Guides

Where to Stay in Grand Canyon → 5 TOP Areas for a 2024 Visit

Aerial view of the Grand Canyon showcasing the winding Colorado River, with sunlit ridges and deep, shadowed canyons.

A place like no other! The Grand Canyon, the crown jewel of Arizona, attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. However, deciding where to stay may be a bit tricky, which is why I compiled this complete guide on where to stay: Grand Canyon edition!

To help you make the best choice, I compared all accommodation options both inside and near Grand Canyon National Park and handpicked the best Grand Canyon lodges and hotels (campgrounds, too!). Plus, I’ve sorted them all by price to make things even easier.

If you’ve never visited the Grand Canyon before, I recommend staying in the Grand Canyon Village, situated inside the park on the South Rim. From here, you can easily explore the Grand Canyon – you’ll be close to the major hiking trails, and you won’t have to make a long drive back to your lodging! 

The most important thing to know about staying inside the park is that lodges tend to sell out super quickly. If you want to stay here, you’ll need to make a reservation well in advance – I recommend at least a year before your trip to secure the best room at the best rate! 

Let’s take a look at the best Grand Canyon lodging! 

If you are in a hurry

If you want to make your reservations now, quickly browse this list of the best Grand Canyon hotels:

budget hotel


YAVAPAI LODGE

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Here’s a map of the areas in and around the Grand Canyon I talk about in this post:

Where to stay: inside or outside the Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon National Park entrance sign with the National Park Service logo, set against a backdrop of green treesGrand Canyon National Park entrance sign with the National Park Service logo, set against a backdrop of green trees

The Grand Canyon is located in the Northwest corner of Arizona, and most of it lies within the Grand Canyon National Park. Before you start planning your trip, you need to decide whether you want to stay inside or outside the park – here’s a pros and cons table to help you make a decision. 

Staying inside  Staying outside
Pros Cons Pros Cons
No need to drive or wait in line More expensive lodging (unless you are camping) More affordable accommodation You can wait up to 2h to enter the park
Spectacular views Sells out fast due to limited availability You can explore more of the surroundings It takes time to travel to and from the park

There are 2 main entrances to the park: South Rim, open year-round and the most popular place to access the park, and North Rim, which attracts only 1/10 of visitors and is open between mid-May and mid-October. 

The park has 2 other entrances besides these 2 main ones: the East Entrance, home to cool attractions like Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, and Horseshoe Bend, and the West Entrance, the second most-visited location following the South Rim. 

NOTE: the West side of the canyon and the West Rim are not part of the national park premises. This section of the Grand Canyon is managed by the Hualapai Tribe and requires a separate entrance fee. 

Whether you’re staying in the park or in one of the nearby towns, you need to purchase a Grand Canyon park pass. This pass costs US$35 per private vehicle (US$20 per person and US$30 per motorcycle) and is valid for 7 days – just keep the receipt! 

You can buy the pass at any of the 3 entrances managed by the park (South, North, and East), and you can only pay by card – cash is not accepted at either of the 3 entrances, and the passes are no longer available to buy online. You can also purchase a pass from one of the authorized 3rd-party vendors – find the full list of authorized sellers here. However, if you’re planning on seeing more than one national park a year, I’d definitely recommend buying an America the Beautiful annual pass. You can buy this pass online – it costs US$80 per year and provides access to many national parks and recreation areas around the country.

Where to stay inside the park 

Breathtaking sunset over the Grand Canyon, with vibrant hues illuminating the vast network of canyons and ridges.Breathtaking sunset over the Grand Canyon, with vibrant hues illuminating the vast network of canyons and ridges.

Here is a short and sweet version of where to stay inside the park – names of the hotels and lodges (we are going to talk more about them in detail below). 

  • South Rim: (mostly Grand Canyon Village) El Tovar Hotel, Thunderbird Lodge, Kachina Lodge, Maswik Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge (all managed by Xanterra Grand Canyon), and Yavapai Lodge (managed by Delaware North Hospitality & Lodging)
  • North Rim: Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim Campground
  • At the bottom of the canyon: Phantom Ranch, which can only be reached on foot, by mule, or by rafting the Colorado River

1. Grand Canyon Village – where to stay inside the park

Pair of coin-operated binoculars overlooking a panoramic view of the Grand Canyon from a stone viewpoint.Pair of coin-operated binoculars overlooking a panoramic view of the Grand Canyon from a stone viewpoint.

The Grand Canyon Village is situated on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and is the most popular tourist destination inside the national park. The village is considered to be the historic district of the Grand Canyon due to the many important landmarks situated here, including the El Tovar Hotel, Hopi House, Grand Canyon Train Depot, and many more.

FUN FACT: the top attractions in the village, such as Lookout Studio, Hermit’s Rest, and Bright Angel Lodge, were designed by a female architect. Mary E. J. Colter designed nearly half of the buildings in the village, and they’re still standing to this day!

Besides the historic buildings, the village offers unbeatable canyon views and provides easy access to many popular hiking trails. From here, you can embark on the Bright Angel Trail, the South Rim Trail, and the South Kaibab Trail – all great choices for a same-day hike! 

Within the village, you’ll find several great accommodations, good restaurants, and gift shops – you don’t have to venture outside the village for anything, which is why this is the best option for staying in the Grand Canyon. 

Plus, there’s a free shuttle (the Blue Route) within the village that connects all the lodges, campgrounds, the Information Center, and the market. The village is relatively small in size (13 mi2 / 33 km2), so I’m sure you won’t have trouble finding your way around! 

Let’s explore the best Grand Canyon National Park lodges, hotels, and campsites!

1.1 Hotels and lodges

A collage of four hotel photos to stay in the Grand Canyon: A spacious, well-lit hotel bedroom with a large bed and seating area, an interior shot of a rustic hotel lobby with wood beams and stone columns, and a charming exterior view of a lodge-style hotel with stone walls and wooden accentsA collage of four hotel photos to stay in the Grand Canyon: A spacious, well-lit hotel bedroom with a large bed and seating area, an interior shot of a rustic hotel lobby with wood beams and stone columns, and a charming exterior view of a lodge-style hotel with stone walls and wooden accents
  • El Tovar ($$$) – The El Tovar is an upscale hotel within the park that has hosted numerous celebrities (Einstein, Paul McCartney and more) since its foundation in 1905. The hotel has a Swedish look to it and features 78 rooms – no 2 are alike – and you need to book at least 30 days in advance.
    Prices range from US$270 to $US480. 
  • Thunderbird Lodge ($$$) – Situated near the Grand Canyon Railway and the Bright Angel trailhead and right on the rim, Thunderbird Lodge has 55 rooms, many of which have partial canyon views.
    Priced between US$340 and US$400. 
  • Kachina Lodge ($$$) – In the heart of the historic district and directly on the Rim Trail, Kachina Lodge offers more contemporary lodge rooms, although there’s no air conditioning.
    A nightly stay here costs from US$340 to US$400. 
  • Maswik Lodge ($$) – A quarter mile away from the canyon’s edge, Maswik Lodge awaits with 280 rooms, a food court, a pizza pub, and a gift shop. This is more affordable than other lodges.
    Prices start at US$250. 
  • Bright Angel Lodge ($) – Conveniently located near the Bright Angel Trailhead, this lodge was built in 1935 and features more primitive cabins – no AC or TV and shared bathrooms – so it’s one of the cheapest places to stay.
    Prices start at US$160. 
  • Yavapai Lodge ($) – The Yavapai Lodge boasts many rooms – 380 to be exact – and it’s the only pet-friendly lodge in the Grand Canyon. A mile away from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, this is a great budget option.
    Prices start at US$150. 

If you’re up for an adventure and looking for a unique place to stay, I highly recommend checking out Phantom Ranch. This is the only accommodation below the Canyon Rim and is only accessible on foot, by mule, or by a raft from the Colorado River. Even though the ranch is not easily accessible, it’s extremely popular – you need to enter a lottery to secure a spot! 

NOTE: regardless of which lodge you’re staying at, you may face the issue of limited parking. The parking within the park is shared by all guests – it’s not designated to the hotels. It’s a good idea to arrive early to secure a spot; get there before the start of peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).Check the park’s official webpage for more information. 

1.2 Campgrounds

Campsite setup with a car equipped with a roof rack and bicycles attached, a portable canopy, and two people lounging in camping chairs amidst scenic red rock formationsCampsite setup with a car equipped with a roof rack and bicycles attached, a portable canopy, and two people lounging in camping chairs amidst scenic red rock formations

If you really want to connect with nature, what better way is there than camping? If you want to be close to the South Rim, you have 4 good options – 2 campsites managed by the park and 2 privately managed campgrounds – check out the list below: 

  • Mather Campground – Set your tent between the pines in this campground and RV park, just a 5-minute drive to the South Rim. This is by far the best campground, with 327 sites on the premises, which allow tents, RVs of a maximum of 30 ft, and trailers of a maximum of 27 ft. The campground also offers showers and laundry facilities at daily rates of US$18. 
  • Desert View Campground – This is a seasonal campground (open mid-May to mid-October) situated 20 miles to the East of the South Rim via Desert View Drive. The campground offers 50 campsites that can accommodate tents and smaller RVs at a fixed price of US$18. 
  • Trailer Village RV Park – This private campground is the ideal choice if you’re traveling with a large RV or if you need a hookup. It’s open year-round, and you can make reservations 13 months in advance, with campsite prices starting at US$61. 
  • Ten-X Campground – Situated a 20-minute drive away from the South Rim, this seasonal campground is the best choice if you’re traveling on a tight budget, with a standard campsite costing only US$20 per night. 

All of the campgrounds on the list are pretty busy during peak season, and even though some reserve a few ‘first come, first serve’ spots, I don’t advise going without a reservation. Most campgrounds accept reservations through the recreation.gov website, and you should book your stay at least 6 months in advance to avoid missing out. 

If you’re an adventurous type and want to camp in the wild – outside the designated campgrounds – you’ll need to get a backcountry permit first. To get this permit, you need to enter a lottery (US$10 per application), and if you win, you’ll need to pay US$12 a night per person for below-rim areas and US$4 for above-rim areas. 

PRO TIP: even if you’re not staying at the Desert View Campground, I highly suggest making the 23-mile drive along Desert View Drive. This is a very scenic road, and you’ll find several lookouts along the road that provide the most stunning canyon views. 

One thing you to keep in mind when planning a camping trip is the weather! The monsoon season in this part of Arizona lasts from mid-June/July to mid-September, so you can expect rain and even flash floods. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly, and if a storm is expected, I’d advise against camping.

2. Tusayan – where to stay near the main entrance

Aerial view of Tusayan, a small town with buildings surrounded by dense pine forests, located near the main entrance of the Grand Canyon.Aerial view of Tusayan, a small town with buildings surrounded by dense pine forests, located near the main entrance of the Grand Canyon.

Tusayan is the smallest town in Arizona and the closest one to the Grand Canyon National Park, situated just 1 mile (1.6 km) South of the South Rim entrance. The town of Tusayan will give you a friendly welcome and provide access to many good restaurants and unique gift shops, as well as some great views of the Grand Canyon. 

I recommend Tusayan for people who want to stay close to the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon but want to have more amenities on their vacation. Here, you’ll find many chain hotels with in-room amenities such as a microwave (all microwaves are banned within the park) and facilities like a gym and a pool – a big plus when traveling with family! 

One of the main concerns about staying outside the park is the wait. While Tusayan is only 15 to 20 minutes from the South Rim Visitor Center, if you try to enter the park by car, you can wait in line for up to 2 hours. And finding a parking spot can be tricky, too. Luckily, there’s a daily shuttle that can take you from Tusayan to the Visitor Center on the South Rim. 

You can use the Tusayan (Purple) Route between May and September, every day between 8 am and 9.30 pm. The buses run every 20 minutes, and the ride is free if you present a valid park pass. 

Luxury hotel

Gather up by the fireplace in the lounge area, get a cup of tea, and relax after a day of sightseeing! When you stay at the Grand Hotel, you can enjoy its amazing facilities, like the indoor pool and the fitness room, and eat a delicious dinner at the on-site restaurant!

Other accommodation options in Tusayan

Mid-range

This 3-star property offers comfortable rooms with private bathrooms, a swimming pool, and a free area shuttle

Budget

All rooms at this lodge are air-conditioned and have free Wi-Fi and TVs with satellite channels

Airbnb

Stay in this private bedroom that boasts a queen-sized bed and an en suite bathroom, and enjoy a light breakfast

3. Williams – where to stay in Grand Canyon for history

Street view in a historic town with a distinctive turquoise clock, old buildings, and cars parked along the curbStreet view in a historic town with a distinctive turquoise clock, old buildings, and cars parked along the curb

Williams, the gateway to the Grand Canyon, is located 60 miles (90 km) South of Grand Canyon National Park – so, about an hour’s drive to the park’s gate. This small town has a population of around 3,000 people and a rich history filled with stories about cowboys and the explorers of the Old West. 

Williams, AZ, has an elevation of approximately 6,770 feet (2,064 meters) above sea level and a moderate climate, so it’s very pleasant during the summer months. This is ideal if you want to escape the heat of the Canyon for a day and explore other cool spots like Bearizona Wildlife Park and Kaibab Lake!

The town of Williams offers a good range of hotels with modern amenities at affordable prices. However, even if you’re saving on accommodation, you’ll probably spend the difference going back and forth to the Grand Canyon, especially if you decide to take the Grand Canyon Railway

While not cost-effective, this historic train has been transporting passengers from Williams to the Grand Canyon since 1901. The Grand Canyon Railway operates daily – it departs from Williams at 9.30 a.m. and arrives back in town at 5:45 p.m. – and offers 6 different classes of journey. A round-trip ticket for the cheapest class on the train costs US$80, while the most expensive one is US$240.

I wouldn’t recommend taking the train if it’s your first visit to the Grand Canyon, since you’ll only get 3 hours in the Grand Canyon, and you don’t get to see the sunrise or the sunset. But if you’ve been to the park before, the experience is definitely worth the cost! 

Luxury hotel

One of the best hotel options near the Grand Canyon is situated a short walk away from downtown Williams. The Railway Hotel offers 4-star service, an indoor pool, and both a pub and a restaurant. The rooms feature modern amenities such as satellite TV, Wi-Fi, coffee machines, as well as private bathrooms.

Other accommodation options in Williams

Mid-Range

Guests at this hotel will enjoy an outdoor heated pool, a hot tub, and a daily hot breakfast

Budget

Featuring a hot tub and an indoor pool, this hotel also offers laundry facilities and a continental breakfast

Airbnb

I love the design of this cute cottage that offers lake access and has 2 rooms, a kitchen, and air conditioning

4. Flagstaff – where to stay near the Grand Canyon with family

Historic red brick corner building with white-trimmed wraparound balconies under a clear blue sky, situated at a street intersection in a quaint town near the Grand Canyon, conveying a welcoming atmosphere for family staysHistoric red brick corner building with white-trimmed wraparound balconies under a clear blue sky, situated at a street intersection in a quaint town near the Grand Canyon, conveying a welcoming atmosphere for family stays

Situated 75 miles (120 km) South of the Grand Canyon National Park, Flagstaff sits in a mountainous landscape and offers stunning views to its visitors! It’s a very serene place, well-suited for families, and a great base for exploring the Grand Canyon. 

Flagstaff is surrounded by deserts, mountains, and a ponderosa pine forest, so it offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. For family-friendly activities, I suggest stargazing at the Lowell Observatory or, if you want to hike, going up to Walnut Canyon National Monument (map) is a good idea.

If you are renting a car, the drive is about 80 mins. If you don’t, there are a few ways to get from Flagstaff to the Canyon: take a Groome Transportation shuttle, which takes approximately 90 mins, or go up to Williams and take the Grand Canyon Railway – it’s about a 30-min drive, plus the train ride, which takes 2 hours and 15 mins. 

If you want to learn more about the accommodation options in Flagstaff, we actually have a detailed post covering all the great hotels and apartments there. And in case you’re looking for more good spots for a family trip, check out these amazing Sedona family resorts.

Luxury hotel

Located on 500 acres of Ponderosa Pine forest, this hotel has a garden, an outdoor pool, and a restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All hotel rooms have en suite bathrooms, flat-screen TVs with cable channels, and air conditioning. The hotel also offers free Wi-Fi and a free airport shuttle.

Other accommodation options in Flagstaff

Mid-Range

Featuring an indoor pool, this 3-star hotel provides a complimentary breakfast, plus access to a hot tub and a gym

Budget

Enjoy a swim in the indoor pool of this hotel, which has family rooms and offers a daily free breakfast

Airbnb

Feel at home in this well-equipped house that has a kitchen, free Wi-Fi, and a spacious room

5. North Rim – best spot in the Grand Canyon for a quiet stay

Outdoor seating area of a lodge with visitors enjoying the view over the Grand Canyon, a clear blue sky above and pine trees surrounding the terrace.Outdoor seating area of a lodge with visitors enjoying the view over the Grand Canyon, a clear blue sky above and pine trees surrounding the terrace.

The North Rim marks the second main entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, following the South Rim entrance. Out of the 2, the North entrance is the less popular one, but by no means any less beautiful. This side of the Grand Canyon has a rustic feel to it, and it’s a great place if you want to escape the crowds. 

The North Rim entrance is open between mid-May to mid-October due to winter conditions – check the park’s website for exact dates – and only 10% of all people who come to the Grand Canyon visit this part of the park. But if you do visit, even if it’s a same-day trip, be sure to go up to Bright Angel Point, the most popular viewpoint on the North Rim. 

One of the reasons people don’t stay near the North Rim is the lack of accommodations – there’s only one lodge, which operates in the summer months when the entrance is open, and one campground that’s open year round. However, if you wish to camp on the North Rim in winter (mid-October to mid-May), you’ll need to obtain a backcountry permit and hike from the South Rim entrance through the park. 

You should also know that after the 15th of October, the North Rim operates with limited services, i.e., it’s only open during the day up until the 1st of December or until the snow closes Highway 67. After December 1 and until May 14, all of the North Rim roads are closed for all types of vehicles – even snowmobiles! 

The 2 options for your stay in the Grand Canyon’s North Rim are:

  • Grand Canyon Lodge – as I mentioned, this is the only lodge on the North Rim, just a short walk from Bright Angel Point; it offers both motel-style rooms and cabins, which are the better choice for your stay, although more expensive, around US$200 per night. 
  • North Rim Campground – there are a total of 78 campsites at this seasonal campground that can accommodate tents, 40 ft RVs, and 30 ft trailers. Picnic tables and campfire rings are available, but there are no other facilities at this campground. 

Whether you decide to stay in the lodge or opt for camping, make your reservations in advance. Seeing as the lodging is limited, you may not find a free spot if you want to book last minute. 

👑 Luxury price: US$300
💵 Mid-range hotel: US$200
🛏️ Budget: US$80
📍Best area: Grand Canyon Village 
👪 Best area for families: Flagstaff
🛎️ Best luxury hotel: El Tovar
🧳 Best mid-range hotel: Maswik Lodge
👛 Best budget hotel: Yavapai Lodge

FAQs about where to stay in the Grand Canyon

Two hikers joyfully leaping in the air on the edge of the Grand Canyon, showcasing the vast and colorful canyon landscape in the background.Two hikers joyfully leaping in the air on the edge of the Grand Canyon, showcasing the vast and colorful canyon landscape in the background.

🌄 Where should I stay at the Grand Canyon South Rim?

The best place to stay on the South Rim is the Grand Canyon Village because it offers amazing canyon views and easy access to popular hiking trails. Plus, it boasts the best hotels and lodges, like El Tovar and Thunderbird Lodge

🤔 Is Las Vegas or Phoenix closer to the Grand Canyon?

Neither Phoenix nor Las Vegas are close to the park. However, Phoenix (224 mi / 360 km) is closer to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon than Las Vegas (274 mi / 440 km). There are plenty of tours from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon that you can join. However, if you want to enter the North Rim, Las Vegas (260 mi / 420 km) is closer than Phoenix (344 mi / 550 km). You can also take a helicopter tour from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

💯 Is it worth staying in Grand Canyon Village?

Yes, it’s definitely worth staying in the village! You’ll be situated right on the South Rim and be close to all the top sights in the Grand Canyon National Park, and, bonus, there’s a free shuttle you can use to get around the village. 

❓ Is it better to stay in Williams vs Flagstaff?

Williams and Flagstaff are pretty different. If you’re into history and the Old West, choose Williams and stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, but if you’re traveling with family, Flagstaff is the better town, and you can stay at the Little America Hotel.

📌 Where should I stay at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon?

There are only 2 lodging options on the North Rim – the Grand Canyon Lodge, if you want to rent a room or a cabin, and the North Rim Campground if you’re traveling with a small RV or want to set up a tent. 

⛺ Can you spend the night at the bottom of the Grand Canyon?

Yes, there is one option for staying below the canyon rim, and that is Phantom Ranch, a lodge accessible only on foot, by mule, or from the water, i.e., with a raft on the Colorado River.

💰 How much does it cost to stay at a hotel in Grand Canyon?

The hotel options within the Grand Canyon are limited, so prices tend to be higher, especially during peak season. Depending on which lodge you choose, you can expect to pay anywhere from US$160 to US$480 per night in high season.

Conclusion

Desert View Watchtower at dusk, with its stone architecture standing tall against the expansive Grand Canyon and colorful sky.Desert View Watchtower at dusk, with its stone architecture standing tall against the expansive Grand Canyon and colorful sky.

I hope that my complete guide on where to stay in the Grand Canyon helped you pick the best spot for you and book your lodging. 

There are so many amazing Grand Canyon hotels, and I know how hard it is to make a decision, so to sum things up, here are my 2 favorite hotels inside the National Park: 

  • El Tovar – An upscale hotel with a rich history, an amazing restaurant, and a lodge open to the public
  • Maswik Lodge – Conveniently located comfortable lodge with 2 restaurants and RV parking

Just keep in mind that you’ll need to book your stay in the Grand Canyon well in advance – people all around the world are looking to secure accommodation in the Grand Canyon – the longer you wait, the higher the prices! 

If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and I’ll make sure I get back to you!

Have the time of your life,

Hristina


Pin it for later!

Promotional graphic featuring a scenic view of the Grand Canyon with text 'Where To Stay in GRAND CANYON, 5 Fantastic Areas + Hotels' overlaid, guiding travelers on accommodation optionsPromotional graphic featuring a scenic view of the Grand Canyon with text 'Where To Stay in GRAND CANYON, 5 Fantastic Areas + Hotels' overlaid, guiding travelers on accommodation options

Pin it for later!

Informative Pinterest graphic with 'Where To Stay in Grand Canyon, TOP 5 AREAS with Hotels' text, showcasing a picturesque lookout point with wooden chairs overlooking the Grand Canyon's vast landscapeInformative Pinterest graphic with 'Where To Stay in Grand Canyon, TOP 5 AREAS with Hotels' text, showcasing a picturesque lookout point with wooden chairs overlooking the Grand Canyon's vast landscape

Source link

Share with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.