The Grand Canyon is America’s most famous national park; it is an immense deep gorge carved into the earth that takes your breath away. Crowds of tourists come every year to see this incredible natural wonder up close and in the section of this website dedicated to the Grand Canyon, you’ll find lots of information on how to plan a trip to this national park.
In this article, however, we want to focus on tips and advice for the overnight stay. Where is the best place to stay at the Grand Canyon? Is it better to stay in the national park or to stay nearby? Which neighboring cities are ideal for a stop on the trip? Here are some suggestions.
- Lodging inside the Grand Canyon or Nearby? Pros and Cons
- Lodging in the Grand Canyon
- Where to stay near the Grand Canyon
- Lodging in the Grand Canyon: Other Resources
Lodging inside the Grand Canyon or Nearby? Pros and Cons
Visiting the Grand Canyon does not necessarily require you to stay within the park: in fact often, depending on how you have designed your road trip itinerary, it may be more functional to choose accommodations in the immediate vicinity or perhaps somewhere 1 or 2 hours away. Everything depends on your travel plan.
At the same time, if you choose to sleep outside the park, it will be easier to find accommodations and at a more affordable price. Hotels inside the Grand Canyon tend to fill up quickly and tend to be more expensive, but they have two indisputable advantages. namely, the location which is convenient for visiting the park and the possibility in some facilities (if you are lucky enough to get the right room) to enjoy a breathtaking view from your window.
Let’s look at both possibilities in detail:
Spending the night inside the park can certainly be a great experience, but, as said, I suggest you book well in advance. As you may have read on our website, there are many accommodations in the Grand Canyon. Below you can find directions to sleep in each one:
Hotels in the South Rim
The South Rim is the most frequented area (for a comparison and contrast between the South Rim and the North Rim, take a look at our article on what to do at the Grand Canyon). The possibilities for overnight stays in the park are varied and include a number of rustic accommodations, such as:
- Yavapai Lodge: This comfy lodge, with its rustic style outside and modern interior design inside, is a 10-minute walk from the visitor center and offers guests a free shuttle to get around the surrounding area and also has a bicycle rental.
- El Tovar Hotel: A beautiful structure dating back to 1905 that has some rustic cabins (even some with views of the canyon).
- Bright Angel Lodge: Builtin 1935 and named a National Historic Monument, it also has a good number of rustic cabins.
- Kachina Lodge:…lovely location. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to admire the Grand Canyon from your window!
- Thunderbird Lodge: Again, the location on the Rim makes it appealing, even though the building is a bit outdated.
- Maswik Lodge: A more modern-looking hotel dating back to the 60s that is in the heart of a pine forest.
Accommodations in the North Rim
The North Rim, the wildest and most pristine area of Grand Canyon National Park, does not have a great selection of accommodations. If you want to sleep inside the Grand Canyon, you will have only one option, the Grand Canyon Lodge, with its spectacular panoramic terrace right on the edge of the canyon.
If you want to sleep in this property, recognized as National Historic Landmark, consider two facts:
- It remains closed while the North Rim is closed (it’s open May 15 through October 15)
- You must book well in advance if you want to spend the night here…
Staying at the Bottom of the Canyon
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there is Phantom Ranch, located at very the bottom of the Grand Canyon, a destination popular especially among the more daring hikers and those who descend from the edge of the canyon riding a mule. Reservations for meals and overnight stays are mandatory.
Staying in the West Rim
As we explained in our article about the Skywalk, there is also another area of the Grand Canyon called the West Rim, which houses the Grand Canyon West, managed, unlike other areas of the park, by Hualapai Tribe. It is located in a remote area of northwest Arizona, with some amenities nearby.
The only place to stay overnight in the park is Hualapai Ranch, run by the Hualapai, as well as Hualapai Lodge, which is located in Peach Springs, about 90 minutes from the West Rim, along the historic Route 66.
A third option is the Grand Canyon Western Ranch Resort (3750 E. Diamond Bar Road), just 2 miles from Grand Canyon West. It is a real ranch with livestock where you can sleep in beautiful pinewood cabins or teepees. It offers entertainment, helicopter flights and horseback riding. This is the best choice for those looking for a quaint, authentic hotel in the area.
Most tourists, however, visit the Grand Canyon West on day trips, so if you belong to this category, I recommend you continue reading and take a look at the section dedicated to accommodations outside the Grand Canyon.
Of course, it is also possible to stay either near the Grand Canyon or in the surrounding towns, and this option, as we have said, may be preferable for 3 reasons:
- It is easier to find cheap accommodation
- It can be more practical for your travel itinerary, especially if you’re on a road trip
- There are many more hotels and rooms available
Staying close to the South Rim
The most pleasant city to stay outside the South Rim is definitely Flagstaff (an hour and a half away), a pretty college town that you can read more about (both on how to visit it and how to stay overnight) in our article” What to do in Flagstaff“. If you’re looking for a nature experience, consider the Comfi Cottage, where you can stay in cottages just one hour from the park entrance, otherwise, I suggest you take a look at this list of hotels.
If you’re looking for something even closer (about an hour away), opt for Williams, a town where you’ll experience the atmosphere of Route 66. Here, too, we have a recommendation for those looking for a unique experience, which is the Canyon Motel & RV Park, will allow you to sleep in rooms made out of authentic steam and locomotive train cars. For more standard accommodations in Williams, take a look at this page.
Another place, the same distance from the Grand Canyon as Flagstaff, is Tuba City. The town itself is quite depressing, but it should be considered because of its strategic location that is convenient for traveling from Grand Canyon to Monument Valley and for its proximity to Coal Mine Canyon, a fairly unknown but wonderful place. The closest small towns are Valle and Tusayan. In the former, just 30 minutes away, you will find the Grand Canyon Inn, a hotel that offers several nicely furnished old western-style rooms. In the second, you will probably find the best solution in terms of proximity and comfort, the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire, a beautiful place with many amenities (Jacuzzi, gym, games room, etc. …) and only a 10-minute drive from the Grand Canyon Village entrance.
Where to Stay Near the North Rim
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is located on the Kaibab Plateau, in a remote and rugged area of northern Arizona. As a result, there aren’t many options for accommodations in the surrounding area. There are some accommodations available in the nearby town called Jacob Lake, but many visitors choose to stay in the Grand Circle towns scattered along the state border between Arizona and Utah, which are 90 to 120 miles from the entrance to the North Rim. These cities are:
- St. George (list of hotels in St.George and the surrounding area), a good strategic stop to visit parks and canyons of exceptional beauty, as you can read in our article on what to do in St. George (Utah).
- Page (list of hotels in Page), which could be a great choice if your itinerary also includes Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon.
- Kanab (List of Hotels in Kanab and the surrounding area)
- Hurricane (list of hotels in Hurricane and the surrounding area), which might suit you if you come from Zion National Park.
Lodging near the Grand Canyon West
As we were saying, in the case of the West Rim, most visitors prefer to seek accommodations outside the park. Since many visitors eager to see the Skywalk come on day trips, most choose to stay in Las Vegas (about 2.5 hours away for those who have a rental car), or easily reach it on a series of guided day tours. Below you will find some useful resources to stay in the city:
If you’re looking for a city closer to the West Rim, you can opt for Kingman, about 70 miles from Grand Canyon West, which is known for being a great base for visiting the surrounding area and being on Route 66. You can check the hotels available in Kingman following this link. There are other options nearby, though a little further away, namely Laughlin, Nevada (110 miles away) and Lake Havasu City, Arizona (128 miles away).
Lodging in the Grand Canyon: Other Resources
There are many resources online to find accommodations at the Grand Canyon, below are the ones where I personally have always found the best deals: