Skip to main content
  • How to Plan a Grand Canyon Vacation - Part II 1

    How to Plan a Grand Canyon Vacation – Part II

PART II: Tips and Top Must-See Sites

Did you miss Part I of our how-to series? Find it here.

Sweeping view of the Grand Canyon at dusk.

From awe-inspiring views to adventure activities, a trip to the Grand Canyon is unlike any other. With 277 miles of canyon walls that feature breathtaking sights and ample opportunities for exploration, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to planning the perfect vacation! Whether you want to escape on a romantic getaway or take the kids on an exciting outdoor excursion, let Xanterra Travel Collection® help you make the most of your time in this incredible destination. Learn all about top tours and attractions, discover amazing places to eat, and find creative ways to explore one of America’s greatest natural wonders.

Historic Village

Though the beauty of the Grand Canyon is ultimately the main attraction, the picturesque Grand Canyon Historic Village is a must see to truly experience the Grand Canyon and its history. There are many historical buildings, national landmarks, and local businesses that deserve attention. Be sure to include some of our must-see sights to make your visit to Grand Canyon a more memorable one. The district comprises the historic center of Grand Canyon Village and includes numerous park structures, many of which are National Historic Landmarks. The Village, planned by the National Park Service, is the largest example of Park Service town planning in the national park system. Architect Mary E. J. Colter designed almost half of the buildings included in the district, including Hopi House, Bright Angel Lodge, and Lookout Studio. Other buildings included in the district are the Grand Canyon Train Depot, El Tovar, the Buckey O’Neill Cabin and the Red Horse Cabin.

Guided Bus Tours

Board one of our comfortable environmentally friendly buses and experience a guided interpretive tour through one of the most beautiful places on earth! Let our skilled drivers take the stress out of navigating the park roads or finding a place to park while you relax and enjoy the spectacular views of the Canyon.

Choose a tour that fits your schedule and interests. There are several different options, including the Desert View Tour, Hermits Rest Tour, Sunrise Tour, Sunset Tour, or Combination Tour. Take the time to learn some of the captivating history and geology of this timeless location. All In-Park tours feature a trained driver-guide, who will provide an informative and captivating narrative throughout your tour of the park.

Mule Rides

For the more adventurous experience, take a mule ride down into the Grand Canyon or perhaps along the rim. We offer two guided rides using a time-honored method of canyon transportation: the sure-footed mule.

Horses may be iconic to the American West, but the equine of choice at Grand Canyon has long been its hybrid relative, the mule. These animals combine the sure-footedness of a burro with the larger size and strength of a horse, and have been carrying canyon visitors since the late 1800’s. More than 600,000 people have taken Grand Canyon mule rides since they were first offered in 1887. In 1904, Fred Harvey became the exclusive provider of mule rides at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Xanterra Travel Collection®, then known as Amfac Parks & Resorts, purchased the Fred Harvey Company in 1968.

There is no Grand Canyon adventure more rewarding or more unique than a mule ride. The overnight rides go deep into the canyon, staying overnight at Phantom Ranch. If you think the view from the rim takes your breath away, wait until you experience the Grand Canyon from within. If you only have a short time to visit the South Rim, but are still longing for adventure, you can take the 2-hour Canyon Vistas Rim Ride. While it doesn’t take you into the canyon itself, the views along the way are stunning.

Insider’s Guide to Grand Canyon Lodges 3

A Taste of Grand Canyon

Discover a world of dining options at Grand Canyon National Park Lodges. From casual food court-style meals to the refined elegance of the El Tovar Dining Room, our selection caters to every taste. Craving something different? Our roving food trucks offer unique flavors. With eight diverse dining options, there’s a perfect dish for everyone. Explore a menu of endless possibilities at Grand Canyon National Park Lodges.

Go to Part III