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Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

Georgia
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106 posts
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Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

Hi!

We're going to be on vacation 8/8-8/16. We plan to be in Las Vegas 8/8-8/13, driving to the Grand Canyon area 8/13. We're renting a car and driving from Las Vegas to AZ and planning to visit the Grand Canyon National Park 8/13 (half day), 8/14 (full day) and 8/15 (full day). This will be our first visit to both Las Vegas and AZ.

Where should we stay? Flagstaff, Tusayan or Williams? Cost is not an issue. We decided to include the Grand Canyon in this trip a little too late so I have been unable to secure accommodations inside the park (have been calling everyday for 2 days now and plan to keep on calling until we leave). We prefer nice accommodations and multiple restaurants to choose from for dinner. We are foodies so fine dining would be a plus. We require clean rooms and very comfortable beds.

Husband is more inclined to stay at Flagstaff due to nicer hotels and better restaurant choices. I'm afraid this might be too much driving for 3 days. I am more inclined to stay in Tusayan but I'm concerned about accommodations. I don't know which hotel has gotten consistent reviews for its clean rooms and comfortable beds. We both don't like the feel of Williams and fear there's nothing we can do at night there. (From reading the forums though, it appears to me we'll be most likely turning in early every night.)

We're from Atlanta and we've never done this kind of trip before. We're water people so we usually do snorkeling, etc. We're trying something new. We're flying from ATL to Las Vegas. For our return flight, we're doing Phoenix to ATL. Will we have a problem with the altitude?

TIA!

Marina, California
Destination Expert
for Tucson
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1. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

80 miles and 1.5 hours one-way between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. That's a lot of driving. If you're just going for a full day, it makes sense, otherwise, not so much.

Reserve in Tusayan, but keep trying for those park lodges.

West Yellowstone...
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for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
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2. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

Given your husband's priorities, I'd suggest Flagstaff, but it is true that going to the park each day will be a lot of driving.

You won't find much fine dining in Tusayan, nor is there much to do there in the evenings, from what I can tell. The main reason to stay there is proximity to the park.

Research your hotels thoroughly before committing to anything- inside the park or out. National Park hotels are lovely, historic and a wonderful place to stay, but if, as you say, you require cleanliness and comfortable beds, I'm not sure the park lodges are for you.

Flagstaff has a few fine dining establishments, a decent night-life for the size of the town, and myriad hotels to choose from, some of them very new, but it's the drive that will be the downside.

Enjoy your trip, whatever you decide!

West Yellowstone...
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for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
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3. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

Sorry, I forgot to answer your question about altitude.

There have been a fair number of posts about altitude lately and I think they're causing confusion for some.

If you're otherwise fit and healthy, it should not be an issue. It should, however, be taken into consideration when doing strenuous activities such as hiking out of the canyon, should you choose to descend at all. For normal day-to-day walking around, I doubt you'd notice it.

It is recommended that those with breathing problems or who are older and less adaptable to be aware of the differences and familiarize themselves with the possible consequences of and remedies for dealing with altitude changes, but most will not experience any problems at all.

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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4. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

Visiting the Grand Canyon is all about the Grand canyon. It has nothing to do with hotels or dining. If you choose to focus on those aspects of the visit it will be at the expense of the Grand canyon itself.

Try to get a room inside the park by calling Xanterra every day. If that is too hard for you, then choose to stay as close to the GCNP as possible. That would be in Tusayan.

Georgia
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106 posts
2 reviews
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5. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

Thank you very much for your reply.

I am trying to convince my husband to stay in Tusayan. I have started looking for accommodations in the area and I'm finding limited availability. Based on hotel reviews, I am thinking the following: Best Western, Holiday Inn Express and The Grand Hotel. Best Western does not have availability for our dates of stay so it's pretty much out. Holiday Inn Express has accommodations for the first 2 nights but nothing for 8/15. This can still work as we can drive to Flagstaff on our last day so that we'll be closer to the airport the next day. The Grand Hotel has accommodations for 8/13-8/16.

Which one is closer to the park? Will you recommend staying the last night in Flagstaff to be closer to Phoenix or doing all 3 nights in Tusayan? Will you recommend the Holiday Inn Express or The Grand Hotel?

I do plan to call Xanterra everyday to check for any cancellations.

Regarding the altitude, we're active people so I guess it will not be a problem. :) We hit the gym at least 4 times a week. I do a lot of standing and walking at work too. I do a lot of cardio in the gym as well. Husband swims a lot. I think we fall in the fit and healthy people category.

Thanks again!

Edited: 29 June 2010, 00:46
Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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6. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

Anything in Tusayan is within a half mile of the others and all are about 3 miles from the park entrance. Stop fretting about hotels and focus on the Grand Canyon.

http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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7. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

Maybe this might be another option... http://www.camerontradingpost.com/lodge.html

You aren't going to find much "to do" at night anywhere around the GC. Nor will you find world class restaurants. It just isn't that type of area, because it's about the grandeur of nature. However, LV should satisfy you for both nightlife and fine dining, plus top-notch hotels!

Cape Girardeau, Mo
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8. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

I will throw you a curve--unless you are planning on doing major hiking at the Grand Canyon, I think 2 1/2 days and 3 nights is too much. Plan on 1 1/2 days and 2 nights. Stay in the Park if accommodations come available, if not stay in Tusayan. Get up early that third morning and head to Sedona. Spend the day in Sedona, and the night at a nice hotel there. Eat at a fine restaurant there. Then, the next morning, you are only 2 hours from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix.

Georgia
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106 posts
2 reviews
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9. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

Thanks for all the posts.

I've booked a room at the Best Western in Tusayan 8/13-8/15. I was able to get a room for 2 nights instead of the original plan of 3. We're going to leave early 8/15 to head to Sedona and stay there overnight (Best Western Arroyo Roble). Our flight won't be until 11:50 PM on 8/16 so we'll have 1.5 days in Sedona.

How early do we need to check in at the PHX airport? I just ask because in Atlanta, for domestic flights, 2 hours is the norm. When we go to Key West, which we do yearly, we can check in 45 minutes prior to departure and still be fine.

(I call Xanterra daily to check for cancellations but no luck so far)

Thanks again!

West Yellowstone...
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for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
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10. Re: Flagstaff,Tusayan or Williams?

We always try to arrive two hours early at PHX. It's a large airport and the lines for security can get long, but do move fairly quickly.

The airline you are flying will determine your terminal. You may have more options for going through a different security line, although you will have a longer walk once you've passed through.

You can check out the airport map at

skyharbor.com/maps-food-shops/maps-food-and-…