The Real Deal: Round-trip train passes, three nights' accommodations, some meals, and a bus tour, from $270 per person—plus taxes of 10 percent (about $27).
When: Oct. 15, 2008-March 14, 2009; add $122 through Oct. 14, 2008.
The fine print: Two breakfasts and two dinners, a round-trip coach-class train fare, and a bus tour of the canyon's South Rim are included. Taxes are an additional 10 percent (about $27) per person. Park admission is $8 for adult train-ticket holders; children ages 15 and under can enter free of charge. Parties of three to nine adults can purchase a family park pass for $25. Click here for more information. Package prices are per person based on adult (16 and over) double occupancy; single supplement is $185. Package rates for children are $65 for ages 2 to 12 and $113 for ages 13 to 15. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Grand Canyon Railway, 800/843-8724, thetrain.com.
Why it's a deal: The $270 Canyon Limited Plus package breaks down to about $90 per person per day and covers accommodations, two breakfasts and two dinners, a round-trip train pass (valued at $65 for adults and at $35 for children ages 2 to 12), and a sightseeing tour by bus (regularly priced at $28 for adults and at $17 for children ages 2 to 12). Plus, the train pass grants you a discounted Grand Canyon entrance fee of $8; the regular rate is $12 for adults or $25 per carload.
Trip details: The Grand Canyon Railway, which made its first journey to the canyon in 1901, was once the easiest and, for most tourists, the only way to visit the Grand Canyon. With the growing popularity of cars, the train service was abandoned in 1968. Then, 21 years later, entrepreneurs Max and Thelma Biegert revived the service.
The Canyon Limited Plus package includes three nights' lodging, two breakfasts and two dinners at the Railway's Max & Thelma's Restaurant, and round-trip, coach-class train passes.
You'll spend the first and last nights at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, Ariz. Modeled after a late-19th-century train depot, the Western-style hotel (operated by the Grand Canyon Railway) welcomes guests with a spacious high-ceilinged lobby that has a flagstone fireplace and commissioned oil paintings of the Grand Canyon.
The 298 rooms are decorated in Southwestern style. Guests will also have access to an indoor swimming pool, a hot tub, a fitness center, a playground for children, a lounge, and a gift shop.
The hotel is next to the Williams Depot and two blocks north of the historic downtown, which takes you back to the saloons, bordellos, shops, and other sights and sounds of the late 1800s. Be sure to keep an eye out for cowboy gun fighters. ...
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You'll spend the second night within Grand Canyon National Park at the Maswik Lodge, just a quarter mile from the edge of the canyon. The 288-room lodge has a cafeteria, a sports bar, and an arts-and-crafts shop.
If you'd like more time to explore the national park or Williams, you can book additional nights starting at $86 for a cabin or a room with two queen beds at the Maswik Lodge and at $119 for a double room at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.
Getting there: Phoenix, about 180 miles away, is the closest airport to Williams. According to a recent Kayak search, round-trip airfares to Phoenix in mid-October start at $165 from L.A. (United/US Airways), $226 from Houston (Frontier), $278 from Chicago (Delta), $379 from New York City (Continental), and $413 from Miami (multiple carriers).
Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.