Interested in Grand Canyon rafting without white-water rapids? Take a smooth-water float tour. The emphasis is daylong river-centered float tours as visitors of all ages see the canyon from a uniquely different perspective.
Start your tour right from Grand Canyon National Park or outside the main gate at the town of Tusayan, AZ. Choose to go by bus or plane to Page, AZ, where you'll end up making an incredible two-mile drive through a tunnel to the base of Glen Canyon Dam.
Climb in for a15.5- mile float trip with the smooth ride of the Colorado River under the inflatable motorized passenger river raft. The well-known area of Horseshoe Bend quickly reinforces the incredible journey ahead. The ancient Puebloans made petroglyphs on the walls of the cliff, and today the raft will stop to let you view them.
Questions about the canyon? Feel free to ask your guide. They have studied Grand Canyon history and know the reasons that certain types of wildlife live there as well as how the beautiful sandstone cliffs came to be and their effect on the tavertine blue-green waters.
The float tour takes approximately 2.5 hours, breaking for lunch at the midway point and then continuing to historic Lee's Ferry. A motor coach with air conditioning winds the adventure down as you head to South Rim and journey's end. You cross the Navajo Indian Reservation on the way back, as well as enjoy the beauty of the Painted Desert. There's also a stop at the Cameron Trading Post where you can purchase authentic Indian handicrafts.
From opening day in April to November closing, float tours require a full day. Be up early to join in. Allow about two hours for the float trip. Bring sunscreen for trips scheduled during the hot summer months of May through September. Avoid sunburn and overheating by wearing a sunhat and comfortable clothes. The water is tempting, so bring along a suit for swimming. Each raft is stocked with free water and juice to keep you hydrated.
These water-rafting trips are all-inclusive and come with lunch, park fees, professional guide, deluxe motor coach, and free pick up and drop off at all hotel properties in Tusayan and Grand Canyon Village. Some people prefer the Grand Canyon Airport as a convenient shuttle pickup spot.
The most affordable package for bus-rafting begins at $170 apiece and climbs from there. At $329 and up, airplane-rafting trips are popular. Shopping online presents the best bargain available. My research shows that you can get up to 35 percent off if you book on the Internet. There's no need to worry about booking online, so don't hesitate. There's never been a problem with any of the multitudes of raft trips I've purchased from the Web.
Experience the opportunity to explore the Grand Canyon from the water instead of gazing from the rim. No need for pro status to enjoy Grand Canyon rafting. If you are looking for the more calm waters of the Colorado River, take a bus or plane and venture upstream. The gentle water brushes your feet. Soak up the ambiance and enjoy. Head for shore and gaze at ancient Indian art. There's no rush. As one of the smooth water float tours, it's going to be the highlight of your vacation.
Travel writer Justine Moriarity is an expert on Grand Canyon tours. For 1-day rafting tours, she recommends visiting this page http://www.grandcanyondaytrips.com/what-are-the-best-colorado-river-boat-rides and then going here: