Jul 242012
Top 10 Things to Do on a Family Vacation to Utah's Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Our recent visit to southern Utah’s Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks lasted just a few days, but we managed to cover a lot of ground, including side trips to Las Vegas and Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.  For families that enjoy the outdoors, southern Utah and the surrounding area offer lots of opportunities for exploration at whatever pace works for your family. So, whether your group involves teens, tweens, grandparents or younger kids, visits to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks will be remembered for a long time.  Using the Zion-Springdale area as a base camp here is our list of the Top 10 things for families with kids, teens and tween to do.  Visit the links to see our more detailed articles about most of these activities: [...]

Las Vegas is Definitely Not for Teens and Tweens

 Posted by on June 18, 2012  Comments Off
Jun 182012
Las Vegas is Definitely Not for Teens and Tweens

We used the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport as our jumping off point for a quick trip to the canyon country of Nevada and Southern Utah.  While the sights at Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park are great destinations for a family vacation, our advice about Las Vegas is simple:  if you’ve got kids, teen or tweens in tow, get out of town as fast as you can.   If your flight schedule calls for an overnight, look for a hotel with a good pool on the Strip if you want to briefly check out the neon and glitz or head to one of the many well known family friendly chain hotels that don’t have casinos.  Check locations carefully,  on our recent adults-only vacation, we ended [...]

Jun 112012
Nevada's Valley of Fire - A Desert Side Trip Between Las Vegas and Zion

After spending several days amid the beauty of Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, we almost skipped the side trip to Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park, located about an hour’s drive outside of Las Vegas.  We are glad we decided to take the turnoff at Exit #75 off Interstate 15 and spend a couple of hours among this park’s red sandstone formations. The park’s 42,000 acres include about 10 miles of paved roads that provide access to a number of highly eroded and unusual features formed from shifting sand dunes millions of years ago.  There is an interpretive visitor center with bathrooms available, but food and water are limited so plan to bring a picnic lunch and make an afternoon of it. The park also houses petroglyphs from when the Anasazi people lived in the [...]

May 292012
Three Important Tips for Planning Your Family Stay at Zion National Park

Unlike many National Parks that provide lots of room to roam, most of Zion’s  well known landmarks and hiking trails are only accessible off the 6 mile long Zion Canyon Road, from where it intersects with the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway to its end at the Temple of Sinawava, which provides access to the Riverside Walk and the Narrows.  From April to October the only private cars allowed on the Zion Canyon Road are those belonging to guests of the Park’s Zion Lodge.  However, even guests of the Lodge must use the ultra-quiet propane-powerd Shuttles when  visiting the trails and landmarks along the road.  No private cars are allowed on the road past the Lodge in order to maintain a peaceful Canyon experience for all visitors. The Zion Lodge is the only lodging option inside the Park, [...]

Bryce Canyon in a Day

 Posted by on May 21, 2012  1 Response »
May 212012
Bryce Canyon in a Day

Known for its weirdly beautiful rock formations, Bryce Canyon is one of the smallest National Parks, covering about 56 square miles in south-central Utah, a 4.5  hour drive from either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City and two hours from Zion National Park.   Bryce Canyon City, on the park’s border provides serviceable overnight lodging options and the Bryce Canyon Lodge and campgrounds are available inside the Park.   We opted to take a daytrip to Bryce from our base camp at Zion.   The spectacular, but white-knuckle, drive in and out of Zion via steep switchback roads and  the Zion- Mt. Carmel Tunnel was an added bonus to a day that featured some of nature’s most unusual sculptures. The famous Bryce formations  occupy vast amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.  Millions of years of rain [...]

May 092012
Start Your Visit to Zion National Park with a Stroll on the Pa'rus Trail

The Pa’rus Trail at Zion National Park is a recent addition (1995) to the park’s trail system. It connects the Campgrounds near the Visitor Center, the Human History Museum and the Canyon Junction shuttle bus stop.  Since private cars are not allowed to stop along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive from April through October, families staying in Springdale generally grab the town shuttle to the Visitor Center than hop on a Park Shuttle for the ride deeper into the Park.  The Pa’rus Trail offers an accessible, dog and baby stroller friendly option to begin or end your visit with an hour long  1.7 mile one way stroll criss-crossing Oak Creek, Pine Creek and the Virgin River.   Bikes can be rented from Zion Outfitter located near the Visitor Center, sharing a parking lot with the Giant Screen [...]

May 032012
Zion's Riverside Walk Offers Easy Access to Park's Wonders

During our recent visit to Zion National Park we explored some of the easier hiking and walking trails including the Emerald Pools Lower Trail, the Pa’rus Trail and the Riverside Walk.  The level, lightly paved Riverside Walk begins at the  Temple of Sinawava shuttle bus stop, the last one along the Canyon road.  The trail travels a mile along the banks of the Virgin River until it disappears into the river itself.  It is a this point that the sides of the Canyon quickly close in and the famous Narrows Trail begins, allowing adventurous hikers to walk through the water for miles deep into the narrowest parts of the canyon in the summer when water levels are low.  In the Spring, the Narrows are off limits but the Riverside Walk is a [...]