While Las Vegas is home to many indoor delights, like five-star dining, electric nightlife and world-class gambling, it’s also the perfect gateway to beautiful desert landscapes. A mere four-hour drive is all that separates Las Vegas from Arizona’s breathtaking Grand Canyon. Whether you’re in Vegas for a long weekend and looking for a breath of fresh air, or planning to make an extended excursion through the scenic Southwest, here are some road trip tips to make it an amazing experience.
The first thing to consider on your road trip to Arizona’s most treasured natural landmark is how you’re going to get there. While four hours on the road may seem like a piece of cake for any experienced driver, it’s essential to rent a car that you are comfortable with driving. Research the car rental businesses near the Las Vegas Airport in order to find the vehicle that is right for you.
Map & Directions
Between high-tech GPS systems and traditional fold out maps, there are plenty of resources available for navigating between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. However, if you create your travel itinerary through TripIt, you can easily generate driving directions with Google Maps. From there you can print out the directions from Google Maps or access that route on your mobile device.
Snacks & Supplies
As with any road trip, it’s good to be prepared for simple needs and unexpected emergencies. Packing plenty of water and snacks will keep you hydrated and alert while traveling through the desert. You might consider bringing entertainment like books or personal electronics for other passengers in your vehicle. While you may be in an air-conditioned car, wearing sunglasses and sunscreen will keep you protected from damage caused by the sun while you drive. A first aid kit and mobile phone charger are some essential items you’ll want to pack as well.
As with many National Parks, there are fees required to enter the Grand Canyon. A Vehicle Permit admits one single, private, non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers into the park for $30 payable by cash (except at the North Rim Entrance Station), credit or checks. You can avoid paying this fee by visiting the park during the Free Entrance Days which can be found on the park’s website.
Depending on the time of year, the Grand Canyon offers a wide variety of outdoor activities from helicopter tours to cross-country skiing. If you decide to take an RV rental or bring a tent, you can camp and hike at the Grand Canyon as well. Remember to factor in the fees associated with each activity when creating your itinerary.
While it’s certainly possible to drive 8+ hours round-trip in one day, you might consider staying in Arizona for the night after exploring the Grand Canyon. Staying near the Grand Canyon can be as simple as pitching a tent or as luxurious as staying at a hotel, there are plenty of options for every price range.
As you plan your desert road trip, consider using TripIt to organize all of the details and create a handy master itinerary. After all, the less time you spend stressing out over your travel logistics, the more time you can spend taking in the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon.