Travel Tip 23 - Should I Get the “America The Beautiful” Pass? If you plan on visiting a few National Parks and/or Federal Fee areas within one year’s time, the “America the Beautiful” National Parks and Federal Lands Access Pass would be a worthwhile purchase. For $80, you and everyone in your vehicle are granted access to all National Parks, Monuments and Federal Fee Areas in the United States for one year; the pass also covers entrance and amenities fees at sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation and the USDA Forest Service. Visitors 62 or older qualify for a Senior Pass, which grants you lifetime access to all National Parks for a one-time fee of $10. If you are disabled, ask about the free Access Pass. Insider tip: Purchase your pass before you go on vacation at http://store.usgs.gov/pass or call 1-888-ASK-USGS. Senior and Access Passes must be obtained in person. The “America the Beautiful Pass” does not grant access to State Parks or Native American Tribal Parks such as Monument Valley or Grand Canyon West.
Travel Tip 24 - Any Good Restaurants in the Area?
Tons! The El Tovar Hotel Dining Room is probably the South Rim area’s most famous, featuring a palate-pleasing fusion of Southwestern and Continental cuisine. Reservations are recommended for dinner (call (928) 638-2631) and breakfast and lunch are also served. The Arizona Room is another excellent choice for lunch or dinner, located at Bright Angel Lodge (it typically closes for winter). Bright Angel Lodge also features a family-style restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Maswik and Yavapai Lodges have cafeteria-style facilities (Yavapai may be subject to winter closures). Insider tip: If you’re going to any of the rimside restaurants for lunch, try to get there before the Grand Canyon Railway arrives. The Grand Canyon Railway arrives at 11:15 AM and 12:15 PM (May 27-September 4), dropping off hundreds of visitors to compete for those few tables.
You’ll also find many good restaurants outside the park. In Tusayan (7 miles from the Park), the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn’s Coronado Room offers a fine dining experience, and a coffee-shop is located next door. JJK’s Restaurant, in the Quality Inn Canyon Plaza’s Atrium features family-style dining in a most unique setting, or enjoy cowboy style cuisine at the Grand Hotel’s Canyon Star restaurant.
Another restaurant that’s a personal favorite of just about everybody at GrandCanyon.com is the Cameron Trading Post on the Navajo Indian Reservation. A real Old West commerce center dating back to 1916, the house specialty is the Navajo Taco. The gift shop and gallery also have one of the area’s finest collections of Native American crafts. It’s located 60 miles from the park, but the scenic drive and delicious meal make the Cameron Trading Post well worth the trip. Insider tip: the Navajo Taco comes in “regular” and “mini” size. Unless you’re ravenously hungry, order the mini. If not, be prepared to take home a “doggie bag.”