I still remember the beautiful scenery on the drive from Mesa Verde to the Grand Canyon. There are miles of desert, smaller canyons, towering stone rocks in fantastic shapes, and colorful mesas where you can see for miles.
Be sure to drive in the daytime since you won’t want to miss the scenery. Also, there are so many animals crossing the highway that you definitely want to be able to see them for safety.
Spending time at the Grand Canyon can be a grand adventure. Unfortunately many visitors drive in and only stay two or three hours before leaving. But if you take your time you can attend some of the park ranger discussions about the canyon’s history and wildlife. You can hike partway down into the canyon then come back up again, and be surprised at how much longer it takes to come up than to go down.
There are lots of touristy adventures of all types depending on your fitness level and how far in advance you reserve your activities. There are also lots of gift shops for even the least athletic of us.
For me, getting into the canyon before dawn to see the sunrise and staying late to see the sunset were definite highlights. We stayed in a hotel right outside of the park which made it easy to do both.
My tourist snapshots are below, enhanced by Picasa as always. These are pre-electronic camera, actual developed photos that I scanned into the computer. Imagine how much better your photos will be with the much improved inexpensive cameras available today.