Maswik Lodge renovation prompts planning ahead for Spring Break at the Grand Canyon

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Temporary closure of Grand Canyon South Rim's Maswik hotel emphasizes importance of advance reservations; gateway communities offer economic, even nightlife alternatives.

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Inside the park, once the sun goes down, there’s not a lot to keep kids busy. But at a place like the Squire, they can bowl, play video games or billiards, or take a walk up the street to the IMAX Theatre.

The Grand Canyon hiker who expected to have the trails all to himself, only to find scores of other hikers had the same idea; the pleas on the internet travel forums from families already having trouble finding a place to stay during their Grand Canyon vacation; the Grand Canyon tour agents scrambling to keep up with the requests for information. Local travel professionals only expect to hear more of the same as springtime approaches.

“So far, all indicators tell me it’s going to a busy year at the Grand Canyon,” said Karlyn Bunting of Grand Canyon.com. “Plus, whenever we have an unseasonably warm winter like this, the crowds just start coming earlier. Now that a 250-plus room hotel like Maswik has closed for renovations, advance reservations aren’t just ‘recommended,’ they’re essential.”

Maswik Lodge is one of the larger Grand Canyon hotels. One of six hotels located in Grand Canyon National Park on the South rim, Maswik’s cabins and hotel rooms have been popular with families for decades. Now, the 278-room lodge is closed for renovations until March, which means that those who wait to make their Grand Canyon trip plans may find “no room at the inn.” Does that mean you should scrap your vacation if lodging in the immediate area is sold out? Bunting says “no.” Instead, he suggests that travelers look for good deals, and even a few pleasant surprises, in the park’s gateway communities.

“Gateway communities” are the various towns outside the park that offer Grand Canyon lodging. Two miles South of the Grand Canyon National Park boundary, the hamlet of Tusayan offers the Best Western Squire Hotel, as well as a Quality Inn, a Rodeway Inn, a Holiday Inn Express and the Grand Hotel. All are just 8 miles from Grand Canyon Village, and families with kids might find that staying there has its advantages. Bunting explains, “Inside the park, once the sun goes down, there’s not a lot to keep kids busy. But at a place like the Squire, they can bowl, play video games or billiards, or take a walk up the street to the IMAX Theatre.”

Valle, Arizona is located 30 miles South of Grand Canyon Village at the Junction of Highways 180 and 64. The Grand Canyon Inn offers clean rooms, as well as a restaurant, gift shop and gas station. Visitors can also pre-purchase their Grand Canyon Park Passes at the Inn, which can help cut down on wait time at the entrance gate. Vintage plane buffs will enjoy the Planes of Fame Air Museum located nearby.    

60 miles East of Grand Canyon Village, the Cameron Trading Post is not only a hotel, but a cultural immersion. Situated on the Navajo Indian Reservation at the Junction of Highways 64 and 89, the trading post has been a working commerce center since 1916. Their newer rooms are some of the most inviting in the area, with hand-carved furniture and Southwestern decor. The Navajo Tacos served in the restaurant are world-famous, as are the arts and crafts sold in the gift shop and gallery.

Want to “get your kicks on Route 66?” Check out the small town charm of Williams (60 miles South of Grand Canyon) or Flagstaff (85 miles Southeast). These communities not only feature major chain hotels, but bed and breakfast and vacation rentals as well. Page/Lake Powell, Arizona (140 miles Northeast) also deserves consideration. Page’s room rates are typically reasonable, and popular Grand Canyon rafting tours operate there from March 15th through November 15th. “Point being,” says Bunting, “if you’re coming out over spring break, it’s definitely best to have planned ahead. If you didn’t, start planning now, and you can still have a fun and memorable Grand Canyon vacation.”

Grand Canyon.com is based in Page, Arizona, and specializes in helping travelers get the most out of their Grand Canyon vacations. They book a wide variety of Grand Canyon hotels, Grand Canyon tours and other activities in Las Vegas, Grand Canyon South Rim, Grand Canyon North Rim, Page/Lake Powell, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Williams and Sedona. Call (866) 944-7263 or visit http://www.grandcanyon.com/hotels.html

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Karlyn Bunting
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