Kanab 3-Day Family Itinerary

Mar 16, 2016
By: Ann Whittaker

Staycations are all the rave with the hip families of today’s United States of America--honestly. We see you exploring your backyard in all its convenient and inexpensive glory. And why shouldn’t you? This state of Utah is an endless bucket list of national parks, state parks, monuments, slot canyons, muddy river beds, campsites in the woods, rock shops, dinosaur museums, fossil quarries and...animal sanctuaries in Kanab. Yes, that entire list can happen if you make Kanab one of your go-to basecamps.

Kanab, Utah

Test it out. Take your next weekend (or any 3 days of the week--see if we care!) and settle into Kanab, basecamp for Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Grand Canyon North Rim, Lake Powell, Paria Canyon and the entire Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

DAY ONE: Travel + Kanab

Morning: Travel

Salt Lake City → Kanab: 312 miles, 4 hours 42 minutes

Las Vegas → Kanab: 199 miles, 3 hours

Lunch & Tour: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

We can’t talk about this place enough--we add it to every itinerary related to this area. It’s puppy, horsey, birdy cuteness to the max. And, if you don’t like cute animals, you might just be a terrible person--but we’re not judging.

You can eat until you’re properly satisfied after a long drive at their all-you-can-eat buffet for 5 measly dollars. It’s cheap--which means it’s freakin’ awesome for families. And it’s delicious. Goodbye fast food drive-thru, those freebie plastic toys got nothin’ on real-life animals.

Then take a tour of the sanctuary. 1:00 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. It’s two hours of squealing with delight over the cutest animals you’ll ever see. And it will warm that heart of yours after hours in the car threatening your kids to get them to stop threatening each other.

Grocery Shopping: Honey's Marketplace (260 East 300 West)

Save your dollars for the rock shops. Honey’s Marketplace in Kanab not only has every processed and sugar-coated food-ish item your kids love, it also has your almond milk and kale. And the locals boast it has the cleanest floors they’ve ever seen. How can you go wrong? Saving dollars, feeding children, and tracking your mud-covered boots on that spotless floor all sounds like a good idea. Really good.

Check-in to Hotel/Motel/B&B/Campground

Utah.com Favorites

CAMPGROUND: Hitch N Post (30/50 amp hookups, cabins, tent sites)

CABINS: Arrowhead Country Inn & Cabins

MOTEL: Redrock Country Inn

BED & BREAKFAST: Grand Circle B&B

HOTEL: Parry Lodge

Dinner: Picnic in the park or Dine Out (at your own risk)

Picnic: Jacob Hamblin Park (437 North 100 East)

Because kids like to run around and slide and swing and roast s’mores and scream and touch things with sticky hands and laugh while playing the best round of Freeze Tag they’ve ever played.

So take a picnic to Jacob Hamblin Park in Kanab: playground, water park, restroom, picnic tables, pavilion, fire pit, tennis courts, water, electricity, and garbage cans.

Dine Out:

Because a family trip is special and eating out is special and you really don’t have the energy to get to the grocery store first to do such a noble thing as feeding your kids fresh carrots and kefir for dinner. Plus, kids love looking through a menu to find the mac n cheese or the plain spaghetti with butter or the cheese pizza. They get what they want; you get what you want. And you win because parents just want to make the kids happy, ya know?

Utah.com Favorites

Escobar’s Mexican Restaurant (373 E 300 S, closed Saturdays)

Rocking V Cafe

Lotsa Motsa Pizza (164 E 300 S)

Nedra's Too

Big Al’s Burgers (185 E 300 S)

DAY TWO: Zion National Park

"National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst." - Wallace Stegner

Morning: Hike Riverside Walk Trail

Bring a Picnic Lunch + Snacks + WATER

Riverside Walk, Zion National Park

This paved trail traces the Virgin River with plenty of places for you and your kids to get close to the river as you walk beneath Zion’s towering sandstone cliffs. This trail can get crowded in the summer months, so the earlier you get started the better.

Afternoon: Emerald Pools + Rock Shops

Bring more snacks + more water

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park

Lower Pools for the little littles; Middle Pools for the tweens; Upper Pools for the biggest kids.

There are multiple rock shops in Springdale, and all are good. But our favorite is Silver Bear at the edge of town.

Silver Bear Rock Shop, Springdale

Dinner: Oscar's Cafe

Other Zion Options:

Free ranger kids & youth programs

Activity booklet for kids to become a Junior Ranger

Zion Nature Center


Stick around town since you’ll be driving all the way home in the afternoon or evening. And Kanab’s got plenty to keep a family busy in the great(est) outdoors.

Morning: Hike The Toadstools or K-Hill Trail

Toadstools, 1.5 miles roundtrip, Easy, 45-60 minute drive to trailhead:

The Toadstools

The Toadstools are a little garden of other-worldly sandstone formations--similar to the iconic Goblin Valley formations. But far less crowded and complete with giant sandstone caves in the surrounding cliffs. Tatooine or Jaku come to mind. You could spend hours and hours here. Or not. Totally up to you because we’re not pushy.

K-Hill Trail, 3.3 miles roundtrip, Easy, right in town

K-Hill Trail Kanab

This trail is lovely and gentle and gives you a great view of the town all the way around. It’s great for a nature walk, for a race up to the K, or just a chance to get the wriggles out before packing the kiddos back into the car with their electronic screeny devices for a long-ish drive home.

Lunch: Leftovers

Because you probably over-planned and over-bought and there’s plenty for the rest of the week.

AFTERNOON/EVENING: Homeward bound...jiggity-jig.


In Kanab:

Tom's Canyon Trail

Johnson Canyon Scenic Drive

Dinosaur Track Hunting (stop by the visitor center for directions and info)

In Zion:

The Watchman Trail

Rent bikes and ride the paved Pa’rus Trail

Stick around to see the incredible stars in Dark Skies territory

Head to Bryce Canyon National Park

Where Hoodoos, Sinking Ships, and Fairylands await.

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