My mom’s had access to this stellar condo down in St. George for a few years now (Las Palmas at Green Valley Resort), so you could say I’ve become somewhat of a regular when it comes to visiting that part of Southern Utah. So, because I’ve been around the St. George block a few times, I decided to pass on some ideas of things to do while you’re down in the land of red rock and sun:
1. Pack a picnic and check out Snow Canyon (pictures showing off your mashed-up food not optional)
Snow Canyon is full of all the things that make Southern Utah a popular jaunt for outdoor enthusiasts, honeymooners, senior citizens, and families alike—hikes ranging from a couple hundred yards to several miles, a small visitors center, places to picnic and camp, random human-size spider webs to play on…you know, the works.
If you happen to be visiting in late summer and early fall, go to the visitors center and check out options for guided night hikes that explore the canyon’s flora and fauna of the nocturnal variety.
But if that isn’t an option, just grab some cold water and kick back in one of the rocking chairs just outside the visitors center that overlook the general splendor of the canyon (no hiking required!).
2. For history buffs and lovers of all historical landmark sites, take the 15-minute drive outside of Snow Canyon and check out the Mountain Meadows Massacre site.
While not the most cheerful place, the monument is beautifully kept and makes you stop and appreciate the modern world a bit more.
If you happen to go with people who seem to make friends wherever they go (like my mom and stepdad do), be prepared for some unexpected downtime. Things I wished I would have brought on this little day trip out: a hat, sunglasses, and maybe a magazine.
(Yes, they were talking to random strangers for THAT long).
But, since we didn’t have those luxuries and there was a lack of people to practice people-watching on, we went ahead and made friends with the local wildlife.
3. Whether a member of the LDS church or not, take some time to walk around the St. George Temple. This building took almost 6 years to build and is a historical gem worth checking out (the building was completed in 1877).
4. As with any vacation, make sure you don’t overplan. Leave yourself plenty of time to just kick back and relax with a book, look out on nature, go swimming, enjoy the free cable, etc.
The two books I took with me on our trip were The Silver Linings Playbook and The Happiness Project, both excellent vacation reads (well, for me anyway). Stay tuned for my full review on both books at the beginning of next month.
5. If you’re not a Utahn (and even if you are), make sure you check out Nielsen’s Frozen Custard on a particularly hot day. This custard stand has won national awards multiple times for their creamily delicious custard. Trust me, it’s worth the $5-6 to get one of their world-famous concretes.
6. Another splurge that’s definitely worth it is a trip out to Tuacahn, St. George’s renowned outdoor theater. The theater stages fantastic musicals nearly year-round, and if you’re willing to fork over an additional $13 a person (or so), you can get their all-you-can-eat buffet before the show starts (each buffet menu is catered around the theme of the current show playing) .
While there this time, we checked out their recent production of Starlight Express, an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical I’d never heard of about a trip inside a young boy’s imagined world of trains come to life. Not only was the music upbeat and catchy, but I was particularly delighted that all the “trains” performed all their numbers on rollerblades.
(Plus, this was the first time that Starlight Express had ever been approved for a regional theater production, which I thought was pretty cool.)
Whatever you do in St. George, above all, remember these three things: sunscreen, extra water, and air conditioning. Once those three are covered, you’re ready to have your next favorite vacation 🙂