Planning a Southern Utah vacation this summer? As you probably already know, the region is packed full of things to see and do. From stunning national parks to unique state parks, museums, art galleries, and more, there’s a lot to experience during your visit.
Want to make the most of your visit to Watchman Villas? Keep reading to learn our tips for maximizing your next vacation!
Don’t Try to Squeeze in Everything in One Trip
A Southern Utah vacation can be a bucket-list-worthy trip for many Americans. Within just a short drive of Springdale, visitors can reach several incredible national parks, as well as a variety of state parks. You can race across sand dunes on off-road vehicles, or go scuba diving in a warm, blue water reservoir. See real dinosaur tracks preserved in the rock and experience how early pioneers first settled in the region.
There’s more than enough to see and do that you could easily spend months exploring the best Southern Utah vacation spots. But if you’re like most families, your vacation will likely last anywhere from a few days to a week or two.
Trying to squeeze too much into a short trip will quickly leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Instead, decide ahead of time which spots are most important for you to hit. You might even consider ranking them. Then, during your trip, don’t stress out about hitting every item on your list. Take your time, and be open to changing your plans; often, the best memories are the ones that you never saw coming!
National parks are not Disney World. If you get to the middle of a long trail and find that you haven’t packed the right supplies, you won’t be able to pop into a store to pick them up. Having the right gear along will not only keep you happy and comfortable but could also save your life.
Whether you plan to hike Angels Landing (click here to learn how to get a permit for this hike) or any other trails during your visit, a few items you should have in your bag include:
- Water (on average, hikers drink around one liter for every two hours of moderate hiking)
- Protective clothing, including warm layers and rain gear
- Hiking boots
- A First Aid kit
Visit During a Shoulder Season
Each of our country’s 61 national parks is home to unique and stunning views, unspoiled nature, and pristine landscapes. Unfortunately, one thing that they lack is secrecy.
Our nation’s treasures aren’t quite hidden. During the summer months, holidays, and school vacation periods, many fill with visitors. In popular national parks like Zion, the Grand Canyon, the Great Smoky Mountains, and Yellowstone, this can lead to crowding, traffic, and lines.
If you want to make the most of a short vacation or are hoping to take in the sights without crowds of tourists, plan your next visit during the shoulder season. Early to mid-Spring and mid to late-Fall are wonderful times to visit Southern Utah vacation spots like Zion. The weather is still pleasant enough for hiking, but the heat has lessened and the crowds have subsided. Choose an off-beat trail and you’ll feel as though you have the entire park to yourself.
If you must visit during a busy time of year, consider mixing in some time at Southern Utah state parks. While some of these will still draw a crowd on weekends or holidays, they are often a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of Zion in the middle of the summer. Don’t forget to also leave some time to experience all that Springdale has to offer, including art galleries, shopping, and dining.
Stop at the Visitors Center
Many park visitors are in such a rush to start exploring that they skip right over the visitor center. But a stop at these should always be first on your list.
To start, they offer a wonderful introduction to the park. Most have museums with interactive exhibits, photos, and displays designed to help you learn about the park and its history. Some have video introductions as well. These are also great spots to catch up to park rangers to ask about trail closures, possible severe weather, and even ask for recommendations. They may be able to help you plan stops or hikes you never would have known about otherwise!
Put Your Smartphone Away
You should pack your smartphone. After all, you can use it for GPS in areas of the park where you have service. It can also be a valuable tool if you wander off and get lost. But resist the urge to carry it around and stash it in your backpack instead.
The last thing you want to do is miss out on the sights that you’re working so hard to see. If you have a camera, consider using it instead of your smartphone. If you do want to snap some pics with your phone, resist the urge to post those photos to social media right away. You’ll have plenty of time to do that while you’re relaxing in your vacation rental.
Leave No Trace
After visiting a few Southern Utah vacation spots, you’ll quickly see what makes this region so unique — and why it draws millions of visitors each year. Hopefully, your experience will inspire you to do your part to protect this special region, and the national and state parks located within it. If so, learning and following the principles of Leave No Trace is a great way to help you make the most of your visit without leaving an impact on the natural landscapes or wildlife that you’re here to enjoy.
You can do your part by following the principles of Leave No Trace, including:
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors
Start Planning Your Next Southern Utah Vacation
Ready to start planning your own Southern Utah vacation? Watchman Villas is the perfect basecamp for your adventure. An on-site shuttle stop makes it easy to get to and from Zion National Park during your stay, as well as elsewhere in Springdale. You’ll also be within a few hour’s drive of several other national and state parks you can check out during your stay.
There’s still time to book a summer 2022 visit to Watchman Villas. Book today to see for yourself what makes Southern Utah so special.