Heading to Springdale, Utah? While Zion National Park might be the main attraction, there are plenty of things to do in Springdale when you’re not hitting the trails.
It might be a tiny town that serves as a gateway to Zion, but with various restaurants, shops, hotels, and galleries scattered around Springdale, it’s one of the best places to stay in Utah – it was even selected as one of America’s prettiest towns in 2008.
But we’re sure you don’t need much convincing to visit this town near one of Utah’s mighty five National Parks. So let’s jump in and discover the top Springdale attractions and activities.
Looking for a place to stay in Springdale? We recommend the charming Flanigan’s Resort & Spa, situated in the heart of the town.
Top 5 Fun Things to do in Springdale, Utah
Visit Zion National Park
Alright, there’s no way you’re visiting Springdale and not heading to the big Z. As a gateway town, Springdale is one of the best places to stay near Zion.
Zion hardly needs any introduction. With its vibrant red rock formations and the Virgin River surrounded by lush pops of greenery, you’ll find some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Utah here.
We recommend hiking the Watchman Trail if you’re looking for a hike that practically starts at Springdale’s doorstep. The popular Narrows Hiking Trail is another excellent option if you’re keen on a challenge — and a bit of a splash.
When you’re not putting your calves and lungs through the most, there are plenty of other activities in Zion National Park to keep you busy. These include canyoneering and stargazing, so bring your camera!
You’ll also come across the Zion Human History Museum just behind Zion’s South Campground – this spot is an important stop to learn about the local history before setting off on your Zion adventure.
Watch a Performance at the OC Tanner Amphitheater
Looking for things to do in Springdale, Utah, at night? Sitting on the edge of the International Dark Sky-accredited Zion park, the OC Tanner Amphitheatre is a great place to enjoy entertainment under the stars.
With the striking mountains of Zion National Park as its backdrop, this outdoor theater is one of the most scenic in the state, if not the country.
Built in 1976 to promote the arts in southern Utah, this venue hosts everything from music festivals and orchestral concerts to Lu’au shows. So you’re bound to find something that piques your interest.
Tip: The amphitheater seats are made from cement, so bring a few pillows for comfort.
Go Tubing Down the Virgin River
Name a better way to enjoy the Virgin River than to float among the trees and foliage surrounding it? We’re not sure you can.
Zion Outfitters, situated at the Zion entrance, offers tube rentals for around $25.
Once settled in one of the canvas-covered inner tubes, you’ll set off on a two-hour float toward the George Barker River Park.
Now, this tubing adventure isn’t all smooth sailing. There are a few shallow, rocky areas where you’ll have to get out and walk with your tube. At other times, you may have to steer and balance yourself through some rapids. You’ll need core strength, courage, and – most importantly – water-safe shoes to traverse the terrain without hurting your feet.
The tubes are only to rent between May and July when the melting winter frost fills the river – and rentals are on a first-come-first-served basis, so get there early.
Sleep Under the Stars at a Springdale Campground
When so much natural beauty surrounds you, it only makes sense to immerse yourself further by setting up a few tents around a fire pit. And with all the time spent outside, there’s no reason to splurge on hefty hotel fees if you can make yourself home in an RV instead.
There are a few campgrounds in Zion National Park, like the South Campground near the entrance. But, if you’d prefer camping closer to Springdale’s top attractions, you may enjoy the Watchman Campground or the Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort.
The Zion Canyon Campground is a family-run area within walking distance of the Zion shuttle. The well-maintained campground has 15 tent sites and 131 RV spots with electrical hookups, as well as excellent bathrooms.
The Watchman Campground is our favorite – it’s more affordable and feels tucked into nature than the RV resort. This area offers 69 tent-only and 65 RV-only sites with electrical hookups and access points to the Virgin River.
Tip: Due to their proximity to Zion National Park, these Springdale campsites are fully booked well in advance. Try to book at least six months ahead to secure a spot.
Unwind at a Spa
You might not think of a relaxing spa day when planning your visit to the great outdoors, but you’ll need it after a lengthy hike. Luckily, Springdale has a few pamper palaces to help ease any muscle cramps after a day of venturing through the park…
The centrally-located Massage Zion and Yoga offers the best of both worlds. Prep your body and muscles with a yoga sesh before a hike, or book a post-hike massage to heal any aches and pains.
Another excellent spot is The Spa at Cable Mountain Lodge, within walking distance from the Watchman Campground and Zion National Park. This spa offers everything from massage therapies to facials and group treatment sessions.
Brilliant Things to See & Do in Springdale
Explore the Art Galleries
When you’re not wandering through nature or getting a massage, why not stop by a few of Springdale’s art galleries?
We’d argue that Springdale and its surroundings are already a treat for the eyes. But, if you’d like to get a feel for the local art scene, there are a few galleries worth visiting. And they’re all quite close to each other.
The David J. West Gallery has a jaw-dropping exhibit of photos offering a look at the natural beauty of Zion National Park. The nearby Worthington Gallery has an exciting collection of pottery, wind chimes, paintings, glass creations, and even jewelry.
The stellar DeZion Gallery displays artworks ranging from paintings to sculptures and ceramics from local artists inspired by the park’s beauty.
Go Souvenir Shopping
If you couldn’t find something worth purchasing at Zion’s art galleries, you might stumble upon the perfect Zion-themed souvenir at one of the many gift shops.
Closest to the Zion entrance, you’ll find Tribal Arts Zion. This shop offers authentic Native American art and craft items like baskets, rugs, pottery, jewelry, and sculpture.
You’ll also find all kinds of items at the gift stores concentrated around Downtown Springdale. Be sure to stop by Bumbleberry Gift Shop & Bakery for cool t-shirts and legendary bumbleberry pie. They also offer unique ice cream flavors for a tasty summer treat.
Unique Things to See & Do in Springdale: Hidden Gems That are Off the Beaten Track
Visit a Ghost Town
Visiting the historic Grafton is one of the best things to do near Springdale, Utah, and it’s only about a 20-minute drive from the town.
This old Mormon settlement was founded in 1859, but its small population declined in the early 1900s as people moved to other areas like nearby Rockville. The last occupants left the settlement in 1944, deserting the little town and its wooden structures.
Today, the Grafton Heritage Partnership oversees the preservation of this town, which only has five remaining structures of the original 30 that once stood here. There’s also a small cemetery worth visiting.
On your visit, you may find this ghost town familiar, as it has featured in several films. These include In Old Arizona, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Arizona Kid.
Tip: Visit Grafton with a self-guided Zion audio tour to learn more about this town and its surroundings.
Have a Picnic at George Barker River Park
Situated along Zion Park Boulevard and the Virgin River, this river park is an excellent option if you’re visiting Springdale with your furry friend. It has all the facilities needed for a relaxing picnic day, including barbecue sites, clean bathroom facilities, and picnic tables.
Across the footbridge, you’ll come across the Marj Binner dog park, where your pup can run around and socialize to their heart’s content. There are also walking trails along the river and plenty of trees for a tranquil lunch in the shade.
Explore other Nearby Parks
If you’re staying in Springdale, your main focus is probably to visit Zion. But there are also plenty of things to do around Springdale, Utah.
Bryce Canyon National Park is only about 90 minutes to the east, while the Grand Canyon is about two hours away. And trust us when we say you won’t regret adding these stops to your itinerary.
Some spectacular hikes in Bryce Canyon and dreamy sunset and sunrise spots offer views of the towering red hoodoos. And, once you’ve completed your trek, a range of excellent Bryce Canyon restaurants await to satisfy your appetite.
Things to do in Springdale: Practical Tips for Your Trip
How Long to Visit in Springdale?
But you can extend your stay to a week if you enjoy the tranquility and want to explore more of the town and its surroundings.
Best Time to Visit Springdale
The best time to visit Springdale is during March and April, or October and November. During this time, accommodation prices are usually lower — as are the temperatures and crowds.
Where Should I Stay in Springdale?
Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn & Suites (Mid-Range)
This 3-star hotel sits in the heart of Springdale and offers spacious rooms, suites, and an on-site gym and pool. If excellent value for money is your main concern, this is a stellar option.
Cliffrose Springdale (Luxury)
Sitting along the Virgin River and near the Zion park entrance, this luxury hotel features elegant décor, impeccable views, and a pool. Some rooms offer river views, and you’ll have the Five Petals Spa within steps from your door.
Recommended Tours in Springdale
- Springdale: Half-Day Canyoneering Experience
- From Springdale: Greater Zion Scenic Hiking Tour
- From Springdale: 4-hour Zion Canyon Scenic Hiking Tour
- Springdale: Half-Day Mountain Biking Adventure