The Grand Canyon in a Day

Share the love!

The Grand Canyon Sunset Adventure

I’ve always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon. It’s been on my bucket list since forever. But I’ve never had a reason or big enough desire to make the trip…until recently.

A Reason

We were already planning to travel to Arizona in May, so this was the year to finally make the trip to the Grand Canyon happen. With our son finishing up his first year at college at the University of Arizona, what perfect timing for my husband and I make a quick detour on our road trip from Texas. We would not only be making new memories, but celebrating successfully completing our first year as empty nesters.

A Desire

Surprisingly, when I asked some friends and family if they have ever visited the Grand Canyon, most said that had not, but like me, had wanted to. But when one friend mentioned wanting to go to see the sunset, I realized that was it. The sunset! I’ll go out of my way to see a great sunset. I’ll pull over. Run outside. Record a time lapse. I’m a giddy child. I love a sunset. But the sunset over the Grand Canyon? That would be epic. That was my desire.

The Objective

You might not be as enthusiastic over a sunset as I am, but you may be just as excited to make an adventurous hike. So before making any plans to see the Grand Canyon, decide how you want to spend your time while visiting and how long you wish to stay. We were confident in our goal, but it’s worth asking yourself a few questions.

  • Are you adventurous and want to hike all the trails?
  • Do you want to take a horseback ride down the canyon?
  • Do you want to learn all the history while riding in a raft down the Colorado River?
  • Is it in your budget to take a helicopter tour for a bird’s eye view?

Or, are you like us with one magnificent objective…to see the sunset at the Grand Canyon? With limited extra time in our itinerary, we decided we only needed a day to meet this goal.

Tips for Spending One Day at the Grand Canyon

Consider how vast the Grand Canyon is. It’s approximately 1900 square miles, with an average width of 10 miles. That is a lot! And if you’re scared of heights, don’t look down, because it is about a mile drop. Yikes! But its vastness is so breathtaking. Simply just seeing it, even for just one day, may be worth the trip in getting there. It was for us.

Getting There

There are two main points of entrance. The North Rim is seasonally opened and less accessible from any metropolitan city. The South Rim is open year round and where 90 percent of the visitors enter. Traveling from Texas, we quickly decided the best place to visit was the South Rim. The South Rim was also closer to our next destination, Phoenix, Arizona, and had sunset tours readily available. The next step was finding a place to stay and hoping for clear skies.

Where to Stay

There are a couple smaller towns within close proximity to the South Rim entrance that we considered. Tusayan, which is a quick seven miles away or a bit farther is Williams, approximately 59 miles from the canyon. There are several hotels and motels to get a good night’s rest, RV parks to glamp, or tiny homes and yurts on Airbnb to star gaze before heading inside Grand Canyon National Park. I strongly considered all of these, especially those yurts, but I’m not a fan of being cold and sharing a bathroom. However, if you love “glamorous camping” and an adventure, that may right up your alley.

We ultimately decided to stay in Sedona, Arizona and make the 110 mile scenic drive to the Grand Canyon in the afternoon. While we didn’t stay overnight in either of these aforementioned towns, I do highly recommend the gelato at the Grand Canyon Chocolate Factory and the pizza at We Cook Pizza and Pasta in Tusayan. I guess they know the main attraction in Tusayan is the the Grand Canyon, and not cleverly named food establishments. They keep it simple in Tusayan.

Book A Tour

While there is benefit in discovering and seeing things on your own, there are several tours available at the Grand Canyon for almost any of the activities I’ve mentioned. I prefer to use Trip Advisor when searching for tours because of the ease of booking and for the reviews that help make a great decision. There are several fun and adventurous tour options available while visiting the Grand Canyon and all worthwhile based on your goals and interests. Although that helicopter tour was tempting, the Grand Canyon 2-Hour Sunset Tour was a better match for us…and my blood pressure.

Buck Wild Hummer Tour

The Sunset Hummer Tour

We opted for the 2-Hour Sunset Tour with Buck Wild Hummer Tours. That certainly gave us enough time to see exactly everything we desired, yet not enough time to get impatient or bored. Perfection. Keep in mind, these tours have limited space, so if you want to guarantee a spot, I would suggest booking online in advance.

The tour’s starting point is in Tusayan, so it covers the park entrance fee, saving us the $35. Sweet! We left promptly at 6:00 pm. I imagine these times vary depending on the season and sunset variation time.

Confession: The first 30 minutes of the tour were not my favorite. Not because I didn’t enjoy hearing about the history of the Grand Canyon Village or seeing some wild elk roaming through the forest, but because I was READY for my reality to match my imagination.

I didn’t realize that we would have to drive quite a distance inside the park to get to our first stop when we actually saw THIS…and I could FINALLY get that shot I’ve dreamed about. I think I’ll frame it!

Grand Canyon Tour

Given it was May, that is, in my opinion, the perfect time to go. But be prepared to dress in layers since it does get a bit chilly riding in the open Hummer once the sun begins to set. Thankfully, the tour guide provided blankets! Bonus! We needed them! Also, breathing in all that Hummer fuel was a bit much…but a small price to pay for the magical evening.

Viewing Grand Canyon

Points of Interest

Duck on a Rock

Can you see it? “Sitting” just east of Yaki Point is this famous canyon formation. We learned several areas have names for the things they resemble. Open your eyes to the the Grand Canyon and use your imagination to see mythical characters, ships, alligators, and legends of the canyon. To me, it’s just simply jaw-dropping beauty.

Duck on a Rock Grand Canyon

Hopi Point

This is it! This is the place to witness the best sunset at the Grand Canyon South Rim. We were so fortunate to have chosen a perfect evening to witness the breathtaking, picturesque view. We gathered at just the right time to not only capture the sunset, but our amazing tour guide gave us all the time we wanted to just sit and enjoy the view. She even suggested next time we need to bring some wine and a picnic basket.

Depending on the season, Hopi Point may get a little crowded at sunset, but we didn’t find that to be the case on our visit. I will say, it was a bit scary walking down to this point as I’m not a huge fan of heights…or loose rocks, but it was worth battling my fears to enjoy this moment that we will forever cherish. But don’t worry if you do have a major phobia of heights, you can still take in the view from a higher vantage point.

Grand Canyon Sunset Tour

Don’t look away, once that sun hits the horizon, you only have a few moments to capture it. Have your camera ready or simply just take in the once in a lifetime view.

Sunset at Grand Canyon

Remember those Mastercard commercials from back in the day?

  • Gas for a 4-hour Round Trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon: $50
  • Snacks for the Road: $10
  • Gelato: $15
  • Gift Shop Souvenir: $15
  • Barbecue Chicken Pizza: $25
  • 2-Hour Hummer Tour: $265
  • Seeing the Sunset at the Grand Canyon : Priceless

This trip made me think of that.

Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Comment below and tell me about your experience and be sure to subscribe to have all the latest posts from Beautifully Between sent straight to your inbox.

Similar Posts


  1. My motivation from afar. You got me to run. To do a marathon. To try new things. Love this as I have a travel bug.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *