Grand Canyon Vacation Ideas
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is a unique vacation destination that draws 4 million visitors visitors from all over the world every year. Most visitors arrive at the South Rim, which can be quite crowded during the peak summer season. The best time to arrive at the entrance station is before 10 am and after 4 pm to avoid the lines.
Grand Canyon accommodations include seven hotels, camping and backcountry camping which requires a permit. There are several nearby lodges and hotels like the Red Mountain Spa. The park can be visited by foot, air, river, mule, and train.
Grand Canyon is 4,500 feet deep at the South Rim and 5,700 feet deep at the North Rim. The South and the North Rim are located at an elevation of 7,000 and 8,200 feet, respectively. Grand Canyon is 10 miles wide on average, and measures 277 miles in length. Its age is estimated at 2 billion years. The area covered by the Grand Canyon National Park is 1,904 square miles. For more information about visiting the Grand Canyon National Park and to plan your Arizona vacation, see www.nps.gov/grca.
The Weather in Arizona
The weather in Arizona varies from region to region. In the desert areas, such as Phoenix and Scottsdale, peak season lasts from January through March when visitors flock to Arizona to enjoy warm sunny weather (average high temperatures are in the 60s and 70s). Remember to pack something warm since temperatures in the desert drop considerably at night.
The best vacation values in the desert areas become available during the shoulder season from April to May, and October through December with temperatures in the high 70s and 80s. Summers are very hot with high temperatures around 100 F - that is when resorts offer their rooms at rock bottom prices and you can get pampered at a full service spa for less.
In the mountainous regions, in the northern half of the state of Arizona, seasons are the opposite of the desert areas. Peak season is from June through August with average high temperatures in the 80s. Shoulder season is April to May, and September through December, while value season is from January through March.
Arizona is easily accessible by plane since the main airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, is served by 21 airlines with nonstop service to over a hundred cities in the U.S. and around the world. In addition, Tucson International Airport in Southern Arizona is served by 10 airlines which provide nonstop service to 16 cities.
To fly within the state of Arizona, connect in Phoenix for Bullhead City (America West Express), Flagstaff (America West Express), Kingman (America West Express), Lake Havasu City (America West Express), Prescott (America West Express), Sierra Vista (America West Express), Tucson (America West, United Airlines and Delta) and Yuma (America West Express).
Alternatively, Westwind Aviation (888-869-0866) offers charter flights from all Valley airports to anywhere in Arizona, including Grand Canyon.
Most major car rental companies are located at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, including Avis (800-331-12120), Hertz (800-654-3131), National (800-328-4567), Budget (800-527-0700), Alamo (800-327-9633), and others.
Arizona is in the Mountain Standard Time zone and, except for the Navajo Nation in the northeast corner of the state, does not participate in Daylight Savings Time in the summer. The state is made accessible by a system of federal and state highways.
When planning a vacation to Arizona, the Arizona Office of Tourism web site, www.arizonaguide.com, provides good information, including interactive maps, pictures and information organized by area of interest. The web site lists accommodations for all budgets, golf courses and health spas. Before finalizing your Arizona vacation plans, browse current deals offered by hotels and resorts in Arizona.
More Arizona Vacation Ideas
Nicknamed the Grand Canyon State, Arizona (see map) is known for its spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, numerous golf courses and health spas. Terrain varies from mountainous areas in the north, beaches in the west and desert in the south.
Luxury desert golf resorts around Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson attract thousands of golf enthusiasts during the winter months when desert temperature lingers in the 60s and 70s during the day. In addition to first-class golf, Arizona vacation resorts such as The Phoenician, The Boulders Resort, Camelback Inn, Lodge at Ventana Canyon, Arizona Biltmore and Fairmont Scottsdale Princess draw visitors with their swimming pools, unique desert flora and fauna and health spas.
Arizona is home to numerous parks, including Lake Havasu, Alamo Lake and Red Rock State Park. Grand Canyon National Park, located in the north, receives 4 million visitors each year. Wildlife abounds in Arizona, from desert to mountain areas.
Phoenix, the sixth largest city in the U.S., is served by Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport which makes Arizona accessible to visitors year-round.