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Things to Do in Cedar City, Utah with Kids - The 27 Best Summer Activities

Cedar City is the perfect place to cool off from the intense summer heat that engulfs much of Southern Utah. Since Cedar City sits at a higher elevation than the majority of Southern Utah towns, summer temps average in the 90's – which is refreshing for the Utah desert!

Along with being cooler in temperature, Cedar City has a ton of family-friendly activities in town and nearby, making it the perfect summer destination with kids.


Check out my list of 27 things to do in Cedar City, Utah with kids on your next trip to Southern Utah.

1 - SOUTHERN UTAH MUSEUM OF ART

Kids at the Southern Utah Museum of art in Cedar City

I know what you're thinking, an art museum with kids? But yes! The Southern Utah Museum Of Art located on the campus of Southern Utah University is excellent for kids, and such a wonderful way to get out of the mid-day summer heat. The art is changed out often, and once a month they do a family art day.


We happened upon a family art day this winter, and it was so much fun.  Click here to find out when the next family art day is because I highly recommend this as one of the top things to do in Cedar City, Utah with kids.

2-Shakespeare Festival

Family at the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City Utah

Cedar City is world-famous for the Utah Shakespeare Festival that comes to town every summer. It’s definitely one of the can’t miss things to do in Cedar City, Utah for anyone! Even though the festival isn't for the small kids - only 7 and up allowed - you can still go as a family because child care is provided for the littles. Just be sure to purchase childcare at the time of ticket booking.


My nine-year-old, Lucy and I went to Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She loved it! It was such a fun mommy-daughter date!

3- Shakespeare Festival Green Show

Kids watching the Shakespearian Festival Green Show

Held in the courtyard next to the Engelstate theater, this free 30-minute Greenshow is fun entertainment for the whole family. The show includes music, dance, juggling, and puppets. My kids loved the show so much, and I loved that it was free......haha!!!


There are snacks available for purchase. Bring blankets and lawn chairs to spread out on the lawn. The performances are held June through early September from Monday through Saturday.

4- Park Discovery

Kids playing at Park Discovery in Cedar City Utah

Park Discovery in Cedar City sits above the city and has killer views along with tons of interactive play opportunities for the kids. A rocket, boat, some cars, swings, slides, and climbing walls will keep the littles entertained for hours of play.

5-Frontier Homestead State Park Museum

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum is such a fun and interactive way for kids to learn about early pioneers and the history of Cedar City. With 13 hands-on activities like washing laundry, playing dominoes, panning for gold, and writing using the Deseret (Mormon)alphabet, kids will be having fun and learning at the same time.

Several preserved historic structures are scattered through the park for exploring. These structures are so great for imagining the life of early pioneers.

6 - Ice Cream at Bulloch Drug Store

Kids eating ice cream at Bullock Drug in Cedar City Utah

Bulloch Drug Store, located along the historic downtown area of Cedar City is so much fun and should be at the top of your list of things to do in Cedar City, Utah with kids.


The candy and ice cream shop inside the drug store has a fun old school retro feel. I loved how it had so many favorite candies from my childhood. And when I paid for four ice creams the total was only $5.75!!! I thought I had literally stepped back in time.

7 - Cedar Breaks National Monument

Father and daughter playing at Cedar Breaks National Monument

Located just 30 minutes from Cedar City, Cedar Breaks National Monument features a massive amphitheater with stone spires, columns, arches, pinnacles, and intricate canyons. The monument, often referred to as a mini Bryce Canyon, is open from late May to mid-October and the visitor center is open from mid-June to mid-September (weather permitting).


Kids will totally think a visit to Cedar Breaks is one of their favorite things to do in Cedar City, Utah, especially if they check out the Junior Ranger Program or sign up for a ranger-guided hike. There are also educational programs where visitors can learn about the geology and history of the monument.


Check out this blog post for even more awesome state parks in Southern Utah!

8 - Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

Another great learning opportunity for the kids is a visit to the Parowan Gap Petroglyphs. Located just 20 minutes from Cedar City, the petroglyph site is easily accessible and contains some of the most fascinating and visible petroglyphs in Utah.

Make sure to pick up a Parowan Gap brochure at the Cedar City Visitor Center before you head out. The booklet contains a detailed history of the petroglyphs, possible meanings, and things to look for while at the site.

9 - Kolob Canyons

This less busy section of Zion is 30 minutes from Cedar City and the perfect day trip for hiking and sightseeing. My two favorite family-friendly hikes to check out when visiting Kolob Canyons are Taylor Creek Trail and Timber Creek Trail.


Taylor Creek is a 5-mile round trip trail with minimal elevation gain and a beautiful little stream to cool off in. Plus, there are 2 amazing historic cabins along the trail and a stunning double arch alcove at the end.


At the end of the scenic Kolob Canyon Road, Timber Creek Overlook Trail is one-mile round trip. This trail is short and easy with minimal elevation gain and stunning views all along the trail.


10 - BRIAN HEAD

Brian Head is not just for winter sports, it is also a premier summer destination. Filled to the brim with activities on the weekends in the summer, Brian Head offers mountain biking, hiking, a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, avalanche tubbing, zip lining, archery, and ATV riding. There is a little something for everyone for a full day of family adventure.


Last year my kiddos and I headed to Brian Head to escape the heat for the 4th of July and we had such a blast!!!


If you’re a mountain biker, one of the best things to do in Cedar City, Utah is to bring your own or rent a bike and join in for a complimentary mountain bike tour at Brian Head Resort or sign up for mountain bike lessons.


11- Duck Creek Village

Duck Creek Utah welcome sign

Duck Creek Village is a thriving community near Cedar City with shops and restaurants, lodges, inns, cabin rentals, and a campground. Sitting at the edge of a large mountain meadow at an elevation of 8,400 feet, Duck Creek Village is a popular summer destination with hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding, ATV riding, and mountain biking.


My favorite alpine lake, located super close to town, is Aspen Mirror Lake. It is the perfect spot for hiking, fishing, or watching a beautiful sunset.


Duck Creek is also a cool winter destination – find out more about visiting Duck Creek in winter here!


12 - CASCADE FALLS

If you’re visiting Duck Creek, you don’t want to miss the hike to Cascade Falls. This is a great family-friendly hike that’s just one mile out and back and takes you to a 100-foot waterfall fed by Navajo Lake. The waterfall flows straight out of a cave on the side of a mountain, and it’s so cool!


Along this well-maintained trail, you will see several varieties of plant life and incredible views overlooking the Markagunt Plateau and Zion National Park.

13 - NAVAJO LAKE

This stunning alpine lake, centrally located 40 minutes from Cedar City is filled with activities like trout fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, and mountain biking.

Navajo Lake was originally known to the Paiute Indians as “Pa-Cu-Ay”, meaning “Cloud Lake” and was formed when an ancient lava flow dammed the eastern side of the lake valley.

Navajo Lake is a popular camping destination but If camping isn't your thing you can book a cozy cabin just steps from the water at Navajo Lake Lodge. The lodge also offers rentals for pontoon boats, motor boats, canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards.

This summer we rented a canoe, kayaks and the pontoon boat at Navajo Lake Lodge and had such an amazing time with the family!


14 - MAMMOTH CAVE

Mammoth Cave is a really fascinating area to explore in Dixie National Forest near Duck Creek Village. The cave is actually a lava tube that was formed by cooling lava and water less than 2,00 years ago. The tube has four chambers with over 2,200 feet of passage and is about a quarter mile long. 


Heights of the cave range from stand-up-comfortably to crawl-on-your-belly so you can choose your own adventure with the kiddos! You’ll want to bring a light jacket, flashlight, and good hiking shoes to hike and explore Mammoth Cave…and beware that water can be found in some portions of the cave.


15 - ASHDOWN GORGE

If you’re looking for things to do in Cedar City, Utah, you can’t beat Ashdown Gorge…especially if you're trying to beat the heat in Southern Utah! Ashdown Gorge is a wonderful hike through a canyon along a creek where you can cool off. There’s even a fun waterfall to splash in.


While the whole hike is 10 miles one way (it goes all the way to Cedar Breaks), most people make this an 8.8 mile out and back to the where the canyon opens up. You can also choose to turn around at any time if the kiddos get tired. Ashdown Gorge is located outside of Cedar City off of Highway 14 up Cedar Canyon, so it’s a good place to get away from the crowds in Zion.


16 - SPRING CREEK CANYON

Just about 15 minutes down the road from Cedar City is the town of Kanarraville, UT, where you’ll find one of my favorite hidden gems in Southern Utah - Spring Creek Canyon. This stunning slot canyon provides the solitude that you won’t find in the more popular canyons in the area.


The hike into Spring Creek Canyon starts out a little boring, but soon you’ll reach the breathtaking sandstone cliffs that mark the start of the canyon. While it narrows down in places as you go through, it really never becomes too tight to easily slip through.


For all the trail details, check out my Spring Creek Canyon post here!


17 - MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS

Mystic Hot Springs is a bit of a drive from Cedar City (about an hour and a half) in Monroe, UT, but it’s totally worth the trip. I love these hot springs so much! They have a real hippie vibe and aren’t fancy, but trust me, the experience is absolutely magical.


You’ll find two pools and several soaking tubs here. The cast iron tubs are unique and lovely, and the pools are fun for swimming and playing. The temperature varies between each pool and tub, so you can find your perfect spot or try them all. No matter what, soaking in the hot springs surrounded by mounds of red mineral deposits is something special.


Local tip: You need to make a soaking pass reservation online for Mystic Hot Springs. The passes are for a 2-hour window, and cost $25/adult and $12.50/child.


Get all the info about Mystic Hot Springs in my guide here!


18 - RED HILLS HOT SPRINGS

Make it into a hot springs road trip to Monroe with a visit to Red Hills Hot Springs, too! These hot springs are undeveloped and free, and they offer a great view over the Monroe Valley from up on a hill.


Red Hills Hot Springs features four small pools that range in temperature. The pools are pretty shallow, and it can get crowded here, but it’s a nice stop before or after a visit to Mystic Hot Springs if you want some more soaking time.


19 - KANARRA FALLS

The secret is out about Kanarra Falls…the stunning slot canyon and waterfalls make it one of the most popular things to do in Cedar City, Utah, but even if you’re not alone on the trail, you’ll make lasting memories with your kids on this photogenic adventure.


This trail takes you hiking through a stream and into a slot canyon where you’ll discover incredible waterfalls. While you will have to do some scrambling, ladders have been installed by the waterfalls to make it easier to climb up.


The full Kanarra Falls hike is 4 miles round trip, but I often turn around at the first waterfall that has a ladder in the slot canyon when I’m hiking with my kiddos, which makes it a just over 2 mile round trip. 


Local tip: A permit ($15/person) is required to hike Kanarra Falls, and only 200 permits are available each day. I highly recommend booking your Kanarra Falls permit online here to make sure you get one!



20 - HIDDEN HAVEN WATERFALL

If you have visiting a waterfall as one of your things to do in Cedar City, Utah, Hidden Haven is the perfect way to check that off your list! It’s only 1.4 miles round trip to see the cool waterfall, so it’s a great hike with kids.


The hike to Hidden Haven starts following a creek along the road on a mostly shady trail. The defined trail will eventually disappear, and then you’ll have to hike over rocks and do some minor scrambling. After a while, you’ll be rewarded with the unique sight of water flowing down the blocky, angular rocks at Hidden Haven.


Local tip: You definitely want to do this hike in the spring to see the waterfall running…it’s really only a trickle the rest of the year.



21 - BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK

Cedar City makes a great home base for visiting Bryce Canyon National Park since it’s only about an hour and a half away, and you can’t miss Bryce Canyon when visiting southern Utah. The landscape of Bryce is incredibly cool, featuring the highest concentration of hoodoos anywhere on earth!


The Navajo Loop Trail is a perfect way to get a taste of all that Bryce Canyon has to offer. It’s a short, 1.4 mile loop hike that the kiddos will love…until they have to hike uphill out of the canyon at the end, haha! The trail starts at Sunset Point and descends to the canyon floor where you can explore Wall Street, the only slot canyon in Bryce, before heading back up the switchbacks to the rim.



22 - ZION NATIONAL PARK

Of course, you really can’t go anywhere in southern Utah without visiting the crown jewel of the area, Zion National Park. Cedar City is about an hour away from the Springdale entrance to Zion, and you must spend some of your time exploring all that Zion has to offer.


From the iconic Angels Landing to The Narrows slot canyon to the stunning views from The Watchman, Zion National Park is full of amazing trails to explore and adventures to take. Some of my favorite hikes with kids in Zion are the Riverside Walk, Emerald Pools, and Canyon Overlook on the east side of the park.


If you just have one day to spend in Zion, here are ten different itineraries to get the most out of a short visit to the park.


23 - SNOW CANYON STATE PARK

Snow Canyon State Park is about an hour away from Cedar City, and it feels more secluded and less busy than some of the other more popular areas in Southern Utah. But it’s absolutely gorgeous with petrified sand dunes, ancient lava formations, and amazing views.


Be sure to stop by the Snow Canyon scenic overlook to take in those views, and don’t miss the Lava Tube Trail and the Petrified Sand Dunes made of Navajo sandstone which the kids will love running around. Plus, Jenny’s Canyon is a super short trail through a magnificent slot canyon.



24 - THREE PEAKS RECREATION AREA

Three Peaks Recreation Area is a wonderful space for outdoor fun just 10 miles northwest of Cedar City. The landscape is made up of hills and volcanic rock formations, making it perfect for mountain biking on over 27 miles of trails with a mix of terrain. If you’re more into motorized riding, there are also 42 miles of OHV routes in the area.

The recreation area also offers two separate disc golf courses in an amazing location. You can also camp here if you want to spend a night under the stars. 


25 - THOR’S LOOKOUT

Thor’s Hideout is a fun trail that is part of Thunderbird Gardens, an awesome recreation area in Cedar City. The hike is steadily uphill the whole way, but it doesn’t feel too bad, and it’s definitely doable for kids. The views are beautiful along the whole trail, but especially when you get to the top of the ridge.

The hike to the hideout is about 3 miles round trip, but it’s worth taking the short extension to find Thor’s Lookout, too. The kids - and adults! - will love the cool throne made of rocks that you’ll find there!


26 - FESTIVAL CITY FARMERS MARKET

Cedar City features an amazing farmers market which runs all year long! The Festival City Farmers Market features the wares of farmers, bakers, and artisans on Saturdays throughout the year. Plus, during the summer, you can enjoy Festival Wednesdays, which brings the party to the middle of the week with food trucks and live music. It’s a great time for the whole family!


27 - AQUATIC CENTER & LAKE AT THE HILLS

For an oasis in the desert in Cedar City, check out the Aquatic Center and Lake at the Hills. The Cedar City Aquatic Center is definitely a hit with the kiddos with its lazy river and water slide, and they can also splash at the playground. Adults will enjoy the lap pool or soaking in the hot tub.


The whole family can also have a lovely time at Lake at the Hills, located behind the Aquatic Center. You can rent kayaks or paddleboards to get out on the lake or just hang out and have a picnic on the beach. The lake is also great for fishing, with catfish, bass, and trout. You could really plan to spend a whole day at this water playground in the desert!


Where to Stay in Cedar City

Cedar City honestly doesn't have a huge selection of interesting lodging choices. They have all the chain hotels but those are boring. We like to stay in a places with character, something that the kids will love and that will be a part of the memories we make on our trip.

The Barn Airbnb, just 10 minutes north of Cedar City is such a great place to stay with kids. We absolutely loved everything about our stay. The property is on a working farm and has all the amenities you need with all the comforts of home. We cooked, played games, and watched movies in the upstairs theater room. It can even fit up to 14 guests.

If you plan on visiting Cedar City with kids this is the place to stay.


So what do you think? Are you ready to head to Cedar City for some summer fun? I hope I have inspired you to add another Southern Utah town to your bucket list. 


Planning to visit Cedar City this winter? Make sure to check out this winter itinerary.........


Happy adventuring,

Arika


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