We absolutely love everything about the west coast. The mountains, the desert, you name it. While my children have never been a huge fan of the outdoors, my husband and I crave it. The one thing that we all agreed on, in regards to an outdoor vacation, was that we wanted to take a trip to the Grand Canyon. The Southern Rim is the most popular, which means that rental properties close by are going to be expensive. With that being said, we opted to explore the North Rim, where it is less crowded and a bit cheaper in regards to lodging. We also wanted to do some hiking in St. George, Utah, so we decided on a combined 5-day trip that included Las Vegas, Utah and the Grand Canyon.
Las Vegas, Nevada (Evening Preview)
We flew in to Las Vegas around 3:00pm via plane and immediately picked up our rental car. From there we took our boys to dinner at Secret Pizza. If you’ve never been, you must give it a try. The restaurant is hidden (hence the secret), on the 3rd floor of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. You will not see a sign for the restaurant and will have to look out for a hallway leading to it. There is limited seating in the actual restaurant, but there are plenty of places to sit in the hotel lobby.
After dinner we took a walk to see the 9:00pm show of The Fountains of Bellagio.
St. George, Utah is almost 2 hours away, so we left shortly after seeing the fountains. The drive was breathtaking with all of the mountains so close to the road. We are from the east coast and see lots of flat land, so mountains are always a sight to see.
This is the condo that we rented and it was perfect. It had everything we needed to cook with in the kitchen, and even had a community pool for relaxing in the evening. This condo has 2 bedrooms and a sleeper sofa.
Sand Hollow State Park
There is lots to do at this park from ATV riding in the sand dunes to jet skiing in the man-made reservoir. It’s about a 30 minute drive from St. George, UT. We spent our morning on the jet skis and had a blast. It was a hot day in Utah (as it is in June), so this was refreshing. Just be sure to use sunscreen or you will burn. Here is the link to check out the prices on their rentals. https://thebeachatsandhollow.com/rental-pricing/
Cinder Cone Volcano
If you don’t spend all day at the reservoir and want to explore a bit more, I recommend a short hike on the cinder cone volcano in Snow Canyon State Park. It was about 20 minutes from our condo in St. George, UT. “Cinder cones are the simplest type of volcano. They are built from particles and blobs of congealed lava ejected from a single vent. As the gas-charged lava is blown violently into the air, it breaks into small fragments that solidify and fall as cinders around the vent to form a circular or oval cone. Most cinder cones have a bowl-shaped crater at the summit and rarely rise more than a thousand feet or so above their surroundings. Cinder cones are numerous in western North America as well as throughout other volcanic terrains of the world.” https://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/volc/types.html
On our walk to the cinder cone (before ascending up), we had a moment of uncertainty. You have to go through this chain latched gate to get there. It felt like we were about to enter Jurassic Park. There were no lists of these “dangerous animals”. We scouted the area before going through and didn’t see a thing. We think that the property owners are just protecting theirselves legally incase of injury due to snake bites, etc. If anyone knows what kind of animals we needed to look out for, I would still love to know.
North Rim, Grand Canyon, AZ
Get up early and drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Without stops, this is about a 3-3 ½ hour drive from St. George, UT. While the North Rim only has three sights (Cape Royal, Point Imperial, Angel Point), it is still absolutely breathtaking. There is a $30 fee to get in to the canyon park. Please visit the Grand Canyon website for their schedule as they close in the winter months because of snow. https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/north-rim.htm
Mt. Zion National Park
Mt. Zion National Park was about an hour to an hour and a half away from our condo in St. George. We found many trails for hikers of all skill levels. We did the easy trails as our son was with us, but there were some amazing trails for the advanced hiker. Be sure to get to the park early as it gets very hot in Springdale, UT. We went in June and the temperature was already up to 92 degrees by 11am. It got to 100 degrees by 2pm. Make sure to bring your water and take sips throughout the day to avoid getting sick. The cost to enter this park is $45.00 as of December 2019.
Las Vegas, NV
We left St. George, UT around 11am and arrived back in Las Vegas around 12pm. We had a delicious lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Burgr. After lunch we visited the Gold & Silver Pawn shop, the location of the Pawn Stars show. We were hoping (but not expecting) to see some of the people from the show, but unfortunately, they weren’t there. It was neat to see though. After that we did more exploring on the strip.
Have you ever been to any of these destinations? What were your favorite things to do there? Let me know in the comment section below.