If you’ve been thinking of creating a Grand Canyon bucket list, this is the ultimate one. The only catch is you can’t fly into Grand Canyon. Therefore, ground transportation is the most popular method.
Why not explore some of the cities near Grand Canyon, Arizona?
Some of these places are great places to throw your feet up and spend the night. At the same time, others are great pit stops on your road trip to the Grand Canyon.
Which city in Arizona is closest to Grand Canyon, Arizona?
1- Tusayan, Arizona (6.6 miles | 13 minutes)
Tusayan is the closest city to the Grand Canyon, Arizona completed with the Grand Canyon Visitor Center where you can purchase Grand Canyon entrance tickets, tours, souvenirs, and more. It is about 1 mile from the South Rim entrance.
During peak travel season (May – September), the National Park Service offers a free shuttle from the Grand Canyon visitor center around the rim’s 30 miles.
When visiting the welcome center, be sure to attend a viewing at the IMAX theater. The theater is six stories high and introduces you to the Grand Canyon with an amazing documentary that makes you feel like you’re actually exploring the Grand Canyon. You and your kids will love it.
While in Tusayan, consider visiting the Kaibab National Forest. It’s 1.6 million acres of lush forest on the top of Kendrick Mountain. It’s ideal for outdoor adventures or even hotels. If your family loves the wild outdoors, then it’s perfect for you.
Another fun activity to try is horseback riding at the Apache Stables. They offer an hour trail ride through the forest. If your family prefers simply looking at the horses or a slower pace activity, they also offer a wagon ride through the forest.
Where to stay in Tusayan
The Grand Hotel at the Grand Lucayan– Like the Grand Canyon, everything that surrounds it is equally as grand. This hotel offers world-class services and a pool and hot tub. While you relax, your kids can splash around in the pool; they’ll never want to leave.
How many entrances are there to the Grand Canyon?
The distance from cities near Grand Canyon, Arizona to actually arriving at the Grand Canyon depends on the entrance you’re referring to. The distance listed in this ultimate Grand Canyon travel guide is based on the entrance closest to the city listed. Each entrance offers different views of the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon 3 Gated Entrances:
There are three gated entrances to the Grand Canyon operated by the National Parks Service. Two are located on the South Rim and one on the North Rim.
South Rim– This entrance is open year-round 24 hours a day. It includes the Grand Canyon Village and Desert view (the east entrance) which is off highway 64.
East entrance, desert view- This is Approximately 30 miles (48 km) west of Cameron, AZ. It’s ideal for motorists traveling to/from Southwestern Colorado, Southern Utah, New Mexico, and Phoenix, Arizona, and 23 miles (37 km) east of Grand Canyon Village. It’s Open 24/7.
North Rim– This entrance is open seasonally. May through October (check Operating Hours & Seasons – Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov) for exact dates). You can access it off highway 67.
There is the West Rim but it’s not owned by the National Park Service. The Grand Canyon West is owned by the Hualapai Native American tribe. The entrance fee is a minimum of $44.05 per adult, for the Legacy Package. This basic package includes the hop-on-hop-off shuttle, but not the iconic skywalk.
For reference, The National Park Services entrances cost $25/vehicle.
Which Cities Near Grand Canyon, Arizona Have International Airports?
There are two cities near Grand Canyon, Arizona with international airports.
2- Phoenix, Arizona (228 miles | 3.5 hours)
This airport is about a 3.5-hour drive to Grand Canyon South Rim. If you’re not in the mood to drive, you can book a tour from the airport to the Grand Canyon.
✔️ Book this tour from the Phoenix area to the Grand Canyon South Rim ✔️
3- Las Vegas, Nevada (124 miles | 2 Hours- Grand Canyon West; 275 miles | ~4 hours- North/South Entrances)
On your journey from Las Vegas, you’ll pass noteworthy spots like the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Boulder City.
Is it better to fly into Las Vegas or Phoenix to go to the Grand Canyon?
In my opinion, Phoenix is the better airport to fly in as it’s closer and has a more scenic drive. But if you’re on a tight timeframe, and interested in the West Rim, Las Vegas is the better option.
What is the biggest city near the Grand Canyon Arizona?
4- Flagstaff, Arizona (75 Miles | 1 hour 15 minutes)
The Grand Canyon Flagstaff/Pulliam (FLG), located in Flagstaff is the nearest airport to the Grand Canyon, despite it being a smaller, regional airport with minimum flight options. It’s 90 minutes from the South Rim.
Things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona:
Flagstaff, like the other cities mentioned in this blog post, is great for outdoor enthusiasts. So if you like hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, or skiing, then this should be on your list.
Below are some of the favorite Flagstaff activities:
- Coconino National Forest– There is something for everyone within the diverse landscape of the 1.8 million acres of Coconino National Forest, including petroglyph sites, underground river caves, mountains, canyons, cliffs, trails, and so much more!
- Cruise Route 66– If you’re wondering where the route 66 sign is located, then here it is! And while you’re there, earn your route 66 passport stamps.
- Downtown Flagstaff– Experience the soul of Flagstaff with its historic architecture and variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment.
- Museum of Northern Arizona– Learn about the variety of Native American tribes through the various tapestries, jewelry, pottery, galleries, and much more!
- Lowell Observatory– Established in 1894, this astronomical observatory is the location where the dwarf planet Pluto was discovered. Come stargaze and participate in one of the historical tours or science talks.
- Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course– For the thrill seekers! 3 hours of progressively challenging zipline courses and more. A kids course is available for those 7-11 years old.
Where to stay in Flagstaff
Little America Hotel Flagstaff– A beautiful and well-maintained family-owned hotel near the interstate with incredibly comfy beds.
Cities closest to Grand Canyon South Rim (in order of distance)
5- Grand Canyon Village
If you want to be as close as humanly possible to the Grand Canyon, then this is it. It’s located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. However, it’s a touristy area and the prices will be higher.
It’s great for exploring the Grand Canyon area as well as the Grand Canyon railway depot.
Where to stay in Grand Canyon Village
El Trovar– This landmark hotel which dates back to 1905 is located on the South Rim and offers amazing views of the Grand Canyon. And for the families with kids 16 and under stay for free. If you want to stay here, book months to half a year early, if not earlier.
If you can’t get a hotel reservation, be sure to eat at the restaurant on the property that offers lunch and a fantastic view of the canyon.
6- Cameron, Arizona (60 miles | 1 hour)
Cameron, Arizona is located in the Navajo Indian nation and is home to the historic Cameron Trading Post. Not only is the trading post a hotel decorated in authentic Native American textiles, but its gift shop consists of 8000 square feet filled with one-of-a-kind, handmade Native American jewelry, and crafts. If you’re a collector of souvenirs this is a city near the Grand Canyon that you want to stop at.
7- Williams, Arizona (60 miles | 1 hour)
Williams, Arizona is known as the gateway to Grand Canyon National Park as it is home to the Grand Canyon Railway, which provides a historic and luxurious train experience to the Grand Canyon. There are six classes of services, including an observation dome car that offers unlimited views of the landscape and native wildlife. Plus, they offer entertainment that will take you back to Wild Wild West era.
Additionally, this historic city close to the Grand Canyon is also home to Route 66 and its Gas Station Museum which features historic memorabilia of the highway. When visiting Williams, be prepared to be transported back to the early 1900’s.
Additional Things to do in Williams, Arizona
- Bearizona- This is for animal lovers. Bearizona is a drive-thru experience that features various North American mammals in their natural environment, including bears, wolves, goats, and more. There are also options for walk-thru and animal encounters.
- Grand Canyon Deer Farm– If you are traveling to the Grand Canyon with kids and want to stop in a close city, be sure to stop at Grand Canyon Deer Farm in Williams. This petting zoo allows you to pet and feed the deer as well as see a variety of animals.
- Raptor Ranch– Not only is Raptor Ranch an RV park and campground but as the name suggests it’s home to raptor conservation. Experience and learn about these birds via the various attraction offered. If you’re a fan of the Flinstones, be sure to stop at Bedrock City inside of Raptor Ranch.
Where to stay in Williams, Arizona
Grand Canyon Railway Hotel– Conveniently located adjacent to the Williams Depot rail station for those who are interested in taking the train to the Grand Canyon. Bonus for those traveling with kids as this hotel has a children’s playground.
✔️ Click here to book the railroad train to the Grand Canyon ✔️
8- Tuba City, Arizona (60 miles | 1 hour)
Tuba city is conveniently located near the Grand Canyon South Rim. This is the perfect stop for those who are traveling with kids as it’s home to the Navajo Nation’s largest community and includes several family-friend activities.
Things to do in Tuba City Arizona
- Navajo interactive museum: This museum features a traditional Navajo Hogan (home) and Navajo stories of creation.
- Dinosaur Track: Dinosaurs were real and at this location, they show you evidence. See it for yourself.
- Coal Mine Canyon: There’s no sign to alert you and this is far away from any other attraction. Yet, it’s worth seeing if you’re into the details of rocks.
- Navajo National monument: Said to have a spiritual presence. It’s home to three large pueblos dating to the 13th century.
Where to stay in Tuba City, Arizona
NavajoLand Hotel– Very basic hotel with little to no amenities. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a clean room for a good night’s sleep.
9- Seligman, Arizona (100 miles | 90 minutes)
This is the birthplace of the historic route 66. Great place to stop and breathe in history. If you enjoy the 50s, museums, and motorcycles, add this to your list of must-visit cities close to Grand Canyon, Arizona.
While in Seligman be sure to stop at the Route 66 Motoporium. They offer custom and unique souvenirs of the area and historic Route 66 highway. Be sure to bring your cameras as you’ll be transported back into the early 1900’s.
Where to stay in Seligman, Arizona
Deluxe Inn Seligman– This is more of a couple’s hotel. Located on the historic route 66. It has an amazing sunset view.
10- Sedona, Arizona (115 miles | 2 hours)
If your schedule allows, I would highly recommend spending at least one night, if not more in Sedona. Its beauty is unmatched with a backdrop filled with various red sandstone formations and canyons. The sunrises and sunsets in Sedona are magical with the sun reflecting against nature’s beauty.
Plus Sedona is a resort town filled not only great for hiking and enjoying nature’s beauty, but it’s also filled with spas and high-end accommodations. Read about my family’s experience in Sedona as a stop to the Grand Cayon with toddlers.
Where to stay in Sedona
Matterhorn Inn– A favorite hotel in the area. Beautifully designed with breathtaking views of Oak Creek Canyon. At the price point, you can’t beat it.
✔️ Click here to book a private luxury tour from Sedona ✔️
11- Page, Arizona (131 miles | 2 hours)
Page, Arizona is a city near Grand Canyon, Arizona, located due north. But the drive to the North rim and South rim is about the same (difference of 10 min). In fact, it’s quicker to get to the South rim.
One thing I regret about our visit to Sedona and the Grand Canyon is that we didn’t make time to visit Antelope Canyon located in Page, Arizona. Fitted with 5 unique slot canyons, long and narrow openings within rock walls. Do yourself a favor and google some pictures of this unique experience. Trust me, you’ll be amazed!
If you can fit Antelope Canyon into your schedule, book a tour in advance. Yes, guided tours are required.
✔️ If you want to visit the upper antelope canyon, book your tour here ✔️
Where to stay in Page, Arizona
Country Inn & Suites– This hotel has family rooms as well as basic amenities.
12- Chino Valley, Arizona (160 miles | 1 hour 40 min)
If you’re looking for a city near the Grand Canyon Arizona that’s filled with various things to do, then Chino Valley, Arizona should be on your list. It’s recommended to combine a stop to Chino Valley with Williams as you have to go through Williams to get to the Grand Canyon South Rim.
Things to do in Chino Valley, Arizona
- Sycamore Canyon Wilderness– the second largest red rock canyon in Arizona that offers 15 trails to explore and a variety of animal sightings. This is the perfect stop for those who love solitude in the wilderness.
- Verde Canyon Railroad– Imagine taking in the picturesque views of the Arizona desert and Verde River. There’s the option of an air-conditioned or open-air car. It’s an experience for the memory books, indeed.
- Granite Creek Vineyards– Experience the flavors of an award-winning certified organic wine tasting room
- Insurgent Brewery Company– If beer is more of your thing, this is Chino’s first and only brewery.
✔️ Learn more about Verde Canyon Railroad Experience ✔️
Where to stay in Chino Valley, Arizona
Days Inn Chino Valley– No frills accommodation. However, it tends to get booked out quickly. Book in advance.
13- Peach Springs, Arizona (135 miles | 2 hours)
Peach Springs is the gateway to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that sits 4000 feet above the Grand Canyon, offering a one-of-a-kind view. Please note that personal cameras are not allowed on the Skywalk. There are professional photographers from whom you can purchase photos form.
Where to stay in Peach Springs, Arizona
Hualapai Lodge– Clean cabins conveniently located close to the Skywalk and kid-friendly hiking trails
14- Cottonwood, Arizona (143 miles | 2 hours 15 min)
Cottonwood, known as the heart of Verde Valley wine country, is one of the quaint cities close to Grand Canyon Arizona that’s filled with a variety of things to do for every type of traveler. This is a great stop if you’re driving from Phoneix as it’s only an hour and a half drive away.
Things to do in Cottonwood, Arizona
- Historic Old Town– Known for its Main Street with over 60 businesses including various wine and spirit tasting rooms, stores, galleries, restaurants, and so much more!
- Arizona Copper Art Museum– Interesting museum tells the story of Arizona’s legends and art.
- Tuzigoot National Monument– Plan to spend at least two hours here exploring the museum, and exhibits and hiking the hill.
- Wineries and vineyards– Cottonwood is known for its wineries, taste a little or a lot.
- The Verde River– Fun fact: This is one of the largest perennial streams in Arizona.
- Dead Horse Ranch State Park– This park has everything from horseback riding to bird watching.
Where to Stay in Cottonwood, Arizona
Iron Horse Inn– A cute boutique hotel with a beautiful courtyard, conveniently located on Main Street
15- Camp Verde, Arizona (135 miles | 2 hours)
Camp Verde is one of the unique cities near Grand Canyon Arizona that provides cultural experiences to learn more about the Sinagua people and other pre-Columbian people who settled the land before Native Americans
- Montezuma Castle– A national monument that protects a cliff dwelling and a large sinkhole that was built by the Sinagua people between AD 1100 and 1125.
- Montezuma Well– Another fun fact: over 1,500,000 US gallons of water emerge each day from an underground spring.
- Tuzigoot– Worth a day trip to explore this 3-story ruin.
- Palatki Heritage Site– Palatki means red house in the Hopi Language. This is one of the largest cliff dwellings.
- Honanki Ruins– The largest of the Sinagua sites in Camp Verde Valley.
Where to stay in Camp Verde, Arizona
Cliff Castle Casino Camp– Beautiful hotel with restaurants on site.
Cities closest to the Grand Canyon North Rim (in order of distance)
16- Kanab, Utah (68 miles | 1 hour 15 min)
If you stop at Knab, be sure to stop at one of the neighboring cities near Grand Canyon Arizona, Fredonia. It’s only 15 mins away.
Things to do in Kanab:
- Kanab Visitor Center– Think of this as a welcoming committee. It has interactive displays taking you back to a historic time.
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park– This isn’t really in Kanab but it’s 20 miles away and worth the drive.
- Moqui Cave– This hosts a collection of Native American artifacts, 180 dinosaur tracks, a 200-foot fluorescent mineral display, and so much more. Fun fact: The temperature inside the cave never rises above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Red Pueblo Museum– Learn the stories of those who initially inhabited the land through artifacts and pottery that are 300 to 1000 years old.
- Pipe Spring National Monument– Over 50K visitors go to see the waters of Pipe Spring and learn and experience the rich history of the early explorers, plants, and animals.
- Little Hollywood Movie Museum– See actual western movie sets that were filmed in Southern Utah in this free museum. Be sure to check out the gift shop filled with unique trinkets and souvenirs.
Where to stay in Kanab, Utah
Red Canyon Cabins– Well-maintained cabins beautifully situated with the backdrop of the red hills.
Things to do at Grand Canyon
Of course, you can explore the Grand Canyon on your own, but the below tours offer unique Grand Canyon experiences.
- Grand Canyon Signature Hummer Tour with Optional Sunset Views– Who doesn’t love riding in a hummer? Even better with the top off and views of the Grand Canyon
- Half-Day Private Grand Canyon Guided Hiking Tour– The Grand Canyon is rather large and can be extremely crowded. If you want to avoid crowds and hike the path less traveled, add this to your list.
- Off-Road Sunset Safari to Grand Canyon– Escape the crowds and enjoy the back roads to the Grand Canyon.
- 45-minute Helicopter Flight– Join the mile-high club (not in that way) and fly over the Grand Canyon.
What is the best month to visit Grand Canyon?
Spring and fall are the best months to visit the Grand Canyon as it’s not too warm and the rain is pretty low. May-August are the busiest (and hottest) months at the Grand Canyon.
The monsoon season is from mid-June through mid-September. However, I went in July and it was perfect, not one raindrop, but very hot.
How many days do you need in Grand Canyon?
It depends on what you want to see and how much you want to get done. We personally did a day tour from Sedona. It was enough for us to get a sense of what the Grand Canyon was about, especially with twin one-year-olds in tow.
If our kids weren’t with us, we would’ve done a helicopter tour or did a little hiking which would have required an additional day or two, making a total of 2-3 days.
Conclusion: Cities near Grand Canyon Arizona
The Grand Canyon is absolutely gorgeous and a must-visit. But don’t be fooled. It’s not a one-stop destination.
There are so many amazing cities near the Grand Canyon that are worth visiting. So, while you’re there, be sure to stop at some of the cities close to the Grand Canyon.