Three days is just enough time to get a taste of the Wild West with your wild ones. This family-friendly itinerary will give you a feel for the frontier and its history along with a big helping of adventure and discovery.
Day one will thrill your family and friends with equal parts history and exploration. Get hands-on experience with what life was like on the Western frontier from horse-drawn wagons to pioneer cabins and cannons. If you're just here for the outdoor adventure, head down the road to a non-technical slot canyon experience by clambering through the tight sandstone walls of Kanarraville Canyon.
Day two is all about wet and wow in Zion National Park. Get your hearts pumping with a hike to verdant pools — an oasis in the shade of desert cliffs. Then cool down in the Virgin River as you gaze upward, mouths agape, at the scale of the cliffs that envelop you. Adventurous hikers with the proper footwear can grab a hiking stick and head up the canyon.
Day three for adventurers features options to get on the water — or the beach — at Sand Hollow State Park and explore several short but stunning hikes around Snow Canyon. For families with kids, chase the ghosts of dinos and cowboys. You can literally walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs and see where tracks, fossils and bones have been discovered. Or you can visit ghost towns and imagine what life was like back in the heyday of cowboys and outlaws.
- Territorial Statehouse
- Frontier Homestead
- Kanarraville Falls
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions at the Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum. There are a tremendous number of artifacts on display and a knowledgeable staff to help you navigate it. Enjoy the extensive horse-drawn wagon collection, historic buildings, Paiute native camp, sawmill and replica blast furnace in addition to many hands-on activities and interpretive programs throughout the year. With all this historical context, you’ll finish the day in the great outdoors exploring the non-technical Kanarraville Falls slot canyon. Overnight in St. George.
Get a feel for what life was like for those early pioneers establishing Utah. Visit Utah’s oldest governmental building, which was used briefly as Utah’s territorial capitol. Take a break from the outdoors and enjoy artifacts, exhibits, and a picnic in the garden.
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum tells the story of development in Iron County when in the 1850s, Brigham Young sent Mormon missionaries here to mine and process iron. The museum captures frontier life through a permanent collection, special exhibits, historic cabins and pioneer equipment.
On one hand, you can expect a stunning slot canyon with one of the most photographed waterfall and ladder scenes in Southern Utah. On the other hand, you’ll get to adorn good water shoes and continuously cross the creek on the way to this fun, non-technical slot canyon.
- St. George for Kids
- Emerald Pools Trail
- Gateway to the Narrows
Keep things interesting by mixing the best kid-friendly activities in St. George with the inspiring nature of Zion. Play around St. George’s Pioneer Park, which features a very narrow and fun mini-slot that may hook your kids for life, or stay indoors at the Children’s Museum. Families of budding nature lovers should set out early for Zion, hitting the Emerald Pools and the Riverside Walk. Taller kids may be able to comfortably accompany their parents a ways up the Narrows. Check at the visitor center for other hikes suitable for your family. Overnight in Zion or Springdale or return to St. George.
Discover the best all-ages fun in St. George, the largest city in Southern Utah. Pioneer Park offers a microcosm of the southwest with a pint-sized slot canyon experience and red rock scrambles while the Children’s Museum features several hands-on exhibits on two floors of the historic Community Art building.
Outside of Angels Landing, it doesn't get much more classic than the Emerald Pools. There are three Emerald Pools — Upper, Middle and Lower — and visitors may choose from as many trails. For families with young children, stick to the 1.2-mile round-trip loop to the Lower Pool.
Before the Narrows, there’s the gateway to the Narrows on the Riverside Walk. You’ll enjoy glimpses at the Temple of Sinawava as you stroll the wheelchair accessible, paved trail along the Virgin River. Travelers from around the world gather to splash in the waters at the mouth of Zion’s Narrows.
- Sand Hollow State Park
- Ghost Towns
- Snow Canyon State Park
This is a day celebrating extinction. See extinct pioneer-era ghost towns Grafton and Silver Reef, then check out one of North America’s most significant dinosaur track sites at Johnson Farm. Finally, everyone will love clambering all over the layers of red and white sandstone and ashen cinder cones, or playing in the sand of Sand Hollow State Park — whether on the beach, or on an ATV. The junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert provides diverse terrain for endless fun.
The sprawling 20,000-acre park often feels like a national park. Sand Hollow offers recreation opportunities for nearly every user from boaters to bikers, and OHV riders to equestrians. A favorite destination for local off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts, Sand Mountain provides 15,000 acres of perfectly sculpted dunes.
Take a trip back in time by visiting two abandoned Southern Utah towns from the 19th century. Some say that Grafton is the most photographed ghost town in the West, while Silver Reef is a walk through time thanks to the remains of the once-bustling town.
Cut by water, sculpted by wind and time, Snow Canyon’s Navajo sandstone cliffs share the same history and geology as Zion National Park, one hour to the east. It is a national park-caliber destination in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve that is popular with road cyclists, hikers, climbers and families.