Every year, more than 5 million people make their way through the gates of Zion National Park. During the summer months, holiday weekends, and the fall when the leaves begin to change, these high visitor numbers can lead to crowds, as well as lines at popular trailheads and at shuttle stops. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in Springdale when you need to take a break from the busy park.
Planning a visit around the holidays or in the middle of the summer doesn’t have to mean avoiding the park entirely. However, if you want to get away from the crowds, you should consider checking out some of the other attractions that Springdale has to offer.
Ready to start planning your next stay at Watchman Villas? Keep reading to learn 3 things to do in Springdale that aren’t Zion National Park.
1. Visit One of Southern Utah’s State Parks
Staying in vacation rentals near Zion National Park is a great way to enjoy easy access to the park. This is especially helpful on busy days. You can get to the park early, before the crowds descend. You can also walk to a shuttle stop for the Springdale Shuttle loop, leaving your car parked at your vacation rental, and avoiding the hassle of finding parking elsewhere in town.
Vacation rentals near Zion National Park also make for great basecamps for exploring some of Utah’s other national parks. Bryce Canyon, for instance, is just a short drive away. This park sees fewer crowds than Zion, making it a great choice for a day trip during a summer stay at Watchman Villas.
However, in addition to the Mighty 5 National Parks, the state also boasts plenty of other beautiful parks. Many will still experience plenty of holiday visitors, however, with far less traffic and fewer crowds. Many visitors to the area never even realize that there are sand dunes, fishing, and more, located just a short distance from Zion National Park. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Springdale during high travel times, consider spending a day in one of these beautiful Southern Utah state parks.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Just over an hour’s drive from Springdale is Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. This breathtaking park features light pink sand dunes, formed over thousands of years by the eroding sandstone cliffs that surround the dunes. This park is known for its off-road trails and family-friendly activities like sledding on the dunes.
Sand Hollow State Park
Less than an hour from Zion is Sand Hollow State Park. While you’ll also find sand dunes here, the park is better known for its lake, where you can enjoy a variety of watersports. If you visit when it is too chilly for boating, you can also rent UTVs and ATVs and hit an off-road trail instead.
Valley of Fire State Park
Technically this isn’t one of the things to do in Springdale. But while it’s located a bit further from Springdale than the other state parks on this list, Valley of Fire State Park is well worth the drive. Nevada’s oldest state park, Valley of Fire, is located in the Mojave Desert.
Here you’ll find stunning Red Aztec sandstone, vibrant limestone, and plenty of desert flora. History buffs will enjoy seeing the ancient petroglyphs and petrified trees. A visit to this park is a great chance to experience a very different landscape from the ones that exist in Zion.
2. Shop Downtown Springdale
If you need a break from standing in line or sitting in your car, take a stroll through downtown Springdale instead. The town has plenty of shopping for all ages and interests. From gift shops and outdoor outfitters to local arts and crafts, you can easily enjoy a full afternoon of wandering and bring home fun souvenirs to commemorate your vacation.
If you have little ones along who need a play break or you just want to take a walk and enjoy the weather, there are also several city parks located throughout Springdale that you can visit.
3. Take a Tour
Another great way to beat the crowds and still enjoy the beauty of Zion National Park and the surrounding landscapes is with a tour. Technically you’re still in the park. But with a scheduled tour you won’t have to fret about finding parking or choosing which trails to hit and which to avoid. You can take in the backcountry views on a Jeep safari, try a taste of canyoneering, or even tackle a lengthier trek with professional guides.
Visiting during a busy holiday weekend? A tour is the best way to make the most of your time in the park. However, it’s important to remember that these tours may book out months ahead of time, especially for the holidays. Scheduling a tour far ahead of your next holiday in Zion will give you the chance to still enjoy the park without worrying about lengthy trailhead lines or car traffic.
Choosing the Best Things to Do in Springdale
Whether you already have a visit to Zion National Park planned in the coming weeks or months or not, these tips can be a big help. Knowing a few things to do in Springdale is a great way to take a break from the crowds when visiting Southern Utah during high-traffic times of the year.
Another great way to beat the crowds? Plan your next visit during the park’s off-season! Not all vacation rentals near Zion National Park are open year-round. But Watchman Villas is! Not only is a winter visit a great way to avoid the crowds, but it’s also a chance to experience a whole different side of this unique national park. Book your winter 2022/2023 visit today to see for yourself!