Plan the perfect day on the cheap with our fun suggestions.

 1.  Breakfast at the El Tovar.  The historic El Tovar Hotel is located right at the edge of the Grand Canyon.  This former Harvey House hotel was opened in 1905 and was designed by Charles Whittlesey. It can be quite pricey but breakfast is reasonable.  The meals are huge so either share or request a ½ breakfast.  Ask for a seat next to the window, order a latte and enjoy the sunrise.  You can have a wonderful entrée like trout and eggs and a coffee for around $10.00.

 2.  Watch the mule trains depart for the inner canyon.  Take a jaunt over to the Bright Angel Trailhead and watch a dozen tourists hop on mules for their once in a lifetime journey down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Listen to the mule skinners give their presentation of the trip down.  It is entertaining and interesting.

3.  Lookout Studio.  This studio has a great view of the Grand Canyon.  It currently operates as a gift shop and observation station for visitors, with telescopes on its outdoor terrace. Lookout Studio was constructed by the Santa Fe Railway in 1914 and was established as a photography studio.  It is one of six buildings at the Grand Canyon that were designed by architect Mary Colter.  It is usually not crowded with tourists.  A little know fact….there is a picnic bench at the viewpoint in front of the studio.  Grab a sandwich at one of the restaurants and picnic right in front of Lookout Studio.

4.  Desert View Watch Tower.  Desert View was constructed in 1932 as a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower.  This 70 foot tower is the highest point at the South Rim and commands a view of the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert and San Francisco Peaks.

5. Tusayan Ruins.  The Tusayan Ruins is an 800-year-old Pueblo Indian site located within Grand Canyon National Park and is considered by the National Park Service to be one of the major archeological sites in Arizona. The site consists of a small, u-shaped pueblo featuring a living area, storage rooms, and a kiva. The site was occupied for about twenty years, beginning around 1185.

6.  Kolb Studio.  Kolb Studio is located at the edge of Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park. It was the home and photographic studio of pioneers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb. This studio houses a gallery of early photos of the Grand Canyon plus features artwork of Grand Canyon artists.

7.  Grand Canyon:  A Journey Of Wonder movie.  This 20 minute movie gives you a great history of the Grand Canyon and surrounding area.  It runs every 30 minutes from 8:30am to 4:30pm at the Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center inside the National Park – and it is FREE.

8.  Watch the condors soar.  Get lucky and catch a glimpse of the protected California condor at Lookout Studio.  For an up close view of the condors, walk out to the front viewpoint of Lookout Studio.  This viewpoint offers condor viewing…sometimes the condors will perch on the roof of the Studio.

9.  Shoshone Point.  The short hike to Shoshone Point is a terrific 3 to 4 hour trip.  After an easy, 30-minute stroll through a lovely, open Ponderosa pine woodland, hikers follow the road to the north that leads to the picnic area, a popular place for weddings.  At the road’s end, the cliffs form a narrow viewpoint, with views of more than 180° of the Grand Canyon.  There are usually few visitors. The point is not signposted from the East Rim Drive but next to the gate is a parking area, between mileposts 244 and 245.

10.  The Indian Paintings Tour with Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris.  In the Kaibab Forest view awesome Native Rock Art.  This 90 minute, one-of-a-kind tour takes guests down rugged, scenic roads in a safari truck to the site of Native American predecessors.   A short, easy hike through the forest leads to the rock ledge overhang.  Knowledgeable, local guides discuss the rock art and ways of these ancient people.  The tour runs $45 for adults.  Visit for more information on the tours.