Looking for fun things to do in St. George, Utah? I visit this sunny Southern Utah city nearly every year, and I find something new and delightful every time.
Outdoor activities dominate this list because spectacular scenery and sunny winter weather are what set St. George apart from other Utah cities. It's Southern Utah's largest city, so you'll find lots of hotels, vacation rentals, and restaurants to choose from – plus just about anything else you may need.
St. George, Utah is an affordable destination for families. Nearly all the activities on this list are free or inexpensive.
Here are my favorite things to do in St. George, Utah.
Zion National Park
St. George is about 45 minutes away from the entrance to Zion Canyon – the most popular section of Zion National Park.
Zion Canyon has a mandatory shuttle system most months of the year, and just getting a parking space inside the park can be tricky. I recommend visiting Zion Canyon on weekdays or during the off-season and saving other parts of Zion National Park or other local activities for holiday weekends.
Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park is a red rock paradise for hikers, bikers and sightseers. This small, but scenic park is surrounded by new neighborhoods, but once you're inside, they feel a million miles away.
My kids love playing in the bright orange sand dunes and I love the scenic trails and walking paths. There is a paved bicycle path through most of the park that leads all the way into St. George.
Related: 5 Ways to Play at Snow Canyon State Park
If you look at the hills above downtown St. George, you can't miss “Dixie” Rock. That is where you'll find Pioneer Park, just off of Skyline Drive. Pioneer Park is a natural area bordering Red Cliffs Desert Preserve. It's a beautiful place to climb around and explore the red rocks. From the top of Dixie Rock, you'll be able to see Zion National Park and Arizona.
This free public park has restrooms and picnic areas. It borders the new Red Hills Desert Garden, which is also free. This beautiful manicured garden is a wonderful place for families to explore and learn about the natural plants of this desert region.
Related: Best Places to Stay in St. George
St. George Children's Museum
The St. George Children's Museum is a new family attraction located on two floors of the historic Dixie Academy Building in downtown St. George. I was impressed by how many fun hands-on activities they have been able to squeeze into the space. Admission is around $5 per person, and it's a bargain.
The St. George Children's Museum is a fun indoor activity for families with kids under age 12. My 10-year-old found plenty of activities he liked and rated the St. George Children's Museum above some larger and more expensive children's museums we've visited. It is located next to a park with a splash pad and carousel. A new public library can be found next door. Learn more at www.sgchildrensmuseum.org.
The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm is a must-see attraction for dinosaur lovers of all ages. This family-friendly museum is built over the site where a huge number of dinosaur tracks, tail drags, skin prints and swim tracks were discovered in 2000. These rare Jurassic-era tracks are a gold mine for paleontologists because they show how dinosaurs moved and behaved.
You'll walk through the site on a boardwalk. There is lots of signage to describe the prints. You'll also find a small display room with activities for children and an outdoor garden with picnic tables and a small play area. Learn more at www.utahdinosaurs.com.
Tuacahn Amphitheatre is an outdoor performing arts venue set against the stunning backdrop of Snow Canyon State Park. It produces family-friendly musicals from May – October each year, and is a year-round concert venue. The 2020 musical lineup is Beauty and the Beast, Annie, The Count of Monte Cristo and Smokey Joe's Cafe.
Most people visit Tuacahn in the summer and fall, but Tuacahn hosts concerts throughout the year and several fun Christmas activities too. Look for ticket discounts in the middle of the week or late in the season when tourist traffic slows down. Learn more at www.tuacahn.org.
Related: What to Do at Tuacahn at Christmas Time
Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
When I attended Southern Utah University, Red Cliffs was our go-to getaway on spring days that were just too beautiful to spend in class. Today Red Cliffs is better than ever, with improved trails and facilities.
Hiking and camping are the main attractions in this beautiful park just off of Interstate 15. It is fun to hike and climb up the river on a hot day. Another favorite short trail will take you past dinosaur prints and end at a spectacular view point. There is a small entrance fee, which is waived for National Parks annual pass holders.
Related: 4 Ways to Save on National Park Fees
There are several ghost towns within a short drive of St. George. The three that I have visited are Grafton, Silver Reef and Old Irontown.
Not all the roads near these sites are paved. Silver Reef and Old Irontown should be accessible with nearly any vehicle. Grafton's road is a little rougher, so proceed with caution.
Grafton is located near the Springdale entrance to Zion National Park. It is recognizable in the classic movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and very picturesque. In Rockville, turn south on Bridge Road. Get detailed directions at https://graftonheritage.org/directions/.
Silver Reef is located just off of Interstate 15, near Red Cliffs and Leeds. You'll find a museum in the old Wells Fargo building and a number of ruins set in the middle of an eclectic modern neighborhood. Learn more at www.silverreefutah.org.
Old Irontown is located just off of Highway 56 near Cedar City, about an hour north of St. George. It is a protected site in a modern neighborhood with a parking lot and restrooms. You'll see beehive-shaped kilns and a number of ruins with interpretive signage.
Related: What to Expect at Grafton Ghost Town
The Brigham Young Winter Home and the Jacob Hamblin Home are both pioneer-era homes that are open for free tours daily. Children are welcome. This is a great way to learn about the history of St. George and its early residents.
The St. George Temple was the first temple built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) in Utah. Visitors are welcome to walk around the grounds and tour the visitor center.
St. George has a longer outdoor swimming season than anywhere else in Utah. On my last February visit, it was still a little chilly for swimming, but my hotel's outdoor pool was open. Pool time is one of the best ways to enjoy St. George in the summer when temperatures are often above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Three state parks near St. George – Quail Creek, Sand Hollow and Gunlock – have reservoirs where families can enjoy swimming and water sports. If the weather is uncooperative, try the indoor water park at Sand Hollow Aquatic Center.
St. George is one of my family's go-to getaways because it's sunny and warm almost year-round and there are lots of things to do. I hope that this list helps your family plan a great Southern Utah trip.
How else can I help?
Need a place to stay? I generally stay at the Hilton Garden Inn or Comfort Inn near the convention center, but there are many great hotels and vacation rentals in St. George to choose from. I really enjoyed the family-sized condos at Coral Springs Resort. Check rates and reviews at TripAdvisor or VRBO.com.
Need more ideas for your Southern Utah trip? The St. George Area Tourism Office is also a great resource at www.visitstgeorge.com.
I live in St. George and wasn’t aware of a lot of these! Thank you for sharing your finds!!
Thank you for your post! We’re heading to Utah in December, and I was looking for educational activities to do with the kids. You’ve given me a way to fill to our itinerary, and now I know to pack the long sleeve rash guards; no clue the weather might be agreeable for swimming. Thanks again.
Thank you, Candace! The weather may be too cold for outdoor swimming in December, but it’s always good to go prepared.
We went to “Glitter Mountain” yesterday with my 11, 7 and 6 year olds. It was amazing!!!! Thank you!
I’m so glad you had a great time! It really is a fun place.
Re Glitter Pit. This site is not open to the public.. it is an active mining claim and has been for years. anyone going there and taking rocks is Claim Jumping
Hi Art. Thanks for sharing this information. I have looked into it, and will update my advice regarding the Glitter Pit. It sounds like this is a private claim. They don’t mind if people come to look and take a souvenir or two, but internet popularity was causing this place to be loved to death.
We are heading to st George the first week in April. Will put 10 year old son be bored? He doesn’t love hiking and he is bored with parks. We are staying at la Quinta since that’s the best option we could find that will allow our small dog. Do you have any suggestions for us? Is there a better hotel we need to be aware of? Things for us and our 10 year old to do???
Depending on what the weather does in the next couple of weeks, there is a good chance that it will be warm enough to swim outdoors in a heated pool in early April. If not, I’ve heard that the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center is fun. My 10-year-old son was a little old for the Children’s Museum, but it’s inexpensive and he still found enough to keep his interest for two hours. Same with the Dinosaur Track site. Pioneer Park is worth a shot. It’s free, and you don’t have to hike there – just explore. It’s so beautiful, with great views of the city. If it fits your budget, we recently took a helicopter tour with Zion Helicopters over the scenery near St. George. It definitely wasn’t boring. 😉 Here is the link: https://tipsforfamilytrips.com/utah/zion-helicopters/
How about just stay home until this covid pandemic is under control? Tired of people showing up here and abusing us..
I live here and hadn’t really heard of these ghost towns before, but sounds fun to check out, thanks! Also wanted to let you know, my family just opened Dandy Tandems in St. George. We rent tandem bikes, beach cruisers, kid bikes of all sizes, longboards and scooters. Something for everyone! And we’re located right on the paved trail system, so you can cruise the trails and explore together in a fun, unique way. We’d love to see you and your family next time you are in town!