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.
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
Salt Lake City → Kanab: 312 miles, 4 hours 42 minutes
Las Vegas → Kanab: 199 miles, 3 hours
Lunch & Tour: 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
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.
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?
Escobar’s Mexican Restaurant (373 E 300 S, closed Saturdays)
Lotsa Motsa Pizza (164 E 300 S)
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
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
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.
Dinner: Oscar's Cafe
Other Zion Options:
Free ranger kids & youth programs
Activity booklet for kids to become a Junior Ranger
Zion Nature Center
DAY THREE: Kanab
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 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
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.
Because you probably over-planned and over-bought and there’s plenty for the rest of the week.
AFTERNOON/EVENING: Homeward bound...jiggity-jig.
Johnson Canyon Scenic Drive
Dinosaur Track Hunting (stop by the visitor center for directions and info)
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.