Phoenix With Kids

Things to Do in Kanab Utah With Kids

Surrounded by slot canyons, hoodoos, caves, and National Parks, Kanab is a perfect spot for a road trip getaway from the Phoenix area. Located in Southern Utah, this small town is about 5 ½ hours from Phoenix, and the gateway to SO many awesome experiences and places to explore. With summer almost behind us, the time for Fall getaways is approaching!

Lindsay Lutes

Things to Do in Kanab Utah With Kids. Surrounded by slot canyons, hoodoos, caves, and National Parks, Kanab is a perfect spot for a road trip getaway from the Phoenix area. Located in Southern Utah, this small town is about 5 ½ hours from Phoenix, and the gateway to SO many awesome experiences and places to explore. With summer almost behind us, the time for Fall getaways is approaching!

We visited Kanab in the middle of summer, and although the temperatures were warm, we had a lot of fun. Our itinerary included hiking a few popular spots, volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and visiting the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. We were there for four days and still have a long list of things we want to do the next time we visit.

Hiking on the Way to Kanab

There is no shortage of hiking in the Kanab area. On the way from Page, AZ, we stopped at the Toadstool Hoodoos, located in the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. This 2 mile, in-and-out, kid-friendly trail, led to an amazing display of hoodoos; and the kids had fun running and playing in a very safe, desert area.

We then used the AllTrails app and found a few other small hikes in the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument area, including the Nautilus.

This is also the area where the highly photographed “The Wave” is located. This spectacular hike and formation is only available to those with advanced reservations through the National Park permit lottery, or by way of day-of permits, granted two days before and only available by lottery to those located in the vicinity (checked by location pings to your phone at registration.) But, if you have a 4×4, you can explore White Pocket and other nearby areas in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. There are also tour groups you can join to take you to these locations (although pricey). One area we would like to go back and explore is Buckskin Gulch and Wire Pass; depending on the season, parts of these areas can be kid-friendly. Other great ideas are Paria Canyon and Cottonwood Canyon Road!

Kanab Hiking

We did two short, but fun hikes in Kanab. We visited the Belly of the Dragon, which is a short tunnel hike (we just did the tunnel (about ¼ mile total) and not the entire hike. We also attempted the Sand Caves, but missed where to scramble up the cliffs and by the time we found it, it was getting dark and beetles were coming out and my kids do not do well with bugs!

Other fun Kanab adventures include the Moqui Cave, a museum inside a real cave that used to operate as the first bar in Southern, Utah; Little Hollywood (many Westerns were shot near Kanab); the Parry Lodge; and just enjoying the small town life. They have a beautiful park and many great, kid-friendly restaurants.

One spot we made sure to visit was the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The sand dunes are about a 30-minute drive from Kanab and there is a small entrance fee of $10. They have a visitor center where you can rent a sandboard and run out to the hills and have fun! You can also bring your own ATV or join an ATV tour group. There are camping sites located around the dunes. It was magical for a summer sunset – the weather was just perfect, and you can watch the sun set from atop a soft dune of fine pink sand. The night we went was not busy – if it hadn’t been for a school charter with about 30 kids, we would have been nearly alone. This spot is often overlooked due to the national parks that are nearby, but it is not a place to miss!

Things to Do in Kanab Utah With Kids

Where to Stay

Personally, we stayed at the Best Western Red Hills, which was clean, affordable and had free breakfast, but the town has dozens of hotels, all of which are extremely cute! There are also many affordable and unique Airbnbs. When we visit next time, we plan to stay at one of the properties affiliated with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. In town, there is a boutique hotel called The Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile and on the Sanctuary grounds, there are cabins, cottages, and RV sites. These are all pet-friendly locations!

Eating

Our favorite little spot in Kanab was The Soda Fountain at Kanab Drug. This spot had delicious pizza, sandwiches, and ice cream, as well as many great games to play as a family. It also serves as a general store and a great place to buy a souvenir. A short walk down the main street and you will find many other dining choices – all with cute themes. We just walked straight out of our hotel and found something fun to eat each day!

What Else is Nearby

Kanab is the gateway to so many great Southern Utah attractions. The east entrance to Zion National Park is located about 45 minutes away. This is a great alternative to the Springdale entrance and allows for a grand entrance into the park using the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. Originally, we did not plan to go, but one afternoon we decided to just go for it and within an hour, we were enjoying the beauty of Zion. Also, Bryce Canyon is about 90 minutes away. Kanab is also a great location to stay if you explore some of the Utah National Parks and then want to hit the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon! Lake Powell is only about an hour away as well, and that is a whole adventure of its own!

We highly recommend a trip to Kanab and will be heading back there later this year to see what else there is to explore!

More great weekend getaway destinations around Arizona – and beyond! – can be found here.

Author

  • Lindsay Lutes

    Lindsay is a Mesa, AZ native and mom of two! Lindsay loves hiking, traveling, staycations, cats, coffee, and Disney! Her goal is for her kids to have a fun-filled childhood that they will cherish throughout their lives! She works full time as a nurse and her husband is a teacher, so they try to fill school breaks and weekends with a lot of family fun!

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