Surrounded by red cliffs, St George is a great base for southern Utah exploration. Located close to an abundance of national and state parks, some of the best things to do in southern Utah include hiking in Zion National Park, swimming at Quail Creek State Park, and mountain biking in Snow Canyon State Park.
Back in the city itself, head to historic downtown St George for the best restaurants, art galleries, and shops in St George, Utah. While in the area, don’t miss visiting Ancestor Square either. Continue reading to discover more fun things to do in St George, Utah at night and during the day.
1. Snow Canyon State Park
Carved from red and white Navajo sandstone in the Red Mountains, Snow Canyon State Park has mild winter weather with minimal snow. It was in fact named after Lorenzo and Erastus Snow – two Utah leaders from the 19th century. The park’s other distinguishing characteristics include lava tubes and flows, sand dunes, and cinder cones. There’s over 16 miles of hiking trails within Snow Canyon State Park, as well as technical rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and camping opportunities.
2. Virgin River
Virgin River is a tributary of the Colorado River. At 162 miles long, it flows through Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Over the course of 13 million years, the Virgin River has carved through Zion National Park’s sandstone cliffs. It’s even responsible for The Narrows, which is one of the country’s most popular hiking trails. Near St George is the Virgin River Trail, a 6.5-mile point to point easy trail that naturally follows the Virgin River.
3. Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
Red Cliffs National Conservation Area is a part of the larger Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, which was created to purposefully protect the threatened desert tortoise species. Located at the convergence of several different desert ecosystems, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area features both breathtaking scenery and animals you won’t find anywhere else in the world. It has many hiking and biking trails as well, but don’t miss walking either the Babylon Arch or Red Cliffs Nature Trail.
4. Sand Hollow State Park
Red rock meets blue water and sandy beaches at Sand Hollow State Park, which surrounds the Sand Hollow Reservoir. Declared a state park in 2003, it quickly became one of Utah’s most popular parks. Sand Hollow Reservoir’s warm water means it’s the perfect place for watersports like stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and skiing. Other recreational activities to enjoy in Sand Hollow State Park include camping, fishing, boating, and ATV riding on trails through the sand dunes.
5. Quail Creek State Park
Just like Sand Hollow State Park, Quail Creek State Park features a 600-acre warm water reservoir with sandy shores as well. It’s also popular for camping, fishing, boating, and swimming. Fish that may be caught include rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, and bullhead catfish. Watersport rentals are also available in St George. Thanks to its mild winter climate, don’t miss Quail Creek State Park if you’re searching for fun things to do in St George, Utah year-round.
6. St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson
The St George Dinosaur Discovery Site began in 2000, when local optometrist Dr Sheldon Johnson discovered a fully preserved three-dimensional dinosaur track on his property. Dr Johnson then arranged for the land to be cared for by the City of St George, which resulted in the Dinosaur Discovery Site. Today it’s one of the top things to do in St George, Utah for families, as children can see thousands of fossilized dinosaur footprints, uncover replica fossils, and play with dinosaur puzzles.
7. Pioneer Park
Located on the edge of Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Pioneer Park is walking distance from the downtown area. It’s popular with both hikers and rock climbers. Head to the top of Dixie Rock (also known as Dixie Sugarloaf) for incredible views over the city and Zion National Park. Pioneer Park is also home to Pioneer Park Arch, Red Hills Desert Garden, and he St George Narrows. The latter is a great place for kids to crawl through and under rocks.
8. Red Hills Desert Garden
Following on, Red Hills Desert Garden is a five-acre preserve within Pioneer Park. It’s actually Utah’s first interactive desert conservation garden, with over 5000 water-efficient desert plants. Red Hills Desert Garden also has a 1150-ft stream that’s home to native and endangered fish species; a replica slot canyon; and prehistoric dinosaur tracks. Found onsite, the dinosaur tracks date back over 200 million years. Visiting Red Hills Desert Garden is one of the best free things to do in St George, Utah.
9. Zion National Park
One of America’s most visited national parks, Zion National Park is defined by its soaring red cliffs and flourishing low valleys. It’s home to world-famous hikes like Emerald Pools Trails, which takes you past spring-fed pools and waterfalls; Canyon Trail for sweeping views of Zion Canyon; and West Rim Trail, the most popular backpacking trail and an overnight trip. Other things to do within Zion National Park include driving along the Zion Park Scenic Byway, canyoneering and rock climbing, and bird and wildlife watching.
10. St. George Historic Downtown
St George’s historic downtown district is home to the city’s best dining, shopping, and entertainment options. It’s also where you will find Ancestor Square, which has been the “art and soul” of St George since the 1860s. Located on the corner of W St George Boulevard and N Main Street, the square includes 12 separate buildings that house restaurants, shops and art galleries. Ancestor Square also hosts events like the weekly Downtown Farmers Market, and a free summer concert series in its courtyard.
11. Brigham Young Winter Home Historical Site
Brigham Young was president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the 19th century. Along with his family, he lived in St George between 1870 and 1877, where he was instrumental in directing the settlement of southern Utah. From 1872, the Young family lived in what is now known as the Brigham Young Winter Home. Today, visitors can tour the historic site, which has been restored and furnished to resemble life in the 1870s.
12. Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum
If you’d like a break from the hiking St George and its surroundings are known for, check out Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum. Located just past the local airport, the museum is dedicated to preserving, restoring and displaying aircraft. There are usually seven or eight planes on display, and a couple are reserved for kids (and adults) who want to pretend to be a pilot! The museum also has exhibitions on aviation in general, as well as WWII aviation history.
13. Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site
The Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site is located a 30-minute drive south of St George; straddling the Arizona border. The site consists of an easy one-mile hike around sandstone cliffs and boulders that are covered in ancient petroglyphs from approximately 6000 years ago. There are over 500 individual rock art designs, which may have had social or religious meanings. With an exposed trail, it’s best to avoid Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site during hot summer days.
14. Palledin Balloon Excursions
One of the most exciting things to do in St George is a hot air balloon ride. Operating year-round (except for certain summer days), Palledin Balloon Excursions is a family-owned and operated business. The flight itself is for approximately one hour in the early morning, but the experience lasts for three to four hours. From up above you will get a bird’s eye view of St George, Snow Canyon State Park, and Zion National Park.