rim park entrance) and had a fantastic time taking in this natural wonder of the world through ranger-led walks, the Junior Ranger program, even just by eating sandwiches along the rim.
One of my favorite memories was simply walking along the Rim Trail between Mather Point (adjacent to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center) and Yavapai Point. I probably took at least a hundred photos. While amazing on its own, there are several other must-do’s within a three-hour drive of the Grand Canyon. Here are some great things to do near the Grand Canyon while you are visiting.
1. Go on a Rafting Trip at Glen Canyon Dam. Join a half-day or full-day rafting trip along the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam with Colorado River Discovery. Since you can’t do a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon that is fewer than three or four days, this is great alternative and so much fun.
My kids loved this rafting trip, though their favorite part may have been the free cans of iced tea that we got when we made a stop to splash in the river (which is very cold, by the way, even in July). Colorado River Discovery operates out of Page, AZ, which is about 2 ½ hours northeast of Tusayan.
2. Take a Tour of Slot Canyons. Also in Page, you won’t want to miss seeing Antelope Canyon. As we drove into Page, I was able to hop on the last tour of the day to see Lower Antelope Canyon at 4:30 pm. I believe the last walking tour of Upper Antelope Canyon departs at 4 pm.
These slot canyons are amazing to explore. I’d just never seen anything like them before. Sign up for a tour (you’ll see the tour operator booths by the side of the road as you drive into Page) and head out on a short walk down to the slot canyons. You’ll want to take lots of photos, for sure.
3. Take in the View from Horseshoe Bend. As I began to plan for our cross-country road trip, I knew that I had to stop to see the view from Horseshoe Bend. It was just a must. We stopped here as we were leaving Page (clearly Page is a must-stop) and the view was all I’d imagined.
I will tell you though that the ¾ mile walk to the lookout point is a bit of a death march and it’s most definitely not stroller-friendly. While I love to give my kids new experiences, I was glad I went on my own while my husband took the kids to pick up lunch at McDonald’s.
4. See the Birthplace of Historic Route 66. You’ll find the small town of Seligman, AZ, the birthplace of historic Route 66, about 90 minutes away from the Grand Canyon (South Rim). We stopped here on our way to Las Vegas and it’s a tourist trap, for sure, but so cute and colorful.
We stopped in the main gift shop called Historic Seligman Sundries to explore. My daughter bought a few Route 66 postcards and I got a cup of coffee. In town, there’s also a Route 66 Gift Shop & Museum, as well as a fairly popular restaurant called the Roadkill Café.
5. Explore the Old West Town that Never Died. About 90 minutes past Seligman on the way to Las Vegas, you’ll find the tiny town of Chloride, which is known as the old west town that never died.
The oldest mining town in Arizona, Chloride has been a wild west ghost town since 1944, though you will be able to find a restaurant, convenience store and several gift shops today. Another stop to consider is Kingman, which is between Seligman and Chloride, and is another historic Route 66 town.
What are some of your favorite things to do near the Grand Canyon?