10 Ways to Discover the Grand Canyon

March 10, 2010

Are you planning a trip to the Grand Canyon but don’t know what kind of activities there are to see and do once you reach the Grand Canyon?

If you are planning to visit the Grand Canyon either as a 1-Day-Activity or if you wish to make a week of it, there are plenty of options.

Here are 10 ways to explore the Grand Canyon. Many people could easily spend all day just looking at this magical wonder, but there are other ways you can enjoy the mighty Grand Canyon.

If you do not have a lot of time, it’s still possible to enjoy the Grand Canyon; you may just feel a little rushed. If you leave early and prepare yourself for a long day, it can be done.

If you are a traveler who has a little extra time, you would likely appreciate taking that extra day or two and view the other sightseeing attractions as you make your way to the Grand Canyon.

Many visitors spend the night in another town, such as Sedona, Arizona, where the beauty of the red-rock will astound you. If you choose to drive from the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area, plan on about 4.5 hours of travel time to get to the Grand Canyon.

If you decide to stay in Flagstaff before traveling to Grand Canyon National Park, it is approximately 80 miles away, which should take about an hour and a half to drive there. If you stay in Sedona, the Canyon is about a two-hour drive.

The Grand Canyon National Park offers a free shuttle at the South Rim in Grand Canyon Village, along Hermit Road. Note that these shuttles provide transportation only and are not considered tour buses. (Bus Tours are available, however.)

You are required to exit the bus to view the Canyon. Also note that if you have physical challenges, most shuttles are inaccessible to wheelchairs.

Here are 10 excellent ways to explore the Grand Canyon.

1. Go boating or rafting. There are plenty of companies who are willing to take you on a very specialized tour-guided river experience inside the Grand Canyon. If you choose to go rafting, though, keep in mind that the water can get a little rough at times, but you will certainly be in good hands with your tour guide and required life jacket.

If you are timid about water, consider the fact that the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is said to be one of the wildest stretches of white water in the United States.

2. Go hiking. Many hiking trails exist throughout the area. The South Rim is where the most popular hike is. The name of this trail on the South Rim is named Bright Angel Trail, located near Grand Canyon Village.

On the North Rim, the most popular hiking trail is North Kaibab. (No permit is required here.)

No permit is needed for day hiking, but you will need a permit if you choose to camp inside the Grand Canyon, as dictated by the National Park Service.

The most popular backpacking site is the Bright Angel Campground. Bright Angel Campground is located at the end of Bright Angel Trail.

3. If you are not afraid of heights, you can always try out the new Grand Canyon Skywalk which recently opened this past spring! The Skywalk is officially open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. It first opened March 28, 2007, and from all accounts, is something very special and exciting.

4. Take a helicopter or a mule ride inside the Canyon. You will find several companies who will give you a bird’s eye view down inside the Canyon.

The Grand Canyon Skywalk is the first walkway to suspend more than 4,000 feet above the Canyon floor. It extends 70 feet from the rim and is located at Grand Canyon West’s Eagle Point.

5. Take a helicopter ride. Tours originate at either the Grand Canyon Airport, five miles south of the park entrance or in Sedona.

6. Drive to the South Rim and park your car and walk to the edge of the Grand Canyon. If you don’t like large groups, or if you just prefer doing things on your own time, you certainly have this option.

7. You can access the Grand Canyon Railway train for some fun, too. Sit back and relax! Jump the train in Williams, Arizona, where it will escort you precisely to Grand Canyon Village.

8. Take a bus tour. Many tour companies are available for your tour to the Grand Canyon.

9. Take a Jeep Tour. If you like the wilderness, you will find that these Jeep tours are a great way to take in limitless nature along with Native American Indian history, culture and more.

10. Settle for an Audio Tour. You can also opt for your own personal guide on a CD. These are also available to visitors and provide a learning experience at every listeners own pace.

Helpful Ways to Plan your Next Airplane Tour

March 3, 2010

Plane Tours are an excellent selection if you want to experience a flightseeing tour.

You will likely be amazed at all the choices that you will have if you decide to do a little sightseeing from high up above! Let’s take a closer look at the world of airplane tours.

Whether you decide to take an airplane tour in Canada, Arizona, New York, Florida, Sedona or the Grand Canyon, you will likely enjoy this 1-Day activity while you experience the beautiful scenery that exists on many of the scenic flights.

There are many airplane scenic tours that are available in the USA, Canada as well as other parts of the world.

For example, in Arizona, there are tours that will take you inside the heart of the Grand Canyon, if you really desire a close up look without having to hike down into the Grand Canyon.

Many plane tours exist that include spectacular views of not only the Grand Canyon, that also include a four-wheel drive in the picture. These tours are considered combination tours that allow the guest to experience both a view from up above as well as down below in a four-wheel drive vehicle, too! Fun!

Airplane tours can be a life long memorable experience if you plan ahead and follow some very basic but necessary tips prior to making any reservations, regardless of where you fly. It is important to choose a plane tour company that is both well documented and well known for its superior service and track record.

Here are some helpful tips when planning your next air-tour, no matter where you plan to experience your next air tour. This important information can be used for any of your scenic flights.

You will likely feel better and safer if you fly with a company who has been in operation for a lengthy period of time and with one who has an excelllent safety record.

When inquiring about an air tour, ask specifically what is included in the price they are quoting you, such as:

How Long Is The Tour?

What Special Attractions Will Be Seen?

Are The Planes Air-Conditioned? (All of the Arizona companies I researched noted that all of the planes had air-conditioning, but it would be wise to confirm this, especially during the summer months.)

Are The Tours Narrated?

Many scenic flights include narration along with individual stereo headsets for optimal audio of the information provided by the tour guide.

What Is Their Cancellation Policy? Please note that not all tour companies honor a refund policy, so it is important to inquire about a refund, should you need one. Some companies do offer a full refund with a 48-hour notice.

Are There Any Special Prices On Any Of The Tours? You can sometimes find summer or winter specials and save a significant amount of money, so ask about any current or upcoming specials. Here is another great tip that you can use. Most of the nearby hotels will have numerous attraction coupons, including air-tours, inside the lobby area.

What Kind Of Safety Record Exists?

The Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, now requires every passenger to provide proof of identification with a photo-id.

You will be required to provide either a state issued drivers license or a valid passport. You really do have many options to enjoy if planning on taking advantage of the variety of tours that are available.

Here are a few examples flightseeing options in Arizona

Take a tour from the small town of Page, Arizona, to the world famous Grand Canyon Airport on the South Rim.

These tours provide both spectacular views of the Grand Canyon as well as the history behind the canyon Some of these tours also include the option for you to stop in and experience the IMAX theatre while you are there.

Tours come in a wide variety of packages. You can go on a “short and sweet” air tour for a mere 20 minutes for under 100 dollars, a four-to-five hour airplane tour, or even an overnight tour, giving you the opportunity to witness a beautiful Grand Canyon sunset at the Grand Canyon Hotel which includes sightseeing the very next day.

I also discovered a four-to-five hour airplane tour in Arizona inclusive of not only a plane tour, but also a helicopter tour along with a boat cruise!

This particular air-tour was one of the more expensive tours in Arizona, which cost just shy of $400 per person, but it also included a helicopter ride and a boat tour, too. This specific tour includes a memorable air tour through the world famous Sedona area before heading north to the Grand Canyon, topped off with a delicious Barbeque meal!