Submitted by: Princess Cruz

With the Memorial Day Holiday coming up shortly, it’s wise to book that 1-day Grand Canyon float tour now. These trips are great for kids, families and groups and come with all gear, lunch and an experienced river guide. Indeed, this sounds like an expensive day trip but in actuality it’s very affordable.

Starting Point

Foat tours are available from the South Rim, which is 3.5 hours from Phoenix, 2 hours from Sedona and 60 minutes from Flagstaff. Trips start once a day in the morning from Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCA), which is located in the town of Tusayan just outside the National Park’s main gates.

There are two float options available. One is basic and the other deluxe. Let’s start with the basic. It starts with a bus that takes you along the edge of the rim and north to Page, AZ. Here you make a descent to the bottom of Glen Canyon Dam and head to the boat dock. There you’ll transfer to one of the 19-seat pontoon rafts and begin your river cruise.

The River

The trip down the Colorado River is about 15.3 miles and takes about 2.5 hours to complete. There are several places where the raft stops. One is at the mouth of a secret canyon. You’ll take a brief walk into it until you reach a cliff wall that features some authentic Indian rock art. Depending on the season, you’ll also see one of the Canyon’s many waterfalls and rivulets. Kids and the young at heart love this side trip.

There’s also plenty of opportunities for swimming so make sure you’re prepared. I recommend you bring a dry bag filled with an extra set of clothes, which you’ll appreciate on the bus ride back to the South Rim. Tours include lunch that you’ll enjoy on one of the Colorado’s secluded sandy beaches.

Please remember you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors so best to wear a brimmed hat and a lightweight long-sleeved shirt. I also recommend you wear running shoes or river sandals as pack in a lot of SPF 50 sunblock. Sunglasses are a must because the sun is bright in Arizona. It’s also a good idea to bring along some snacks and extra water.

Lee’s Ferry

The river segment of the tour ends at historic Lee’s Ferry, an old Mormon fort that used to be one of the few places where you could safely cross the Colorado. The bus will be waiting for you up on bank, and it will take you first to the Cameron Trading Post, home to some of the finest Native American handicrafts in the region, before heading back to the National Park.

The deluxe tour does everything the basic one does except it uses an airplane to go from the South Rim to Page. And before you start the float, you’ll transfer to a Jeep 4×4 and visit Antelope Canyon, one of the world’s best and most photographed slot canyons. After that, it’s down to the dock to join the other travelers and your river guide who is an expert on the area’s natural history.


I hope this article about Grand Canyon float tours during the Memorial Day proved helpful as you plan. These tours are great for friends, families and groups. I strongly recommend you book one in advance and online in order to get the best seats at the best price. The basic version of the tour is a terrific value. However, I personally find the deluxe one to be the better experience if you have the budget.

About the Author: The author is an expert on Grand Canyon tours and recommends that readers go here for the best 1-day South float tours that start from the South Rim of the National Park:


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