When Zack and I decided to add St. George to our nomad life destination list, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew the nature would be good—I’d been to Zion once before and was blown away—but I had no idea HOW good. That little sliver of southern Utah is such a natural paradise, so a lot of my recommendations are based around getting outside and exploring. We also stayed in one of our favorite Airbnbs there, so definitely scroll to the bottom for that link and home tour. While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are my St. George travel guide must-dos.
The best healthy restaurants in St. George
I’m gonna be honest—you shouldn’t come to St. George for the food. I wasn’t blown away by many of the options (I’m just being honest!) but that’s totally fine—some cities are gastronomical destinations, and others are destinations for other reasons. Let’s love things for what they are, ya know?
That said, I know you need to eat while you’re there, so here are my top picks!
Harmon’s Grocery Store—yes, I know it’s weird to start talking about places to eat by sharing a grocery store, but Harmon’s is truly a revelation and it’s a Utah institution. It’s HUGE, and it has the best selection of healthy and organic products at amazing prices. Stock up on Olipop, kombucha, hummus, Siete, and more here. It really is a wonderland, so if you’re into grocery stores (or is that just me? 🙂 definitely hit it up. I would honestly recommend staying in an Airbnb and mostly eating home-cooked meals if the option is available to you!
Viva Chicken — a fast-casual rotisserie chicken restaurant, this was recommended to me by so many locals who all said it was “so much better than how it sounds or looks”—and they were right. It’s the perfect place to grab a quick, delicious, healthy bite after a long day of hiking. While the main dish is obviously chicken, there are plenty of hearty, Peruvian salads and grain-based dishes, making it a great option for vegetarians as well.
George’s Corner Restaurant & Pub — the go-to spot for brunch, George’s serves hearty, delicious dishes. If you want biscuits and gravy, short rib hash, or a cheesy-omelette to fuel your outdoor activities for the day, this is your spot. You can also pay a bit more to have them swap in free-range eggs.
Spotted Dog Cafe — one of my favorite restaurants in the area, this is over in Springdale, right outside of Zion National Park. In fact, you can sit outside and see the red rocks of Zion as you eat your farm-fresh fare. There are lots of vegetable-forward dishes (including not-boring or lame options for vegans) and the setting can’t be beat.
The best hikes in the St. George area
St. George is ideally situated within easy driving distance of both Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park (while you could technically probably do Arches, it’d be a LONG day). While the National Parks are obviously spectacular, the State Parks are also not to be missed. Snow Canyon was magical, mystical, and one of our favorite nature places we’ve been—and it’s only a ten minute drive from downtown St. George.
The Best Hikes In Bryce Canyon National Park
You can see A LOT of Bryce by simply taking a quick walk from the car, so definitely don’t skip it even if you’re not a big hiker. I do recommend driving the full road, all the way to the end—it’s not that far, and everything on it is very much worth seeing. It’s one way, so at the end you’ll turn around and just come back the way you came.
If you’re looking for a full day hike experience, I recommended the Fairyland Loop Trail, which drops into the bottom of the canyon and gives a great overview of what Bryce is all about. You’ll see tons of hoodoos, gorgeous forest environments, and a just a generally impressive amount of diverse landscapes.
If you’re looking for shorter hikes, the best pay off to distance ratio is the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail.
The Best Hikes in Zion National Park (plus, the secret part of Zion that nobody talks about!!)
First of all, some logistics—Zion uses a shuttle system, so visitors aren’t allowed to drive into the park. Instead, you park at the visitor’s center and take an electric bus into the park, which makes stops at the various trailheads. When we went, it was during COVID, so they were selling all of the shuttle tickets (it’s more of a reservation, they go for $1 each) in advance on the park websites. There are bots that make them sell out literally the instant they go on sale, which is deeply annoying, but you can buy scalper tickets by going to the various Zion National Park trail pages on AllTrails (Angel’s Landing, The Narrows). You’ll pay $20, but you’ll have a guaranteed spot.
They also have open tickets that you can buy on site starting at 2 PM, and there’s a private shuttle that seemed to have tickets available on site, but I didn’t get as much info on it.
That all said, the two most famous hikes in the park are Angel’s Landing and The Narrows. You should allow a full day for both, and they’re both unique and very worthwhile experiences.
For Angel’s Landing, you walk up to the very top of one of the peaks that surround the canyon. It was made famous by the last half mile or so of the trail, where you essentially ascend gripping a metal chain on the side of a very steep slope. It’s DEFINITELY scary, but the hike up to the scary part is steep but doable and not scary at all. If you’re scared, just hike up to Scout’s Landing, where you’ll still get incredible views, and you can see that last half mile and decide whether you want to attempt it (remember, even for that, you can turn back at any time!). The trail beyond Angel’s Landing is also really beautiful, and you get some really different scenery within 20 minutes or so (in addition to leaving all the crowds behind) if you wanted to turn it into a longer hike.
The Narrows is essentially a hike up a river—and yes, you’re hiking in the water. You can rent gear at a little shop by the visitor’s center, which is recommended but not necessary. I rented the special shoes, which were helpful but cumbersome, and Zack did the whole hike in his Converse, because of course he did. If you do have water shoes, especially ones with toe protection, I’d definitely recommend them—walking on the river bed feels like walking on a bunch of slippery bowling balls. The water gets deeper and deeper and the canyon walls get narrower and narrower, and it’s really quite an experience, unlike any trail I’ve ever done before. You can go pretty much as far as you’d like on this one—the Wall Street area is the famous part to turn back, but do what feels comfortable for you.
There’s ANOTHER part of Zion that hardly anyone talks about, called Kolob Canyons. It’s north of the main part of the park, and it has its own private entrance and hardly any visitors. Also, unlike the rest of the park, you can drive your own vehicle in. The stand out trail here is Timber Creek, which is super short—only 1 mile roundtrip—and offers some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. Don’t skip this area, if you can! It offers equally beautiful yet incredibly different scenery, and is definitely a hidden gem.
The best hikes in Snow Canyon State Park
Another hidden gem, Snow Canyon has stunning lava formations and a mystical energy. It can get hot there with no shade cover, so I recommend visiting at sunset or sunrise—the light playing over the red, white, and black rocks will be worth it as well. For a great overview of the park, do the Butterfly, Lava Flow, West Canyon, Red Sands, Whiptails, and Petrified Dune Loop—you can even climb inside an old lava tube, and the petrified sand dunes will take your breath away.
What to do in St. George
Our favorite non-hiking activity in the area was far and away Zion Alpacas. The alpacas greet your car as you arrive, and they’ll happily eat from your hands and let you stroll with them around the property. Amy and Mike, the owners, are incredibly lovely, and will happily show you the other farm animals (there was a baby sheep during our visit, and two of the sweetest pigs!), in addition to taking professional-level photos of your whole experience. Book in advance, since this one sells out!
Where to stay in St. George
This was one of our favorite Airbnbs yet. It’s a vacation condo, which we normally wouldn’t think we would love, but the condo itself is airy, spacious, beautifully decorated, and immaculately quiet (you won’t hear your neighbors at all). It used to be part of a spa hotel, so there’s a massage table in the middle of the luxurious bathroom (yes, really!), and a huge soaking tub. We also ended up really enjoying the grounds, which include two pools, an outdoor jacuzzi, and Melted, a spa where you can book massages to come straight to your room. Here’s the link to book, and you can check out the whole tour below!
I hope you enjoyed this St. George Travel Guide! Let me know any other recommendations in the comments below! If you want to see my Tucson travel guide, click here.