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Suggestions for a Grand Canyon trip

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Hello everyone,

I am thinking about a trip to grand canyon with my family in the first half march.
We will be traveling from Springfield, IL. I thought of getting a flight+hotel combo deal to las vegas, spend a day or two in las vegas and then either rent a car to go to grand canyon or get the tours for grand canyon.

So how does it sound so far? Is there a better alternative where I can save some money. Las Vegas is not really a place we HAVE to see, but it seemed to me that going that route will save me money and we will be able to see las vegas as well. I am open to other ideas.

Now some other questions,

1. Is first half of March bad for grand canyon visit? We cannot postpone the trip. Are we better off going somewhere else? My parents really want to see the grand canyon, however they came to USA during winter and hence the problem.

2. If my above plan about going to vegas and then going to the canyon is not good, i would like to hear some alternative plans.

3. If we go for the vegas route, is going to san fransisco or any other nice places in the west coast feasible?

4. How many days it would take for the trip? I will have at the most a week for this trip.

Thank you for your help.

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