We just finished our Utah experience…the Mighty 5 National Parks + 2 Amazing State Parks + a National Forest in two weeks.
Here are some suggestions based on our experience…
Zion ~ Places to Camp Around Zion
Do not miss seeing Kolob Canyons it is part of Zion, but not accessible using the West or East Entrance to the park, it is Exit 40 on Interstate 15, about 40 miles north of Zion Canyon.
Our best meals in the Zion area were at the Whiptail Grill! They had Mexican, BBQ, and other choices. They make their own salad dressings and sauces. Two other notable mentions: Spotted Dog Cafe – good and quick $8.99 breakfast buffet and Cafe Soleil for food made with organic and local ingredients!
The Maverick in La Verkin has the best gas prices in the area. They also have free dump and water for RVs. We purchased groceries in St. George before heading to Zion.
RVs: If you have a large RV, there is a tunnel in Zion Park, you’ll need to see if you need to pay $15 for an escort through the tunnel. There are also switchbacks. Zion does have RV parking near the West Entrance where you can park your RV (or car) and get on the shuttle for the scenic drive. Go early to get on the shuttle!
Bryce ~ There are several ways to get between Zion and Bryce. We took two different ways in our car (89/12 and on another day the 15 to the 143 to the 89 and 12) and went on a longer route with our RV. In between Bryce and Zion, we found the best gas prices at Panguitch.
We boondocked right near Bryce an it was amazing! This was not our original plan though, we had reservations at a well known RV park near Bryce, but when we got there our space was too small for us, which is saying a lot! Plus, the sites around us were packed with RVs, tents, and lots of people. We got a refund and headed to Campendium.com! We stayed in an area called George’s Gift, which was right near the entrance to Bryce!
RVs: You’ll receive information at the visitors center in Bryce about RV parking, which there is not much. You cannot take your RV most places in Bryce (at least most places you need to park). There is some RV parking and there is a shuttle bus to the main sight areas.
Do not miss exploring the Red Canyon/Dixie National Forest area around Bryce…very pretty red rock whoodoos! There is also some camping in this area, both fee paid and also some free areas.
Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe, Utah ~ A little out of the way side trip on your way between Zion and Bryce or Capitol Reef. They have sites for RVs and campers plus other unique places to stay.
Capitol Reef ~ Do not miss!! I know Zion, Bryce, and Arches get a lot of the limelight, but this park is well worth the trip!!
A note about cell reception – there is not much in the Capitol Reef area. We had planned to boondock on some BLM land, but could not do that and get any work done. We ended up finding some good WiFi at two places: Sand Creek Campground in Torrey, Utah and Capitol Reef Inn and Cafe ~ we ate here twice for the affordable yummy food and the WiFi. Sand Creek is a small cozy rustic campground. They are reasonably priced. We saw all size rigs there and tents.
We had been told about the cinnamon rolls and pies at the store near the campground in Capitol Reef. The cinnamon rolls tend to sell out by 10 A.M. We missed them the first day, but went back for them the next. Scott is a cinnamon roll expert and he rates them the second best in Utah. (You’ll find which ones he rated as #1 if you continue reading this long blog post.)
When you are driving down the scenic road (and not in a large RV) and you get to the end of the paved road (there is parking and bathrooms), there is a dirt road on the left, TAKE IT!! Amazing!!
Goblin State Park ~ In between Capitol Reef and Moab is this do not miss state park! It costs $13 to enter, unless you have a Utah State Park pass. There is camping there, both fee paid in the park ($25 a night) and some free BLM land nearby.
We had planned to boondock here, but wow were the BLM places crowded and cell reception was not good in many of them. Of course, we did visit in May, which is a busy month in Moab! We ended up at Portal RV Resort and Campground and had a good experience there. Great WiFi most of the time.
DO NOT MISS Dead Horse Point State Park – it is like the Grand Canyon only less crowded! Canyonlands was also beautiful! And, of course, Arches is Arches.
Best prices on groceries: City Market (owned by Kroger) not to be confused with Village Market. They also will provide a list of placed to shower in the area…laughs. There was a sign in their bathroom that said, “Do not shower. Do not wash dishes.” Then went on to say that at their customer service desk you can pick up a sheet on places to shower in the area…so if you are dry camping, get this list!
We never had a bad meal in Moab and we ate out more than normal. Scott says the best cinnamon roll in Utah is at Sweet Cravings Bakery and Bistro. We ended up eating here three mornings for breakfast! We also got sandwiches to go for lunch. Amazing customer service!! Other places for good eats: Moab Brewery, Eklecticafe, The Blu Pig (BBQ), Zax, and The Atomic (buffalo burger).
We loved our time in Utah! Some say they cannot believe we did all this in two weeks, but it was just enough time to see and enjoy it all! Of course, there is so much to see and explore you could easily spend a lifetime here!
We had some different needs this week than we normally do when picking out a place to stay. While we prefer to boondock (or dry camp), this week we stayed in two RV parks. However, we did spend a couple hours driving around checking out boondocking sites for future reference. 😉 These places are all close to the West Entrance to Zion.