With fewer than 600 year-round residents, Springdale is a very small town that’s the gatekeeper to one very big attraction: Zion National Park.
Located in southwestern Utah, just 2.5 hours from Las Vegas, Springdale makes a great day trip from Sin City, but in truth, Springdale has enough going on to keep you entertained for days. It won’t be long before you’re considering Las Vegas as a day trip from Springdale instead of the other way around!
Things To Do In Springdale
Life in and around Springdale is dominated by Zion National Park, and for good reason. The park is home to some of the most stunning views and landscapes in the region. However, there are plenty of other things to do in Springdale — it’s a convenient base for a whole host of activities.
Visit Zion National Park
Visiting Zion National Park is the thing to do in Springdale. It’s widely considered one of the finest hiking destinations in the United States, with treks ranging from easy and gentle to intense and legendary. You can find a list of great hikes here. Other popular attractions include slot canyons, horseback riding, camping, and wildlife watching. Species to keep an eye out for include eagles, cougars, mule deer, collared lizards, bobcats, coyotes, gray foxes, and bighorn sheep.
Go Tubing Down The Virgin River
It’s hard to describe just how delightful it is to sit in a giant inner tube and bob along the Virgin River, but it may just be the most fun you have on your entire trip! Zion Outfitter provides inner tube rentals for just $20, as well as instructions on what you’ll need to bring.
Take In A Show
Dixie State University’s OC Tanner Amphitheater is Utah’s premier outdoor theater. An experience here combines shows by regional artists — think everything from rock concerts and luaus to drum circles and performances by the Utah Symphony — with the natural beauty of Zion’s rock formations.
Visit A Spook-Tacular Ghost Town
Grafton, thought to be the most photographed ghost town in the American West, is located next to Rockville, just outside Springdale and Zion National Park. Established in 1859 by ambitious pioneers hoping to grow cotton along the Virgin River, the town was home to just four families by 1890. By 1921, the church community was discontinued, and the last resident left in 1944 (well, the last human resident — rumors about ghosts in the cemetery abound).
Browse The Galleries
Springdale is home to more than half a dozen art galleries. They include the David J. West Gallery, which features the artist’s Zion-based photography and a superb selection of pottery; the Worthington Gallery, which features work by more than 40 local and regional artists; and the DeZion Gallery, which showcases local artists inspired by the Southwest and Zion in particular.
Explore The Nearby National Parks
Springdale is perfectly positioned for exploring other nearby national parks and monuments. It’s only about 2 hours from the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is on the way and just 90 minutes from Springdale. Bryce Canyon National Park is 90 minutes to the east, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is just a short drive beyond that.
Best Restaurants In Springdale
Springdale has one of the best dining scenes of any national park gateway town. Virtually every restaurant has options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diners, and it’s equally easy to find healthy, hearty pre-hiking fare as it is to find gooey burgers and loaded fries at the end of the day.
Oscar’s Cafe serves up affordable morning fare like hearty breakfast burritos, omelets, pancakes, and homemade granola. Come lunch, there are solid options for vegetarians and vegans (Oscar’s offers both a black-bean veggie burger and a plant-based meat burger), plus quesadillas, sandwiches, and enchiladas.
Porter’s Smokehouse And Grill
If you want to start your day with chicken-fried steak (or chicken-fried chicken for that matter), this is the place to be. Porter’s country breakfast potatoes are fantastic. Steak, seafood, barbecue, burgers, and oversize desserts dominate the menu, but the Red Mountain Utah Trout, with its honey maple glaze, is an underrated gem.
King’s Landing Bistro
With a menu that includes heirloom tomatoes with tender burrata cheese, charred Spanish-style octopus, and bison carpaccio with pickled blueberries, it’s easy to see why King’s Landing Bistro is one of Springdale’s most sophisticated restaurants and the place to go for a memorable meal.
One of Springdale’s woman-owned local restaurants, Cafe Soleil offers healthy, casual American comfort food. Some standout dishes include the breakfast croissant with eggs and a choice of meat, veggies, or cheese; a long list of paninis and wraps (including choices for vegetarians with hummus, sun-dried tomato pesto, and feta); and gourmet individual pizzas. Live music is occasionally on offer, too.
Southern Utah’s first microbrewery, Zion Brewery serves a dozen or so of their own brews, plus a menu that’s loaded with pub favorites, from chicken wings and nachos to fish tacos (beer-battered, of course) and buffalo meatloaf (with a stout-infused demi-glace).
Voted Southern Utah’s best coffee shop, Perks is committed to purchasing coffee beans produced by women. They have dozens of different coffee and espresso drinks and a long list of smoothies (including keto-friendly selections), plus breakfast and lunchtime wraps and sandwiches.
Where To Shop In Springdale
Gift shops, novelty shops, and souvenir shops happily coexist with serious sporting-goods stores in Springdale.
Springdale Candy Company
Springdale Candy Company is your one-stop shop for hand-dipped chocolates, homemade fudge, assorted confections, and Birkenstocks (yes — Simply Birkenstock is in the same building!).
Bumbleberry Gift Shop And Bakery
Inside the Bumbleberry Inn, this large gift shop offers a generous selection of Zion National Park-themed wear and novelty T-shirts, locally made honey and toiletries, and just about every kind of souvenir imaginable, from the quirky to the kitschy.
The premium equipment-rental store in Springdale, Zion Outfitter is where you go to rent bikes for exploring the park or get the equipment you’ll need to hike The Narrows. They also sell all kinds of hiking, camping, and outdoor gear.
Best Hotels In Springdale
Springdale is home to a strong selection of hotels, including many national brands with beautiful properties complete with swimming pools, landscaped grounds, and stunning views. However, the town has numerous independent hotels as well, each with its own distinct style and personality.
Zion Red Rock
A mile from the Zion National Park entrance, the rooms at the Zion Red Rock are individually decorated and range from suites with mini-kitchens and eating areas to classic hotel rooms that are cozy and comfortable. Narrows, one of the most affordable rooms, has Southwestern-style decor, a king bed, and a beautiful tub that’s perfect for relaxing in after a hike, plus pretty views of the garden and some of the area’s oldest pecan trees. Breakfast, which is included with a stay, is served at either Oscar’s Cafe or Porter’s.
The delightfully named Bumbleberry Inn has the distinction of being the oldest family-owned business in Springdale. Founded in 1972, it’s located a mile from Zion National Park, and the park’s free shuttle has a stop beside it. Bumbleberry Inn offers upscale motel-style accommodations, a pool and hot tub, and even a petting zoo! Porter’s is located on-site, as is the Bumbleberry Bakery, where you can get pie, muffins, turnovers, and shakes made with the namesake berry.
Canyon Vista Lodge
Surrounded on three sides by Zion National Park, Canyon Vista Lodge is just a short walk from central Springdale. The queen suites are suitable for two people, while the king suites accommodate up to five people and have eating and sitting areas. All suites have ensuite baths, private entrances, and kitchenettes. The included breakfast is served at your choice of four local cafes.
Pro Tip: Zion National Park is closed to nearly all car traffic, and a shuttle transports guests around the park’s main attractions. If you’d rather not drive during your stay, you can park your car at one of the many area parking lots and ride the shuttle for $1 a day. You can learn more about the shuttle rules, routes, and schedules here. Springdale itself runs a complimentary shuttle that brings guests to the park gates and makes several stops around town.