If you’ve spent any time in America’s National Parks, you probably know that each and every one of them has something special to offer, from amazing history to natural formations that’ll blow your mind. Everyone has their own favorite National Park, and usually for a variety of reasons, but ask just about anyone who’s visited a large number of the parks which is the most beautiful and, without a doubt, the Grand Canyon National Park will often be the answer.
It’s easy to understand why! Regardless of season, there’s always plenty to see and do at the Grand Canyon, whether you’re just interested in snapping photos and watching the sunrise, or are the type who wants to literally “get in deep” and explore the landscape of this breathtaking destination. You can spend just a few hours at the canyon or you can spend days there. All will depend on what your wish to accomplish while you’re there.
A Relaxing, Romantic Grand Canyon Getaway
If you and that special someone simply want to find a great place where you can unwind for a few days, the Grand Canyon is an excellent choice. The sheer beauty of the place evokes calm and you’ll no doubt feel refreshed when you’ve completed your trip.
There’s lots of romance to be had during a relaxing Grand Canyon vacation. Start by booking a room at El Tovar Lodge, one of seven lodging options within the park and, by far, and grandest of all. Built in 1905, it was fully renovated for its 100th birthday and though it’s not ultra-fancy, it’s elegantly comfortable with big beds and lovely vintage-looking furniture. A National Historic Monument, it’s located on the South Rim and provides incredible views of the National Park. Splurge on a suite for a few days – most include a porch or balcony for your own private viewing pleasure!
If you’re seeking a little extra romance, you’ll need to include watching the sunset and sunrise on your itinerary Ask park rangers or hotel personnel to clue you in on the best places from which to watch, then sit back and enjoy the show! The colors of the sunsets and sunrises at the Grand Canyon are nothing short of phenomenal and you’ll be glad to have experienced their beauty while standing beside the one you love.
An Active Grand Canyon Vacation
If you’re not the kind of couple that enjoys sitting around waiting for the sun to rise, you’ll find that there’s enough to do to keep you busy for days…and then some.
Wanna take an around-the-rim tour? These tours are one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences, no matter how you choose to go, and though they are perfectly safe (there’s always some risk, of course), they aren’t for the faint of heart, so keep that in mind if you’ve got some phobias about heights.
The most popular way to explore the rim is via mule down the Bright Angel Trail. The one-day excursion is a seven hour round-trip journey that takes visitors to a spot about 1,000 feet above the Colorado River. Or take the overnight mule trip, which travels the whole distance of the trail and lands at Phantom Ranch. Short rim tours – about one hour to half-a-day – are available as well.
If riding bikes is one of your favorite couple’s activities, you can do a bike rim tour instead. There are all sorts of possibilities for this and many of the trails in the park are multi-use and accommodate cyclists. For a good first time ride at the canyon, consider eight-mile Hermit Trail, where you’ll find exhilirating sights that you simply must stop to admire. Bring your camera!
Of course, many couples travel to the Grand Canyon specifically to enjoy a rafting adventure on the Colorado River. As with hiking and biking and other tours, there are several options for rafting, from short half-day and one-day trips to those that can take as long as 2 weeks. Check out the official Grand Canyon website for specific information on rafting and when it’s best to go. http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/whitewater-rafting.htm
If you’re flying to the Grand Canyon, you’ll find that the closest airport to the more-assessible South Rim is Phoenix. If you’re heading to the rugged North Rim (open seasonally), Las Vegas would be your airport of choice. Both are more than 200 miles from the park. To get a little closer, you can sometimes book shuttle flights to Flagstaff (about 90 miles) or Grand Canyon National Park Airport, only 5 miles from the park.
Most people choose to drive from their destination airport via rental car. It’s a lovely drive when the weather conditions are right, but always be sure to check the forecast first before you start out on your journey. Many visitors who want an extra romantic touch head to Williams, Arizona and then hop the historic Grand Canyon Railway into the park.
When to Go
The ideal time for a couple’s getaway to the Grand Canyon – specifically, the South Rim – is fall or winter. Families have completed their summer vacations, hotel rooms are cheaper and easier to book, and you won’t find yourself elbowing for a good look at the view. The scorching heat is gone, replaced by lovely, mild temperatures in the fall (especially during the day) and chilly but not freezing temperatures in the winter. You may, however, have to deal with some icy park roads and trail closures during the winter months, so be prepared.