Southern Utah is magical. It is one of those places that I wouldn’t mind visiting year after year. There is so much beauty and adventure to be had. Whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, with friends, or your family you are sure to love it there!
We stayed in Utah’s Dixie, in our RV at Southern Utah’s RV Resort for a little over 5 weeks. Which is just under two hours from Las Vegas, NV and just 45 minutes from Zion National Park. Which we felt was a great location, not too far from the places we wanted to visit and close to local shopping centers and restaurants. The RV park was clean, updated, and the staff was super friendly. Local to the city of St George so lot’s of options for grocery, restaurants, and necessities. It is a great area for things to do in Southern Utah with toddlers, kids, and teens. We felt super safe in the St George area, and it has a local hospital in town as well. Definitely recommend!
If you prefer a hotel, we did get a chance to stay a night at The Best Western just around the corner from our RV park, it was nice and a great price. Nothing super fancy, but let’s be real – we are going to adventure, you just need somewhere nice and clean to rest your head. There is a gas station across the street, grocery stores, and restaurants just 15 minutes away. Great central location to visit all the places in this blogpost.
Helpful tip: If you prefer to stay at an Airbnb, be sure to book well in advance as they sell out during the busy season quickly.
First up on our Southern Utah Bucket-list was Zion National Park. You could dedicate a trip to Zion alone.
Here are my top 3 recommendations for Zion National Park with kids :
- The Watchman’s Trail is a great family friendly hike ( sadly, no dogs allowed ) that takes you along the river and then up into trail. It is a little bit of a challenging hike but really only because it gets a little steep on the trail. We found it was a good way to wear the little ones out, definitely bring your child carrier unless you want to hold them the whole way down like we had to. LOL!
- The Zion Narrow’s Riverside Walk is a paved trail that leads you up to The Narrows. The walk is scenic, beautiful, and appropriate for most ages.
- Hike The Zion Narrows (bottom up) , I did this one with Spencer (13) at the time of the hike. However, I did see a couple of people who had kids even including a toddler who they wore in their carrier. You can rent gear in town, which is very convenient as the rental shop is not too far from the parks entrance/exit. Plan to start early and make a day of it. You will want to be able to take your time to take in the scenery, grab something to eat after, and you will be really tired from treading water. This hike alone is worth the trip to Zion.
Be sure to give yourself time to explore the shops and restaurants downtown. Springdale is a lovely town filled with small shops to support. We enjoyed exploring the rock shops and getting ice cream. You can even rent e-bikes to ride around the town or Zion National Park, which looked like a lot of fun.
Helpful Tip: Some of the hikes, such as Angel’s Landing, now require permits. Check the parks website to find out if one you want to do requires a permit. None of the 3 I listed require one.
If you are looking for adventure, check out these tours :
- Slot Canyon Canyoneering UTV tour is a bucket list item!
- Stargazing Tour in DarkSky ZNP this sounds like so much fun.
- Private Hike Tour with picnic a great option and you get to see the amazing view ZNP has to offer.
Restaurants and shops to check out :
- Perks! for a coffee or smoothie
- Zion Canyon Brew Pub for a meal or refreshment.
- Cafe Soleil for breakfast or lunch.
- Zion Prospector for some fun rock shopping.
- Zion Guru for gear rentals ( you will need for The Narrows )
- Sol Foods a great little market for snacks and water.
The scenic drive through Zion National Park is a must as well. You can stop off at turnouts to take photos and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. Please note, during shuttle season the “scenic drive” is closed to private vehicles so you must take a shuttle (which are free). You can drive the Zion – Mount Carmel Highway to the East Entrance , which is full of spectacular views.
*Don’t forget you do need either a day pass or a National Parks Pass to enter the park. We found that purchasing the annual pass paid for itself in the first week because you will use it all over Southern Utah. Bonus is it will work at all National Parks all year long! They make it super easy and convenient for you allowing you to purchase an annual pass at the gate if you need to.
If you want to stay in Springdale, for the total Zion Experience. Here are a few hotel recommendations:
- Zion National Park Lodge this one is IN the park!
- Hampton Inn & Suites is a great location, walkable to restaurants & shopping.
- Zion Wildflower Resort for the Luxury Glamping Experience.
That wraps up my recommendations for Zion National Park. As you can see there is a lot to do there, you could easily spend days or even a week there and not get bored.
Let’s move on to other fun things to do in Southern Utah!
Red Reef Trail is an easy hike that leads you up to a small waterfall. Dogs are allowed on this trail and the path is easy to follow. We did a sunset hike and went up to the waterfall, there is a small rope that allows you to get up and around the waterfall if you would like to hike the full trail. Imagine a small rocking climbing moment if you will. We decided to turn around after this just because we wanted to get back to the truck before dark. There is also a camp site at the trail head which we thought would be cool to stay at.
Thunder Junction All Abilities Park was so fun! They have a ton of equipment to play on, which is completely wheelchair accessible. It’s dinosaur themed, has a snack bar, a splash pad, and even a train that goes around the park and garden. The best park we visited in all of Southern Utah ( and we visited a lot)!
There are a lot of great museums in St George such as Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum, a Dinosaur Museum, and a Children’s Museum to check out on non-adventure days.
Pioneer Park is a great family hike. Dogs are allowed and it’s perfect for sunset as it is short, but there is a lot to explore in there so give yourself a couple of hours at least. There is even a cute little garden that you can walk called The Garden Park at the entrance of Pioneer Park.
Make an evening of your adventure and head into St. George, UT (which is about a 5-10 minute drive) for dinner.
Aspen Mirror Lake in Dixie National Forest is a must see. It is a super easy trail for the family, bringing a little picnic to enjoy by the lake is a nice touch too. We really enjoyed this day and the drive in is beautiful.
If you want to grab a bite to eat Duck Creek Village is just a few minute drive from the lake, and has great restaurant options!
Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Kanab is such a fun place to visit. You can take ( or rent ) sleds and snowboards to sand surf. We went close to sunset and the colors of the landscape were mesmerizing. If you have quads or 4×4’s you will love this area even more.
While you are in Kanab, there are slot canyon and caves you can hike. Such as Buckskin Gulch and Belly of the Dragon.
This private tour will take you to slot canyons via UTV, and you can even sand board on the tour too!
Bryce Canyon National Park, another chance to use your National Parks Pass. From the moment we entered the park, I fell in love with everything about Bryce Canyon. The tall variety of pine trees line the park throughout and the hiking trails are jaw dropping. We hiked the Wall Street and Queens Garden loop which was family friendly with lots of fun surprises throughout. We stopped and had a little picnic about halfway through. This trail rates as one of my top 5 favorite hikes to date.
If you would like to do a tour of Bryce Canyon National Park this is a great guided one.
Helpful tip: Bryce Canyon National Park has a few educational opportunities that your kids can sign up to take before visiting. That way when they visit you have turned your adventure into a Road-schooling lesson ! Hands on learning is the best kind after all. They can even become a Junior Ranger if they desire.
We stayed a few nights at Ruby’s Inn – which has both a lodge and an RV park. We stayed in the RV park, but the lodge was really nice! They are both located on the Main St, which means walkable access to shops and restaurants. You can even catch the shuttle into Bryce Canyon National Park on Main St.
Moab hands down is my favorite place we have visited on our full-time RV journey thus far. I am creating an entire blog post of our adventures in Moab. Check back for that blog link here soon. There is plenty of fun stuff to do with kids ( and even more without kiddos in tow ) and I really hope to visit again one day!
A super helpful app for your Utah adventure is Roadtrippers (use code BTR5QTP for $5 off) you can plan your whole road trip in this one app. Find the coolest spots to stop at along your route, estimate your gas prices, find restaurants, book hotels and tours, and even share your route with your friends. We love using this app to find unique stops we would have never found otherwise. If you are an RVer like us, they even have an RV upgrade that has RV GPS and partners with campendium (which a great resource for finding places to camp/RV!
I hope that you found my guide to Southern Utah useful. If you have any questions about my recommendations, please feel free to reach out via email or on Instagram or TikTok. Happy exploring, I hope you and your family have a wonderful adventure!
*Please note, this post does contain affiliate links in which I make a commission off of if you choose to purchase via my links in this post. I appreciate your support and am so grateful that you trust my recommendations