Itinerary – Grand Canyon & Las Vegas

Last fall, Jason and I were deciding where we wanted to use up a few vacation days for a December getaway. To avoid the Northeast cold, we considered a short cruise or all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean, as any sane person would. However, we ended up checking an item off both our bucket lists and agreed on the Grand Canyon: a magical place in December where temperatures reach highs of 40 degrees! To make up for this craziness (or to enhance it?) we tacked on a day in Vegas at the end of the trip. The Grand Canyon turned out to be dazzling in the winter and we essentially had the place to ourselves. Vegas was…well Vegas. As a first-timer, I was not surprised that I was fast asleep by 9pm 🙂 I was very skeptical about that part of the trip, but now I wholeheartedly think a return trip is in order to explore more of the city! With that said, here was our itinerary:

Day 1

  • Take a (very) early morning flight to Las Vegas, NV
  • Pick up the rental car from Hertz and drive to the Hoover Dam (45 min – 32 miles)
  • Some local wildlife hanging out with us
    Some local wildlife hanging out with us
  • Hoover Dam Tour – Park in the dam parking lot, walk across the dam pathway to the dam visitor center and take the dam tour! Visions of Chevy Chase were dancing happily through our heads.
  • Drive the remaining way to the Grand Canyon (3 hr 40 min – 240 miles)
    • We opted to drive on old Route 66 as much as possible and were rewarded with seeing a legitimate tumbleweed cross over the road in front of us!
  • Stay: Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon
    Hwy 64 P.O. Box 3245, Grand Canyon, AZ


Days 2-3

  • Explore the Grand Canyon
  • Stop by the Visitor’s Center for an entertaining welcome video and maps!
  • Drive or take the free buses to various lookout points

    Astonishing view, especially with no railings!
    Astonishing view, especially with no railings!
  • Hike a few of the easy trails to view the canyon from inside it’s walls. This was well worth it despite my practically immobilizing fear of heights. If you’re more experienced (or less scared of heights), try hiking further down on the moderate or difficult trails
  • Visit the unique hotels and shops inside Grand Canyon National Park
  • Enjoy the sunrises / sunsets from different vantage points (see the guide maps for info on the best lookout spots)


Day 4

  • Begin the 4+ hour drive back to Las Vegas
  • Explore Las Vegas (Jason took the reins here since it was my first time)
    • Wander through the casinos
    • Obligatory alcoholic slushy drink
    • Dinner at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar bar!
    • Watch the Bellagio Light / Water Show
    • Watch the Pirate Show at Treasure Island casino
    • Watch the exploding volcano at the Mirage casino


Day 5

  • Grab a late brunch in Las Vegas before returning the rental car and flying back home


Estimated Trip Costs

Roundtrip Flight (Southwest)                               $252 per person
Holiday Inn Hotel (3 night total = $325)            $163 per person
Harrahs Hotel (1 night total = $50)                      $25 per person
Rental Car (5 day total = $200)                              $100 per person
Airport Parking (5 day total = $55)                       $23 per person
Hoover Dam Tour                                                     $30 per person
Entrance to Grand Canyon (Total = $25)             $13 per person
Grand Canyon Bus Tour                                          $22 per person
Meals (Est. $50 / day)                                               $250 per peron
Total                                                                    $878 per person



    1. Thanks! We were quite happy with the overall price. Harrah’s actually is right in the middle of the strip! It’s across from Caesars Palace. I guess most people overlook it, but it was actually a pretty nice place to stay.

        1. This was my first time, but Jason had stayed there before. I’d definitely recommend it if you want to stay right on the strip for a fairly cheap rate.

          1. yeah we found a lot of the vegas hotels actually quite cheap – I have been 9 times and every time its something different – eclectic space and great experience vegas

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