Spring Break Out West: Day 5

Day 5 – Could we be impressed after experiencing Bryce Canyon and the Grand Staircase?  Yes – Zion National Park is awesome!  We took a scenic 1.5 hour drive to Zion, drove through the park (about 45 minutes), and arrived in Springdale, Utah.  Springdale is a great little town at the south entrance of Zion – lots of places to stay, great restaurants, and local shops.  

Onto Zion!  After experiencing Bryce Canyon and the Grand Staircase we didn’t think we could be more impressed – we were wrong!

Zion National Park is about 80 miles south west of Bryce Canyon.  The drive takes about 1.5 hours and is easy and scenic.  We had to enter the park to get to the town of Springdale, Utah, which is on the south end of the park.  Similar to Bryce Canyon National Park, there is a $30 entrance fee per group of more than 2 and is good for 7 days.  Other options are available for longer periods of time. 

While driving through Zion National Park we were in awe of the beautiful orange/red rock with lots of green trees and other vegetation.  The experience is different from Bryce Canyon in the sense that we experience much of Bryce Canyon from the top looking down or hiking down, and we experience much of Zion from the valley looking or hiking up.  It takes about 45 minutes to drive through the park and there is no cell phone coverage.

The other fantastic discovery of the Zion area was Springdale, Utah.  As soon as we started driving through the town we knew we’d have a great experience there… it’s set in the beautiful backdrop of Zion and includes lots of local shops and restaurants.  There are no chains – no fast food, no Starbucks, no 7-Elevens – all local.  The only chains are hotels which are built to blend into the scenery – no high rises or parking garages.

We went to a Café Soleil for lunch which as a great assortment of sandwiches, salads, and pizza.  We have to put a plug in for the salads which are really great – unique with great fresh and healthy ingredients.  

The weather wasn’t great, so we checked into the hotel.  We stayed at the La Quinta, which offers suites that are perfect for families and are affordable.  Our room had a master bedroom with a king bed and another room with bunk beds, a couch, a desk, and a microwave and refrigerator.  There are a number of other hotels offering similar amenities.  

As the weather got better, Daniel persuaded us to let him check out the heated pool.  He had a great time meeting lots of other kids.  Springdale is definitely a destination for families, and kids are welcome everywhere… the hotels and restaurants go out of their way to make kids and families comfortable.

That night we went to Oscar’s Café which has a great menu of southwest food, salads, and tacos.  Oscar’s also offers breakfast starting at 7am.  

Key tips:

  • It takes about 1.5 hours to get from Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park.  Add another 45 minutes to get to Springdale, Utah.

  • Springdale, Utah is a fantastic little town at the south end to Zion National Park that has lots of restaurants, shops, and hotels.