This is our kids’ favorite spot in the world. They choose the Zion National Park riverbed over almost any other activity. We set up a blanket in the sandy banks and the kids explore the river (usually doesn’t go higher than their knees). They find tadpoles in the spring and make boats out of bark and leaves in the late summer. They have collected frogs, seen fish swim by and created sandcastles. It’s peaceful, quiet and the perfect way to spend a hot summer day in the desert. A FEW TIPS: Park your car near the amphitheater (in the back lot) and walk the pathway down to the riverbed. It’s a short walk, maybe a quarter mile. You’ll want to bring swimsuits, sunscreen and snacks. Also, it’s becoming more of a popular spot over the years, so you may have to walk down the riverbed in either direction for a short distance to find some privacy.
While we have been on almost every hike in Zion National Park and love them all, we prefer to spend our time off the beaten path. We park the car and start exploring. We usually hike along the dry river bed to the right of the main road (if you come through the Springdale entrance) and have seen mountain goats, jackrabbits and deer. It’s a lot cooler in the canyon down there, so plan accordingly. In the summer, it feels great, but it can be fairly chilly the rest of the year.
Our favorite Zion National Park restaurant is Oscar’s in Springdale. It’s a popular place, and a favorite of most locals. We like the guacamole and the burgers. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, try the candy store on the main strip through Springdale. It has locally made truffles (my personal favorite) and lots of nostalgic candy to entertain the kids.
Zion National Park is getting increasingly crowded each year and the shuttles run during the most populous times. We prefer not to ride the shuttles and instead find a parking spot and do our own thing, but even that is hard to manage on a busy weekend. It’s worth it though, as the amazing views and serene peace that Zion offers is unmatched. We recommend visiting as often as possible.