Southern Utah’s Best Parks for Kids

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Sarah Fischer
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We love Southern Utah! Since we lived in Northern Utah most of our lives prior to full-time-travel we have made it a standard to “fly south” (by fly I mean drive…) at least once or twice in the fall, winter, and spring to take advantage of the gorgeous outdoors and warmer weather.

St. George is a reasonable 4–5 hour drive from Northern Utah and boasts a wealth of outdoor recreational activities and gorgeous desert scenery. Plus ample shopping and restaurants. Now that we have 3 young kids we are always on the lookout for places the kids can run off some energy.

Here are our TOP 5 places for kids (and adults!) to play in Southern Utah:

Thunder Junction

Thunder Junction All Abilities Park is an elaborate playground packed with fun. Including a huge smoking volcano, decked with swings, slides, dinosaurs, zip-lines, etc., waterfalls and water-play area, musical instruments, a ride-on train, and snack booth. Also a has covered picnic area and bathrooms. Hours of endless fun for all ages.

Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon is a gorgeous spot adults and kids alike will love. Sometimes considered the mini Zions National Park (which we also love) it also offers gorgeous hikes — some short and perfect for kids, slot canyons, amazing views, and even red sand dunes, without the crowds of Zions. Just a short drive outside of St. George. Park entrance is just $10/car. Camping within the park is also available.

Pioneer Park/Dixie Rock/Desert Gardens

The Dixie Rock — a huge lookout point overlooking the entire St. George valley is just one of the many attractions of Pioneer Park. We climb the Dixie Rock with our kids every time that we go, but Pioneer Park has 52 acres of rocks, slot canyons, buttes, caves, etc. to play and explore. The Desert Gardens are another fun attraction featuring paved paths through desert wildlife, ponds and animals, and wooden bench swings to relax and enjoy it all. Our kids had a blast navigating the gardens in October when it was decked with spooky scarecrows and decor.

Vernon Worthen Park — Downtown St. George

Newly remodeled with brand new playground equipment, right in the heart of historic downtown St. George. This park has some really fun and unique features, like the 3-person pendulum-type revolving swings and zip-lines. Not as big and elaborate as Thunder Junction, but a really fun alternative. Also has huge grassy areas perfect for picnics, naps, soccer, football, etc. This park does have a small toddler area, but we would recommend it most for preschool and elementary aged kids.

Park Discovery — Cedar City

This is a really fun playground in Cedar City, about 45 minutes north of St. George. Perfect if you are stopping in Cedar for gas, food, potty, etc. This is a huge, wooden, castle/fort-like playground with tons of places to hide and play. The visibility of children at this park is somewhat restricted because of the wooden construction, so again, recommended for preschool and elementary aged children and in daylight.

Tip: Where to park is a bit obscure at this park, so just pull into one of the office building parking lots and park next to the fence — there are openings you can go right through.

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