25 Things To Do In Hurricane - Next To Zion National Park
Growing up in the Hurricane Valley and raising kids here, I know firsthand how great this area is for families. There are so many things to do in Hurricane and surrounding areas to keep kids entertained and having fun all summer long.
Zion National Park might be one of the biggest draws for families visiting Southern Utah, but I am here to inspire you to get outside the park a little. Believe me. You will be happy you did.
The Hurricane Valley is the perfect home base for adventuring in Southern Utah and has everything you need to plan a fantastic family vacation. Come along! Let me show you how how many things there are to do when visiting the Hurricane Valley.
The Hurricane Valley consists of Hurricane, La Verkin, Leads, Toquerville, and Virgin. These towns are close together and a 30-40 minute drive to Zion National Park/Springdale. Also make sure to check out my post SMALL TOWN BIG ADVENTURE - A GUDIE TO VISITING HURRICANE VALLEY.
GETTING TO THE HURRICANE VALLEY
There are a few ways to get to Hurricane Valley. The most popular way is to fly into Las Vegas and rent a car. The Hurricane Valley is a short 2-hour drive from Las Vegas.
Some people opt to fly to Salt Lake City, the second closest major airport. Flying into Salt Lake will allow you to turn your vacation into a road trip and hit up all of the five national parks in Utah. Salt Lake is a 4 hours drive from Hurricane.
HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE
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.
WHERE TO STAY WHEN VISITING HURRICANE
Vacation Rentals - Vacation rentals are great because they have more space and the conveniences of home. The two best Airbnb/Vrbo's in the Hurricane Valley are Ardella Cottage and The Ross. For a few more ideas, click here & here.
The Dwellings ($$$) - This tiny home property, located in La Verkin, is within walking distance to my favorite coffee shop, River Rock Roasting Company and my favorite local hiking trail, Confluence Park. The Dwellings has full kitchens and is a great option for families.
Open Sky ($$$$) - This luxury property is quietly tucked into the desert and ready for families to come and connect with nature. Their handcrafted, safari-style tents traveled all the way from South Africa. Each tent has optimal views and maximum privacy.
Zion White Bison Resort ($$$) - Located in Virgin, this new resort features Tipis, Covered Wagons, Cliff Dwelling, Cabins, and and RV spots. The luxury clamping experience at Weeping Buffalo Resort is a fun option for anyone looking for something a little unique.
Zions Tiny Oasis ($$$) - This tiny home property is located in Virgin, up Kolob Terrace Road and features several different styles of tiny homes. Each tiny home at Zions Tiny Oasis has a jacuzzi, which is a bonus.
WHAT TO PACK FOR VISITING HURRICANE VALLEY IN THE SUMMER
The desert southwest in the summer is hot and dry. Average temps in the summer range from 100-115 degrees during the day. Here is a list of what to pack to help you enjoy you time in the Hurricane Valley to the fullest.
HIKING SANDALS - Bring hiking sandals like Teva or Chacos for hiking. Leave the heavy hiking boots at home. I wear my favorite pair of Teva's none stop from May-October. My kiddos love their Tevas too! Keen also makes great water sandals and shoes for kids.
SUNSCREEN - Lots of sunscreen is a must for being out in the intense desert sun.
HIKING HAT - Hats are great for blocking sun and dipping in the water for a quick way to cool off.
HIKING SHORTS - Pick fabrics that are light and breathable
SWIMMING SUITE - You will be doing lots of swimming in lakes streams and rivers. Bring two swimming suites so that one can dry while the other one is being worn.
HIKING TOPS - I am a big fan of tank tops but that means more sunscreen. There are long sleeve options for the summer that are breathable and block the sun.
DAYPACK/WATER PACK - Have a backpack for everyone in the family. Let the kids carry their own water and snacks.
Check out these 20 things to do with kids when visiting the Hurricane Valley - all within a 1.5-hour drive of Hurricane
1 - Hike The Confluence Trail
Confluence Park is a 344-acre park that sits in a gorge below Hurricane & La Verkin. The Confluence Park Trail runs along the Virgin River with croppings of lava rock, historical buildings, and plenty of areas to play and swim along the river.
There are three entry points to this trail. One route starts at the end of Main Street in Hurricane, one begins at Power Plant Park in La Verkin, and the easiest and flattest trailhead starts at the north end of La Verkin.
Our favorite thing about Confluence Park is that it leads to a fun area with a sandy beach, picnic benches, a great swimming spot, and a rope swing! What kid doesn't love a rope swing, right? To get there, take the Confluence trailhead at the north side of La Verkin. Hike .5 miles on a dirt road past an old abandoned pig farm. Once you hit the bridge, you will know you've made it.
Below The Dwellings, there is another rope swing at the bottom of the hill in a shady area. This is another great area for swimming and playing in the water.
2 - Go Canoeing at Navajo Lake
Put Navajo Lake at the top of your list if you need a respite from the intense desert heat. This stunning alpine lake, centrally located between Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Cedar Breaks National Monument, is fun for the whole family.
Head to the far side of the lake and rent a canoe from Navajo Lake Lodge. The lodge also offers rentals for pontoon boats, motor boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards.
Bring the bikes and ride the Navajo Loop trail, a stunning 12-mile beginner-level loop around the lake.
3 - Visit Veyo Pool and Crawdad Canyon
Surrounded by towering jagged basalt rock and a shady stream filled with catch and release crawdads, Veyo Pool and Crawdad Canyon is the perfect summer destination with the family. I take my kiddos here at least once a summer!
Located 15 minutes north of St George and 45 minutes from Hurricane this natural spring pool stays at a comfortable 87 degrees and is emptied and refilled every evening with fresh new water from the natural spring on the property.
There are fun surprises placed in the sides of the pool like a 2 dollar bill, a bat skeleton, a baby turtle and many more surprises covered in acrylic and hidden for little divers to find. Read more about visiting Veyo Pool & Crawdad Canyon here.
The pool is most crowded in the morning. Catch crawdads in the afternoon when the pool is the busiest, and then spend the evening playing in the pool later in the day, minus the crowds.
4 - Hike Yant Flat
Yant Flat is located in the Dixie National Forest along a windy dirt road one hour west of Hurricane.
The 1-mile sandy trail to get to the candy cliffs is easy and family-friendly with minimal elevation gain. There are some spots along the trail with deep sand. That deep sand makes it even sweeter when you make it to the slick red rock, perfect for running and climbing.
The views are stunning, and the swirly rocks stretch for miles making it easy to spend as much or as little time as you would like hiking and exploring. Read more about hiking Yant Flat here.
5 - Hike The Narrows in Zion
If you are visiting Zion National Park in the summer with kids who love to hike and who love water then The Narrows is a hike that should be at the very top of your list. The Narrows is an amazing slot canyon hike that will take your breath away at every turn and is the perfect reprieve from the intense desert sun.
Plan to go slow and make it a full-day adventure. Walking through water and maneuvering over and around rocks can be quite taxing on the body for adults and children. Tired legs might make the hike back harder than the hike in. Try to head back before your kids are showing signs that they are done. Click here for more tips on hiking The Narrows with kids.
6 - Visit Grafton Ghost Town
If you are a history buff, prepare to nerd out on this quaint little ghost town right outside Zion National Park. Grafton was established in 1859 by Mormon settlers who built their homes here in hopes of flourishing cotton crops & farming.
Exploring Grafton is an activity the kids will absolutely love! Walk the grounds, read about the history of the town on the information signs, and let the kids explore to their hearts content. Help them imagine what it would have been like for the kids living and going to school in Grafton back in the 1800's. Make it a game of listing all the ways that life would have been different back then.
Allow for an hour or two to walk around and experience this old town. Grafton has been abandoned since the mid-1900s, but it has been well preserved and cared for over many years. Click here to read more about visiting Grafton Ghost Town.
7 - Tube the Virgin River
Tubing the Virgin River is one of the most fun ways to cool off in the summer. The best time to tube the river is in the spring when the water levels are higher due to spring runoff. The Virgin River can get very low in the middle of the summer, but it's still doable. You just need to know where to go and be prepared to walk your tube a little.
You can start at the top of Springdale and float through town. This is a great option because you can get out at the end of town at George Barker River Park and take the Springdale shuttle back to your car.
Sheeps Bridge Park in Virgin and Confluence park in La Verkin are also fun areas with some deeper sections that allow you to tube for short distances.
In Zion, you can walk along the Pa'Rus trail with your tubes and find quite a few deep sections for little stretches of tubbing.
You can buy tubes at Zion Outfitters in Springdale or Walmart in Hurricane. You can also make it super easy and go with Zion Tubing in Virgin. They provide the tubes and the shuttle.
8 - Hike Red Reef trail at Red Cliffs National Reserve
This trail is a fan favorite. It 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.
If you choose to climb the rocks to the upper section with a small child on your back we recommend using a soft carrier. This will keep your center of gravity more even. A seasonal waterfall runs in the spring, but this hike is great any time of year. Click here to read more about hiking Red Reef Trail.
There is a beautiful shady picnic area just below the parking lot. Pack a lunch or dinner and make the most of your time before or after the hike.
9 - Visit Snow Canyon State Park
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.
The park is located 10 minutes north of St. George and 30 minutes from Hurricane.
It gets very hot durning the day 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.
10 - Explore The Clear Creek Slot Canyons in East Zion
Clear Creek is the main dry streambed that follows Route 9 throughout the east side of Zion. Although it may not be an actual named hike in Zion, it is excellent for some off-the-beaten-path hiking and fun. Filled with cave-like tunnels, family-friendly slot canyons, and sandstone cliffs, you will find surprises around every corner.
Park at the Many Pools trailhead and walk down and along the dry streambed for as long or as little as you want. You will be sure to come across slot canyons and tunnels prime for exploring. Click here to read more about hiking Clear Creek.
11 - Go Canyoneering
Hire Allways Adventure to guide you and your family on a canyoneering adventure. All Ways Adventure has access to canyons that suit all ages, fitness levels, abilities, and desires for adventure. Nathan and his team are so great with kids, and they know exactly how to make sure that everyone has a great time, even if they are a little nervous about dangling from a rope.....ha!
Canyoneering is a multi-sport adventure where you explore a canyon or slot canyon by rappelling, zip-lining, sliding on rocks, hiking, squeezing through narrow passages, scrambling, and wading thru water.
Canyoneering is an excellent adventure for beginners, adventure junkies, and everyone in between. Click here to read more about a canyoneering adventure with All Ways Adventure.
12 - Play In the river at Sheep's Bridge Park
One of our favorite ways to beat the heat in Southern Utah is to head to the Virgin River. There are so many great spots along the river to play and explore but one of our favorite spots is Sheeps Bridge Park, also known as Falls Park.
Located in Virgin UT just 15 minutes from Zion, Sheeps Bridge Park is an ideal spot to catch frogs, play in the sand, tube, and even do some very mild cliff jumping.
If you visit at the end of June through July you will be greeted by tons of baby frogs. There are so many that you actually have to be careful that you don't step on them. It is so much fun for the kids.
Bring a sand bucket that the kids can fill with all their catches but make sure to release the baby frogs when it's time to go. Click here to read more about visiting Sheep's Bridge Park.
13 - Hike Lambs Knoll
Just a short 30-minute drive from the west entrance of Zion resides a beautiful, off-the-beaten-path cluster of breathtaking rock formations and wide-open views known as Lambs Knoll.
Lambs Knoll is a popular rock climbing and canyoneering location for local guide companies and is also an excellent hiking spot for families.
With eight first come first serve campsites and a picnic area Lambs Knoll is the perfect spot to adventure away from the crowds of Zion Canyon. Click here to read more about hiking at Lambs Knoll.
14 - Visit Kolob Canyons
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 and just 20 minutes from Hurricane.
BONUS - Kolob sits at 6,000 feet, meaning that summer temperatures are usually 10 degrees cooler than Hurricane & Zion Canyon.
Our favorite family-friendly hikes in Kolob Canyons are Taylor Creek and Timber Creek Overlook.
15 - Go Cliff jumping at Sand Hollow
With its tepid blue waters and stunning red rock backdrop, Sand Hollow in the summer is the perfect place to spend a day playing in the sand, swimming, enjoying water sports, and cliff jumping.
Cliff jumping at Sand Hollow is a popular activity for all ages. Make your way to the far east side of the north section of the lake. From there you will have to do some climbing to get over to the popular cliff jumping section. Younger children will need plenty of help here.
The cliffs range from very high and advanced to very beginner, making this perfect for all ages and dare devil levels. Click here to read more about visiting Sand Hollow.
16 - Hike Water Canyon Trail
This hidden gem of a hike located just outside of Hildale, UT has a shallow year-round creek and a rocky waterfall oasis at the end. You can venture on past the waterfall, but this isn't advised with young kids.
At 3.5-miles round trip the trail can be a little more advanced due to the moderate elevation gain and tricky rock scramblingbut at can be done. Just plan accordingly, bring plenty of snacks and make it a fun adventure because this is a fun one!
Keep an eye out for narrow slots along the trail that only little kids can slide into. The wide-open canyon at the end of the hike has streams and waterfalls and is the perfect spot to rest, eat lunch, and explore. Return the way you came. Click here to read more about hiking Water Canyon.
17 - Go Sand Boarding at Coral Pink Sand Dunes
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a stunning state park located in between Kanab and Zion that is covered in fine red sand, perfect for sand boarding.
Sandboarding is an activity 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. You might want to bring goggles just in case it is windy.
18 - Hike Belly of the Dragon
A short hike through a manmade tunnel is the highlight of this unique, family-friendly trail located just 20 miles east of Zion National Park.
The cave-like tunnel was originally created as a water culvert under HWY89. Over time, drainage from the upper canyon water flow has carved the sandstone walls and created a beautiful rippling tunnel prime for exploring. This is such a great adventure with kids so bring the whole family and have some fun. Click here to read more about hiking Belly of the Dragon.
19 - Hike the Moqui Caverns/Kanab Sand Caves
The Kanab Sand Caves are located 10 minutes outside of Kanab, UT. These man-made caves were used to harvest sand for glass production in the 1970s. Crazy right! The 1/4th mile round trip hike to the caves is easy and family friendly.
You will have to scale up a sand stone wall for a very short distance. It can be a bit slippery and difficult for kids and adults. Just go slow and make sure you have good traction on your shoes. There are steep drop off ledges at the caves so keep a close eye on your kiddos. Click here to read more about visiting Moqui Caverns.
20 - Visit Cedar Breaks National Monument
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, 1 hour from Hurricane, 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.
During the month of July the wildflowers are in full bloom, and they are absolutely stunning!!!
21 - Visit Brian Head
This bustling cabin & condo community is not just for winter sport lovers; it is also a premier summer destination featuring lush green mountain biking & hiking trails. When temps are soaring into the double digits in Zion, Brian Head averages 60-70 degree temps during the day.......sooooo nice!!!!!
Shops, restaurants, a city park, and a small fishing pond are located in the center of town, next to the resort. Bike races, music festivals, beer gardens, and family activity days fill the summer calendar of events put on by Brianhead Resort.
The resort features an assortment of family friendly summer activities, including;
Scenic Chairlift Rides
12 Hole Disc Golf
Family Adventure Trail
Peak Shot Bungee Trampoline
Ridge Runner Mini Zip Line
Crooked Arrow Archery
Cliff Hanger Climbing Wall
22 - Visit Quail Creek reservoir
Located just 15 minutes from Hurricane this lake boasts some of the warmest temps in the state. It is less crowded than Sand Hollow and is the ideal spot to rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak. Dig Paddle Sports, located at the waters edge, makes it super easy to rent and be paddling within minutes.
There is a little stream section on the north end of the lake where the water flows into the lake. Lots of shade from cottonwood trees lining the stream makes this a super fun area to swim, picnic, and kayak. It feels more like the Amazon jungle than the desert.
This stream area is only flowing when the water is high in the lake, usually in the spring and on good water years.
23 - Hike Kanarra Falls Trail
Located 40 minutes from Hurricane Kanarra Falls is 4.4 miles round trip and about as photogenic as it comes with vibrant green trees and stunning slot canyons that will leave you speechless.
In my opinion, Kanarra Falls is one of the most stunning slot canyon hikes in all of Southern Utah......rivaled only by The Narrows and Ashdown Gorge.
The hike requires a decent amount of rock scrambling and the beginning of the trail is a bit boring but it's worth it! If you can make it to the first slot canyon (about 1.5 miles in) with the kiddos I call that a win! Click here for permit information. Click here to read more about hiking Kanarra Falls.
24 - Take An ATV/UTV Sand Dune Tour
Explore miles and miles of sand dunes, zoom down sand hills, and take in expansive and stunning views. The ultimate family adventure is an ATV ride in the soft red desert sand of Southwestern Utah.
The sand dunes at Sand Hollow in Hurricane are absolutely stunning and so much fun to explore. The best way to see all that the dunes have to offer is by booking a guided tour. The guides will show you the most breathtaking sites along the best paths and are very concerned about safety.
There are plenty of ATV/UTV guide companies in the Hurricane & St George area to choose from.
25 - Hike Ashdown Gorge
This stunning hike located up Cedar Canyon is one of my favorite ways to cool of in the summer and get away from the crowds.
This hike can be done as a 6-10 mile day hike or a quick out and back with kids. Hike in for as long as you want and then turn around and hike back the way you came
Kids will love this hike because of the many safe boulders to climb on and the logs they can cross back and forth over the creek. This is also a pet-friendly hike, so Fido can come along.
Near the beginning of the hike there’s a waterfall made by a dam that’s fun to climb around on and about 10-15 minutes into the hike an old rusted firetruck that fell from the windy road above probably 40 years ago is fun for kids to check out. Click here to read more about hiking Ashdown Gorge.
As you can see, one or two days in the Hurricane Vally just isn't enough. This list will give you plenty of options to plan the ultimate vacation with your kiddos that will keep them having fun and making memories that will last a lifetime.