St. George sits at the southwestern edge of Utah and is a major destination for Utah natives to spend a few days enjoying the sunshine or hiking through the nearby Zion National Park or Snow Canyon.
St. George is definitely worth a visit when traveling through Utah! It really has it all, with all the amenities of the city, really amazing restaurants, incredible red rock hikes, broadway-style outdoor theater, multiple reservoirs for boating, dinosaur track sites, camping, and comfortable hotels.
My family and I visit pretty often as a quick weekend getaway with so many fun things to do. It’s a great place to get some sun in the spring and fall when it’s chilly up north where we live.
Keep reading to learn about our MUST DO & MUST VISIT spots in St. George!
What Should I Do When Visiting St. George?
Downtown St. George
Downtown St. George offers a variety of attractions and activities that cater to different interests. Here are some of the best things to do:
- St. George Tabernacle: Visit the historic St. George Tabernacle, a beautiful building that serves as a symbol of the city’s pioneer heritage. It often hosts concerts and other events.
- Ancestor Square: Explore Ancestor Square, a charming area filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and unique restaurants. It’s a great place for leisurely strolls and finding locally made crafts.
- Brigham Young Winter Home: Take a tour of the Brigham Young Winter Home, which offers a glimpse into the life of the early pioneers. The home showcases period furnishings and provides interesting historical insights.
- St. George Art Museum: Discover the art and culture of the region at the St. George Art Museum. It features a collection of both contemporary and traditional art, with a focus on the Southwest.
- Town Square Park: Relax in Town Square Park, a central gathering place in downtown St. George. The park offers shaded areas, picnic spots, water features, and a splash pad, and often hosts concerts and community events. Kids can even ride the St. George Carousel at this park!
- Utah Tech University: Take a walk through the picturesque campus of Dixie State University, located near downtown. You can explore the campus grounds, visit the art gallery, or catch a performance at the Cox Performing Arts Center.
- Historic Main Street: Explore the shops, boutiques, and eateries along Historic Main Street. It’s a vibrant area with a mix of modern and historic buildings, offering a unique shopping and dining experience.
- St. George Children’s Museum: If you’re traveling with kids, visit the St. George Children’s Museum. It offers interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that encourage learning through play.
- Kayenta Arts Village: Located just outside of downtown St. George, the Kayenta Arts Village is worth a visit. It features art galleries, studios, a theater, and a cafe, all set against the backdrop of the stunning red rock scenery.
Snow Canyon State Park is a stunning natural gem located near St. George, Utah. This picturesque park covers over 7,400 acres and offers a diverse landscape of red sandstone cliffs, volcanic cones, lava flows, and sand dunes.
Snow Canyon offers a wide variety of hiking trails for all skill levels, as well as, camping, biking, rock climbing, photography, and a stunning scenic drive!
If you are planning to visit Snow Canyon, you may consider reading through our article about the best things to do in Snow Canyon.
There is a $10 fee per car to visit.
Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
The Red Cliffs National Conservation Area in Utah is a captivating desert landscape of towering red sandstone cliffs, vibrant flora, and diverse wildlife.
It’s a sanctuary where you can immerse yourself in nature’s embrace, hike through canyons, witness stunning rock formations, and capture the beauty with your camera.
This place holds a rich cultural history with ancient petroglyphs and a deep sense of connection to the land. It’s a haven for adventurers, nature lovers, and those seeking an escape from everyday life.
It also holds one of our very favorite hikes, the Red Reef Trail, at 1.4 miles out and back, it’s an easy family-friendly hike that will blow everyone away.
Don’t forget to check out Elephant Arch and the Dinosaur Tracks here also!
There is a $6 fee to access the area.
Tuacahn Amphitheatre is a renowned outdoor theater located in Ivins, near St. George, Utah. It is nestled in the breathtaking red rock canyon of the Padre Mountains, providing a stunning backdrop for world-class performances.
Tuacahn is well-known for its exceptional productions, including Broadway musicals, concerts, and original shows. The theater attracts top-notch talent from around the country, and the performances are renowned for their high production value and professional execution.
We recently watched their new show, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and were blown away by the incredible quality of the show.
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Pioneer Park in St. George, Utah, combines natural beauty, outdoor activities, and historical significance into a single destination.
Whether you’re hiking the trails, climbing the rocks, enjoying a picnic, or simply appreciating the stunning views, Pioneer Park provides a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.
This is one of our favorite spots to go with all ages! There are paved trails, climbing opportunities, and unique landmarks.
One of our favorite spots in Pioneer Park is called The St. George Narrows (pictured above) aka “The Crack”. It is a slot canyon that narrows significantly as you travel through it!
This is definitely a hair-raising experience, especially if you are claustrophobic!
It is a favorite of our kids and they always run through it over and over again! The best part is the very end, as you climb up and on top of the rocks that you just squeezed through and get amazing views of the city!
Another favorite stop in Pioneer Park is the Boy Scout Cave (not to be confused with the 4-mile hike to Scout Cave near Snow Canyon!)
This Boy Scout Cave/Cabin is just off the parking lot. There are signs for both this and the narrows. It is a room inside the rocks with a fireplace and legends of scout camps taking place inside of it!
It is really neat to see inside and climb up around where there is a fire pit and once again, incredible views of the city!
Also not to be missed in Pioneer Park:
- The Sugarloaf
- Pioneer Park Arch
Red Hills Desert Garden
Located right next to Pioneer Park is Red Hills Desert Garden.
Red Hills Desert Garden is a free botanical garden that showcases a diverse array of plant life and offers a tranquil retreat for visitors. As you wander through the garden’s pathways, you’ll be greeted by vibrant desert flora, including cacti, succulents, and other native plants.
The garden’s design is a harmonious blend of natural elements and artistic features, with stunning rock formations, water features, and sculptures that enhance the beauty of the surroundings.
With its educational exhibits, peaceful atmosphere, and breathtaking vistas of the red rock cliffs in the distance, Red Hills Desert Garden provides a serene and captivating escape where you can immerse yourself in the beauty and resilience of desert ecosystems.
For those with kids, don’t forget to check out the dinosaur footprints on display!
One of my favorite things about St. George is the massive amount of hiking trails!
Whether you are out exploring Snow Canyon, hiking through Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, or hiking to St. George’s Candy Cliffs, there are so many incredible places to explore!
Some of our favorite trails in St. George (not inside a park or fee area) are:
- Yant Flats (Candy Cliffs): 3.4-mile trail with incredible multi-colored rocks that almost make it look as if you are walking on ice cream or sherbet!
- Aspiration Trail: This 2.4-mile trail leads up a hill overlooking St. George and along the way, hikers have placed a collection of painted rocks. There are TONS, and it is so fun to see them and read the encouraging rocks along the way! You can even paint your own to place here along the trail!
- Chuckwalla Trail: Located in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, this moderate 4.5-mile loop trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding red rock landscape.
- Turtle Wall Trail: This moderate 3-mile out-and-back trail in Red Cliffs Desert Reserve offers stunning views of the Turtle Wall, a towering red rock formation.
- Paradise Rim Trail: A moderate 3-mile loop trail near Santa Clara with beautiful views of the Santa Clara River, Snow Canyon, and the desert.
Please note that the difficulty ratings are subjective and can vary depending on personal fitness levels and hiking experience.
It’s essential to assess your abilities and choose hikes that are appropriate for you. Additionally, be prepared with proper hiking gear, sufficient water, and sun protection for a safe and enjoyable experience on the trails.
- Read Hiking In The Desert: 11 Things To Know Before You Go for more great tips.
- Don’t miss our Zion Recommended Gear for help when packing!
Glitter Mountain is a Gypsum Mine that is located about 25 minutes outside of St. George and down some dirt roads into Littlefield, Arizona.
Glitter Mountain does have an active mining claim but is open to the public to visit and take some rocks home!
The owner of the mine asks that you stay out of the pit, but you are welcome to visit, walk along the edge, and collect some rocks from outside of the pit.
There are signs there to teach about the Gypsum Mine, as well as signs with instructions, rules, and a Venmo or Paypal handle if you want to collect rocks!
If you do visit, please be sure to follow all the posted rules and guidelines so this mine can stay open to the public.
Zion & Springdale
St. George is only a 45-minute drive from Springdale and the Southern Entrance to Zion National Park.
This makes it an ideal location for visiting the National Park throughout any season!
Zion National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder with its majestic red rock cliffs, dramatic canyons, and diverse ecosystems. Zion offers a truly awe-inspiring experience for visitors.
The park is renowned for its iconic landmarks such as Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Emerald Pools, which attract adventurers and nature enthusiasts from around the world. Hiking trails of varying difficulty levels allow visitors to explore the park’s stunning landscapes, from easy walks along the Virgin River to challenging hikes with breathtaking views from dizzying heights.
Zion National Park does require a $35 entrance fee that is good for 7 days.
Springdale is the town closest to the Southern Entrance of Zion and is a destination in itself!
With its stunning backdrop of towering red cliffs and the meandering Virgin River, Springdale offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and small-town charm. The town is known for its vibrant art scene, eclectic shops, and excellent dining options (check out our article), providing a delightful atmosphere for visitors to explore and unwind.
- Visiting Zion and need a game plan? Check out our itinerary.
- Check out our Zion National Park Trip Planner Page for all our resources on Zion.
If you are a history buff, you are in luck because St. George is near two historic ghost towns:
Silver Reef: Located approximately 15 miles north of St. George, Silver Reef was a thriving silver mining town in the late 1800s. Today, remnants of the town can be found, including old buildings, mine shafts, and a museum that provides insights into the area’s mining history. You can also visit the museum to see artifacts and learn more about the history of the area.
Grafton: Situated just south of Zion National Park, Grafton is an abandoned town that was settled in the mid-1800s by Mormon pioneers. The town was eventually abandoned due to conflicts with Native Americans and the challenges of farming in the area. Several structures, including a schoolhouse and a cemetery, remain and offer a glimpse into the town’s past.
Please note that these ghost towns are historic sites, and some caution should be exercised when exploring them. Additionally, be mindful of private property and respect any posted signs or restrictions.
- Read all about Grafton Ghost Town Near Zion National Park.
Reservoirs & Watersports
St. George, Utah, is surrounded by several reservoirs and lakes that offer recreational opportunities and beautiful natural settings. Here are a few noteworthy ones:
- Sand Hollow Reservoir: Located just a short drive from St. George, Sand Hollow Reservoir is a popular destination for boating, swimming, fishing, and other water activities. The reservoir’s clear blue waters are surrounded by red sandstone cliffs, creating a picturesque backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts.
- Quail Creek Reservoir: Situated approximately 15 miles northeast of St. George, Quail Creek Reservoir is known for its scenic beauty and excellent fishing opportunities. The reservoir is stocked with a variety of fish species, including bass, trout, and catfish, making it a favorite spot for anglers.
- Gunlock Reservoir: Gunlock Reservoir, located about 20 miles northwest of St. George, offers a serene setting for boating, paddleboarding, and fishing. The reservoir is surrounded by red rock cliffs and is a peaceful escape for those seeking a quieter outdoor experience.
- Kolob Reservoir: Situated in the higher elevations of the Pine Valley Mountains, Kolob Reservoir offers a scenic mountain retreat. The reservoir is known for its trout fishing and provides opportunities for camping and hiking in the surrounding area.
- Baker Reservoir: Located in the Baker Dam Recreation Area, about 25 miles north of St. George, Baker Reservoir offers a peaceful setting for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. The area is also home to diverse wildlife and provides opportunities for birdwatching and nature exploration.
These reservoirs and lakes near St. George provide opportunities for water-based activities, fishing, and enjoying the natural beauty of the region.
Each offers its own unique charm and recreational amenities, making them great options for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking to relax and unwind in nature.
St. George, Utah is home to a variety of parks and green spaces that offer opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and connecting with nature. Here are some notable parks in St. George (some I have talked about in this article but still felt should be included in this list):
- Pioneer Park: Located on the outskirts of downtown St. George, Pioneer Park is a unique park known for its red rock formations and panoramic views. It offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and rock climbing opportunities, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities.
- Town Square Park: Situated in the heart of St. George, Town Square Park is a vibrant community gathering place. It features a splash pad, shaded seating areas, a carousel, and a concert stage. The park hosts events, farmers’ markets, and live performances throughout the year.
- Vernon Worthen Park: This spacious park is located near Utah Tech University and offers amenities such as basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, and open fields for various sports and recreational activities.
- Tonaquint Park: Tonaquint Park is a large park with beautiful green spaces, walking trails, and a disc golf course. It also features sports fields, a fishing pond, a playground, and shaded picnic areas, making it a versatile space for outdoor enjoyment.
- Red Hills Desert Garden: Although technically not a park, Red Hills Desert Garden is a unique botanical garden that showcases the desert flora and landscapes of the region. It offers walking paths, educational exhibits, and a serene environment to explore and learn about desert ecosystems.
- Thunder Junction All Abilities Park: Designed to be inclusive for children of all abilities, Thunder Junction is a park featuring accessible playground equipment, a splash pad, a dinosaur-themed train, and plenty of shaded areas. It offers a safe and fun environment for children to play and explore.
- Canyon Park: This brand-new park is sure to be a family favorite! There is an obstacle course, with a timer, a race track for running, and some really incredible slides! This park is geared toward older kids.
- Crosby Family Confluence Park: Located along the Virgin River, Crosby Family Confluence Park is a beautiful park with walking trails, picnic areas, and a kayak launch. It offers scenic views of the river, and lush vegetation, and is a great spot for birdwatching and enjoying the peaceful ambiance of the natural surroundings.
These parks in St. George provide residents and visitors with a wide range of recreational opportunities, from outdoor sports and activities to tranquil spaces for relaxation and appreciation of nature. Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, play, or simply enjoy the outdoors, St. George’s parks offer something for everyone.
St. George, Utah is a fantastic destination for biking enthusiasts, offering a wide range of trails and scenic routes for riders of all levels. Here’s some information about biking in St. George:
- Mountain Biking: St. George and the surrounding area boast excellent mountain biking opportunities with diverse terrain and stunning landscapes. Popular mountain biking trails include Gooseberry Mesa, Bearclaw Poppy Trail, Zen Trail, Barrel Roll, and the J.E.M. Trail. These trails offer a mix of technical challenges, flowing singletracks, and breathtaking vistas, catering to riders of different skill levels.
- Road Cycling: St. George features scenic road cycling routes that offer a mix of challenging climbs and picturesque views. One popular road cycling route is the Snow Canyon Loop, which takes you through the stunning scenery of Snow Canyon State Park. Another scenic option is the ride through the beautiful Pine Valley Mountains. St. George also hosts the annual Tour de St. George, a road cycling event that attracts participants from around the region.
- Bike-friendly Infrastructure: St. George is committed to promoting cycling as a means of transportation and recreation. The city has been expanding its network of bike lanes and paths, making it more bike-friendly.
Remember to always prioritize safety when biking in St. George. Wear a helmet, follow traffic laws, and be mindful of your surroundings. Carry enough water, especially in the desert climate, and check local weather conditions before heading out.
Where Should I Eat In St. George?
St. George has been upping its food game in recent years! Here are some of our go-to St. George restaurants:
|George’s Corner Restaurant
|This popular downtown eatery offers a diverse menu with options ranging from burgers and sandwiches to pasta and seafood. The relaxed atmosphere, friendly service, and live music make it a local favorite.
|Anasazi Steakhouse and Gallery
|Located in the heart of St. George, this upscale steakhouse provides a unique dining experience. Enjoy mouthwatering steaks, fresh seafood, and an extensive wine list in a beautiful setting adorned with Native American artwork.
|Offering a blend of Southwest and contemporary cuisine, Painted Pony is known for its elegant ambiance and expertly crafted dishes. The menu features dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a delightful and flavorful dining experience.
|Sakura Japanese Steakhouse
|This comfortable hibachi spot also serves up incredible sushi rolls and fun cocktails.
|This French cuisine spot features savory and sweet crepes, sandwiches, salads, pasta, and more!
|This authentic Mexican restaurant is known for its birria tacos. They have great carne asada, pastor, and chicken.
|Red Fort Cuisine of India
|If you enjoy Indian Cuisine, this is the spot for you! Some of the best Indian food you can find in Utah!
|Hawaiian Poke Bowl
|For a taste of Hawaii in the desert, head to Hawaiian Poke Bowl. This casual eatery serves up fresh and flavorful poke bowls with a variety of toppings and sauces. It’s a great option for a healthy and delicious meal.
Where Should I Stay In St. George?
St. George, Utah offers a variety of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are a few highly regarded places to stay in St. George:
- The Inn at Entrada: This luxury resort is located within the gated Entrada at Snow Canyon community. It offers beautifully appointed casitas and suites, access to a championship golf course, tennis facilities, a fitness center, and a spa. The serene desert setting and impeccable service make it a top choice for a luxurious stay.
- Homestead Ranch Resort (pictured above): This family-friendly resort offers glamping cabins, RV and tent spots, as well as a variety of activities such as paddleboarding, ranch animals, basketball, a playground, cornhole, and more.
- Red Mountain Resort (book here): Nestled against the stunning red rock cliffs, Red Mountain Resort is a wellness retreat that offers a range of activities and spa services. Guests can enjoy outdoor adventures, fitness classes, healthy cuisine, and relaxation in a peaceful and rejuvenating environment.
- Inn on the Cliff (book here): Perched on a cliffside, this boutique hotel offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding landscapes. The modern and stylish rooms, along with a rooftop bar and pool, create a memorable and upscale experience.
- The Advenire (book here): This upscale hotel is situated in downtown St. George and features a blend of modern and historic architecture. With spacious and elegantly designed rooms, an outdoor pool, and an onsite restaurant, it offers a luxurious and convenient stay.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites St. George (book here): Perfect for those seeking comfort and value, this hotel offers clean and well-appointed rooms, a complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool. It’s conveniently located near shopping and dining options.
- Snow Canyon State Park Campground: If you enjoy camping, what better place to do it, than amongst the red rocks of Snow Canyon? Beautiful surroundings, tent sites, group sites, and partial hook-ups are available at this campground.
What Do I Need To Know Before Visiting St. George?
St. George is an incredible destination and as such, is popular among tourists and locals alike. For this reason, traveling to St. George during Holiday Weekends and school breaks can make your trip busier than expected!
We suggest traveling during the off-season and when Utah schools are in session. If this is not a possibility, plan for larger crowds.
Arrive at your destinations early in the day, make reservations when needed, and allow extra time to visit popular spots!
St. George is a desert environment and gets hot! Prepare for the weather, bring sunscreen, and plenty of water along with you on your adventures!
- Don’t miss How to Spend 1 Day in St. George, Utah.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
Zion National Park is crowded!
Need a game plan to avoid the crowds? Check out our itinerary.
Most travelers want to visit the most popular sites and still avoid the crowds. We have a detailed itinerary that gives you a step-by-step game plan so you can get to the best places at the right times.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO
ZION TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about Zion National Park, check out our Zion Homepage
THINGS TO DO: Don’t miss all that Zion has to offer including Emerald Pools, Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, and Kolob Canyons
WHERE TO EAT: Check out the best places to eat in and near Zion National Park
GREAT CITIES TO STAY OR CHECK OUT: Learn where to stay or camp when visiting Zion and explore some amazing cities nearby including St. George, Kanab, and Cedar City
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Find out if you need a reservation and how to use the shuttle system as well as if you can drive in Zion, which entrance to use, and how to avoid crowds
WATCH: Enjoy videos of gorgeous Zion National Park while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Zion YouTube Playlist