20 Reasons Why Kanab, Utah Should Be Your Next Family Vacation
Tucked into the Southwest corner of Utah is a charming little town surrounded by beautiful red rock cliffs and wide open desert. Kanab, Utah, is one of the best little towns in Southern Utah to make your home base when planning a family vacation to Zion National Park/Southern Utah.
This little town has the best small-town vibe, excellent lodging options, great places to eat, and is central to tons of great hiking and things to do with kids.
With three national parks and two beautiful state parks close by, you could spend days, even weeks exploring in and around Kanab without running out of things to do with your kiddos! It really is a great little town.
HOW TO GET TO KANAB
One of the most popular ways to get to Kanab is to fly into Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport, rent a car and drive 3 hours. Driving from Las Vegas, you can stop at Valley of Fire State Park & Snow Canyon State park to break up the drive and see some stunning sights on your drive.
The next closest major airport is Salt Lake City. Salt Lake is a 5.5-hour drive from Kanab. Flying into Salt Lake will allow you to turn your vacation into a road trip! First, go through Moab and hit up Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Then head south and stop at Gobblin Valley State Park and Capitol Reef National Park.
You can also fly into the Saint George Regional airport. This airport is much smaller with minimal flight options, but if you can find one that works for you, the time savings and convenience will be a huge bonus. It is a 1 hr 30-minute drive from Saint George to Kanab.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT KANAB?
Kanab is excellent in all seasons, even winter. Actually, it might be at it's best in the winter! Kanab averages 256 days of sunshine each year so chances are pretty good you are going to get some sunshine anytime of the year you visit.
SUMMER IN KANAB (June - September)
There's no beating around the bush, summer in Kanab is hot. This is a busy time to visit Kanab/Southern Utah but not so busy that you can't escape the crowds. Crowds die down a little in August and September when kids start going back to school.
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Temps from June - August are 100+, sometimes evening getting up to 110 degrees but don't let that stop you. Just head to Lake Powell or to Duck Creek to cool off. Getting out first thing in the morning is also a great way to beat the heat.
SPRING AND FALL IN KANAB (Oct, Nov, April & May)
Spring and Fall in Kanab are beyond perfect. This tends to be a more busy time to visit because of the perfect temps
Mornings and evenings are cool but temps warm up nicely during the day. It is perfect hiking weather.
WINTER IN KANAB (November-March)
This is the least busy time to visit Kanab/Southern Utah. Rates for lodging will be lower and you will have more solitude while out hiking. Holiday weekends are an exception. If the weather is nice, it gets especially busy.
Winter temps in Kanab are very mild. It generally snows 2-3 times a year, but the snow doesn't stick around for long. Often temperatures barely drop below 30 degrees, and when it does, the sun is usually still shining. Average temps during the day range from 49-55 degrees.
The adventure opportunities in Kanab are endless. I have put together a list of my top 20 reasons that Kanab should be at the top of your list for your next family vacation. So let's get to it!
Table Of Contents
East entrance to Zion National Park is 35 minutes away
Bryce Canyon National Park is 1 hour 20 minutes away
Kanab has tons of Great kid friendly hiking close by
The Kanab Visitor Center
North Rim of Grand Canyon is one hour 45 minutes away
Kanab has tons of great food options
Great museums and kid-friendly activities right in town
Lake Powell is 1 hour away
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for animal lovers
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is 30 minutes away
Tons of Great Guided Adventures to choose from
Horseshoe bend is 1 hr 10 mins away
Antelope Canyon 1 hr 20 mins away
Snow Canyon State Park is 1 hour 30 minutes away
Kanab has tons of unique family friendly lodging
Red Cliffs National Reserve 1 hr 15 mins away
Duck Creek Village is 1 hour away
Cedar Breaks is 1 hour 20 minutes away
Kolob Canyons is 1 hour 30 minutes away
Great Family Friendly Events
1 - East entrance to Zion National Park is 35 minutes away
Spend a day or two in Zion National Park hiking among the soaring sandstone cliffs, playing in the Virgin River, and spotting wildlife like mule deer and bighorn sheep.
2 - Bryce Canyon National Park is 1 hour 20 minutes away
A day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, land of hoodoos, is a must when visiting Southern Utah. When staying in Kanab, visiting Bryce is the perfect quick and easy day trip.
One day in Bryce will give you plenty of time to check out our two favorite family-friendly hikes, Mossy Cave Trail, and Navajo Loop Trail.
3- Great family-friendly hiking close by
Along with all the great hiking you can do in the surrounding National Parks, there are a ton of great trails in and around Kanab that are beautiful and family-friendly. Here are my favorite family-friendly hikes in and around Kanab.
BELLY OF THE DRAGON - A short hike through a water culvert/tunnel. Located 25 minutes outside of Kanab.
DINOSAUR TRACKS TRAIL - A 1 mile round trip hike a few minutes outside of Kanab where you get to hike to huge 185 million-year-old dinosaur tracks in well preserved slick rock outcrops.
MOQUI CAVERNS / KANAB SAND CAVES - A short hike to beautiful light filled caves just 5 minutes outside of Kanab.
WIRE PASS TRAIL - A 3 mile trail through a stunning slot canyon just 45 minutes outside of Kanab
THE TOAD STOOLS - A 1.5 mile round trip hike to very cool rock formations in the desert just 45 minutes outside of Kanab
SQUAW TRAIL - A 2 mile round trip hike to stunning views overlooking Kanab. Located right in town.
THE NAUTILUS - A 1 mile round trip hike to a cool rock formation with a giant slide. 45 minutes outside Kanab.
WATER CANYON - A 3.5 mile round trip hike to a lush desert oasis and stream for water play. Located 45 minutes from Kanab.
RED HOLLOW - .5 mile hike to a small slot canyon. Located 40 minutes outside of Kanab.
4 - The Kanab Visitor Center
If you don't have time to plan your trip ahead of time, no worries. One stop at the Kanab Visitor Center and you will be good to go.
This visitor center has detailed brochures for all the hikes, activities and attractions in and around Kanab. These one-page brochures make it so easy to find where you are going and plan your activities accordingly.
The staff at the visitor center is also invaluable at helping visitors figure out what to do and where to go.
5 - North Rim of Grand Canyon is 1 hour 45 minutes away
When visiting Kanab a day trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a must. With cooler temps, epic views, and great hiking there will be plenty to keep the whole family entertained for the day.
On your drive, you have to make a stop at Jacob Lake Inn Gift Shop for their world famous cookies. Seriously you guys, the best cookies I have ever had!
***Please note that the North Rim in closed in the winter starting November 30th (earlier if there is a big storm) and does not usually open for the summer until May 15th.
6 - Kanab has tons of great food options
Being a small town, you wouldn't expect Kanab to have much to choose from as far as food options go, but they have a ton. It is seriously one of the reasons I love Kanab so much!
For something quick and easy, we love Big Al's. It's a small-town frost stop with buffalo burgers, sweet potato fries, and yummy milkshakes.
If you are a lover of fine food, then you don't want to miss the world-class Sego Restaurant. Sego serves diners a selection of regional new American cuisine with all the ingredients locally sourced and grown. It may not be the most kid-friendly option so grab them a fast-food hamburger and then head over to enjoy one of the best meals of your life. I will never stop craving the Artichoke and Foraged Mushroom toast!!!
For coffee and amazing french pastries, hit up Kanab Creek Bakery. Wild Thyme is also an excellent option for a nice dinner. We have also tried Rockin V Cafe & Escobars Mexican Restaurant, and both were great.
Asava Juice & Smoothies is a super healthy option, great for organic juice, smoothies, and toast.
Brown Box Bake Shop is a new addition to Kanab, and even though I haven't tried it yet, I must say those deserts look incredible!!!!
7 - Great museums and kid-friendly activities right in town
I love that there are so many things in town to keep kids busy. Heritage House Museum, Little Hollywood land, and Jacob Hamblin Park are just a few of the activities/attractions in Kanab that will entertain your littles and get their imaginations going.
8 - Lake Powell is 1 hour away
Lake Powell, the largest man-made lake in North America, is widely known as one of the premier water-based destinations in the world. The activity options at Lake Powell are endless.
Rent a boat for the day, paddle board Antelope Canyon, go cliff jumping at The Chains, play along the shore at the Wahweap Marina, or go hiking and exploring the endless rugged water-and wind-carved canyons around the lake.
PRO TIP - If you don't have a boat to play on the water, hit up The Chains. This area is the best spot to go cliff jumping, swim in Lake Powell, and still be surrounded by beautiful red rock.
9 - Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for animal lovers
This lifesaving haven for hundreds of adoptable animals on 3,700 stunning acres is located just five miles north of Kanab. Best Friends has a visitor center in down town Kanab and every time we visit we stop in to play with the kittens and see what's new.
Sign up to take a free tour of the sanctuary and your kiddos will be in animal-loving heaven. It is the perfect morning or afternoon activity for the whole family.
10 - Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is 30 minutes away
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a stunning state park located in between Kanab and Zion that is covered in fine red sand, perfect for sandboarding.
Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding, which involves riding across or down a sand dune while standing on a board.
Rent boards from the ranger station for $25, head across the street towards the dunes, kick off your shoes, and head for the hills.
In the hot Southern Utah sun, it seems that the sand might be too hot for play, but it is surprisingly perfect towards the end of the day.
Hike up the red sandhills, jump on the sled, and fly down. Repeat over and over again. The board will go faster or slower depending on the grade of the hill and whether or not it is waxed up properly.
11 - Kanab has tons of Great Guided Adventures to choose from
There are so many amazing guided adventures to check out when staying in Kanab. The hardest part is choosing which one.
Guided adventures are a great way to experience new places with kids. It allows you to be more in the moment with your kiddos because your guide has everything taken care of regarding planning, timing, and safety. These are my top picks for guided adventures with kids in the Kanab area.
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13 - Antelope Canyon 1 hr 20 mins away
Antelope Canyon is one of the most famous slot canyons in the world. The way the light hits the smooth swilry canyon is truely magical. You must purchase a guided tour to see this protected slot canyon.
The tours are in the $130-$200 per person range and require advanced booking. They fill up quite far in advance, so if you want to see this stunning slot canyon, make sure to book tickets as soon as you know your travel dates.
14 - Snow Canyon State Park is 1 hour 30 minutes away
Snow Canyon State Park is a hidden gem in Southern Utah, filled with great hiking, beautiful Navajo sandstone formations, ancient lava rock (basalt), and out-of-this-world views.
It gets very hot during the day in the summer with very little shade, so plan your adventures for early morning or later in the afternoon.
Our favorite family-friendly trails in the park are Jenny's Canyon, Petrified Dunes, Lava Tubes, and Butterfly Trail.
15 - Unique Family Friendly Lodging
I'm a sucker for cool lodging and Kanab has an over supply of fun and unique places to stay. Here is a list of my favorites.
Basecamp37 is a spacious, secluded but totally connected hideaway with, safari-style tents, luxury beds and linens, hot showers, even hotter grills, and friendly folks. There is a shared house on the property plus a common area for all the guests.
The 5 tents on the property face nothing but open land and huge vistas.
It is located 8 miles east of Kanab in the Chocolate Cliffs of the Grand Staircase under the magnificent Southern Utah sky.
This is a unique new glamping property is tucked into a private canyon between Kanab and Orderville!
The property features spring-fed ponds, cave lakes, beautifully designed glamping tents, and cabins all tucked into a stunning secluded private canyon. I can't get over how cool this property looks.
This mini resort located along main street is built on the homestead of the host's cowboy ancestors. Timber and Tin has all the amenities of a high-end resort but with peace and quite of small town Kanab.
The resort features 7 homes, a swimming pool, hot tub, a historic barn with games and a theater room, an outdoor picnic pavilion, and rooftop decks and fire pits for each home.
This is the ultimate place to stay with furry friends. While many hotels are pet-friendly, The Best Friends Roadhouse is the only pet-centric lodging in Kanab, Utah, or all of Southern Utah for that matter.
The 40-room hotel is beautifully designed and features a fenced dog park, stunning murals, a splash zone, a washing station, slide-out pet beds, treats, and more. Your kiddos will be in animal-loving heaven.
This boutique RV campground, located just three miles from the center of Kanab, sits on 40 acres of stunning desert landscape. Each of the 18 spacious sites offers unobstructed views to watch incredible sunrises and sunsets.
The luxurious amenities include:
Private bath suites
Outdoor kitchen with grill and pizza oven
Open terrace lounge
A dog park
A kids' dig pit
A 75' zipline
Sites include a shade structure, dining table, low table, and propane firepit.
This place looks absolutely amazing and I can't wait to check it out!
16 - Red Cliffs National Reserve is 1 hr 15 mins away
This small Desert Reserve is a fun, family-friendly location. It features great hiking, seasonal waterfalls, and beautiful red rock formations.
Red Reef Trail is a fan favorite. This trail is a short 3-mile round trip hike with minimal elevation gain, lots of cool spots for playing and exploring along the trail, and the rock climbing rope area near the end makes the hike feel truly adventurous.
17 - Duck Creek Village is 1 hour away
Sitting at the edge of a large mountain meadow at an elevation of 8,400 feet Duck Creek Village is a thriving mountain community with shops, restaurants, lodges, inns, cabin rentals, and a campground.
It is a popular summer destination with hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding, ATV riding, and mountain biking. In the winter it's great for a cozy winter getaway, snowshoeing and snowmobilin.
Don't miss Cascade Falls in the summer. This family-friendly hike is a one mile round trip hike to a 100-foot waterfall fed by Navajo Lake. Along this well-maintained family-friendly trail you will see several varieties of plant life and incredible views of the Zion/Kolob Terrace.
18 - Cedar Breaks National Monument is 1 hour 20 minutes away
Often referred to as a miniature Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks features a huge amphitheater with stone spires, columns, arches, pinnacles, and intricate canyons.
Located in the mountains of Southern Utah and situated at 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks is shaped like a giant coliseum dropping 2,000 feet to its floor.
The monument is open from late May to mid-October, and the visitor center is open from mid-June to mid-September. Families are encouraged to stop by and check out the Junior Ranger Program or sign up for a ranger-guided hike.
Our two favorite family-friendly trails are the Sunset Trail and the Alpine Pond Loop trail.
PRO TIP - During the month of July the wildflowers are in full bloom, and they are absolutely stunning!!!
19 - Kolob Canyons is 1 hour 30 minutes away
One of Zion's best kept secrets, Kolob Canyons is tucked into the northwest corner of Zion National Park. Soaring cliffs of red Navajo Sandstone and breathtaking views are the highlight along a stunning 5-mile scenic drive. The canyons are easily accessed from Interstate 15.
Our favorite family-friendly hikes in Kolob Canyons are Taylor Creek and Timber Creek Overlook.
PRO TIP - Kolob sits at 6,000 feet, meaning that summer temperatures are usually 10 degrees cooler than Kanab & Zion Canyon.
20 - Tons of Great Family-Friendly Events
It seems like there is always something fun going on in Kanab. The event calendar is packed all year long with activities like Balloons and Tunes, Jacob Hamblin Days, Kanab 4th, and Western Legends.
My kiddos and I attended the Balloons and Tunes Festival in February, and we had the best weekend. We loved the lantern festival and waking up each morning to watch the air balloons fill the sky.
The Western Legends event looks amazing. The event is held in September and hosts a boot-shakin' country concert, western movie stars, and a legendary rodeo. You're invited to experience wild country melodies, heroic bull riders, and unmatched adventure.
Kanab also knows how to celebrate 4th of July with all the small town charm. It's like straight out of the movies.
Whether you have a few days or a week, Kanab has everything you need to plan a magical family vacation. With excellent hiking and endless adventure opportunities, there is something for everyone. Are you ready to book your spring break, winter break, or summer vacation?