We understand that most people when visiting the Grand Canyon have limited time. While our specialty is Grand Canyon rafting, we have complied a list of the top 1/2 day and 1-day attractions near the Grand Canyon that will heighten your experience and work with your schedule! This includes activities just outside of the South Rim, farther south near Sedona, north by Paige, Arizona and finally west near Las Vegas.
Activities Near the Grand Canyon South Rim
One of the most popular activities at the Grand Canyon, helicopter tours run year round. About 5 minutes from the Entrance of the South Rim, scenic helicopter tours launch for 25 and 30 minute trips over the canyon with prices starting at $229 per person. Read about helicopter and plane tours starting in Las Vegas and Page, Arizona.
One popular Rim-to-River Tour starts and ends in Las Vegas with a small plane flight over Lake Mead. A 5-minute helicopter ride takes you to the river where a small motorized pontoon raft takes you up the Colorado River to view the western portion of Grand Canyon from the bottom.
Video: Helicopter Tour from South Rim
For the serious adventurers Paragon Skydive offers skydiving right next to the South Rim in Tusayan. They offer tandem skydiving, where a professional is strapped to the guest, steering the pair. This skydive adventure offers views of the Grand Canyon, an extremely unique way to view this Wonder of the World. They offer different packages starting at $329/person.
Mule rides take place both on the rim of the canyon, as well as into the depths of the canyon. Currently the overnight mule rides to Phantom Ranch and back are suspended until May, 2023 and possibly onward. Unfortunately, National Park Service must complete necessary maintenance on the Bright Angel Trail before reopening it.
Therefore, the 2-hour vista rides on the rim of the canyon are the only available trips. This tour is 3 hours in total but only 2 hours in the saddle. Participants will ride along the East Rim Trail, taking in the unbelievable views, listening to the Wranglers’ interpretive talk and enjoying a once in a lifetime activity. Xanterra, the mule ride concessionaire for the National Park currently offers the ride for $155.77 per person.
Havasu Creek and Falls
On the Havasu Reservation, Havasu Creek and Falls has become a popular destination. It does require a substantial hike into the canyon and camping for multiple nights. Learn more by reading our post on Havasu Creek and Canyon.
Grand Canyon Attractions Near Page, AZ and Lake Powell
North from the South Rim and Flagstaff lies Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell and Page Arizona. Just downstream from the dam lies the Glen Canyon float and Lees Ferry, the highest launch point for Grand Canyon rafting trips.
Antelope Canyon Tours:
Antelope Canyon lies on the Navajo Reservation, in Page, AZ. The slot canyon provides the quintessential portrayal of the unique rock formations and vivid color of the West. visitation on the canyon requires a guided tour. Please note that as of now, masks are required for everyone above the age of 2 years old. Keep in mind that this is on Navajo Tribal land, and respecting mask requirements makes for a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
Antelope Canyon contains two sections: The Upper and the Lower section. The Upper section is the more popular of the two options, as it has more sunlight streaming through and higher walls than the Lower section. Furthermore, the Upper section is considered an easy hike. It is relatively flat, whereas the Lower section does involve elevation changes. ladders, and stairs. There are benefits to both, but ultimately, I think you will be amazed by either!
Antelope Canyon Tours is one of the several companies who operate within Antelope Canyon. In addition there are Antelope Canyon tours that start and end in Las Vegas that include a scenic flight to and from the canyon. Another popular destination on the Navajo Reservation is the Little Colorado River.
Horseshoe Bend has dramatic half-day, smooth water float kayak trips. This is an incredible way to gain perspective of the magnificent walls, rising above you. Trips actually float through Glen Canyon just upstream from the Grand Canyon. A fully motorize trip meets at the South Rim with a round trip bus to the river rafting trip.
Whether or not you float through Horseshoe Bend, it is worth a stop at the viewpoint looking down into it.
Lake Powell Kayaking
One of my personal favorite 1-day activities in the area is kayaking and paddle boarding on Lake Powell. There are several businesses in Page, AZ that rent kayaks and paddle boards and even will host tours if you would prefer to have a guide. People have the option of kayaking through the famous Antelope Canyon, or they can go to the less crowed, arguably just as beautiful, Wahweap Bay area. Either option will bring you to gorgeous slot canyons.
Sedona, South of Grand Canyon
Driving two hours south from the South Rim of Grand Canyon through Flagstaff brings you to a town in the middle of what could have been another national park.
Famous for its stunning red rocks, Sedona is the ultimate destination for day hiking. Although it gets crowded, there are so many options that finding hidden gems is possible. If hiking sounds too demanding, Sedona also provides a destination for a spa getaway! Imagine laying in a seaweed wrap while absorbing the gorgeous landscape surrounding you. Check out a list of 101 things to do in Sedona.
Touring the Sedona area by Jeep is a popular excursion. If you are not hiking while in Sedona, consider a Jeep tour to get a view on the dramatic countryside. Rent your own Jeep or take a guided tour. Pink Jeep Tours offers a huge variety of tours starting with a couple hours to full day affairs.
Video: Jeeping in Sedona
Forty minutes southwest of Sedona sits Jerome, a quirky little town, built into mountain walls. It was an old mining town, now full of unique shops, art galleries, and a wine tasting room owned by the musical group Tool’s Maynard Keenan. There is supposedly quite a bit of paranormal activity in Jerome, making ghost tours a fun activity for the tourists. If nothing else it is worth a drive up to enjoy the views and some lunch.
Williams sits about half way between Las Vegas and the South Rim of Grand Canyon. Making it a nice stopping point with good amenities.
One Day Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting
Williams is a popular stop for people who have done or are about to do the Hualapai River Runners 1-day or 2-day rafting trip out of nearby Peach Springs. A highlight of many travelers Grand Canyon experience, these are the only one and two-day whitewater rafting trips in the canyon.
Bearizona Wildlife Park
A popular destination for families, Bearizona is a drive through wildlife park. The park provides a home for many rescue animals and is open 7 days a week 9 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20 to $35 per person depending upon age and when you go. Weekdays sound like the best time to go. A friend had a bear put its paws on his car as they were driving through!
Grand Canyon Railway
From Williams it is possible to ride the Grand Canyon Railway train into Grand Canyon National Park. Some people spend a night in the park (if they were able to get reservations) or they ride the train back in the afternoon. The train leaves Williams at 8 or 9 am and returns at 4:45 or 5:45 pm.
Hoover Dam Near Las Vegas
Many Grand Canyon visitors start and end their trips in Las Vegas. About 45 minutes outside of Vegas is Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. A popular attraction here is a tour inside Hoover Dam which runs $10 to $35 person. Tours operate 9 am to 5 pm daily.
Black Canyon downstream of Hoover Dam
Black Canyon is another rafting destination closer to the fabulous Las Vegas. It is directly below the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Its towering rock walls reach almost 2,000 ft into the sky. This section of the river is mellow flatwater for those not interested in whitewater, providing time to relax and be in awe of the natural world around you.
If you enjoyed this post you might like Christina’s article about what to do with a day at the South Rim of Grand Canyon.
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One question we are often asked at Rivers & Oceans is about the difference between taking a one-day and a two-day Grand Canyon rafting trip. Click here for the breakdown.
Many people inquire about helicopter tours of Grand Canyon. In this post we break down aerial tour options for Grand Canyon National Park. Flights start in Las Vegas, the South Rim of Grand Canyon and Page, Arizona. These trips run year-round. In addition, there are 1 to 7-day Grand Canyon rafting trips with helicopter rides in or out of the canyon to start or end your trip.
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