Your Fast Guide to 3 Southern Utah Hotspots

Janine Brandt | 05.13.22

What’s the best place to vacation in Southern Utah? That depends on who you ask! Unlike some destinations that are one cohesive city, Southern Utah is a large and diverse mix of landscapes, activities, climates, and communities. No two areas are exactly the same, but they each offer great things to explore. So how do you choose?


If you ask us, there are no wrong choices. But there are a few hotspots in Southern Utah where travelers agree you’ll get the most bang for your buck. So you can plan the perfect trip to our area, here’s a fast guide to the top three. 


Brian Head, Utah

Known For: Brian Head Resort, one of the country’s best locations for skiing and snowboarding. At 9,800 feet, it’s also the highest resort town in America!


Brian Head is a small mountain town full of big landscapes and even bigger fun. It’s most well-known as a premiere skiing destination, but Brian Head actually offers some of the most diverse recreational activities in the country at all times of year! It’s also close to three of the area’s best national parks for easy exploration. When you aren’t enjoying outdoor adventure, the town itself is a great mix of charm and convenience. You’ll find great opportunities for shopping, dining, cultural experiences, and everything you need to enjoy your stay in Southern Utah.


How To Get There: Brian Head is 3 hours from Las Vegas and 4 hours from Salt Lake City. Take Interstate 15 from either location to exit 75 in Parowan. 


When To Visit: There’s no bad time to visit Brian Head! With feet of powder-fresh in the winter, mild summers and bright fall foliage, it offers a true four-season experience.


What To Do: Brian Head is all about outdoor adventure. You can hike, bike, or horseback ride through miles of trails and rugged terrain. Panguitch Lake offers prime opportunities for fishing, swimming and boating. You can raft wild rivers, explore the lush Dixie National Forest, hike the vivid canyons at Zion National Park or stargaze at Cedar Breaks National Monument. You have to spend a day at Brian Head Resort, where families and adventurists alike can enjoy fun activities like skiing or snowboarding, avalanche tubing, mountain biking and more. 


Where To Stay: There are rental properties to suit every style in and around Brian Head. Ski-In/Ski-Out properties offer great amenities and easy access to Brian Head Resort. If you’re coming to explore the area, a private home near the national parks will be comfortable and convenient. If you want a rental that has it all, try our 3-bedroom Cabin on the Prairie for scenic views, cozy living and a central location. 


Bryce Canyon Country, Utah

Known For: Stunning desert landscapes and Bryce Canyon National Park.


Although it’s called Garfield County on the map, the area around one of Utah’s most popular national parks is known to the locals as Bryce Canyon Country. It’s a vibrant stretch of high-desert backcountry where visitors can hike through red-rock formations, scale to towering vistas and explore colorful slot canyons. The Bryce Canyon area is a popular place for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to stay a little off the beaten path.


How To Get There: Bryce Canyon National Park is roughly 4 hours from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City via Interstate 15. If you plan to stay in Bryce Canyon Country, you can catch a charter flight to Bryce Canyon Airport from any major airport in the area.


When To Visit: The months between April and September offer the best weather and most activities in the area. Peak times between June and August are crowded and hot, so try to visit early or late in the tourist season if possible. 


What To Do: Of course, you have to visit Bryce Canyon National Park to take in the colorful hoodoos, hike the desert trails and join a guided ranger tour. Be sure to stay in the park after dark to enjoy some of the best stargazing in the country. Visit the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument to try canyoneering and explore prehistoric sites full of fossils and Anasazi artworks.


Where To Stay: Pick a private home in the area for comfort and seclusion. Koka’s Panda House is a luxurious log cabin on the junction of US89 and SR14, making it easy to take a day trip to all the best Bryce Canyon Country has to offer. 


Duck Creek Village, Utah

Known For: Nature trails and quiet seclusion. Thanks to its central location, it’s also known as a gateway to the ultimate Southern Utah experience. (Here are 8 more cool facts you should know.)


Duck Creek Village isn’t the biggest town in Southern Utah, but it has a big reputation. The quaint resort community sits on the edge of Dixie National Forest, just off Scenic Route 14 and within driving distance of everything from national parks and monuments to mountain lakes and alpine forest trails. The village itself is decidedly rustic but has a charming mix of restaurants, shopping and outfitters to keep you comfortable for your stay. 


With some of the best trails and terrain in the southwest region, Duck Creek Village is fast becoming a prized location for activities like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hiking and ATVs. But thanks to its central location and four-season climate, Duck Creek Village is a mecca for outdoor adventurists of all kinds. 


How To Get There: Duck Creek Village is about 30 miles from Cedar City by way of UT-14 E. If you’re coming from Brian Head or Bryce Canyon Country, you can follow Scenic Highway 143 and Scenic Highway 148 to UT-14 E, where you’ll find Duck Creek Village at Mile Marker 29. 


When To Visit: Duck Creek Village is accessible year-round and there are fun activities to enjoy in every season. The weather is seasonal but trends toward cool, so pack appropriately. 


What To Do: There are endless opportunities for outdoor fun in and around the area. Miles of scenic trails and terrain are great for hiking and biking to hidden gems like lava fields, ancient ruins and underground mammoth caves. You’ll find fine trout fishing in Aspen Mirror Lake, Duck Creek Pond and Navajo Lake. You can explore the diverse Dixie National Forest or drive just minutes to attractions like Zion National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument. 

Where To Stay: Duck Creek Village is known for upscale mountain cabins that feel remote but have great amenities like outdoor decks and living spaces, gourmet kitchens and wood-burning fireplaces. Of course, they’re all centrally located for maximum fun! For a great Duck Creek Village experience, bring the whole family and stay in a spacious 5-bedroom cabin in the scenic Strawberry Valley.

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