I will be flying to Vegas in September 2016 to meet my travel companion who will already be there for a conference. Vegas is not really my thing, so we will be leaving there to head to the Grand Canyon (which I've never seen) and then to Phoenix to visit some family there. Flying home from Phoenix. This trip could last anywhere from 5-10 days, depending on what we find to do while we are there (we live on the East Coast so don't make it out west often).
Any recommendations for best travel ideas/places to stay/places to eat/things we MUST do along this route? We are used to 4-star or higher accommodations (him with Hilton and myself with Marriott), but are open to all (well, mostly all, lol) suggestions! I figured this group of seasoned travelers was the best place to start!
Thanks in advance!
My relocation from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California allowed me to arrange a similar trip in February (Los Angeles - Grand Canyon - Las Vegas) .
I am responding to your inquiry exclusively to give you my opinion of accommodations in the GC.
If at all possible attempt to secure accommodations inside the park. There is one company that controls all accommodations (Xanterra) and the premier hotel is the El Tovar on the South Rim. (FYI - Xanterra Corp. is the latest incarnation of the Fred Harvey Company - if you are old enough to remember them).
Visiting in February I knew we (my two children) would avoid the huge crowds I suffered putting up with my first trip about 15 years ago during the Summer.
I realize that this suggestion does not allow for staying at a Marriott property but you will be better off.
Don't miss exploring the small Arizona town of Williams (they call themselves the "gateway to the GC" ). Williams was always an historical stop if following "Route 66" (Highway I40 includes major portions of the original "66"
Have a great trip - the place is unbelievable. (stop and see the Imax presentation at the National Geographic Building prior to entering the park)
Welcome to Travel Las Vegas :-)
Living here for over 18 years, I will gladly provide my insight. I presume you will be travelling via auto to the Grand Canyon (GC). It is around a 4 hour drive straight through via William, AZ which is on the south rim. Williams is on Route 66 as is Kingman and Seligman so you may want to take I40 one direction and then follow Route 66 the other. Yes they overlap but at least you can say you traveled on the Route.
I would avoid the glass overlook about 1.5 hours as it is an expensive outing and limited. As an example, you are not permitted to take your own pics whilst on the overlook but will gladly charge you for their pics they take of you. The route is also pretty rough and gravel for several miles.
Flagstaff is a great town at over 7000' elevation and plenty to do in this rail/university town. I would also suggest visiting the meteor crater nearby and if possible Monument Valley which is about 2 hours north of Flagstaff. Many hotel and eating options and yes Marriott does have a couple of hotels in Flagstaff and I think a SHS in Kingman (which is 1.5hrs south of LV). let me know if you want any other suggestions such as Sedona (30' south of Flagstaff) and old mining town of Gerome, AZ is well worth the side trip.
In Phoenix area I would stay at JW Marriott Desert Ridge. We love it there and just came home from a weekend trip. I would also suggest going to Sedona for a least a day trip. Gorgeous there and if you haven't been you must! Safe travels. Phoenix-Sedona is about 1 1/2 to a 2 hour drive.
Wow! We have been trying to get back for the last 15 years to see the area again! This year is the National Parks' Centennial and lots of events are planned.
If I were you , I would travel to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead from Vegas. Head to Zion National Park from there and stay in the park. Walk the trails, eat in the dining room and take in an evening Ranger program. Travel north to Bryce Canyon National Park next, stay in the park lodge. Again, walk the trails, eat in the dining room and take in a Ranger program. From Bryce, drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. One of the most amazing places on earth! So very spectacular! Watch the sun set (and rise) from the North Rim Lodge, walk down the trail into the Grand Canyon towards the Phantom Lodge - or take a donkey ride all the way down and stay overnight. From there, drive to the South Rim and stay in the park as ProfHillrecommended. Then on to Phoenix. We spent an overnight in each park with our (then) 11 and 12 year old sons - driving between them in the heat of the early afternoon, hiking in the early morning and late afternoon/evening. Carry a backpack with lots of snacks/beverages so you don't ever have to leave the trails. 15 years ago, we made our National Park reservations the day before we arrived (sometimes the day of) by phone. Lots of people cancel at the last minute! C
We did a very similar trip to the one you are planning last year.
1. Vegas - I'm not a big fan either, but we stayed at the Las Vegas Marriott by the convention center and were very pleased. Of course, tickets to Rod Stewart helped me make my wife very happy since she is a big fan... LOL
2. Hoover Dam - We spent a few hours here and toured the dam. Very interesting if you've never been.
3. Grand Canyon Sky Walk - This was a treat for me, but my wife has problems with heights, so not so much for her. It was an experience we won't forget. Plus, this is on a reservation and the locals are putting together a pretty nice destination with an old west town and other points of interest. The best was the Sky Walk and Eagle Rock, though.
4. Stayed in Flagstaff for a few nights and enjoyed the train ride from Williams to the south rim of the GC along with a day at the "big ditch."
5. DON'T MISS SEDONA!! - I wish Marriott would build a property here. We enjoyed Slide Rock and the downtown area along with a Pink Jeep tour of the area. I could spend a few days here enjoying this place. The drive from Flagstaff is short and very scenic.
6. Phoenix - We drove to Phoenix the day before our flight back home, so can't say too much about it. I've stayed in Scottsdale years ago, but was there for a conference and did not do much in the way of tourism.