It is hard to label it as a “hidden treasure,” but most passersby have no idea there are so many things to do in St George, Utah. This charming city has a wide variety of historic, cultural, scenic, and family-friendly destinations that deserve a place on your road trip itinerary.
In this extensive and comprehensive travel guide, you will discover the best things to do in St George. The post has been divided into sections for outdoor and nature lovers, art and culture buffs, and for families. At the end, you will also find some of the more impressive places worth visiting on your way out as well.
For example, you may not yet know about a place photographers often refer to as “Little Zion”. Or that there are a handful of slot canyons and petroglyphs hidden away nearby.
St George is full of amazing things to do see and do, all of which can be found below.
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Map of the best things to do in St George
We have created an interactive Google Map with all the best places to visit and things to do in St George that are mentioned in this blog post. Click here or on the image below to open the map in a new tab.
Outdoor things to do in St George
This section is for the landscape photographers, hikers, and nature lovers. While Zion National Park is surely the major attraction nearby, there are a plethora of other natural places to see nearby. If you are planning on spending some time traveling Utah, you may want to consider purchasing a state parks pass as many of the nearby treasures are maintained by the state.
Sat atop St George and encompassing 52-acres, Pioneer Park is a great place to spend an afternoon. Whether you’re looking for a spot to relax or a mini-adventure, this community park is the perfect place. Offering spectacular views over the city, it is a popular spot for climbing and hiking. There are also ample covered picnic tables as well as a pavilion that allows for BBQing.
Many of the attractions in Pioneer Park are easily accessed with minimal walking, including Dixie Rock (aka Dixie Sugarloaf), St George Narrows (aka The Crack), and Pioneer Park Arches.
St. George Narrows (The Crack)
This fun slot canyon is only a short walk from the parking lot and is well worth a stop. The wider side of the slot canyon is closest to the car park, as you walk through it continues to narrow to a point where some adults may not be able to squeeze through any further! Those that are small enough (mostly kids!) can make it out to the other side but it is a tight squeeze and not for the claustrophobic.
Dixie Rock (Dixie Sugarloaf)
This is the best place in St George to watch the sunset, with views stretching out over the city all the way to White Dome, Zion National Park, and even Arizona on a clear day. It is a short walk from the parking lot and easy enough for kids to get to. Although it’s worth noting that there are no railings at the top so be sure to keep an eye on little ones that like to run around.
Pioneer Park Arches
Just behind The Crack are two red arches, in fact, they are visible from the parking lot to the slot canyon. They are not signposted so can be easy to miss! You will want to park at the first parking area after passing Red Hills Desert Garden and follow the Pioneer Rim Trail to the left to reach the arches.
While they may not be the most impressive arches in southern Utah, they are certainly worth the short hike and are a fun thing to do in St George.
Red Hills Desert Garden
Opened in 2015, the Red Hills Desert Garden is located in Pioneer Park overlooking St. George. It is Utah’s first desert conservation garden, showcasing endangered species and promoting water conservation.
The garden is a wonderful place to see a variety of desert flora over 4.5 acres. Here you’ll discover 5000 water-efficient plants as well as an 1150 foot stream containing native and endangered fish species, a replica slot canyon, and 200-million-year-old dinosaur tracks.
Remarkably, the Red Hills Desert Garden uses only five million gallons of water per year. This might sound like a lot but is in fact less water than a similar-sized turf landscape!
Entrance is free and there are restrooms, water fountains, and many benches around the garden so you can take your time to enjoy the beautiful gardens. Find out more at Red Hills Desert Garden.
Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park completely exceeded our expectations and, in our opinion, could compete with plenty of the US National Parks in terms of beauty! This spectacular park offers a variety of trails and landscapes to explore, from towering sandstone cliffs to sweeping sand dunes, striking slot canyons, ancient lava tubes, and desert landscapes.
There’s plenty to do in Snow Canyon State Park including hiking, cycling, rock climbing, horse riding, camping and, of course, photography.It’s well worth setting aside at least a day, if not more, to explore Snow Canyon. Below are a few of our favorite places in Snow Canyon that you need to add to your St George itinerary!
You can also find out more about this beautiful park in our guide to Snow Canyon State Park.
As you enter Snow Canyon from St George, your first stop should be Jenny’s Canyon. Just a short 0.3-mile hike from the parking lot, the sandy trail leads you through native desert bush including yucca, sagebrush and other native plants.
At the end of the trail, you can go left into Jenny’s Canyon or right to an overlook. Although only small, the many cracks and crevices make it a truly fascinating slot canyon to explore. It also provides some respite from the heat if visiting in the summer!
Petrified Sand Dunes
The Petrified Sand Dunes were supposed to be a quick stop… However, we loved them so much we ended up spending hours exploring them leading up to sunset and then staying at the Snow Canyon campsite so we could go back again in the morning to see them in the early morning light! That’s how much we enjoyed this place.
Swirling patterns traverse the rock, meeting striking colors to create a scene that is reminiscent of Mars! Rather than having a specific trail, the rolling hills of Navajo sandstone are free to explore, providing a photography playground full of unique textures set against candy cane striped cliffs.
Butterfly Hike – Lava Tubes
If you’re looking for a way to get out of the heat or just want to do some cave exploration, consider the short hike to the Lava Tubes in Snow Canyon State Park. There are multiple trails to reach them, but the Butterfly Trail is the shortest and easiest option. Starting from the Petrified Sand Dunes parking lot, you can reach the lava tubes via a short and relatively flat 1.2 mile roundtrip hike.
The lava tubes themselves are very fun to explore. They also provide a cool place to escape the summer heat for those of you visiting in the hotter months.
Petroglyph Slot Canyon
One of the most amazing things to do in St George and Utah in general is to explore the various slot canyons that only exist in the Southwest. Of those in the region, Petroglyph Canyon is one of the smallest but also one of the neatest. In the Petroglyph slot canyon, you will find ancient drawings carved into the vertical walls.
The canyon is located within the borders of Snow Canyon, but the official hike along the Gila Trail is a tough 8 mile journey. There was previously a much shorter trail, but it passed through private property and is now completely shut down.
With that said, it is still possible to access the Petroglyph Slot Canyon via a fairly short route. If you park on the SR-18 just south of 4200 N, from here you can connect to the Gila Trail. This is not a simple route and I recommend you do some research and download offline maps to reach it, but it is only short and definitely worth it!
Sand Hollow State Park
Looking for some sand to curl your toes into? One of the best things to do in St George for families and outdoor lovers alike is to head to the beach at Sand Hollow State Park for the day. This gorgeous, orange-sand beach is located just a short drive from St George.
There is camping and plenty of water activities available for those of you wanting to spend more time on the water. Otherwise, it is a $20 day use fee for non-residents, or $15 for locals.
We didn’t have as much time as we would have liked here but plan on spending at least one sunset with a beer and a camera here on the next visit.
Sand Hollow is also a very popular spot for ATVs with over 6000 acres of sand dunes to explore. If you want an adventure, consider a sunset ATV tour at Sand Hollow.
Quail Creek State Park
Perhaps the most underrated thing to do in St George, Utah is a visit to Quail Creek State Park. This idyllic lake is tucked into the mountains and provides incredible scenery, swimming, camping, and water activities. The best part is that there is free access for those who do not have the Utah state parks pass.
Be aware that the free section is accessed next to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Google Maps will take you instead to the beach, which offers facilities and a more gentle shoreline than the free section.
Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
You will see the impressive red cliffs surrounding the city throughout your time in St George. If time permits, take half a day and drive out to the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. There are some beautiful campgrounds with water hook ups and affordable costs for those wishing to stay the night, but a few hours is enough time for most visitors.
Of the hikes available, the best is the Red Reef hike to a small but beautiful seasonal waterfall. While it was unfortunately dry during our visit, the pools and colors were still extremely photogenic. In addition, the short 2.2 mile roundtrip walk feels even shorter as you can’t help but admire the scenery in all directions.
Yant Flat (Candy Cliffs)
A hidden gem near St George, the Candy Cliffs of Yant Flat offer otherworldly landscapes of sweeping Navajo sandstone mixed with desert scenes. Access is via a rugged dirt road which requires four-wheel drive and high clearance but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular natural wonders.
Yellow, pink, orange, and red striped mounds and hills of petrified sand dunes stretch out before you. The area also provides views back over St George, Sand Hollow, and Zion. Its difficult access has helped to keep this place somewhat unknown and you may even be lucky enough to get the place to yourself!
St George Hot Air Balloon Rides
For a unique way to see St George, consider a hot air balloon ride. Take in a birds-eye view of St. George, Snow Canyon, and the surrounding area as you gently soar up to 3000ft above it all!
Find out more about hot air balloon rides here.
Arts/Cultural things to do in St George
St. George is brimming with interesting history and culture. It is well worth spending some time exploring the historic downtown and learning more about this fascinating city. There is also a thriving art scene here, with galleries and museums aplenty.
It is worth noting that most of the museums in St George are only open Weds-Sat so plan accordingly and check current opening times to avoid disappointment.
Explore the Historic Downtown
Downtown St George is full of history, art, and culture with a number of museums, historic buildings, and art galleries. While the city was settled in 1861, these new occupants were far from the first.
The earliest residents known to live in the area were the Virgin River Anasazi, who lived here from around 200 B.C. until 1200 A.D. These were followed by the Pauite Tribe then later the first European settlers, the Dominguez-Escalante Party in 1776. It’s therefore unsurprising that there is such a rich history to be discovered here in St George.
You can learn more about the history of St George in one of its many museums. It is also a beautiful place to have a stroll in the evening, admiring the old buildings and art sculptures dotted about. You will also find plenty of shops and restaurants in downtown St George. Below are some spots in Downtown St George that you don’t want to miss that are all in easy walking distance of each other!
The historic Pioneer Courthouse was built in 1876 and over the years has been used as a courthouse, jail, school, and offices. In 1970 the building was added to the National Historic Registry. Today the courthouse is open to the public for free tours. Inside you can find out more about the history of St George as well as see original paintings of Zion National Park and Grand Canyon.
St. George Tabernacle
St. George Tabernacle has functioned as a place of worship and a location for community gatherings for over 150 years. Completed in 1876, the tabernacle was built by the Latter-day Saints after being commissioned by Brigham Young to provide a place of worship for the new settlers. The building is open to the public for tours.
Downtown Art Walk
All around downtown, you’ll find sculptures, many of which are installed by Art Around the Corner. Many of these are located in Town Square and the Sculpture Garden. You can locate the many sculptures in the area using their sculpture walking map.
Green Gate Village
Home to 14 historic buildings, Green Gate Village is a beautiful part of downtown St George to explore. Today, you can find an inn, restaurant, shops, and a general store within the village. As the oldest business in town, Judd’s Store is perhaps the most famous of these properties. For over 100 years, Judd’s has served as a general store and it still boasts its original shelves, counters, safe, and scale.
Brigham Young Winter Home Historical Site
Brigham Young was the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and founder of Salt Lake City. This building was his home during the winter months from 1870 to 1877. As a key Mormon figure, Brigham helped influence the development of the American Southwest and is a name you may frequently come across in this area.
St George City Art Museum
Once a sugar beet storage facility, the St. George City Art Museum has transformed this building into a beautiful space for showcasing artwork of local and regional artists. You will also find many exhibits from different cultures and times. The gallery is open Weds-Sat from 11am to 6pm and is well worth a visit while in St George.
The Art Museum is also a great place to visit with kids. The Family Discovery Center allows kids to create their own art.
Jacob Hamblin Home
A historic residence and museum in the Santa Clara region, the Jacob Hamblin Home provides insight into the life of the Mormon pioneer and missionary. The building is open for public tours and has been restored and furnished to reflect its appearance in the 1860s.
St. George Utah Temple
The St. George Utah Temple was the first temple built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Utah. Completed in 1877, the St. George Temple is the oldest temple still actively used by Mormons.
The building is currently closed for renovations which are estimated to be complete in late 2022 to earlu 2023 so it is not possible to visit the temple at present. However, the grand building can be seen from many spots across St. George, nestled against a backdrop of red rocks.
Tuacahn Center For the Arts
If you love theatre, or even if you don’t, catching a show at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts is one of the best things to do in St George. In fact, it might be the best venue for theatre in the nation!
The stage at Tuacahn is set amidst the deep-red rock of Snow Canyon. Watching talented up-and-comers perform classic shows in a scene that belongs in a national park is one of those experiences that you will never forget.
Kayenta Art Village
Just 20 minutes from St George, the Kayenta Art Village is a destination in its own right. Home to a number of art galleries, studios, restaurants and shops, a visit to Kayenta Art Village is a great place to relax and explore. You can discover many businesses offering an array of items from fine art to gifts, photography, pottery, events, classes, yoga, gourmet food and coffee.
Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum
Also known as the McQuarrie Memorial Museum, the museum was built in 1938. The purpose-built museum was created to house artifacts, photos, and stories from those who settled in Washington County in the 1800s. It is owned and operated by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Companies.
Admission is free and it is a great place to learn more about the recent history of the area and the struggles the pioneers face while settling here.
Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum
Aprropriately located just past the airport, the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum is dedicated to preserving, restoring and displaying aircrafts. As well as learning about these historic aircrafts, there are also a couple of planes that it is possible to climb into making it a fun attraction for kids (and big kids) in St George.
Fun things to do in St George with kids
Many of the destinations and activities in this guide can also be enjoyed by families with kids. However, we wanted to make sure to include some of the things to do in St George that do not require hiking and that kids will love.
St. George Children’s Museum
As the name suggests, the St. George Children’s Museum has been designed with kids in mind. This fun and interactive museum has 12 exhibit rooms where visitors are encouraged to touch, feel, play and explore. The museum’s entire focus is on fun and imaginative play while providing educational opportunities for both children and adults alike.
It is definitely a must-do in St George with kids. The museum is closed Tuesdays but open every other day, with slightly shorter opening times on a Sunday. Admission is $5 per person and free for under 2-year-olds. Check the St George Children’s Museum website for up-to-date opening hours and current exhibits.
St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site
What kids don’t love dinosaurs? I know I still do! At the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm you can discover a 200 million-year-old ecosystem that dinosaurs once called home. The museum has been built around the in situ dinosaur tracks that were discovered here in 2000. As well as ancient dinosaur footprints, many fossils have been found in the area, including fish and dinosaur bones, leaves, seeds and aquatic animal shells. It is a true delight for geology buffs.
In addition to the many fascinating relics, there are five life-sized models of prehistoric animals which are a hit with kids. You can also visit the fossil prep lab where you can watch volunteers preparing fossils from all over Utah. The activity area is a great spot for the little ones, with a range of rotating activities including finding fossils, dinosaur-themed games, coloring pages and a scavenger hunt!
We have a new activity area in the lobby of the museum. We will have rotating activities such as finding fossils, dinosaur-themed games, coloring pages, and more. Remember to ask about our scavenger hunt!
Find out current opening times and admission at the Dinosaur Discovery Site website.
Parks and Playgrounds
One of the things that makes St George such a great place to visit with kids is its abundance of parks and playgrounds to let the little ones burn off some steam. As well as those mentioned in the outdoor things to do in St George section, there are many designed with kids in mind.
Town Square Park
Located in the heart of the city, St George Town Square is a beautiful city park with a fun splash pad, perfect for warm summer days. Additionally, there is a wading river and waterfall where kids can splash and play in the water. The park also boasts plenty of shaded picnic areas and grass for a leisurely afternoon.
St George Carousel
Added to the area in 2014, the St George Carousel is conveniently located within the boundaries of Town Square. The carousel is a restored antique from Chicago and adds a nostalgic feeling to the park. Rides on the carousel are popular with children and an affordable attraction in St George at $1 per ride.
Thunder Junction Park
Located within Tonaquint Park, Thunder Junction Park is an excellent all abilities park. This dinosaur themed park has wheelchair-accessible playground equipment, as well as a climbing wall, zipline, an “erupting” volcano, splash pad, and train ride.
This fairly new park is a great spot for children of all ages and abilities to play and there’s so much to do, you could easily spend the whole day here with the family.
Other City Parks
There are a number of other city parks around St George that provide picnic areas and playgrounds, perfect for spending an afternoon outside with the kids. Some of these even include splash pads too, such as Cottonwood Cove Park.
Other popular parks in St George include Tonaquint Park, Mathis Park, Royal Oaks Park, and Vernon Worthen Park. You can find a full list of city parks and their various amenities on the St George City website.
Silver Reef Ghost Town
The small “ghost town” of Silver Reef make for a fun thing to do in St George with kids. Once a booming silver mining town, Silver Reef is long abandoned and now only a few buildings remain. Pick up a map at the museum and take a self-guided walk around the various historic buildings and gain some insight into how people lived here in the late 1800s. As well as its fascinating history, Silver Reef also boasts spectacular panoramic views.
You can also combine a trip here with Leeds Creek Kiln which was built in 1885 and supported the mining operations for the Silver Reef Mining Area.
Fun Food and Drink in St George
As this is not a culinary blog, we wanted to keep the scope of this section to just things that are uniquely St George. The following suggestions are not necessarily the best places to eat (we do not feel qualified to make those judgments), but they have come with a delicious history and charm that is hard to find these days.
Dinner at Chef Alfredo’s
Located in the Green Gate Historic Pioneer Village, Chef Alfredo’s offers excellent Italian food in a historic setting. Expect authentic Italian cuisine from an Italian chef in the heart of this American city.
Dessert at Nielsen’s Frozen Custard
A firm favorite for over 30 years, Nielsen’s Frozen Custard is a family-run business offering what they claim to be the best ice cream! And the reviews back this up. Their frozen custard contains less air than other ice cream, making it heavier and smoother. Additionally, it is served at 26°F (-3°c) rather than 10°F (-12°c) like most other ice creams, preventing the cold from numbing your taste buds and giving the frozen custard more flavor.
Drive in at Larsen’s Frostop
In 1965, when Larsen’s Frostop was opened it was part of a nationwide chain of 350 franchised root beer stands. The chain went out of business in the 1980s but Larsen’s Frostop was continued as a private business and still thrives today! The old-fashioned drive-in offers typical fast food; hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, and shakes, all at a cheap rate.
Beers at Zion Brewery
A great spot to try some local craft beers, Zion Brewery is located in a 1918 firehouse in downtown St. George. They have a variety of beers on tap to try, as well as a billiard room, shuffleboard, and lounge for a relaxing evening.
Things to do near St. George
While St George offers a huge amount of things to do, you’ll also discover many other incredible places nearby.
If you’re visiting St. George as part of a bigger Utah or Southwest road trip you may want to consider adding some of these places to your itinerary too. Or even visit them as a day trip from St George.
- Kanarra Falls, UT (41 miles, 40 minutes)
- Zion National Park, UT (41 miles, 54 minutes)
- Kanab, UT (80 miles, 1 hour 24 minutes)
- Valley of Fire State Park, NV (89 miles, 1 hour 26 minutes)
- Bryce Canyon National Park, UT (141 miles, 2 hours 14 minutes)
- Grand Canyon North Rim, AZ (145 miles, 2 hours 36 minutes)
- Page, Arizona (150 miles, 2 hours 34 minutes)
Where to stay in St George
There are a number of different options for places to stay in St George for all budgets and accommodation types. We stayed one night in the Snow Canyon Campground and another night at the Ramada by Wyndham. The Ramada was only $60 for the night, which seemed a great rate for what was provided, including a good buffet breakfast.
However, we always recommend checking current prices and availability to find the right deal for you. Browse current rates and reviews for accommodation in St George here.
Other regional guides
Chances are, you are visiting St George as part of a bigger road trip through Utah or the Southwest. If you found value and/or inspiration in this guide, you may want to load some of our other guides to nearby destinations:
Final thoughts on things to do in St. George
We traveled to St. George from Nevada as part of our journey from Las Vegas to Zion National Park and ended spending more time here than we’d planned! St. George is typically a gateway city for Zion National Park or a quick stopover on the way. However, we truly think that there’s so much to do in St George that it is deserving of being a destination in its own right too.
We hope we’ve convinced you to visit St George and that you have just as an amazing experience here. As always, we aim to bring you the most up-to-date, accurate information. If you notice anything is out of date or incorrect, please leave us a comment and let us know. Of course, we also just love nice comments so feel free to leave us those too 🙂
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