Am I correct in my suspicion that the food in the park is at best unremarkable? I understand one now has to take a shuttle bus in? Is there somewhere to eat where it drops you? Can you bring in coolers? I know this time of year, things are closing down, but I'm thinking next spring. Thanks---
Grand Canyon Cafe
110 E Santa Fe Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
At certain times of the year, you can drive your car into and around the park. During high season (summer) cars are prohibited, and you must take the shuttle bus, assuming you're not hiking, biking, etc. You can easily find out when the private vehicle prohibition starts by calling the park. You may bring a cooler/food with you in your car; don't know if there are restrictions for what you can bring on the shuttle. Just make sure to throw your trash out properly (there are garbage pails). I was shocked by all the empty soda bottles, wrappers, etc., blowing around the canyon.
I assume you're going to the South Rim. If so, there is a quick-restaurant/grocery near the parking lot at the entrance to the park. Nothing spectacular. There are hotels inside the park, mainly near the entrance, such as El Tovar, which have restaurants. The one in El Tovar is a bit fancy and expensive. There are no food vendors inside the park, so it's best to bring your own provisions.
I spent a week in Sedona, AZ. I drove up from Scotsdale, AZ. I planned to return to Scottsdale, AZ before flying home. I planned several days at GC. I had so much fun in Sedona, AZ I booked a flight out of GC Airport on a helicopter and took an hour tour of GC. That did it for me. You cannot see GC in several days like you can in one hour in a helicopter. After that I went back to Sedona, AZ and had more fun.