Kanab 3-Day Family Itinerary

Kanab 3-Day Family Itinerary

March 16, 2016

Staycations are all the rage in today’s United States of America, but they only make sense in Utah. Everyone, no matter where they live, likes the convenience and affordability of doing something close to home, but unless ‘close to home’ includes places like Kanab, why bother?

Access 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 an animal sanctuary from one little hub on the Arizona border. (You didn’t know ‘animal sanctuary’ was on your bucket list, did you?)

And yes, you actually can do every one of those — in only three days — if you follow this handy Kanab itinerary. Test it out. Find a long weekend 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.

(But it sort of seems like bad luck to check every box on your bucket list, so maybe save at least one for later.)

Kanab, Utah

DAY ONE: 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 conversation about Kanab. It’s a no-kill sanctuary for homeless animals, not to mention puppy-, horsey-, birdy-cuteness to the max. And if you don’t like cute animals, well then, you know… yeesh.

Fill up at their all-you-can-eat buffet for 5 measly, family-friendly dollars. 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, saved-est animals you’ll ever see. And it will soften that heart of yours after hours in the car threatening your kids to stop threatening each other, or else.

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

For many of us, the cost of dining out can hamstring family travel. Save your dollars for the rock shops and grab some groceries at Honey’s Marketplace in Kanab. The locals boast it has the cleanest floors they’ve ever seen, so not only will you save money and eat healthy, you can track your muddy hiking boots all over them.

Utah.com's Favorite Kanab Lodgings

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

CABINS: Arrowhead Country Inn & Cabins

BED & BREAKFAST: Grand Circle B&B

HOTEL: Parry Lodge

Dinner: Picnic at 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 ever. Playground, water park, restroom, picnic tables, pavilion, fire pit, tennis courts, water, electricity, and garbage cans.

Or if you haven’t made it to the grocery store yet, try one of our favorite restaurants in the area: Escobar’s, Rocking V Cafe, Lotsa Motsa Pizza, Nedra's Too, Big Al’s Burgers.

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

Riverside Walk, Zion National Park

Morning: Hike Riverside Walk Trail

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. It can get crowded in the summer months, so the earlier you get started the better. Bring a lunch, snacks and water.

Afternoon: Emerald Pools + Rock Shops

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park

Lower Pools for the littlest kids; Middle Pools for the tweens; Upper Pools for the biggest kids. Bring more snacks and more water.

Then check out a rock shop for a fun, local souvenir. There are multiple options 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-led kids & youth activities

Junior Ranger program — grab a booklet at the visitor center with activities related to the park; not only will they love the badge they earn, it’ll keep them engaged while you’re exploring 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 otherworldly sandstone formations similar to the iconic Goblin Valley formations. It’s far less crowded and has giant sandstone caves in the surrounding cliffs. (Tatooine or Jaku come to mind…) You could spend hours and hours here.

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 wiggles out before packing the kiddos back into the car 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.


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.