How to Plan the Best Zion National Park Vacation

As one of the top-rated adventure resorts in the U.S., we get a lot of questions from folks wondering how to plan the best Zion National Park vacation. Whether it’s been a while since you’ve been to southern Utah, your first time visiting Zion, or if it’s your regular playground, these tips will get you on your way to planning the best Zion National Park vacation.

1. When and where—choosing a vacation destination

The best part of planning a vacation is deciding where you want to go. First, ask yourself the big picture questions: Do you want to visit the mountains, a city, or the beach? Do you want to explore and have great adventures, sit back and relax, or immerse yourself in local culture? Once you’ve narrowed down the type of vacation you want to take, it’s easier to settle on a specific destination. For example, would you like to visit all five of Utah’s national parks, or spend your vacation thoroughly exploring one, like Zion National Park?

The time-frame of your vacation can depend in large part on the destination, and vice versa, especially if planning around school breaks. If your dream is to hike the Zion Narrows, spring isn’t the best time of year to come due to rain and snowmelt. If you’re looking to avoid the summer crowds, late fall or winter can be a better option for visiting Zion National Park.

Pinned Map Zion Utah

2. How much time do you need to visit Zion National Park?

For travelers with limited vacation time, maximizing your getaway is essential. Plan enough time to travel and then to enjoy your destination and fit in all of the activities you wish to experience. Just like with finances, budget your time to have the type of vacation you want to have and experience all of the Zion adventures on your bucket list. While you can see the park in a day or two, staying for three days up to a week allows you to experience so much more that the Zion area has to offer.

3. Budget for your Zion vacation

When budgeting for your vacation, consider transportation costs, food options, types of recreation, and your desired lodging type. Sharing a vacation rental with family and friends can be as economical as a hotel room, and will generally offer a more comfortable environment with amenities and space to spread out. Including guided experiences in your budget can often provide for some of the most memorable experiences on your trip. Don’t forget that you may do some souvenir shopping for yourself or for friends and family!

4. How you’re getting there

Where you’re coming from will largely determine how you get where you’re going. Overseas travelers will obviously rely on air travel; so will many vacationers from across the U.S. The majority of Zion Ponderosa guests fly into either Salt Lake City or Las Vegas. Both are major airports with service offered by a number of airlines and several rental car options. Zion National Park is just a five-hour drive from Salt Lake City and a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, making Zion a great midweek or weekend destination for Utah and Vegas locals. Denver’s airport is also an option for travelers wanting to explore the Rocky Mountains and southern Utah region. Southern California road trippers can escape to the world-famous Zion landscape with a half-day drive.

Driving to Zion

5. Plan Ahead              

A successful vacation is all in the details. Whether you like to fly by the seat of your pants for a quick weekend getaway, or plan way in advance for a family vacation, nailing down the practicalities can make or break your trip. While it’s nice to have some flexibility, it helps to make reservations for lodging, meals and adventures so you end up doing instead of wishing.

Horseback riding in Zion National Park

6. Plan Activities

If you’re headed to Zion, chances are you have sightseeing and adventures on your wish list. We suggest making advance reservations for activities like Jeep tours, guided hikes and canyoneering adventures to ensure availability and that you get the most out of your vacation time. After all, no one wants to show up only to find out tours are sold out. Of course, if that does happen, there’s still plenty to do in Zion.

glamping lodging in Zion National Park

7. Stay Somewhere Amazing

Amazing doesn’t have to mean expensive. These days, hotels near Zion are no longer limited to deciding between a fancy hotel or a budget motel.. The trend toward staying in vacation homes and rentals has revolutionized the vacation lodging industry. Guests love the idea of having multiple bedrooms and space to spread out, especially when traveling in large groups. Glamping, a glammed up version of tent camping, is one of the hottest travel trends for 2019.

Whether you’re coming to Zion for a quick weekend getaway from Vegas or California, or are bringing the whole clan for an extended family reunion, choosing the right lodging can make or break your stay. Zion Ponderosa’s excellent lodging includes:

Vacation home in zion

Zion Ponderosa’s many lodging options are located right on the eastern edge of Zion National Park. So close, in fact, that you can walk to Observation Point, one of the most beautiful views of Zion National Park. But what truly makes Zion Ponderosa stand out above the rest? Amenities that can turn a simple trip into a full vacation experience. From the pool and hot tub, mini golf, and tennis courts, to on-site dining and all-out adventures like Jeep tours, guided hikes and canyoneering, Zion Ponderosa is the key to planning the best Zion National Park experience.


Featured photo (top) by Rich Martello/Unsplashed

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