One of the things I love most about living in St. George is it's proximity to so many amazing nearby attractions. I've lived in St. George almost 20 years but have been visiting since before I was born so I thought I would put together a list of my top 10 day-trips from St. George, Utah. Please add to this list in the comments if I've left out a great location.
Zion National Park
Duh! This seems like it's a no brainer, but I can't believe how many people I have talked to who still haven't visited Zion, even after living in the area for several years. It's a quick 45 minute drive from St. George...stop what you are doing and just go now! You really don't even need to go in to the park to enjoy it...the town of Springdale is practically the coolest town in the U.S.A. But seriously, just go and do an easy hike like The River Walk or Lower Emerald Pools and ride the shuttle to the Zion Canyon Lodge. Word to the wise, wait until the Fall or Spring for an extensive trip. But don't let that hold you back from visiting one of the top visited national parks in the country. It is absolutely breathtaking any time of year! Here's an extremely informative article from ZionNationalPark.com on the 7 Best Attractions in Zion.
I love visiting the Lodge for cold drinks and appetizers or a tasty dinner on the upper patio. You can't drive to the Lodge during the busy season unless you have a room booked so plan on riding the shuttle in for a peak season day trip.
There are TONS of delicious food options in Springdale! Pizza Noodle, Mimi's Cafe, Oscars, Thai Sapa...just to name a few. You will not be deprived of good food I promise. And that's the best part of traveling, am I right? 🙂
Las Vegas, Nevada
Another no brainer. Vegas is a quick trip down I-15, about 90 minutes depending on traffic and how fast you like to drive. There are so many AMAZING restaurants and shopping venues in Sin City...and my favorites are off The Strip!
Downtown Summerlin makes for a fabulous day trip out of St. George, as well as The District at Green Valley Ranch, both of which are miles from The Strip...just in case that much neon isn't your thing. However, my favorite pizza on the planet is located in The Fashion Show Mall, and a day-trip to Grimaldi's is completely justified. Just please bring me back a pie when you go! (Disclaimer, upon searching for this link I discovered there are now FIVE Grimaldi's in Las Vegas! So you do not in fact have to visit The Strip to enjoy Grimaldi's!)
The North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park
This is only a quick 2 hour and 43 minute drive from St. George and completely doable in a day, unless of course you have plans to hike Rim to Rim or another super epic all day hike. Even then, I believe I have heard of people doing this trip in a day. My family usually just leaves St. George early, makes a quick stop in Jacob's Lake for cookies, spends all afternoon at the canyon MARVELING at it's beauty, then we enjoy a pleasant, easy drive home.
Last year we went the middle of October and it was evident that winter was near approaching because most of the trees had lost their leaves. I think September would probably be the most beautiful time to visit.
We did see a buffalo herd last year on the side of the road which was INCREDIBLE, so be on the lookout for bison. And make sure to grab a quick bit in the Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge...the food is consistently good and the views can't be beat!
Make sure to check that the park is open--the elevation forces closures for winter. If you'd like I'll tell you a funny story someday about my first trip to the North Rim...but for reals, check on availability, and don't plan on getting a room easily. However, if you'd like to stay the night, the Rim View cabins would be dreamy! Just make your reservations well in advance.
Pine Valley State Park
Pine Valley State Park is only about 45 minutes from St. George but about 20-30 degrees cooler in the summer! There is a darling little mountain "village" at the base of the state park, a charming little reservoir/pond for fishing, and plenty of hiking and country living for everyone!
We love to drive up to Pine Valley in the afternoon for an evening picnic...hopefully one day we will have a summer home up there and can enjoy the beautiful mountain all summer long!
In the summertime, on the weekends, the Branding Iron restaurant is open for dinner and they serve some really yummy food! There's also several vacation rentals on VRBO for rent...we rented one for a few days three years ago and had the best trip ever.
It's amazing to live in the hot desert in the St. George valley but a quick drive up Highway 18 transports you to a completely new perspective...another reason why I love St. George!
Lake Powell, Wahweap Marina
Set your alarm and wake up early for the 2.5 hour scenic drive from St. George. Book a trip on the Rainbow Bridge Tour, marvel and awe from the deck of the small cruise ship at the most amazing man made natural wonder EVER, and grab dinner at the Wahweap Lodge when you are done, watching the sunset over Lone Rock Beach. Of course if you can't do the Rainbow Bridge Tour, you can visit the Glen Canyon Dam or hike Horseshoe Bend or Antelope Canyon.
Lake Powell is absolutely amazing...and I know of at least a dozen people who have lived in the St. George area for a long time and still haven't been. Don't wait to see this incredible destination! You will not be disappointed.
Spring Valley State Park, Lincoln County, Nevada
Venture about 9o minutes to the Wild West for this remote day trip! Spring Valley State Park is great for fishing, ATV'ing, hunting, sight-seeing, hiking, and best of all, unplugging. It's located roughly 20 miles from Pioche, Nevada and is about as remote and rural as you can get with ZERO CELL SERVICE, but it's stunning and rugged and beautiful and if you have an adventurous spirit, you will love it.
I actually grew up in Lincoln County and have family still living there so we visit as often as we can, but not often enough. Labor Day Weekend is a fun time to visit...the town swells with crowds and it's quite the scene. If you want to avoid crowds, any other time of year will be peaceful and quiet and serene. We camped at Spring Valley State Park last Memorial Day Weekend and although the campground was at max capacity, you felt like you had the park to yourself. We can't wait to go back!
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
The Valley of Fire is about 90 minutes from St. George heading south on I-15. You get off the busy freeway around Overton, Nevada and head towards Lake Mead. Driving through the barren landscape, you'll probably be questioning my reasoning, but as you get closer, you will start to catch a glimpse of the flaming red rocks and vistas.
There is a nice campground in the park, or you can do a bit of hiking and then keep driving to Lake Las Vegas for some nice restaurant choices.
Make sure to check out the Lake Mead shoreline while you are there as well!
Sand Hollow State Park
Sand Hollow State Park is only about fifteen minutes from St. George, but you can spend the whole day here and never get bored! The water is a million different shades of blue, coral pink sand and rock formations flank the shores, and majestic Pine Valley Mountain looms in the distance. The combination of the beauty of the area and the plethora of activities makes Sand Hollow a local hot spot.
My husband and son did a razor tour with the Sand Hollow Resort and had a blast cruising through the sand dunes overlooking Warner Valley to the south of the reservoir.
You could spend half the day playing in the water boating, swimming, fishing, or kayaking and the other half 4-wheeling through the sand dunes and dirt roads. This is the starting point for the St. George Ironman as well as many other popular events...everyone loves Sand Hollow!
Katy Perry actually filmed parts of this music video at Sand Hollow as well as Snow Canyon State Park...another amazing local hot spot...
Tuweep, Grand Canyon National Park
If you are up for an adventure, have a good 4-wheel drive vehicle and spare tires, and love dirt roads, you would love Tuweep. I've heard it said that Tuweep is the most spectacular view of the Grand Canyon, but not good for small children or those that are afraid of heights due to the sheer drop offs. It is also EXTREMELY remote, with no services whatsoever, so if you make this trip, be prepared and plan ahead. You get to drive the Arizona Strip which in itself is a great day trip on it's own ripe with history and scenery. The Heaton's Bar 10 Ranch would be amazing to visit and has gorgeous views of the Grand Canyon as well as fun excursions such as horseback riding and atv adventures.
Kolob is a quick, semi-easy 1 hour and 20 minute drive from St. George. The road up to Kolob has hairpin turns so drive slow and be cautious. It is high in the mountains and the perfect summer day trip to escape the heat. The reservoir offers great fishing for all you anglers our there!
When you embark on your journey, be sure to pack a picnic lunch and your favorite beverage and a nice relaxing camp chair or even better, camp hammock, in order to fully enjoy the peace of the mountains.
The trailhead for the Subway Hike through Zion National Park is located on the Kolob Terrace Road. It would also be incredible to see the Kolob Arch if you are up for a 14 mile round trip hike! These are just a couple of the awe-inspiring hikes in the Kolob area. Whether you want to sit back and relax or hike the day away, Kolob Canyon is a spectacular territory!
A new destination in every direction!
As you can see, there is a new destination in every direction when you are headquartered in St. George. Winter, spring, summer, or fall...there will not be a shortage of adventure. I can think of at least a dozen other fun spots to explore as well but I'll save those for another post.
Hit me up if you have any questions and please comment below if I've left your favorite hotspot off my list!
Thanks for reading,