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Tigrest Travel Blog

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Tag: grand canyon

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon – How to visit on your own

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon

Our visit to Grand Canyon was in early March. It was part of our amazing USA Road Trip. The weather was getting warmer already and it was a perfect day for a nature walk. It was a dream to see the beauty of this nature phenomenon, so we planned whole day for this visit. Here is our guide Flagstaff to Grand Canyon – How to visit Grand Canyon in one day trip from Flagstaff on your own.

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon – Overnight in Flagstaff

We drove from Las Vegas and stayed in Flagstaff overnight. The motel was called Aspen. It’s a nice property, but a bit cold for winter months – night temperatures went as low as 0 C. There was still snow at mountain peaks. Wish I had a heated blanket with me! On the positive side – it felt like a true nature hike – something completely different from Vegas style hotels.  Location of the motel is very convenient, it was clean and fairly good price. There is a supermarket next door and few nice restaurants. I recommend Satchmo’s – amazing BBQ ribs at great price. Their address is 2320 N 4th St, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, United States.

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon - aspen hotel

We woke up early in the morning and after a quick breakfast filled our gas tank with fuel and started our trip. The distance is around 86 miles, took us 1,5 hours to get there. The roads are wide and it’s an easy drive from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon. It was fun to ride while streaming our favorite music to car stereo and singing along to favorite songs. At the gates of the park there is a fee to be paid – 30$ per car. The ticket is valid for 7 days. Once you enter the park, there is another 2-3 miles to reach the parking lot. It’s really well organized and easy to understand. Once you park your car, there is an option to check the map, visit a store/cafe or take the shuttle bus to one of the viewing points. Make sure to have a map

Of course, you can drive to the view points as well, but the parking is limited there so I recommend using the shuttle. It’s totally free!

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon - kaibab trail

View points

Our first view point was Kaibab trail head. We decided to hike down the trail as long as we feel like and then turn back. It’s an easy hike for beginners, but might be crowded in peak seasons. Once we started off, the temperatures started to increase a lot. It’s a good idea to have enough water and snacks with you. By the way – you can refill your water bottle for free. Also beware of donkey poo.

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon - kaibab trail

The views are amazing, as you walk down the trail, you discover the whole beauty of the canyon! It’s not possible to see it from above, so make sure to hike at least one trail (I recommend Kaibab, as it’s one of the easiest). You can decide, how long you’d like to hike, but make sure not to overestimate yourself. Hiking up is very hard! Good shoes are a must!

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon - kaibab trail

After climbing up again, we took the shuttle to the next view point – Yaki point, and then took the shuttle back. At that point we were hungry and wished to see the other side. We walked to Grand Canyon Village and visited their huge gift store for some souvenirs. Afterwards we took our car and drove to Grand view point. It was an amazing view, we loved it so much! The pictures speak for themselves!

grand canyon

Next were Lipan Point, Navajo Point and lastly Desert View watchtower. The last stop was really nice place – we stayed longer and enjoyed the view. The weather was getting colder and windier, so we decided to end our tour at that point. It was an amazing trip and so much to see! The nature is breathtaking!

On our way back to Flagstaff we stopped at Tusayan Village (right outside the gates to the park) for a dinner – the place was called Yippee-Ei-O! Steakhouse. Really good cocoa (loved their mugs), the meal was OK too.

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon

Why drive from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon?

If you are looking to visit Grand Canyon, I recommend doing it by car. There are many advantages over tour buses or helicopter tours.

  • First, you get to decide where you go and how much time you spend there. The nature is so amazing, you don’t want to rush through. We spent there whole day and it didn’t feel like enough. So think twice and consider renting a car and taking the trip on your own.
  • Second, coming by car from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon gives you the freedom to move around and have your own pace. You can always stop at souvenir shops that you like and not the ones that tour guides have chosen for you. There are much cheaper GC souvenirs at gas stations!
  • Third, it will be cheaper in the end, especially if you are traveling with a group of friends! You will have better memories of the trip.

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Flagstaff to Grand Canyon


San Diego skyline

USA West Coast Road Trip – best moments

San Diego skylineNow that a month has passed since we returned from our awesome USA West Coast Road Trip, it’s time to sum up and create a post on the things we liked. We had planned a lot of different destinations, so the trip was quite intense. I might have to think of few more posts on some specific locations and things we did. Here are some of the best moments and memorable experiences from our trip.

Our USA West Coast Road Trip route looked like this:

Map of our USA West Coast Road Trip

Rental car for USA West Coast Road Trip

We started by picking up our rental car for our USA West Coast Road Trip from Phoenix, AZ. Rental company we chose was Alamo and the car was full size. When we were picking up, we had a choice (Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Volkswagen Passat) and were advised to choose cars with California plates (car return was in Los Angeles).

So we picked Hyundai Sonata. The car was 2015 model, very nice and smooth. I really loved driving it on US roads. Total cost for almost two weeks was around 600$. There was no issue with returning the car at SNA airport – very quick and smooth!

Our rental car for USA West Coast Road Trip Hyundai Sonata 2015

San Diego whale watching with Flagship cruises.

We booked this trip while being unaware of the weather. As it turned out – it was almost stormy on that day, so we got to experience some really nasty sea sickness. Luckily, the staff recommended to take sea sickness pills (sold them on board) and we took them in time (30 min before the shaking began). When it started rocking, some people felt really bad. We went out in the ocean and spotted some small whales. On the way back, we also got to see dolphins and sea lions (they were sunbathing). The trip takes approx. 3,5 hours and is a great way to spend a morning (or afternoon). The ocean is incredible and the views are spectacular! A must for a proper USA West Coast Road Trip!

USA West Coast Road Trip - Marine animals in San Diego Bay

USA West Coast Road Trip - Whale watching in San Diego Bay
USA West Coast Road Trip - Dolphins in San Diego Bay USA West Coast Road Trip - Sea lions in San Diego Bay

Must visit for USA West Coast Road Trip – Venice Beach in Los Angeles

Our trip to Venice beach was rather spontaneous – we made it there just in time before the sunset. The promenade reminded us of a typical south European resort – souvenir shops, cafes, people relaxing, playing music and enjoying themselves. The beach is very wide and clean – perfect for long walks. It’s a place that needs to be in any town – where you can come and spend the evening alone or with a friend.

USA West Coast Road Trip - Venice Beach, Los Angeles USA West Coast Road Trip - Venice Beach, Los Angeles USA West Coast Road Trip - Venice Beach, Los Angeles USA West Coast Road Trip - Venice Beach, Los Angeles

Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas

Visiting Las Vegas was high on our list during our USA West Coast Road Trip, but not for the casinos or party – we really wanted to see the shows. So on our first morning we went to one of the numerous Tix4tonight booths and stood in line before the opening. Surprisingly, we were not the only ones. The company is selling show tickets for the same night (sometimes for tomorrow as well) with nice discount (up to 50%). While you are in line, customer service reps help you pick the right show. After standing in line for half an hour and listening around, we decided to go for Cirque du Seleil show called Mystere. They were giving a charity show and therefore there was to tax charged. Two tickets cost us just under 100$. On the minus side – we had to get to the casino where the show was played right after buying these “tickets” to exchange them for actual tickets at the ticket office. The show was held in Treasure Island.

USA West Coast Road Trip - Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas USA West Coast Road Trip - Cirque du Soleil Mystere in Las Vegas

USA West Coast Road Trip - Cirque du Soleil Mystere in Las Vegas    USA West Coast Road Trip - Cirque du Soleil Mystere in Las Vegas


The things that I remember about Flagstaff are – fantastic BBQ ribs and very cold motel room. First – the ribs. It was time for dinner so I googled the best place to go out for bbq. The place we picked was called Satchmo’s and the ribs were AMAZING! If only I had a power to eat more, I would! About cold rooms – weather in March is still quite chilly (especially when you have just been to the desert), so at nights it dropped so much, that we had to keep the heating on (it was noisy). Here is a tip – visit Flagstaff in summer!

USA West Coast Road Trip - Flagstaff motel on our USA roadtrip USA West Coast Road Trip - Flagstaff motel

Grand Canyon

There are hardly any words to describe Grand Canyon properly – one just has to see it! It is powerful, majestic, breathtakingly enormous. One day is hardly enough to explore it. To see the best of it you need to hike, of course. We made a small hike just down the Kaibab trail. Really short one but enough to see the beauty and changing landscapes.

Later we visited some of the famous viewpoints – Grand View, Yucca Point and some others. It was a really great, but also exhausting day. I would totally recommend vising GC from Flagstaff – it’s an easy 1,5 hour ride. There is an entrance fee – 30$/car, and it is valid for 1 week. Totally recommend visiting as part of your USA West Coast Road Trip!

USA West Coast Road Trip - Grand Canyon Kaibab trail USA West Coast Road Trip - Grand Canyon Kaibab trail

Grand Canyon Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Kaibab trail

Palm Springs

Our last small adventure on USA West Coast Road Trip was a ride through an endless desert and finally arriving in Palm Springs for the night. To be honest, I always liked the idea of oasis, so Palm Springs was a natural choice. It’s hot and reminds of a resort, kind of get away spot. It’s very different from other places we visited – you can feel that people come there for holiday. Having said that – it should be no surprise that the first thing we did was to jump in the pool. What a great way to finish long day of driving!

Palm Springs pool
Palm Springs ice coffee Palm Springs motel

Palm Springs motel

Although our trip was amazing in almost any way, it was still so good to be back home! Traveling helps you realize how much you value the people and places. Sure, sometimes you may realize it was so much better somewhere you just visited. In this case you might need to move on, change your home for a new one. For us it was a moment of realizing that home is the best place on Earth – a place you always want to come back to!

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