by JD Hancock
The secret’s out: The bus tour to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is one of Las Vegas’ hottest day trips. If it’s not yet on your list of things to do in Sin City, here are 5 reasons why this bus trip should be:
#1 – The views are incredible – This is the Rim you see in National Geographic. Mather Point, Yaki Point, Yavapai Observation Station and more and more are here and give you unparalleled views of the canyon below.
#2 – The drivers are great tour guides – Professionally trained, these folks know the road like the back of their hands, providing entertaining and informational insights on the way that you won’t get anywhere else.
#3 – The luxury bus is fun – These are state-of-the-art motor coaches with lounge-style seats, TV’s, and over-sized windows. The drive over is super comfortable and effortless. This trip is perfect for groups, families, and special occasions.
#4 – The souvenir shopping is phenomenal – On the subject of gift shops, the one at the Bright Angel Lodge is where to go. Hats, t-shirts, minerals, DVDs, day packs, magnets, food specialties. You name, it’s here.
#5 – It’s cheap – Tours start at $ 80 per person and include lunch, guide, and up to three hours at the Rim. You also get to see Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, where you pull over for a photo stop. Now that’s a bargain!
This bus tour is an all-day trip that takes 15 hours to complete. Trips, which come with free shuttle service to and from your Vegas hotel, leave at 7 a.m. The rim is 277 miles east of Las Vegas and one-way drive time is 5.5 hours (it goes fast aboard these luxury buses). Expect to be back on The Strip around 9 p.m. Refrain from making dinner or show reservations after this trip. There’s no guarantee that you’ll make it on time.
Dress accordingly. Summer means shorts, running shoes, t-shirts and hats. Pack along some sunscreen and bring a bottle of water. If you intend to sample one of the trails that go into the canyon, limit it to 15 minutes down. Thats plenty of time to get a feel of what its like to be in the gorge without overheating. Winter is cold at the South Rim. The best strategy is to dress in layers. Bring a hat and gloves and wear pants. I’ve seen Vegas travelers in shorts. Don’t do it. The rim’s elevation is nearly twice that of Vegas’ and its a complete weather change.
There are three main tour operators that run bus trips from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon: Papillon Tours, Grand Canyon Coaches, and Grayline. There’s also a number of smaller, niche bus tour companies out there and many are excellent. From reviews I’ve read on some of the top travel forums, Grand Canyon Coaches gets a lot of kudos for its commitment to comfort, value, and safety. The up-and-comer is Paradise Found, which has one of the best all-inclusive tours I’ve ever taken.
It’s best to book your Grand Canyon bus tour online and in advance as this is a popular trip that sells out. If you want the best deal, shop the Internet and keep your eye on what’s being offered on the sites of the companies that operate the tours. These business compete hard for your travel dollar and constantly post great rates on their websites.
The Grand Canyon bus from Las Vegas is a fantastic trip. From beginning to end, it’s packed with things to do and see. Highlights include Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Mather Point, Yaki Point, Bright Angel and more. If you’re searching for a day trip that let’s you say, “been there, done that,” this bus tour’s the one. See you up there!
Travel writer Keith Kravitz reviews Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas. Use this link for his Top 3 Grand Canyon bus tours.