Many visitors choose St. George as a basecamp for their visit to Zion National Park. But the city’s location also makes it the perfect spot for visiting southern Utah’s other unique landscapes and destinations, including state parks, other national parks, and more.
There are hundreds of unique destinations located just a few hours from St. George. To help you narrow down your itinerary for your next trip, check out this list of 5 awesome day trips less than a 3-hour drive from St. George.
1. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Just a quick drive from St. George is Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. This picturesque state park is home to more than 3,000 acres of sand dunes, with more than 2,000 of it open to off-roading on ATVs and UTVs. A variety of tour companies in the area offer off-road adventures for beginners and experienced riders.
If off-roading isn’t your thing, you can also hike the dunes or even try your hand at sand sledding! Coral Pink Sand Dunes are the only major sand dune fields on the Colorado Plateau, making it well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
2. Quail Creek State Park
While it may not be quite as well known as Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Quail Creek State Park is another unique park that’s even closer to St. George.
Instead of sand dunes, the park is home to a large reservoir. The weather in the park and the warm water in the reservoir make this a year-round destination for boating and fishing. You can also enjoy hiking, biking, and picnics in the park.
3. Bryce Canyon National Park
While Zion might be the state’s most popular national park, Utah’s other 4 parks are each just as unique, and well worth a visit. If you have time during your next trip to St. George, set aside a day to drive to Bryce Canyon National Park.
Located just over two hours from St. George, Bryce Canyon looks a lot different than its southern neighbor. The park’s main focal point is the massive natural amphitheater, aptly named the Bryce Amphitheater, which is filled with a unique rock formation called hoodoos. There, towering stacks of layered rock number in the thousands throughout the park. Whether you prefer to see the park by car or on foot, there are a variety of overlooks where guests can take in the canyon.
Bryce Canyon sees heavier snowfall than Zion, which also makes it a great place to enjoy winter sports like snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. In the warmer months, hiking, horseback riding, and stargazing are some of the most popular activities among visitors.
4. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Coming in at just under 3 hours driving time from St. George is the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Thanks to its remote location, just 10 percent of people who travel to the Grand Canyon each year visit the North Rim. This makes it the perfect place to take in this natural wonder without the crowds. Similar to the South Rim, the North Rim offers a short, easy trail leading to an overlook where all visitors can enjoy the canyon without having to hike.
The North Rim is home to a Visitor Center, campground, and the Grand Canyon Lodge. However, all three, as well as the road leading to the North Rim, are closed for the winter months, thanks to the heavy snowfall the area receives.
5. Brian Head Resort
Visiting St. George in the winter months is a great chance to experience Zion National Park without the lines and crowds. Much of the region experiences mild weather all year long, but if you want to enjoy some snowy fun, you’re just a short drive away from a winter wonderland.
Brian Head Resort is a full-service ski resort located just over an hour’s drive from St. George. Whether you want to hit the slopes on skis or a snowboard or try your hand at cross country skiing or snowmobiling, you’ll find it all here. The resort is a great way to add a day of winter fun to your next trip to the desert.
Planning Your Next Visit to St. George
If you’re only planning to visit Zion on your next trip to St. George, you’re making a big mistake. Whether you’re looking for unique hiking destinations, heart-pounding off-road adventures, or even just a scenic drive, any of these day trips would be the perfect addition to your itinerary during your time at The Dwellings.