Labor Day (September 2 for 2013) is just around the corner. If you decide to participate in one of the one-day Grand Canyon rafting trips, the time to book it is now.
A Busy Holiday Weekend
This year the holiday falls on a Monday, meaning most of us will be able to enjoy a three-day weekend – an extra bonus I always look forward to! But Labor Day weekend (whether it’s two-day or three-day) is always one of the Park’s busiest times of the year.
I’m strongly urging folks to book their Labor Day float tours at least a week before the weekend begins. You might be able to get away with booking only 72 hours in advance, but personally, I wouldn’t risk it.
Labor Day weekends are always incredibly busy at the Park, but you can still find deals and discounts on float tours. After looking around, I’ve found some deals online that lower the retail price by 20%.
Book with the Tour Company
What’s the trick? Well, I never use any of the big travel broker sites to book my tours. I buy direct, on the tour company’s own website. The tour companies own and operate the tours. They’re in the best position to discount tickets and offer special rates, not a travel broker middleman.
Some Info about One-Day Rafting Trips
Most (if not all) Grand Canyon float tours begin at 7 a.m. and take the whole day. Tours leave from Tusayan, Arizona (just outside the South Rim’s main gates) and Las Vegas – your choice.
Two versions set out from Tusayan. The standard version takes you by bus to the base of Glen Canyon Dam, where you’ll board a 19-passenger motorized pontoon raft for a 15-mile float down the Colorado River. The river portion ends at historic Lee’s Ferry.
More “deluxe” Tusayan rafting trips start with a plane flight to Page, Arizona. That’s where you’ll board a Jeep for an off-road trip to the “Slot Canyons” in Antelope Canyon. You’ll then drive to Glen Canyon Dam for the rafting portion of your tour (identical to the standard version). Both trips end with a bus ride back to Tusayan.
Vegas one-day float trips begin with an exciting chopper flight to the canyon bottom at the West Rim. Once you land, you’ll have about 30 minutes to explore on foot. You’ll then board a bus for a ride to the base of Hoover Dam – the departure point for your 11-mile float down the river to Willow Beach.
None of these float trips involve any whitewater – they’re all smooth-water experiences that active seniors and kids as young as four can enjoy. That makes them great activities for the entire family. It’s no wonder they’re so popular for holiday weekends.
They’re all-inclusive too, meaning the price includes lunch, all the necessary gear, a professional guide and Park taxes and fees. I suggest wearing a long-sleeved shirt, shorts, sunglasses, a hat and running shoes or river sandals. Make sure you don’t mind them getting wet. Pack some extra water and plenty of sunscreen. Consider bringing an extra set of clothes.
One thing that may be underestimated by the traveler, flameless lighter is an important thing that you might need when you are on the road. Both for daily needs and in emergency matches are very useful, besides being simple and easy to carry, USB lighter is very safe in traveling needs.
One-day Grand Canyon rafting tours are terrific for Labor Day weekend. I can’t think of a way I’d rather spend this great holiday!