One of our favorite summer trips, with the best hike ever was to Zion National Park. This is one of Utah’s most visited parks and for good reason – it is an amazingly immersive experience whether you stay inside the park or not. On our last visit, we waited a little late in the game to book accomodation so we were forced to just go with what was available, which ended up being great. But, now that I’m looking at visiting again I’ve found a ton of amazing lodging options around the park.
Zion National Park is one of the few parks where it might be more advantageous to stay outside of the park than in. Springdale, literally right outside the gates of the park, is home to a variety of places to stay near Zion as well as great restaurants (the pizza I’m still dreaming about is here!), shops and entertainment. This tends to be the top choice for accommodation since it is easily accessible to the park and has all the facilities anyone would need during their stay.
However, as I researched unique places to stay, there are a ton of options a little further afield that are worth a look as well – either on your way to the park or as your home base to explore the region. I’ve weeded through it all and come up with the best of Zion National Park lodging for you. What do you think? Did I miss any favorites?
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
The only accommodation options inside the park are camping (see below for more information) or a stay at the beautiful Zion Lodge. The lodge is hidden away inside the park where motorists driving through cannot reach. The only traffic you will find here are the coming and goings of the Zion shuttle buses. The lodge is a convenient choice if you wish to be right in the center of the action and plan to spend most of your time here. Rooms are not cheap, averaging around $200 a night, but you are paying to be surrounded by nature and for the convenience of being inside the park to explore as you please.
Did you know that Zion means “A place of peace and refuge””? I would say this park lives up to its name!
Zion Backcountry Yurt & Sheep Camp Trailer
One of the most unique accomodation options in the area are the Zion Backcountry Yurts (& Sheep Trailers). Here you will be immersed in nature without electricity or running water. Don’t fret though, there is a seperate building where you will find toilets and hot water for showers. Glamping at its finest. The yurt can accommodate 9 adults or 11 people if you are traveling with children. Yurt prices start at $285 which makes it quite reasonable if you are traveling with another family.
The sheep camp trailers were used as traditional sheep camps which were moved to a new location each time the sheep were trailed to a new pasture. Now they are cozy homes for visitors like you to soak up the serene surroundings in. These sleep 2 or 4 people depending on the cabin and start at $155 per night.
Even though the yurt is only 3 miles from the boundary of Zion National Park, it’s actually a 40 minute drive to the entrance of the park, but staying in such a unique setting is worth the extra drive, especially for those who really want to get away from it all to sit back and enjoy the view of the surrounding cliffs and valley below. You can book the yurts and the sheep camp trailers through this website, Glamping Hub and Airbnb.
Best Friends Sanctuary
One of my favorite places in the vicinity of Zion National Park is the Best Friends Sanctuary. Just like it’s name describes, it is a sanctuary for some 1,600 of man’s best animal friends. Dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, horses, pigs and many other animals arrive here from throughout the US, looking for a loving home. Here, visitors can pop in to tour the facilities, volunteer to take care of the animals or just stay the night in a cottage, cabin or on an RV site. The sanctuary is quite popular especially during the summer, so it is imperative that you plan well ahead to ensure you will be able to visit, volunteer or stay over.
Need a little break? The Best Friends Sanctuary also has a free kids camp in the summer for kids ages 6-9 years old. The camp offers kids the opportunity to learn about the animals at the center as well as participate in fun activities.
Cable Mountain Lodge
Right at the entrance of the park, tucked away in the cliffs of Zion National Park is the luxurious Cable Mountain Lodge ($160-300 a night) which is a family favorite. If you are looking for a cozy destination after a day spent hiking, this Zion National Park lodging is a top choice.
The Cable Mountain Lodge is beautiful inside and out with a rustic feel that makes it feel less resort like and more cabin like. If you can splurge, go for the slightly more expensive room which includes a double-sided fireplace.
The grounds of this hotel are so beautiful you just may not even want to leave! The pool is spectacular, a hot tub for the cool nights and even access to the river. The perfect lodging for a stay at Zion.
Flanigan’s Inn & Hotel
With so many options of where to stay near Zion, it’s easy to overlook the rustic 3 star Flanigan’s Inn. Gorgeous canyon views and only a 15-minute walk from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center with close access to all Springdale has to offer, this hotel is one to check out. I love that some of the rooms have patios and that the suites have either fireplaces or whirlpool tubs both of which are great after a day of hiking. Kids will love the koi pond and the hilltop labyrinth which is the perfect place for star watching at night.
The spacious comfortable rooms are beautifully decorated and the perfect place to unwind away from the crowds. While breakfast is not included, it is only $5 for guests.
Zion Park Motel
For a fantastic family friendly budget option in Springdale, literally minutes from the gates of Zion National Park, check out Zion Park Motel. The rooms are basic motel style albeit with a bit more comfortable beds. The hotel boasts a 1970s playground that will keep the kids busy, a pool with a slide and unbeatable views. Lastly, every room has a mini fridge and microwave which helps cut down costs for budgeting families. This is a great option for people looking for a no frills room to rest their weary bodies after a day exploring the park.
La Quinta Inn & Suites
La Quinta, one of several chain hotels in the area is a great option for families with their picturesque pool complete with fountains for the kids to frolic in. This La Quinta feels much more resort like than a typical hotel stay. However, your stay comes with all the little luxuries fans of La Quinta are used to such as free breakfast, free Wi Fi, a microwave, refrigerator and more. While prices aren’t always much cheaper than the other options listed here, if you book early enough you can usually find a deal. Also, you get breakfast included which does help save some money for budgeting families.
Zion Ponderosa Ranch
On the eastern boundary of the park, lies the wonderful Zion Ponderosa Ranch, a 4,000 acre ranch resort with a multitude of accomodation options and activities to keep everyone happy. This entrance to the park is much less crowded than the western gate, however it is also a bit further away from the majority of sites within the park. However, the Ponderosa Ranch is a great base for exploring Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park which is only about 75 minutes away.
The only problem with staying at the Ponderosa Ranch is that you may never want to leave to go into Zion National Park. The resort has a multitude of activities for active families like canyoneering, horseback riding and more.
The accommodation provided here is also fantastic in that you can choose to camp on site in your own tent, in glamping tents, in a wagon, cabin or you can rent a vacation home or just stay at the actual ranch itself. All budgets and comfort styles can be accommodated here which makes it a great spot for multigenerational family retreats.
Camping in Zion National Park
As I mentioned previously, the only other option for lodging within the park is camping. There are two campgrounds, the South Campground and Watchman. If you want to make advance reservations, your only option is the Watchman campground. You need to make reservations well in advance to be assured of a spot during the summer.
The South Campground is first come, first serve throughout the year. Surprisingly during the weekdays during our visit in the middle of the summer, it was not always full. Be aware that there is little shade at either campground and this is the desert so it can be quite hot during the day and chilly at night.
No matter where you stay in Zion, you will be surrounded by gorgeous cliffs and blue skies high above you. If you discover another hidden treasure, please share it with us!
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