EPIC Northern Arizona Adventures for a Grand Canyon Wedding

Shoshone Point Grand Canyon Wedding

Planning a Grand Canyon wedding comes with plenty of adventures to be found before and after the ceremony. Northern Arizona is bursting with unique places to visit, from the lap of high-desert luxury to some of the hardest hikes in the country. 

We put together this general overview to help you explore some of these options. Our team has spent years exploring this region and can help with excursions, tours, or just general guidance and insider tips. 

Throughout this list, we’ll highlight some of the regions and things to do within those areas of Northern Arizona, figuring in a wide variety of options for different ages and interests.

Wedding couple standing on a ledge of the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a stunning place for a wedding, but Northern Arizona is filled with many other beautiful adventures.

The Parts of the Grand Canyon

Our Grand Canyon wedding services include six of the best points on the South Rim, but it also helps to understand that not all of the Grand Canyon is Grand Canyon National Park. Let’s quickly breakdown the Arizona Grand Canyon regions.

Grand Canyon National Park

The national park includes entrances at the South Rim and North Rim. It is not feasible to travel between the two rims in a day. The two are about 200 miles apart, which will take about four hours to drive. 

At the same time, the North Rim only sees a fraction of the tourists that the South Rim does, and it stands 1,000 feet taller. If anyone in your group is considering a rim-to-rim hike during the week of your wedding, starting at the North Rim is ideal. 

Keep in mind that the North Rim services close from October 15 through May 15 due to winter weather. After December 1, the road to the North Rim closes to vehicles. 

Shoshone Point in Grand Canyon National Park
Shoshone Point in Grand Canyon National Park is one of the approved locations for a Grand Canyon wedding.

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument

It’s important to note that Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is west of Grand Canyon National Park, covering almost as much space. The National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management co-manage this location, which is only accessible through St. George, Utah.

Named, in part, after the Parashant Gorge, this monument is vast, remote, and rugged, with four wilderness areas. No paved roads, amenities, or mobile service is found there. This is not a place to visit without extensive wilderness experience. 

Grand Canyon Parashant Arizona Adventures
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument

Grand Canyon West

On the western side of the canyon, land owned by the Hualapai Tribe offers excursions on the river, hiking, helicopter rides, and ziplining. This is also where the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk is located, a curved walkway that juts out 70 feet over the rim.

It’s important to note that the drive to Grand Canyon West takes about four hours. Basic admission for the Skywalk and entrance costs about $70. 

THE ARIZONA STRIP: The area known as the Arizona Strip is the remote and rugged section of Arizona north of the Colorado River, served by various federal and state land management agencies.

picture of the Grand Canyon West skywalk
Grand Canyon West Skywalk is on tribal land 240 miles away from Grand Canyon National Park.

MORE: Weddings at Grand Canyon West vs. Grand Canyon National Park


National Forests

Two national forests in Northern Arizona offer more adventures in the wilderness. Kaibab National Forest is split into two parts, separated by Grand Canyon National Park. 

The area surrounding Flagstaff and Sedona is part of Coconino National Forest, with three districts covering nearly two million acres. 

Peak baggers should know the highest summit in Arizona is in Coconino National Forest. Humphreys Peak is 12,633 feet high. On the other hand, you can also head underground to the Lava River Cave, a former molten lava tube.

Kaibab National Forest Northern Arizona Adventures
Kanab Creek Wilderness in Kaibab National Forest.
(Courtesy: U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest)

The Painted Desert

Those looking for the Painted Desert of Arizona should look east/northeast. The best way to see it is by driving through Petrified Forest National Park. Keep in mind that the park is not open 24/7 to protect the precious resources inside that were too often subject to vandalism or theft. 

Petrified Forest is about three hours from the Grand Canyon South Rim on the way to New Mexico. A drive there takes you through the charming towns of Holbrook and “Standing On a Corner In” Winslow, Arizona. 

In between Flagstaff and Winslow, an out-of-this-world attraction takes guests to the edge of a mile-wide crater. Meteor Crater is more than 50,000 years old, and the Barringer Space Museum details how astronauts trained here to walk on the moon. Sunset Crater, just north of Flagstaff, is the volcanic kind that changed the landscape a thousand years ago. 

DID YOU KNOW? 2026 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Mother Road, Route 66, and a huge centennial celebration is being planned at locations along the way. 

Northern Arizona Adventures Painted Desert
The Northern Arizona Painted Desert is seen in Petrified Forest National Park. (Courtesy: NPS/Stuart Holmes)

Page, Arizona Things to Do

About two and a half hours northeast of the Grand Canyon, Page is surrounded by its own natural treasures near the Utah state line. The place might look familiar as several locations were used in blockbuster films.

The largest natural attraction near Page is Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a much easier way to enjoy the Colorado River than you find in the Grand Canyon. Horseshoe Bend, where the river curves into a horseshoe shape, is one of the top photo ops in Northern Arizona. Glen Canyon Dam is also a sight to behold.

Antelope Canyon stuns with swirling slot canyons and colorful combinations of desert rock. This amazing site is at Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park, south of the river and lake just east of Page. Only guided tours are allowed in the slot canyons. Stargazing tours are also offered.

If you’re considering a visit to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, please note the distance and remote location. Plus, access is through the recreation area, but the monument is on tribal land. 

Those who want to explore the wilderness in more solitude can check out Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, which has colorful sandstone formations you can’t find in the Grand Canyon. Enter the lottery if you want to see The Wave, as only a limited number of people are allowed daily.

Reflection Canyon at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, one of the best things to do in Northern Arizona.
Reflection Canyon at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. (NPS Photo)

Williams

About an hour south of Grand Canyon Village, Williams is a nostalgic trip back in time. As one of the stops on Route 66 before I-40 was extended, plenty of original Mother Road locations are preserved and open to explore. 

Williams is also where the Grand Canyon Railway starts, a scenic ride that started in 1901. 

Other places to consider in Williams include: 

Grand Canyon Railway Northern Arizona Adventures
We can help plan an excursion on the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Flagstaff

Flagstaff sits around 7,000 feet above sea level and offers a robust four seasons of fun. Downtown Flagstaff mixes modern amenities with historical attractions and trendy nightlife. Plus, get your kicks on Route 66 locations in Flagstaff.

As the first International Dark Sky City, you’ll notice the steps taken to dim the bright lights of the big city. Get a close look at the stars from Lowell Observatory

Snowbowl sounds like it’s just for skiing, but get ready for year-round fun. Plus, the ski season in 2024 went into June! Summer includes sky rides to see the tallest peaks in the state.

Here are some of our other favorite stops in Flagstaff.

Humphreys Peak near Flagstaff, Arizona, under the night sky.
The highest point in Arizona is Humphreys Peak, just outside of Flagstaff. (Photo/U.S. Forest Service Coconino National Forest.)

Sedona 

Between Flagstaff and Phoenix, off winding roads, Sedona is a magical place waiting to be explored. It’s known as much for its natural beauty as its luxurious amenities and vortex energy centers. 

Sedona’s vibe is a unique blend of natural beauty, spiritual energy, artistic creativity, and a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere, attracting those seeking outdoor adventures, healing experiences, and inspiration. 

WHAT IS A VORTEX? The Sedona vortices are believed to be powerful energy centers where the earth’s energy is said to enhance meditation, healing, and spiritual experiences.

The four vortex centers are: 

  1. Airport Mesa 
  2. Cathedral Rock
  3. Bell Rock
  4. Boynton Canyon

Another romantic and spiritual stop in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Built into the red rock formations, this architectural marvel offers a serene place for reflection and panoramic views of Sedona’s landscape.

The Sedona Museum offers a great walk-through of time to see how a remote region became a sanctity of escape and relaxation.


Explore Outdoors

Surrounded by the beauty of red rocks, canyons, and challenging climbs, there’s a path for everyone in Sedona. Various tours are available, from jeeps to walking adventures. Explore on your own by renting a bike, off-road vehicle or ATV. 

  • Oak Creek Canyon: Often referred to as a smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon is a scenic gorge with lush vegetation, crystal-clear streams, and numerous trails. 
  • Slide Rock State Park: Located in Oak Creek Canyon, this state park is named for its natural water slide formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek. 
  • Red Rock State Park: A 286-acre nature preserve offering hiking trails, bird watching, and stunning views of Sedona’s red rock formations. 
  • Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park: A serene spiritual site featuring a 36-foot stupa, meditation areas, and scenic trails, inviting visitors for reflection and healing.
A couple relaxing on a hammock with Sedona mountain views in the distance, one of the best things to do in Northern Arizona.
(Courtesy: Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau)

Art Vibes

Whether you’re browning or buying, Sedona’s art collections could easily fill an entire day. Enjoy funky creations, fine art, or exquisite jewelry.

  • Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village: Designed to resemble a traditional Mexican village, this charming shopping area has galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
  • Sedona Arts Center: Rotating exhibits and monthly events showcase Sedona’s creativity.
  • Sedona Artist Market: Explore some of the unique and creative artworks, from paintings to pottery to jewelry.
  • Exposures Fine Art: A must-see for art lovers as this studio has won numerous awards, including one of the bets things to do in Sedona.

Spa Services

One of the best spa cities in Northern Arizona, and the Southwest for that matter, is Sedona. Some resorts have spas on-site, while day spas dot the city layout. When you need to relax, recenter, and recharge, there’s no place quite like Sedona.

Red Rock Ridges Sedona Bear Mountain Northern Arizona Adventures
The Red Rock Ridges near Sedona in Coconino National Forest is one of many outdoor places to explore in Coconino National Forest’s Red Rock Ranger District. (Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest)

Map of Northern Arizona Adventures


Adventures in Northern Arizona

While you’re in this part of the state, it makes sense to explore as much as you can. We can help plan tours, excursions, or hikes, and we even give guidance for the best sunrise and sunset spots or the best breakfast cafes.  

Inside or Outside the Park? Grand Canyon Wedding Lodging

Watchtower Pool and Patio, Tusayan, Arizona, Squire Resort at the Grand Canyon

Planning a Grand Canyon destination wedding is exciting, and we can help you every step of the way. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best places to stay near the Grand Canyon for a wedding, ensuring your celebration is nothing short of spectacular.

Whether you want to stay in the park in one of the neighboring communities, we can help with any budget or amenities. Plus, we have some truly unique spots to show you in the high desert of Northern Arizona. 

Milky Way above a dome at Clear Sky Resorts, one of the Grand Canyon wedding lodging options
The Milky Way over a Sky Dome at Clear Sky Resorts Grand Canyon. (Photo Courtesy Clear Sky Resorts)

Grand Canyon Wedding Lodging Overview

With hundreds of lodging accommodations within 80 miles of Grand Canyon National Park, it helps to have an expert who not only knows the area but has also planned many weddings. 

One of the first questions we get asked about Grand Canyon Wedding lodging is, “How many nights should we stay?” We highly recommend staying at a Grand Canyon hotel for two nights – the night before and the night of your wedding. For those who can only stay one night, we suggest the night of the wedding instead of the night before. 

We can also use our experience with Grand Canyon weddings to find the perfect lodging, whether you want to have a romantic getaway for the couple and budget lodging for guests or want the whole group in one place. 

Our team also takes on the task of bargaining rates for larger groups, yet another way to avoid added stress on your to-do list. Let us know how many people you have in your group and how many rooms you need so that we can negotiate a tailored group rate. 

Grand Canyon Wedding Shoshone Point

The Top 5 Grand Canyon Wedding Lodging Locations

From inside the park to closer to the interstate, there are several wonderful communities to consider when you’re choosing the right place to stay for a Grand Canyon wedding. 

Inside Grand Canyon National Park

Our top Grand Canyon Wedding locations are on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is close to several wonderful lodging options. Grand Canyon Village is the heartbeat of the South Rim, with four lodges in a row. The El Tovar is considered the pinnacle of national park hotels nationwide. 

Two other lodges are close to the village but more removed for those who want a little more space.  

El Tovar atop the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
El Tovar is the pinnacle of National Park hotels in the USA. (NPS Photo by Michael Quinn)
Bright Angel Lodge with snow on the ground at Grand Canyon National Park
Bright Angel Lodge on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. (NPS Photo by Michael Quinn)

Tusayan

Tusayan is the closest community outside Grand Canyon National Park, just a few minutes from the south entrance. At the same time, guests are surrounded by the beauty of Kaibab National Forest. 

Enjoy local dining, shopping, and attractions that capture the spirit of the Southwest. Tusayan’s blend of comfort and proximity to the canyon ensures your wedding experience is both magical and hassle-free. 

  • Squire Resort at the Grand Canyon (Tusayan, Grand Canyon) Grand Canyon Weddings
  • Squire Resort at the Grand Canyon (Tusayan, Grand Canyon) Grand Canyon Weddings
  • Desert Lounge & Grill, Squire Resort at the Grand Canyon (Tusayan, Grand Canyon)
  • Squire Resort at the Grand Canyon (Tusayan, Grand Canyon) Grand Canyon Weddings
  • Squire Resort at the Grand Canyon (Tusayan, Grand Canyon) Jacuzzi tub, Grand Canyon weddings
  • Squire Resort at the Grand Canyon (Tusayan, Grand Canyon) Hotel room
  • Squire Resort at the Grand Canyon lobby (Tusayan, Grand Canyon)

Valle

Located about 30 miles south of the South Rim, Valle provides a quiet retreat away from the crowds. This scarcely developed area is home to two epic stargazing glamping sites, from luxurious tents to see-through domes. 

These luxury glamping sites come with all the amenities of a hotel – and then some – tucked under some of the most pristine skies in the United States. 

Tap photos to expand to full size


Williams

About an hour south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is the nostalgic town of Williams. As one of the original Route 66 stops, Williams still brings the Mother Road heyday vibe. Plus, this is where guests board the Grand Canyon Railway. 

Lodging here runs the gamut from remote rentals, railcars converted into rooms, and historic inns. 

  • Backland luxury camping williams arizona
  • Backland luxury camping williams arizona
  • Backland luxury camping williams arizona

Flagstaff

This is the largest community near the Grand Canyon and the closest to I-40. It is here that guests get the first glimpse of how different Northern Arizona is from the warmer desert portions of the state. 

While Flagstaff is at the intersection of countless things to do and places to see, it also offers impeccable overnight accommodation among the forest landscape at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Plus, it offers a scenic 75-mile drive to the Grand Canyon. 


Nearest Airports for a Grand Canyon Wedding

We recommend one of three airports, all offering year-round flights. Whether you prefer the closest airport or the one with the most flexible flight options, we put together this airport guide to help. 

Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG)

The regional airport offers flights through American Airlines to Phoenix or Dallas (DFW). 

For ground transportation, it’s important to note that Flagstaff is about 75 miles from the Grand Canyon. Groome Transportation offers daily shuttle service to Williams and the Grand Canyon. We find that most clients prefer to rent a vehicle at the airport, with six companies to choose from with 2/47 access to vehicles. 

Should you prefer private transportation by town car, limousine, shuttle, or charter bus, let us know, and we will arrange that for you. 


Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

The closest international airport to the Grand Canyon is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, about 220 miles from the South Rim. Sky Harbor is an American Airlines hub, and Southwest and Frontier also have a strong presence. In total, two dozen airlines travel to and from the nation’s 12th busiest airport. 

Groome Transportation also offers a shuttle service from Phoenix. Call (928)350-8566 for questions about the shuttle and reservations. Private transportation like limos and charter buses can be arranged, but that gets expensive. 

Rental cars are the best option, and we find many of our clients prefer to take the 3-4 hour drive to the Grand Canyon at their own pace. Along the way, the drive includes exquisite views of the desert and a drive up the Mogollon Rim through several ecosystems. Between Phoenix and Flagstaff, the elevation increases by 6,000 feet. 


Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS)

Formerly known as McCarran International Airport, Harry Reid International Airport sees nearly 58 million passengers each year. Southwest Airlines is the dominant carrier at LAS, but the airport is also a hub for Allegiant Air, Frontier, JSX, and Spirit. In total, more than 30 airlines serve the airport between two terminals. 

While Las Vegas is 270 miles from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, along the way, you’ll see Hoover Dam and Lake Mead National Recreation Area before connecting to I-40. Then, the drive includes 150 miles of diverse landscapes, from the arid desert surroundings of Kingman to the pine forests near Flagstaff. This route is also on the famous Route 66 Mother Road. 

Between Las Vegas and Flagstaff, you’ll gain 3,600 feet in elevation. Rental cars are readily available at LAS, and planning for private transportation can be arranged, but the price is certainly not budget-friendly. 


Map of Grand Canyon Wedding Lodging & Airport Locations


What You Should Know About Grand Canyon Helicopter Wedding Packages

Helicopter companies that promise Grand Canyon Wedding Packages to the Grand Canyon aren’t always 100% transparent, and we want to let you know the facts. 

Grand Canyon National Park, where the South Rim is located, doesn’t allow helicopters to fly or land below the rim. Even the airspace above the national park is heavily regulated for safety and to protect park resources. Flights from Las Vegas to “land in the Grand Canyon” will be at Grand Canyon West, which is on Hualapai Tribal Nation Land. 

Helicopter tours also depart from the Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan for fly-overs of the national park. We are happy to help you plan a helicopter trip if you’d like. 

Grand Canyon West Helicopter
Helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon cannot land in Grand Canyon National Park and have restrictions on flying over the federally protected land. (Courtesy: Maverick Helictopers)

Plan Your Grand Canyon Wedding Today

Once you choose a home base for your Grand Canyon wedding accommodations, we can help you explore the options for add-ons, attractions, and adventures that await in Northern Arizona.

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