It’s no secret: I love to adventure. In fact, I’m calling this summer “Candice’s Summer of Adventure.” Earlier this year I planned out my entire spring into fall and filled it with all sorts of adventures spanning pretty much the entire state. I’ll be posting about all the places I’m visiting. I hope this gives you a few ideas and shows you just how easy and fun adventuring in Utah can be!
Last month, over Memorial Day, I packed up the offspring and headed south to one of our favorite local destinations: St. George, UT. We have family down there that we love to visit and it’s the perfect excuse for us to take a long weekend for some exploring. We have our favorite spots to stop in at but we also like to venture out of our comfort zone a bit and check out some new ones every time we go down. This trip’s adventures did not disappoint!
- Grafton Ghost Town
A few miles outside Zion National Park, this well-preserved ghost town is a really fun side trip. Just outside of the town is the cemetery. We were lucky enough to be there when some of the descendants of the townspeople buried there were doing some maintenance on the graves. We heard some interesting stories and facts about the town and why it was abandoned.
- Zion National Park
After we visited Grafton Ghost Town, we decided to stop in at Zion National Park since we were so close. Turns out the day we decided to head into Zion also happened to be the busiest day of the year. As such, we spent as much time finding parking and shuttling in as we actually spent in the park. Nonetheless, the views in Zion never fail to disappoint. We found a beautiful spot by the river to dip our toes in and went for a small walk before heading back home for the night.
- Kanarraville Falls
Definitely the highlight of this vacation! This hike had long been on my to-do list and I can’t believe it took me until now to finally make it there. It’s only about 40 minutes north of St. George in the little town of Kanarraville. It’s not too long or strenuous. However, it is a bit technical. My older kiddos (ages 11 and 12) handled it without any issue. My 3-year old was able to hike the majority of the trail but once we entered the slot canyon, he went in the backpack. If you go, I’d really recommend good hiking shoes that will work well in the water. This was one of the most amazing hikes I’ve been on in Utah with kiddos.
- Anasazi Valley Trail
This easy hiking trail is right outside St. George and is perfect for all ages and skill levels. That being said – be prepared! There isn’t a lick of shade and it’s a long trek back to the car if you run out of water (like we did). The kiddos enjoyed catching lizards and horny toads and crawling around all the rocks. I enjoyed all the amazing pictographs and walking in the same steps as the incredible people that once inhabited this harsh land. This would be a great little hike for the early morning hours!
- Little Jamaica
My cousin that lives in St. George suggested we take a drive into Arizona and visit Little Jamaica. It’s only about 30 minutes south of St. George and it’s free, so we decided to check it out. It’s such a beautiful and unique spot. Unfortunately, the locals have all but destroyed it. There was trash everywhere: beer cans/bottles, discarded diapers, graffiti carved into the rock, and piles of garbage. Oh, and it’s located directly underneath the freeway, so it’s loud and really detracts from the beauty. We ended up staying less than thirty minutes before we’d had enough and headed home. Sadly, I would not recommend going.
- Meadow Hot Springs
We discovered these hot springs on our last trip south. That ill-fated trip was a disaster and in a last ditch effort to avoid it from going completely under, I handed the atlas to the older children and told them to plan our route home. They each chose a spot to explore that wasn’t too far off the interstate, and my daughter chose the Meadow Hot Springs.
Fair warning: they are somewhat difficult to find. They are on private land and there are no signs. Directions can be found online or by pulling out a handy dandy map (I’d suggest the map because it’s more fun). Totally worth the time and effort, though! A stop at Meadow Hot Springs has become our new tradition when driving home from St. George.
Although we had a packed itinerary, we enjoyed every minute. There is so much to see and discover in and around St. George! I love exploring with my children and showing them just how incredible Utah is.