For a reminder of what civilization is like after viewing the beautiful desolation of the Grand Canyon, visit or lodge in Flagstaff, AZ. Flagstaff is about 80 miles southeast of Grand Canyon National Park, and is the largest town in close proximity. It’s a college town, home to Northern Arizona University, and also serves as a recreational hub for the area. Many of the largest river running tour companies operate here, providing trips down the Colorado River and Grand Canyon. During the evening check out a play in one of the local theatres, and during the day take walk on one of the excellent trails maintained throughout town.
About 60 miles directly south of Grand Canyon National Park is Williams. It is a small town with big fame in the context of Grand Canyon tourism. If you or your kids like trains, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon Railway, which has a terminus in Williams. Take a rail ride north to Grand Canyon village in an old fashioned steam engine, powered by vegetable oil. Because Williams is considered a gateway to Grand Canyon National Park, there are plenty of hotels, motels, and touristy things to see and do.
The town of Tusayan lies a couple miles from the South Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park, and seems to exist primarily to serve basic needs of tourists. With a population a little over 500, does it count as civilization? Perhaps one fact will solve this dispute: there is a McDonalds here. If that’s not enough evidence, consider that there are at least 7 hotels in town, a general store stocked with essential groceries/alcohol, and there is a steak house. Tusayan provides all the basic needs for human existence, so we count it as civilization. Just don’t expect to pay the average price for a gallon of milk in this remote Arizona town.