St. George city in Utah is such a great place to take a quick getaway. The city has grown so much over the years and has added so many amazing parks and attractions along with all the great outdoor activities.
Many venture to St. George for sporting tournaments and Spring Break. We visit St. George frequently as my husband does business in the area. Every time we visit, we find something new and fun to do. Here's a list of 14 of our favorite cheap or free things to do while in St. George:
1 – Glitter Mountain or you can find it on Google Maps under the name of Old Gypsum Crystal Mine. It's about 10 miles away from St. George and located just across the Arizona border. This has become a popular spot in the last couple of years. The mine shown above is actually owned and because of years of people chiseling at the mine, it is now unsafe. The owner has asked that people respect his claim and not to chisel rock from the mine.
IMPORTANT: Signs have recently been set up by the BLM asking visitors to respect the active mine claim. You are still welcome to come and enjoy the shiny rocks, but leave the picks at home and stay away from the actual mine. You can find plenty of shiny rocks scattered around the ground and taking some of these little rocks is not a problem, however, if people continue to pick away at the mine – it will likely be closed off. Please be respectful to the owner's request and if you want a large amount of selenite rock, contact the mine owner. Find more details here>>
Cost: A sign has recently been added that in order to keep the mine open, you are asked to pay per crystal. Prices start at $1 each and Venmo or Paypal information is listed on the sign to make your payment.
2 – Pioneer Park is an outdoor playground where the kids can jump and climb on the rocks. This 50+ acre park includes covered picnic tables, bathrooms, and an amphitheater with fire pit.
You can find areas to boulder, a cave, a slot canyon, and beautiful views of the city of St. George below. This is a free community park that is a rock climbers paradise.
Location: 240 Red Hills Parkway, St. George
3 – Main Street Splash Pad is a great place to relax and bring a picnic. There are plenty of shade covered seating areas to keep the parents happy while the kids splash around.
Location: 82 S Main Street, St. George
4 – Parks – St. George has some of the best parks! Here are two amazing parks:
Canyons Park – This is a great “big kids” park that has a ninja warrior course, race track, slides and more. Check out our Instagram highlight story “Canyons Park” for some video highlights.
Location: The Hell Hole trailhead where Washington Parkway and Telegraph Street meet.
Thunder Junction Park – is an all abilities park in St. George. This park is amazing with an erupting volcano, ziplines, splash pad, train and so much more. Check out our review with all the details here>>
Location: 1851 S Dixie Drive and next to the Tonaquint Park Complex
5 – St. George Children's Museum is an awesome interactive museum that goes easy on the wallet. There are two floors of multiple theme rooms that you could easily spend an entire day exploring.
You would assume that because admission is so cheap, that the museum must be run down or have little to offer. You would be wrong!
Cost: $6.25 per person; kids 2 and under are free.
Location: 86 S Main Street, St. George
6 – Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Babylon & Hurricane Area – The Babylon area is located immediately north of the Virgin River between the communities of Leeds and Hurricane, Utah. It is a fairly remote area accessed primarily by irregularly-maintained dirt roads and jeep trails. Seven trailheads are located in the area including the Toquerville Mine, Sand Cove, Sand Cove Primitive Recreation Site, Mineshaft, Historic Babylon, East Reef, and Babylon Mill Site. A total of thirteen trails are situated here. One of our favorites is Babylon Arch. It's a moderate 2.2 mile hike. The trailhead starts in the southeast corner of the primitive Sand Cove Campground. If you have a good 4 wheel drive vehicle, you can park at the campground and your hike is only 1.5 miles from this point. You will find some of the most beautiful rock formation along the entire hike.
Location: Near Leeds about 40 minutes from St. George
7 – Knarraville Falls is about 40 miles from St. George just east of the town of Kanarraville. This is a moderate hike that is probably not very well suited for very young children. We found various references for the length of this hike from 3 miles up to 5 miles round trip. We found that it was closer to 3.5 miles which was very doable for my kids ranging in ages 7-13.
This is a water hike and your feet will get wet. I would definitely recommend water shoes to hike in. We hiked it during the beginning of April and the water was frigid, but I've heard that the water is always very cold no matter what time of year you hike – it just doesn't feel as cold when the temperature heats up.
You hike through a beautiful slot canyon in about 3 inches of water before you reach one of two waterfalls. The first waterfall has a log built into a ladder to help you up the waterfall. After the second waterfall you will find a fun swimming hole with a mossy rock slide. We didn't make it to the swimming hole since our kids' feet were too frozen.
Cost: A permit system is now in place and costs $15 per person (children 7 and under free) and includes free parking. There is a limit to the number of hikers per day so it is recommend to order your permits online in advance.
Location: Take exit 42 to New Harmony/Kanarraville. Turn right on Hwy 144 and take an immediate left onto Harmony Ridge Dr/Old US 91. Continue about 4.5 miles into Kanarraville and turn right onto 100 North. Follow 100 North 3.5 blocks.
8 – Sand Hollow State Park Located 15 miles east of St. George. This is a great place for all kinds of fun activities where you can camp overnight or just spend the day. There is an area of red dunes where you can drive off highway vehicles. Or spend the day on the reservoir where you can boat, rent paddle boards, kayaks and more. There is a section of rocks on the reservoir that attracts a crowd for cliff jumping. We found a small cliff just to the south of these rocks that was perfect for our younger kids to jump.
Cost is $15 per vehicle ($20 on weekends) or $10 for Seniors . Camping fees start at $35 per night.
Location: 3351 South Sand Hollow Road, Hurricane
9 – Paddle boarding, kayaking, or just playing in the sand:
Fire Lake Park Located just in Ivins just 15-20 minutes from St. George. This is a beautiful 4 acre area with sandy beaches, grass area, picnic tables and bathrooms. Fresh water from the Gunlock Reservoir is piped into the swimming area and drains over a spillway into the rest of the reservoir. This keeps the swimming water clean. You can't beat the views here. Motorized boats are not allowed.
Location: 1508 Crescent Moon Trail, Ivins, UT 84738
Lake At The Hills Located in Cedar City and less than an hour North of St. George. This is a fun 11-acre reservoir hidden within the neighborhoods. Fish are added to the lake every Spring and kids under 12 years old can fish free – there is a limit of 2 fish per person. There's a nice sandy beach perfect for digging and beach toys.
There is a boat ramp for non-motorized boats and restrooms are available.
Location: W Royal Hunte Dr, Cedar City (Just East of the Cedar City Aquatic Center)
10 – Red Reef – Trail head is located at Red Cliffs Campground just 15 miles north of St. George. This is an easy, family friendly hike that is 1.44 miles. This trail includes a waterfall, swimming hole, and pictographs. The waterfall marks the official end of this hike. There are also some additional hike nearby that are fun, including a hike to dinosaur fossils.
Cost: $5 per car day use fee.
Location: 345 E. Riverside Drive, St. George
11 – Snow Canyon State Park Located just 10 miles from St. George with so many family fun hikes! Here's some of our favorite shorter hikes that are perfect for small hikers:
- Jenny's Canyon – this is a very short (half mile round trip) and easy hike to a slot canyon. Trail is closed annually from March 15 – June 1.
- Petrified Dunes – this is a great area to let the kids hike off the beaten path and climb the fun rock formations.
- Butterfly Trail/Lava Flow Trail – Butterfly Trail and the Lava Flow Trail follow the same path for most of the hike at just 2 miles. There are markers where the Lava Flow trail continues. We found two lava tubes that you could climb down into an underground cave. It is dark inside and you will need a flashlight or we used the flashlight on our phones.
- Johnson Canyon Arch – is actually located just before you enter Snow Canyon on the east side of the road, this is now considered part of Snow Canyon and requires a fee to park. It is 2 miles in length and fairly easy. The Arch has a 200-foot span, making it one of the largest in the area.
Cost: $15 per car. $10 per car for Utah residents. Camping available for as low as $40/night.
Location: 1002 N. Snow Canyon Rd, Ivins.
12 – Zion National Park – definitely ranks as one of our favorite National Parks and is located just 42 miles from St. George. Zion National Park has a free shuttle that runs March to late November to alleviate traffic. Some of our favorite kid friendly hikes are: Weeping Rock, Emerald Pools, and Pa'rus Trail.
Cost: Private Vehicle: $35. Valid for 7 days, Motorcycle: $30. Valid for 7 days,
Per Person: $20. Valid for 7 days. Private vehicles may not drive up the Scenic Drive when the shuttle is operational. All other areas of the park including the east side of the park, the mile-long Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, Kolob Terrace, the Watchman and Pa'rus trails will not require a shuttle ticket. Make your shuttle ticket reservation in advance, tickets will go fast.
Find Fee Free Days Here as well as info on how 4th graders can get a free annual pass.
Location: 1 Zion Park Blvd. State Route 9, Springdale
13 – Tuacahn Theater – Tuacahn holds some of the most amazing concerts and musicals in this beautiful outdoor theater. Plus, if you watch, you can find some pretty awesome deals. We saw Beauty and Beast in the past and happened to get a deal for free kids tickets. Our tickets ended up costing around $15 per person after this discount. Here's some ways to save:
- Follow their social to find any deals.
- Sign up for emails. They will normally send out emails with information on how to save up to 40% off weekdays and discounts on opening nights.
- If you are a Wasatch Savings Card holder or a Dixie Direct Card holder, you can save up to 30% off.
- Check with your hotel, many will have discounts available.
- Veterans can receive up to 20% off tickets Mon-Thur
Cost: Varies based on the show
Location: 1100 Tuacahn Drive Ivins
14 – Utah Shakespearean Festival – located in Cedar City about an hour from St. George. Performances typically run from the end of June until mid-October. This Summer Festival offers Shakespeare plays and contemporary shows. This festival is recognized nationally and has been awarded the Tony Award for “Outstanding Regional Theater.”
Cost: Varies based on the show
Location: The Campus of Southern Utah University in Cedar City
Where to Stay? If you are looking for any hotel discounts, be sure to check out any current deals here>>
We love visiting St. George and there is always so much to do. What are some of your favorites?