We took an incredible adventure to Zion National Park with our kids and stayed in an RV and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
We had the pleasure of visiting Zion, one of the most serene and majestic parks in the United States, and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience! From the glorious red and orange canyons that surrounded us to the awesome hikes and trails, we created wonderful memories while we enjoyed nature.
Staying in an RV while visiting such a natural gem had its own special charms too! I’ll share how we spent our time and all the tips for visiting Zion National Park!
Getting to Zion National Park
We decided to fly to Utah and get our RV at the airport, rather than make a cross country trip in an RV with the girls. We flew into Vegas and it took us longer than usual to get out of the airport because it was full of games that our girls just had to check out!
We set up our RV rental through RVShare and we had an amazing experience! Our host picked us up from the airport and presented us with a detailed orientation of our RV, then sent us on our way. Even as first timers, we felt really prepared because of the time they spent with us.
From the Vegas area, our drive was about 2.5 hours to Zion in the RV. Every bit of the drive there was insanely beautiful. My husband actually found the RV to be easier to drive than we thought it would be, but it could have been the scenery that helped!
If you aren’t renting an RV, there is no single direct shuttle bus from Las Vegas to Zion National Park, but you can still connect through a few different providers.
- Smash Shuttle – Provides direct round-trip link between Las Vegas Airport and Zion National Park.
- US Coachways – Offers shuttles from Las Vegas Airport to St. George, where you can then get a connecting shuttle service to Zion National Park.
- Tour by Locals – Offers private guided tours to Zion National Park with stops at Las Vegas Airport and other areas.
- Green Tortoise – Runs direct shuttles to Zion National Park from Las Vegas Airport via the Grand Canyon during peak season.
Of course, you can also choose to rent a car or use a ride sharing service, but the cost for something like Uber would be quite high at that distance.
Lodging at Zion National Park
Since we were renting an RV, we decided to reserve our campsite in advance. The cost was surprisingly low, at $35 per night!
Zion National Park allows overnight camping, in either a tent or an RV, in three developed campgrounds:
- South Campground
- Watchman Campground
- Lava Point Campground
All three campgrounds offer first-come-first-served sites, as well as some sites with reservations (made in advance). Some campsites have electric hookups for RV’s but none have full hookups. The Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort outside the park are the only facilities that provide full hookups for RV’s. There is a dump station outside the park near the Visitors Centre. The Zion National Park Lodge sometimes has RV spaces available at reasonable prices for up to a week’s stay.
We were super intimidated to set up the RV at the campground, but it was much easier than we thought! Our RVShare host left us with a detailed handbook, which we didn’t need because the orientation was so good. It only took us (my husband) about 15 minutes!
Lodging Options Outside of the Park
Zion Canyon Lodge
Zion Lodge is located inside the Park. You have the option of historic cabins built in the 1930s or motel rooms and cottages. The lodge has stunning views of the park’s geological features!
Under Canvas Zion
This is a luxury glamping experience located just a few miles from Zion National Park in Utah. The resort has luxury safari-style tents, complete with upscale beds and bedding, along with private decks and bathrooms.
Best Western Plus Zion West Hotel
This hotel is the perfect location if you’re looking to take advantage of the natural beauty of the area. It’s located right on the doorway of the East and South gates of the National Park.
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort
This resort is a rustic mountain getaway that offers something unique for everyone. You can stay in cabins, villas, and campsites nestled in the beautiful Ponderosa pine forest close to the park.
Zion Mountain Ranch
This ranch is located in the town of Orderville, Utah, at the gateway of Zion National Park. Stay in rustic cabins located in a peaceful setting surrounded by nature and spectacular mountain views.
Here’s some other great Stays:
Transportation Inside the Park
To get around inside the park, your options are to walk, take the shuttle, or drive your car or RV. We took the shuttle the first day. The shuttle is free and educational, but we just didn’t like that we had to time our activities with the shuttle schedule. There are signs everywhere and rangers are always willing to help. You can grab a hiking guide from the visitor center for free that has some suggestions from the rangers on great hikes for kids!
Since our first day’s adventures were cut short so we could catch the shuttle, we decided to do some swimming and make s’mores. But we talked to some rangers and they said we could drive the RV and park it inside the park as long as we got there early. That’s what we did for the rest of the tip and we loved it!
Things to do at Zion National Park with Kids
As soon as you walk out of the entrance to Zion you have so much to do! There’s a restaurant and shops right outside. You also have the town of Springdale, which has another free shuttle! Here are some must do activities in Zion National Park with kids:
Hiking in Zion National Park with kids can be a great and exciting experience for everyone. The park is a great playground for children to explore the outdoors and learn more about nature. There are plenty of easy trails for children of all ages and abilities, as well as some more challenging trails that are suitable for older kids and adults.
The trails wind through stunning canyons, waterfalls and amazing rock formations! Teach your kids about the animals and plants you may encounter along the way and make sure they stay on the trails so they don’t disrupt the fragile ecology of the park.
I definitely suggest not missing Weeping Rock Trail and Scouts Lookout. Weeping Rock is an easy trail that has some elevation climb but it’s super short. Scouts Lookout is definitely difficult, but it takes you to Angels Landing with incredible views. It’s uphill pretty much all the way and it’s a fairly long hike, so be prepared!
There are plenty of fun activities for kids at Zion National Park! The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is a great way to explore the park, with lots of pull offs with amazing views of the majestic canyon walls, the Emerald Pools, and the towering spires known as the West Temple.
Once you’re inside the park, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center has free maps and information about the park and the surrounding areas. For those looking for more structured activities, the Junior Ranger Program is a great way for kids to explore the park and become involved in the park’s preservation. The Little Sprouts Program provides fun and educational activities for preschoolers, and the Exploring Zion Program offers kids ages 8 and up a hands-on experience with park rangers.
For kids who are interested in the nature and wildlife in the park, interpretive programs are offered at the Zion Nature Center (located in the Zion Lodge) and there are also self-guided nature trails. The newly expanded Canyon Overlook Trail is a great hike for younger kids (as long as they are secure in a carrier), offering views of the canyon and access to many native plants.
Things to Know Before Visiting Zion National Park with Kids
- Pack plenty of snacks and food for the day or plan on eating at the park’s restaurants.
- Bring enough water for everyone. You can bring a reusable water bottle for everyone, there are numerous water filling stations throughout the park that can be used to fill water bottles.
- Wear comfortable shoes for walking in the park. I was stressing out about shoes but sneakers ended up being fine! On some of the more strenuous hikes, I would have liked a little ankle support, but I was fine. The girls wore inexpensive water/hiking shoes (not the exact shoes, but close!), but they probably didn’t even need them.
- Research any hikes you’d like to do and check for age/distance restrictions.
- Bring proper clothing and supplies depending on the season you’re in. We wore sweaters in the cool mornings and layers underneath so we could remove them as the day warmed up.
- Make sure to bring a First Aid Kit in case of any emergency.
- Check to see if you need to purchase a park pass before visiting.
- Be aware of the park’s wildlife and keep your distance if you come across any.
- Keep children away from drop-offs or cliffs when exploring the park.
- The park is extremely accessible! Wheelchairs, strollers, kids, and all hiking levels will have no trouble here!
- Visit the Zion National Park website for more info on park rules and safety tips.
This tip is from one of my awesome IG followers! She said national parks offer a free one year pass to any 4th graders (9-10 years old) and their families. It includes all the parks, lands and waters. To get your pass just go to everykidoutdoors.gov.
I would add to be careful about when you purchase this pass. Make sure it’s not going to expire shortly after. The pass expires in August but the next one is valid starting in September for the following year, so keep that in mind when you’re planning.
Overall Takeaways from Our Trip to Zion National Park with Kids
This trip was amazing! I really didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did! The heights were terrifying for me but the views were totally worth it and Scott and the girls loved every minute. Staying in the RV was a great experience for all of us and so convenient! We definitely recommend RVShare for any road or camping trip!