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Is It Better to Stay Inside the Park in Grand Canyon?

Last Update on June 07, 2023
by Sunny Samaroo
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After deciding which side of the Grand Canyon is best for you, the next decision you'll need to make is where to stay. With the canyon's numerous accommodation options, it can be a tough decision to make. Is it better to stay inside the park in Grand Canyon, or outside?

Short answer: In general, it's a nicer experience to stay inside the park in Grand Canyon.

Long answer: Staying inside the Grand Canyon National Park is a one-of-a-kind experience but it is expensive and the rooms are often sold out. Let's explore the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

View of the Grand Canyon
It's not hard to see why the Grand Canyon attracts millions of visitors each year.

Advantages of Staying Inside Grand Canyon National Park

Staying inside the park offers a myriad of benefits that are hard to resist.

  • Imagine waking up to the breathtaking views of the canyon right outside your window. Sunrise is especially beautiful at the Grand Canyon.
  • The convenience of being just steps away from the park's iconic trails and attractions is unparalleled. 
  • Staying inside the park helps you beat the crowds, especially during peak season.

Moreover, staying inside the park means you can immerse yourself fully in the Grand Canyon experience. 

You can explore the trails at your own pace, take leisurely strolls along the rim, and indulge in some stargazing at night. There's a sense of serenity that comes with being within the park boundaries overnight, away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. 

Where to Stay Inside Grand Canyon National Park

If you decide to stay inside Grand Canyon National Park, you'll have quite a few options to choose from. Here are three of the best accommodation options for different kinds of travelers.

  • El Tovar Hotel is an elegant hotel that contrasts with the Grand Canyon's rugged charm, without seeming out of place at all. It's one of the highest-rated lodgings in the park. It also has a great restaurant!
  • Yavapai Lodge is a more lowkey option. It's not located on the rim itself so it's cheaper than other lodges. It's still inside the park and just a short walk from the rim, so it's a great budget-friendly option! 
  • Bright Angel Lodge is a bit different than the other lodges covered so far. With a standard room, you have to share a bathroom. This is a trade-off for affordability. If that sounds like something you don't mind, it's definitely worth considering staying.
  • Mather Campground is the best of the Grand Canyon National Park campgrounds, but you can also choose Desert View Campground or Trailer Village. Camping is very affordable compared to other options inside the park.
View of the Grand Canyon
It's much easier to see the sunrise at the Grand Canyon if you stay inside the park.

Disadvantages of Staying Inside Grand Canyon National Park

One of the main concerns for many travelers is the limited availability of accommodations within the park. The lodges and campgrounds inside the park tend to fill up quickly, especially during peak season. Make your reservations well in advance to secure your preferred accommodation. 

Additionally, staying inside the park can be more expensive compared to options outside, as you're paying for the convenience and exclusivity of being within the park boundaries.

Advantages of Staying Outside Grand Canyon National Park

If staying inside the park is not feasible due to limited availability or budget constraints — or if you just don't want to — don't worry! There are plenty of lodging options available just outside the park that offer their own unique advantages.

One major advantage is the wider range of choices and price points. Whether you're looking for luxury resorts, cozy cabins, or budget-friendly motels, you'll find something to suit your preferences and wallet.

Another benefit of staying outside the park is the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas. The Grand Canyon region is home to several charming towns and attractions worth visiting. 

Plus, staying outside the park gives you the chance to interact with locals, try different restaurants, and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Where to Stay Outside Grand Canyon National Park

There are a few towns that aren't too far from the Grand Canyon that make a great spot to call home during your trip.

  • Tusayan is the closest town to the Grand Canyon National Park's Visitor Center at the South Rim. The drive is about 15 to 20 minutes. Since it's a popular town to stay in when visiting the canyon, you have plenty of options at different price points.
  • Grand Canyon Junction (also known as Valle) is a 30-minute drive from the park. You'll find more vacation rentals and camping/glamping grounds here than hotels and lodges.
  • Williams is a 1-hour drive from the park but it's bigger and more bustling than the Tusayan or Grand Canyon Junction. It's a good option if you're on a longer trip that includes attractions other than the Grand Canyon.
View of the Grand Canyon
The red rock landscapes found in the Grand Canyon extend outside of it, too.

Disadvantages of Staying Outside Grand Canyon National Park

While staying outside the park offers its advantages, it's not all good. Here are just a few disadvantages to be aware of:

  • You'll miss out on the unique experience of waking up to the canyon's majestic beauty just outside your door
  • The convenience of being within walking distance of the park's main attractions is unmatched. You may lose time traveling.
  • You may find yourself caught up in crowds if you're not able to get to the canyon early enough.

Related Reading: Can You Do A Day Trip From Las Vegas To The Grand Canyon? 


Deciding whether to stay inside or outside the Grand Canyon National Park depends on your preferences, budget, and availability

If you can secure a reservation and are willing to invest in the convenience and exclusivity, staying inside the park is an excellent choice. 

On the other hand, if you prefer more options, lower prices, and being able to easily explore the surrounding areas, staying outside the park is a viable alternative. 

Regardless of your decision, one thing is certain: the Grand Canyon's magnificence will leave you in awe, no matter where you rest your head at night.

Want to leave these decisions to a tour professional? Check out our Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam Tours.


Sunny Samaroo

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