Staying at Zion vacation rentals located close to the park’s entrance is a great way to beat the crowds on a busy day and maximize your time there. But while the Bungalows at Zion is a great base camp for your national park adventure, there are plenty of other outdoor destinations worthy of a visit during your stay.
Other national parks, like Bryce Canyon or Capitol Reef, are close enough to enjoy a day trip. There are also a variety of state parks, many of which are home to natural features that rival those found in the national parks.
Looking to plan a day trip or two during your stay at our Zion vacation rentals? Keep reading to learn about 5 Utah state parks perfect for a day trip from Springdale.
1. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
If this is your first time visiting Southern Utah, you might be surprised to learn about the unique natural feature found in this state park. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is home to towering sand dunes, which cover more than 3,000 acres within the park. Formed between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, these sand dunes are named for the pink hue that they take on around sunset.
Besides being an incredible sight to see, the sand dunes also make a great backdrop for some unique activities. You can hike the dunes, join an ATV or sand buggy tour, or even go sand sledding! Bring your own snowboard or sled — preferably an older one, as the sand will scrape and scratch the board or sled — or rent one while in the park.
2. Quail Creek State Park
On the opposite end of the spectrum from dry sand dunes is the stunning blue water reservoir found in Quail Creek State Park. This small reservoir and state park actually borders another state park on this list; Sand Hollow State Park. But while it may be smaller than its neighbor, the park is well worth a visit and is often a great spot to beat the crowds that may descend on the other parks on a busy summer day.
The reservoir of Quail Creek State Park is filled with some of the warmest water in the state, yet has a depth of up to 120 feet. It’s stocked with a variety of fish, including rainbow trout, bullhead catfish, and crappie, as well as largemouth bass and bluegill in the shallower depths of the reservoir.
Because of the warm water and the milder climate of the park during the winter months, Quail Creek State Park is a great year-round destination for visitors to Southern Utah.
3. Frontier Homestead State Park
Most of the state parks located an hour or less from the Bungalows at Zion are best known for the many outdoor activities they have to offer, like off-roading, hiking, or sand-sledding. But this next state park is better known as a destination for families looking to take a step back in time to learn about the history of the region.
Frontier Homestead State Park is located in Cedar City, Utah, about an hour from Zion National Park. The state park features a museum dedicated to telling the story of the pioneers who came to the region in the mid-1800s. These pioneers, led by Mormon leader Brigham Young, moved to the area and built a blast furnace, in a bid to create an iron foundry and help fill an iron shortage.
At the museum, guests can explore some preserved cabins, as well as the ruins of the Old Iron Town. The museum also features horse-drawn farm and foundry equipment, pioneer craft demonstrations, and more.
4. Snow Canyon State Park
Another state park located about an hour from our Zion vacation rentals is Snow Canyon State Park. This park is well known for the stunning geological formations that it houses. You’ll get a close look at sandstone cliffs, twisted layers of towing rocks, volcanic cones, and even some sand dunes. But Snow Canyon is perhaps best known for being home to the sweeping desert views that were once featured in a number of Hollywood films, including The Electric Horseman and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Snow Canyon covers more than 7,400 acres. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, including horseback riding, hiking, rock climbing, and biking. While the name may suggest otherwise, unlike nearby Zion, Snow Canyon rarely experiences snow, making it another great year-round destination.
5. Sand Hollow State Park
One of the most popular state parks in Southern Utah is Sand Hollow State Park. Located just a 45-minute drive from the Bungalows at Zion, this state park covers a whopping 20,000 acres. In addition to a large reservoir where you can boat, fish, and swim, the park is also home to an off-road area covered in 6,000 acres of sand dunes. This is a popular destination for off-roading. Bring your own vehicle, or join a tour from one of the many local companies.
Sand Hollow State Park, Snow Canyon State Park, and Quail Creek State Park are located close to one another. If you’re not planning to spend an entire day hiking, you could easily check out all three parks in a day trip from your Zion vacation rentals. But if you have the time, consider dedicating at least a half day to each park — longer if you want to book an off-road tour, go sand sledding, or enjoy a longer hike!
Booking the Best Zion Vacation Rentals
Whether you plan to spend your entire trip exploring Zion National Park or hope to enjoy a day trip or two to these amazing state parks, there’s always something new to enjoy when staying at Zion vacation rentals.
Ready to start planning your next adventure? The Bungalows at Zion is the perfect base camp for any Southern Utah vacation. Right now, when you book a stay of 4 nights or longer at the Bungalows, you’ll receive a 25% discount on your whole stay. Book today to take advantage of this limited-time offer!