There are so many incredible outdoor activities in Southern Utah – from red rock hiking to water play to jeep tours. Kanab is a great home base if you’d like to explore Zion National Park but also head to Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante, or even some stops in Northern Arizona. Keep reading for some of our favorite things to do in Kanab Utah!
Best Places To Stay In Kanab Utah
There are a number of family friendly places to stay in Kanab Utah. Here are a few recommended hotels in Kanab and also the best places to stay with kids in Kanab Utah:
- Zion Ponderosa Ranch & Resort (our VERY favorite place to stay in Kanab, UT – it’s amazing for families and has so many activities right on site or that you can book through the ranch!)
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kanab
- La Quinta Inn & Suites Kanab
- Quality Inn Kanab
- Hampton Inn Kanab
- Rodeway Inn Kanab
- Best Western Red Hills
What to Pack When Visiting Kanab Utah with Kids
One fun thing about Kanab is that it really does experience all four seasons! So what to pack depends largely on the weather, which can vary greatly, even during a specific time of year. Spring and fall are the most variable, when you could have warm and sunny days in the 70s, or you could get a snowstorm. Or, like we did recently, you could experience all of the above within a 2-day time period!
Be sure to bring layers so you’re prepared for quickly changing weather. Here are some other Southern Utah packing essentials that we recommend!
We like to take a lightweight but warm jacket (men, women, kids). These are my very favorite wool socks that stay dry, cool, and comfortable. And here are my favorite yoga pants with pockets that I always wear for hikes. And I LOVE this amazing rain jacket for kids – essential for confusing Utah weather.
If you’ll encounter cooler weather, this is my favorite and best insulated women’s jacket. It’s ultra lightweight but very warm. If you’ll be in even colder temperatures (below freezing), this insulated women’s parka is just a few ounces more but even warmer.
I always pack this water bottle since it’s tricky carrying a hydration pack while wearing a baby.
My kids always wear these kids hiking backpacks with water bladders and they are a literal lifesaver when hiking. They help us go so much further because they don’t need to stop every 45 seconds for a drink, and they stay better hydrated, too.
Kanab Utah hiking is often exposed without tons of shade. This is my very favorite sunscreen for myself and especially for my kids. It’s a mineral (zinc-based) sunscreen, so it protects the skin on top instead of soaking in.
Many zinc facial sunscreens are a giant pain to rub in, but this one goes on so nicely and doesn’t look shiny at all. If you prefer something more dewy, this one rubs in really easily and has the creamiest texture.
If you’re heading out early or late, you definitely want to be prepared. A headlamp makes it so much easier and safer to see, especially to keep an eye out for wildlife. Here’s a 6-pack for dirt cheap.
Best Things To Do in Kanab Utah with Kids
Visit A Cave in Kanab Utah
Kanab has a few different caves that are super fun for families to explore. These are some great things to do in Kanab Utah!
I had heard about these manmade caves before heading to Kanab on our most recent visit, but couldn’t find much information about them online. Turns out, it’s a perfect and beautiful little activity that’s one of the best things to do in Kanab. It’s great with kids, too!
On the side of the road just south of the Moqui Cave museum (and on the same side of the road – the east side) are some little caves caved up in the side of some red rock. The entire hike is only about 1/4 mile round trip. It does involve some rock scrambling and climbing an incline, but should be fine for even kids with good traction on their shoes (our 10, 8, and 6 year olds did it on their own, while our 3 year old needed a bit of help and we wore the baby).
These caves were made for harvesting sand for glass, so the bottom is filled with soft sand that kids will love to play in. Be sure to keep a close eye on any little ones as there are steep drop offs out the side of the caverns, and also along the ridge on the way there.
The Great Chamber/Cutler Point
This is another stunning cove that’s perfect for photography. Definitely don’t attempt to do this one on your own as a normal vehicle would definitely get stuck in the sand. This is a great tour that will take you there.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park Near Kanab
This place is magical with the vivid color of the sand. There’s a “notch” between the Moquith and Moccasin mountains that causes wind to pick up speed and carry the deposits from eroding Navajo sandstone. After getting out of the notch, the wind slows down and thus deposits the sand right here!
The dunes are soft and beautiful, and basically like a giant sandbox for kids. We loved bringing plastic sleds to slide down the dunes. About 90% of the dunes are also open to ATVs, so it’s the perfect place if that’s more your speed and you’re wondering what to do in Kanab.
Visit Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Start at Kanab Visitor Center)
Grand Staircase-Escalante is a magical, remote area of extreme south central Utah that has plateaus stepping up from the Grand Canyon further to the south. Further east, the Escalante region is filled with a high density of slot canyons. The entire area is rugged and isolated and incredibly scenic.
The Kanab Visitor Center is a great place to start and learn about the geography and archaeology of the area, as well as learn about the many hidden gems to visit within the protected area.
Go Canyoneering in Kanab
Canyoneering has to be our very favorite thing we did near Kanab Utah. Most of us hadn’t been rappelling before and it was SO fun! Here’s an incredible canyoneering adventure with rappelling in the East Zion area. Canyoneering in Kanab Utah is so incredible and I highly recommend trying it out!
Explore A Slot Canyon When Visiting Kanab Utah with Kids
There are so many slot canyons in Kanab Utah and they could not be more fun to explore. A slot is basically a narrow canyon carved by water and/or wind, and generally allows those going through to touch both sides at the same time. Here’s an amazing slot canyon tour that also goes to a sand cave in a UTV (utility terrain vehicle). Or here’s a stunning sunrise slot canyon tour!
You can also consider hiking a slot on our own when visiting Kanab with kids, though please take extreme caution and be sure to check the weather as they can turn dangerous with flash floods very quickly. Peek-a-boo slot canyon is only 1.5 miles round trip and perfect for families. Wire Pass Trail to Buckskin Gulch is stunning with little elevation change. (Here’s more info on the hike.)
Finally, Red Hollow Slot Canyon is another that is just over a mile long and easily accessible just north in Orderville. It’s beautiful and quick!
Go In A Tunnel (Belly of the Dragon)
Every kid I’ve known loves tunnels, and this manmade one is a winner. Over time, water drainage has created a rippled effect in the walls that really does look like the inside of a dragon (or how I imagine it to look ;))!
When we went, you could drive up within 100 feet of the entrance. There was a short climb down to the entrance (about a 3-4 foot drop) but very doable even with little ones. It’s very short so take some time to explore thoroughly inside – it’s one of the most unique and fun things to do in Kanab Utah.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
This amazing center takes in homeless and special needs animals. Best of all, you can plan a visit or even a volunteer shift to get some wonderful one-on-one time with the animals.
Zion National Park: Activities Near Kanab Utah
Kanab is only half an hour from the east entrance of Zion National Park, making it a wonderful home base to explore both Zion and Bryce Canyon (under 1.5 hours away). The east side of Zion is significantly less visited than the main canyon, so it’s also a wonderful place to explore off the beaten path. It’s so fun to climb around the Checkerboard Mesa area, or check out Petroglyph Canyon.
Here are some ideas for what to do in Zion and where to stay in Zion National Park with kids!
Go Horseback Riding
There’s something so magical and peaceful about seeing the incredible sights in the Kanab and East Zion area via horseback. My 10 and 8 year olds loved heading off on a horseback riding adventure with a guide (and Dad), and it was incredible seeing canyons and red rock beauty from that vantage point. It was one of our favorite things when visiting Kanab Utah with kids.
Go On An ATV Or Jeep Ride
Several of the other options to caves and slot canyons have been combined with ATV and Jeep tours, but why not make that the main event? Here’s a perfect one that also takes you sandboarding for a day of adventure. This was one of our favorite Kanab Utah activities!
Visit A Historic House or Museum
Kanab has a few little museums that are nods to bygone eras. One is the Little Hollywood Movie Museum, which is perfect if you’re a fan of old westerns. There’s also the Kanab Heritage House Museum. These are both great activities in Kanab!
Visit The Wave
This last one can be rather difficult to actually do, and we haven’t yet had the opportunity. The famous Wave red rock area about an hour from Kanab is notoriously difficult to get to due to the lottery system in place. Under 5% of applicants receive a permit! Still, it’s a short bucket list hike that’s definitely worth doing if you get lucky enough to get a permit. Here’s more info on how to do it!
If you don’t manage to hike The Wave, you can also try for the South Coyote Buttes area, which is even more remote and beautiful!
Have you visited Kanab Utah or the surrounding area before? I’d love to hear any favorites!
Kanab has a number of gems. Here are 5 of the top things to do in Kanab!
– Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
– Hike a slot canyon (there are tons in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument)
– Go on an ATV ride
– Visit a sand cave
– Visit Zion National Park
Some of the best outdoor activities in Kanab include hiking (including in slot canyons), horseback riding, Jeep tours, ATVing, sandboarding, canyoneering, and more.
Kanab is centrally located in southwestern Utah, making it the perfect home base as you explore the area. Here are some of our favorite day trips from Kanab Utah:
– Zion National Park
– Bryce Canyon National Park
– Antelope Canyon/Horseshoe Bend
– Grand Canyon North Rim
– Lake Powell
– Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
– Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
– Capitol Reef National Park
Kanab with kids is so fun – you’ll find endless things to do! Some popular activities in Kanab with kids are hiking in a slot canyon, trying out rappelling or horseback riding (ages 8+), climbing red rocks, climbing to Moqui Caverns, going on a Jeep tour, exploring Belly of the Dragon, or visiting Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
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