Christmas at the Grand Canyon National Park

This past Christmas, I convinced my family for our first ever Family Travel Trip! It’s always hard to plan anything for the whole family of seven people because everyone’s schedule can be crazy busy (with the exception of my brother) and call me crazy, but I really wanted this trip for my family.

So, nine months prior to the trip, we made a pact to clear our schedules for the holiday and take a trip to a classic monument: Christmas at the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is totally different in the wintertime than during its peak season of spring/summer. But for the budget traveling family, going to the Grand Canyon during the holidays might be best option!


We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express near the South Rim’s gate entrance for $98/night. If we had gone during peak season, our small room would be a whopping $250/night. With our group of 7 people, we had to book two rooms and ended up saving $900 in hotel fees by going in the winter.


When we initially got to the area, there were barely any snow on the ground. Yet, in the two days that we were there, a good amount of snow had fallen to the point that the roads were getting a little bit dangerous to travel on. We even got a white Christmas, which I’ve ALWAYS wanted! Prepare for cold mornings and nights.


Because of the snow, many activities, such as hiking certain trails and going down the Colorado river, is closed for the winter season. This was actually fine for my family since the majority of us were more into sightseeing than doing rigorous activities. We ended up going down a very safe 2-mile trail near the rim of the canyon, that started close to the Visitor’s Center. I believe going down the trail by Mule was possible but since a ride for a single person was over $100, I knew it was out of the budget and didn’t look into it further.


To save money, we tried to bring our own food. But with the lack of refrigeration, our supplies were limited. My mom then thought she could bring a crockpot and ‘cook’ some simple dishes in the hotel room. Essentially, some recipes she made were porridge, noodles, and soup. It worked to some degree, and I give her props for trying, but it just didn’t quite work. There were quite a few restaurants around that were open except for Christmas Day. We ended up eating McDonald’s for Christmas dinner since they were the only thing available. Oh yeah, we’re fancy. We also saved money by picking a hotel that offered free continental breakfasts.

The total cost of our 4 day / 3 night trip (2 of those days were dedicated to driving to and from our location) ended up being roughly $2000. This includes the 2 hotel rooms, van rental + gas, and food. Divide that by 7 people and the cost per person is not too shabby!

Your thoughts: would you go to the Grand Canyon on the off-season to try and save money?

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