The Grand Canyon: How to get an in-depth view of America's natural wonder
(BPT) - The world is full of amazing things to see, but there are a select few sites that people agree are truly wonders of the world. The tradition started a long time ago, in ancient Greece, when Antipater of Sidon listed the unrivaled buildings of the day. More recently, new lists of world wonders have been proposed including both man-made and natural sites, providing the perfect blueprint for a traveler's "bucket list". Luckily, Americans can start checking things off right in their own spectacular backyard by taking a Grand Canyon tour
The Grand Canyon is not just something to see, but a destination to be experienced. Standing on the rim will give you breathtaking views, certainly, but a natural wonder of the world deserves being seen within a more in-depth context. The added dimension of hearing the story of the canyon's formation is easiest to come by if you join a Grand Canyon tour, like those offered by Tauck. Not only does a tour give you unusual access to the sites, enriching your visit, but the cost savings, when compared to arranging everything on your own, can be as much as 40 percent.
To make the most of a Grand Canyon tour, be sure that you include these essential elements in your itinerary:
* Go beyond the average view of the Grand Canyon. The complex history of the Grand Canyon stretches back eons. Rather than sticking your nose in a guide book and missing the scenery, a lecture given by an expert geologist gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of what you're seeing. Learn about the ecology and geology during your Grand Canyon tour before heading out for a full day's exploration.
* Take in the surrounding scenery. Because the Grand Canyon is situated in one of America's most scenically dramatic regions, the opportunity to see the surrounding areas is one that you should take advantage of as well. Places like Sedona, Ariz., Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park are all within reasonable distances and should figure into your travel plans as well; check to see if they are built into your Grand Canyon tour.
* Relax in stylish hotels. The American Southwest is home to some of the country's top resorts and hotels, where a memorable stay adds to the overall experience. Don't miss the chance to stay at a lodge within the Grand Canyon National Park, where you can experience the landscape from sunrise to starry night. Nearby travel hubs like Scottsdale and Las Vegas offer the ultimate in luxury hotels for kicking back, pre- or post- your Grand Canyon tour adventure.
* Explore your adventurous side. Taking a hike is a great way to get up close and personal with the landscapes of the Southwest, but there are other ways to dive into the experience. Try a float trip down the Colorado River, which winds its way through the region and carves out a dramatic path through the Grand Canyon. Or take wing on a helicopter ride that gives you a whole new perspective on the size and grandeur of the site.
While there's no denying that the Grand Canyon is a photogenic place, traveling to this natural wonder will show you just how difficult it is to capture its true beauty, immensity and magic. And because it epitomizes the concept of a "wonder of the world," it's the perfect place to kick off your goal to see the most amazing sights on the planet.