Visiting St. George with kids, and the entire family is a great experience all Utah natives know well. But even for those visiting from out of state, it’s well worth the trip. It’s the perfect spring break, or haven’t-had-enough-summer fall trip, and is it paradise for outdoor families. Kids and adults of all ages will find just more to do than they can imagine.
To get there, fly directly into the tiny St. George airport, or into Las Vegas, then drive less than 2 hours to St. George. Or, if you plan to visit more of Utah, consider flying into Salt Lake City, but it is a bit of a drive at about 4 hours.
We spent spring break in southern Utah this year with our extended family and had an incredible time! We had kids ranging in age from 2.5 years old to 17 years old, and adults as old as mid-60s. Everyone found something they were super excited to do including, golf, amazing restaurants, extreme hiking, etc. We wanted to share a few of our of the reasons we loved being in this area, but they were just SO many. I decided to include only those which applied to for families with kids, particularly younger kids, and that is truly unique to St. George.
1. Paradise Village at Zion
Paradise Village near St. George, in Santa Clara, UT, is a mega home community filled with vacation homes of all sizes and budgets for your family or even extended family. The homes in this community are modern, spacious with all the amenities you need for your family, and there are options with 3 bedrooms all the way up to 9 bedrooms. The community has amazing pools, including a hot tub, and zero-entry pool, plus a lazy river and waterslide. My extended family and I rented a 6 bedroom and 8 bathrooms and found it to be very spacious and comfortable for everyone. It was so nice to have enough space for everyone to have privacy, but also be able to hang out together. The kids loved the pool and the waterpark, and since we were there at the VERY beginning of spring, I was thankful we could warm up in the hot tub after swimming.
Paradise Village is also very close to the Archie H. Gubler Playground, which was well designed for kids of all ages, and included a giant treehouse, a giant ‘rock’ to climb, and a spray park! There is a very nice Harmon’s grocery store and as well as a Cafe Rio restaurant, both less than 5 minutes away.
2. The Weather
Spring and fall weather are magnificent in St. George. We live in the Pacific Northwest, so by early spring, we are OVER the clouds and the rain. St. George starts getting beautiful summer weather while most of the US is still finishing up winter. Our last trip to St. George was in March, and after a late winter, we left snow and ice at home. In St. George, we had beautiful, sunny 70°F days.
Fall is St. George is similar. As temperatures start to fall, and at least in the PNW, the rain begins, St. George still has sunshine and mid-70°F weather. It’s such an awesome escape and just thoroughly enjoyable weather.
As you get into summer in St. George, temperatures rise to higher than MY comfortable temperature range. But with tons of watersports, you can still have fun down there. Speaking of watersports…
3. Swimming and Watersports
The St. George area is jam-packed waterways perfect for swimming and water sports. And since the temperatures do get HOT as you get into summer in St. George, you are going to want to get in the water. The closest/best include Sand Hollow Reservoir, Quail Lake, Ivins Reservoir, and Gunlock Reservoir. All have nice beach areas and allow paddlesports, and all but Ivins Reservoir allow motorized watercraft. There are several rental companies in the area that rent jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, or even boats, but we’d recommend Mad Moose Rentals at Sand Hollow Reservoir. The beautiful red beach at Sand Hollow is a great place littles to play in the sand and shallow water, and bigger kids to head out on a kayak or paddleboard.
Families with older kids will find some great, more advanced swimming holes, such as Toquerville Falls, Little Jamaica, and the waterful in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area.
For imperfect weather, check out the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center, which is indoor and has a waterslide, and tons of fun water toys for kids.
This children’s museum is located in the lower two floors of the historic Dixie Academy in the heart of downtown St. George. The museum is broken into a TON of little areas with different themes. Favorites include flying the airplane, milking the cow, playing medieval dress up (including a dragon!), grocery store… so many! And the price of this place cannot be beat- only $5 per person and children under 2 are free.
It does get crowded, so plan to go early in the morning. Plan to spend a couple of hours here.
Snow Canyon is a great area just outside of St. George with some fun and unique hikes.
5. Snow Canyon State Park
My boys really enjoyed Upper Galoot, which is more of a huge rock that you can climb up and around than a hike. At age 2.5, my twins LOVE hiking but aren’t able to take really long and challenging hikes, so this was great because it had some technical climbs that made them feel like big boys, but we didn’t really have a destination. We just wandered around until we’d had our fill.
Also, check out the Lava Tube Loop. This trail is pretty long for littles, at 3.5 miles total, so plan accordingly. Along the trail, you’ll see some pretty cool large cactus plants and several sections of black rock. The tubes themselves are kind of an underground cave and are extremely dark, so you’ll want a flashlight or two.
6. Pioneer Park
On our way into St. George, we drove past this cool park and decided it would be the first thing on our list the next morning. It did not disappoint! The Dixie Sugarloaf hike overlooks the whole city and is a ton of fun. It’s listed as a hike, but its really just a huge sandstone rock area where you can climb rocks or on top big overlooks, or hide in little caves. I am PRETTY afraid of heights, and I was very comfortable up there with my two toddlers, but the bigger kids were able to find rocks high enough to keep their interests. The view is amazing, and you don’t have to stand anywhere near the edge to see it. You can spend as much or as little time as you want to explore this area.
On the north end of the trail, you’ll find another little gem; the Red Hills Desert Garden. It is a perfectly manicured desert garden filled with red rocks, cacti, and agave. It is small but stunning and definitely worth seeing.
7. UTV Ride at Sand Hollow
Riding UTVs at Sand Hollow State Park with our entire family was such an awesome experience, we wrote a whole separate post about it! We are not a family that is particularly ‘in to’ offroading or anything like that, but it wound up becoming the highlight of our trip to Utah. Mad Moose Rentals allowed us to bring our toddlers in car-seats, and kids and adults of all ages really found what they were looking for.
8. Zion National Park
Zion less than an hour’s drive from St. George, and it is absolutely breathtaking! There are tons of great kid-friendly hikes. Our favorites are the Riverside Walk, the Weeping Rock, and the Emerald Pools Hike. If you are traveling with older kids who are experienced hikers, the Subway and Angels Landing might just be my two favorite hikes EVER.
From March through November, no cars are allowed with the Zion Canyon, so you’ll need to take the shuttle. The shuttle runs frequently and hasn’t been a problem in my experience, but you will want to plan accordingly. Pack a comfortable backpack, and plan to picnic rather than going back out to Springdale for lunch.
The cool thing about this dinosaur attraction is that it was built right at a dinosaur track site. So you’ll get to see the actual, real dinosaur footprints, on the spot they were originally discovered.
Dinosaur nuts will love seeing different types of tracks, skin impressions, etc, and learning all about the animals and what can be discovered from their prints. Kids can do a scavenger hunt and will be able to pick up some bones and watch volunteers working in the lab on real fossils.
Because the museum mostly showcases prints, and anything found on this site, you won’t find a lot of huge dinosaur bones. Smaller children may struggle to understand the importance of the tracks but will enjoy the replicas and the kid’s area with puzzles and coloring. Plus if the weather isn’t TOO hot, the outdoor area with a large climb-on dinosaur and a sandbox is a big hit.
Note that sippy cups or straw cups are not allowed inside of the museum, so plan accordingly.
Tuacahn is a huge outdoor amphitheater right in the middle of a beautiful red rock canyon. The scenery is gorgeous and the shows are even better. While Tuacahn does offer a variety of shows and concerts, they primarily show kid-friendly musicals including lots of Disney Shows. Their crew is very professional and extremely talented and the sets are just beautifully made. The experience is one you won’t be able to have anywhere else in the world that your family will LOVE.
St. George is the perfect multigenerational family destination, and a trip my young kids are still talking about, 6 months later. Who else has visited St. George with kids? Any other favorite activities?