It all depends on your specific taste for camping. Camping in St. George varies in all kinds of ways and since St. George is home to a variety of outdoor recreation and entertainment – it can be tricky to plan for the best, most fitting accommodations.
For some people, camping means setting up a tent, rolling out a sleeping bag and roasting marshmallows over the fire (ok, roasting marshmallows over a fire is everybody’s idea of camping in style). For others, camping means taking the RV or fifth-wheel trailer out and cranking up the generator and camping out in comfort.
Looking for a more rugged and raw camping experience? This is the most traditional idea of camping, but may not be right for all situations, depending on what you plan on doing while in St. George or who you’ve got coming along with you (especially if you’ve got little kids).
Where to Set Up Camp
A lot of options here. Of course, Zion National Park is uber popular among campers. Remember the word “uber”. Weird word and I don’t use it a lot, but Zion is UBER popular for camping which is awesome, but it follows that reservations can be pretty tough. Ok, with that in mind, here are some campgrounds in/around Zion.
The Lava Point Campground – higher elevation, cooler temperatures and great views. Inside the Park, but not in the main Zion Canyon. Check it out!
South Campground – on the banks of the Virgin River, under shady cottonwood trees and close proximity to Springdale and shuttle service. Near the South Entrance inside the main Zion Canyon. Check it out!
Watchman Campground – probably the biggest campground in Zion, Watchman also sits next to the Virgin River, under shady cottonwood trees and is in close proximity to shuttle service and Springdale. Read more.
Zion isn’t the only place to camp in or around St. George! If you’re looking for hiking and swimming – Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. For lots of hiking, wildlife and seclusion – Snow Canyon State Park. Fishing, boating and swimming – Gunlock State Park, Sand Hollow State Park & Quail Creek State Park. For cooler temperatures & pine trees – Pine Valley Recreation Area, Oak Grove or Kolob Reservoir. Honestly, you could not go wrong by camping at any of these places. They’re all absolutely beautiful.
Part of “roughing it” also includes backpacking. The St. George area offers world-class backpacking in the Pine Valley mountains and in Zion National Park.
Camping in Comfort
If “roughing it” is not your style, try camping in comfort. We’ve got a lot of option for comfortable camping in St. George, including trendy “glamping”.
Places to Camp in St. George
Whether you have a motorhome RV, trailer, camper, tent or none of the above – there’s a place for you to turn in for the night. Temple View RV Resort & Campground, St. George RV Park & Campground, Zion River Resort RV Park & Campground, etc. Anything closer to Zion National Park gets a lot pricier. All of the glamping resorts are closer to Zion so they’re naturally expensive, but glamorous camping nonetheless. Glamping destinations include; Under Canvas Zion, Gooseberry Mesa Yurts, etc.
Good to know when Camping in St. George
1. What to Do
This depends on where you’re coming from, who you’re bringing, etc. St. George is well-known for it’s outdoor recreation with it’s close proximity to Zion National Park and many State Parks and National Recreation Areas. However, St. George has a lot more to it than most people know.
Hiking might be the number one outdoor rec option here in Southern Utah. If you’re camping in St. George, you’re most likely also hiking in St. George as well. The obvious place is Zion National Park, but other places like Snow Canyon State Park, Red Cliffs Recreation Area, Water Canyon and more are incredible hikes.
Golfing is a big sport here in town. Though very popular among the retired or snowbird community, it’s also quite popular with younger crowds. Local golf course include; St. George Golf Course, Dixie Red Hills, Sun River, The Ledges, Sunbrook, Sand Hollow, Sky Mountain, Coral Canyon, Entrada at Snow Canyon, Bloomington Country Club, Green Spring and Southgate.
Mountain Biking is wildly popular in this area. If you haven’t heard of Red Bull Rampage, it’s an epic downhill mountain bike competition. It takes place in Virgin, Utah on the outskirts of Zion National Park. Other world famous mountain biking trails include; Gooseberry Mesa, Wire Mesa, The Whole Guacamole, West Loop, Magic Carpet, Flying Monkey, Barrel Roll, Zen Trail, Bearclaw Poppy, Suicidal Tendencies, Rim Runner Loop, Anasazi Trail, Kentuckly Lucky Chicken, Claim Jumper Loop and more!
Bouldering; climbing large boulders without ropes is very popular sport around St. George. Moe’s Valley is a world-famous bouldering area with many climbing routes ranging from beginner to extreme level.
Historic Sight-Seeing is a fun, relaxing and education activity in the area. St. George was settled by Mormon Pioneers. Long before Mormon settlers came, different Native American tribes such as Paiute and Anasazi populated these areas. Between our Pioneer heritage and the ancient Native peoples, St. George is rich in history. Check out these historic areas; Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, St. George Utah LDS Temple, Brigham Young Winter Home, Jacob Hamblin Home, Fort Pierce, Grafton Ghost Town, Old Pine Valley LDS Chapel, Anasazi Trail Petroglyphs, Petroglyph Park in Bloomington and more.
The Tuacahn Outdoor Amphitheater is a fantastic place to take your significant other, your children, friends, and not your dog.. unfortunately. Their shows range from Disney Musicals to Beach Boys concerts. The mesmerizing outdoor landscape and professional quality performances make for a truly unforgettable experience.
Some other favorite activities in and around St. George include; wakeboarding, tubing, jet-skiing, fishing, climbing, rappelling, ATV’ing, etc. In general, here’s a list of Things To Do in St. George.
2. What to Bring
When camping in St. George there are a few essential items needed. These essentials would be things like sunscreen & water. In fact, those are probably the two most important items down here in the Mojave Desert.
Of course, if you’re roughing it, you’ll want to bring your own tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, cook-stove, etc. Other packing items include; hiking boots or sandals, walking-stick, climbing gear, lightweight shorts, jackets, fishing pole & fishing lures, flashlights & lanterns, etc. If you forget to pack any of these items or don’t have them yet, you can visit places in St. George like the Desert Rat, Ace Hardware store, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sportsman’s Warehouse and more. Oh! One last thing, don’t forget a camera of some kind. You’ll want to take pictures!
3. Planning for your Trip
Remember to plan ahead, especially if you’re traveling far distances. The closest international airport is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. The second closest international airport is Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City, Utah. The St. George Municipal Airport has connections to and from Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, etc. Unfortunately, the St. George Airport will be closed from now (August) until late September.
If you’re driving here, Interstate 15 cuts right through St. George. Some camping areas will be unreachable in winter months due to snow. Remember, if you’re camping in the summer, St. George can reach up to 120 degrees fahrenheit in the summer.
If you’re planning on grilling over the fire, research different campsites to be sure they have fire pits or BBQ’s. Certain areas are under fire restriction in the summer and fall, so make sure you’re not in these areas or have other ways to cook food. You can find delicious places to eat nearby Zion National Park but they are pricier than places in Hurricane and St. George.
Always be prepared when you’re outdoors. Bring a First-Aid kit, complete with ibuprofen, allergy medicine, etc. Bug spray, especially in the late spring and summer can be very important. Bring trash bags with you and pick up you trash, it’s important to be responsible stewards of the land.
4. Some Useful Tricks
Save the lint from you dryer and use it for fire starting. Use hand-sanitizer as a fire starter; pour a small amount of it onto dry wood and kindling. If your sleeping bag is warm, fill your water bottle with warm water and stuff it in your sleeping bag.
5. RV for Beginners
If you plan on visiting St. George with an RV (motorhome), trailer or camper and it’s your maiden voyage – here are some things to know for beginners. Learn how to dump your tank. Black water refers to sewage and grey water is usually just drain water. You’ll need to know how to dump these tanks as well as know where you can dump. Some RV resorts will have dump stations, but not all. Here at Temple View RV Resort & Campground we have a dump station free for all guests to use. Here’s a helpful video showing how to dump your tank.
Always bring the right tools and spare parts. Your RV may be like home on wheels, but it’s not a garage with all your tools. For your maiden voyage with an RV, whether you own it or you’re renting it, try taking a test drive. Become familiar with the length and overall size of your RV. Turning corners can be much different with an RV than a small car and parking may be the most difficult of all. It’s good to familiarize yourself BEFORE hitting the open road.
6. What to Eat
This of course varies on the size of your party. If it’s just you and your significant other – planning for food won’t be too difficult, but if you’re planning for a kids or extended family, it becomes a bigger task.
Cooking outdoors is one of the joys of camping. Whether it be hot dogs over a fire or burgers on the grill, food is certainly a make-or-break for a good camping trip. If you’re backpacking you’ll need to pack lightweight foods. For camping out of a tent in a campsite, you’ll probably store you food in a cooler inside the car. Camping with an RV; you can keep your food in the cabinets and/or fridge.
Some menu ideas include; burgers, hot dogs, steak, corn, watermelon, dutch oven potatoes, fried chicken, s’mores (Pro Tip: Skip the chocolate and graham crackers and instead use soft chocolate chip cookies or fudge stripe cookies), granola bars, fruit snacks, shish kabobs (which might include steak, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, shrimp, etc.), tin-foil dinners (if you’re cooking tin-foil dinners in your RV – use your oven), mountain house freeze dried meals, dutch oven peach cobbler (that one’s a must in my opinion), salmon, the list goes on and on. For a full on list of menu ideas, check out this awesome Cooking Light Guide.
On top of all of this, remember to pack utensils, plates (paper is best if you can have a fire), paper towels, spatula, roasting sticks, cooler, matches or lighter, cups, disinfectant wipes, etc.
St. George, Utah is an excellent destination for camping. Whether you’re camping in a tent, under the stars, in a hammock or cozy in a motorhome or trailer – you’re sure to have a great time. Plan ahead for your trip to be sure you’ve checked all of the essentials off the list. At the end of the day, camping is about enjoying the great outdoors, relaxing and making memories with those you love, so keep that in mind while planning your trip and more so while you’re here. We can’t wait for you to come adventure with us! All that talk of food got me hungry, so I’m gonna go fire up the grill and get some steaks going, see you soon!