They say idleness is the mother of all vices – so it's a good thing we had so much to keep us busy during a recent jaunt through rural southern Utah. Heading for St. George, a small, oft-overlooked town in the state's bottom-left quarter that's just under two hours from Vegas, we packed in a full three days of hiking, kayaking, outdoor yoga, and even a little art gallery browsing. And the best part: We even had time left over for some poolside lounging. Here's how you can do it, too:
There's no mistaking the surreal stillness that envelops Red Mountain Resort (from $155 per night). With front-row views of Snow Canyon National Park, the scenic 55-acre property is criss-crossed with quiet, cactus-lined paths and is home to earthy, upscale private villas -- as well as more modest deluxe rooms for those on a budget. Either way, all of it offers guests a perfect place to stop and soak in the tall, rust-colored peaks rippling in the distance.
A quick glance at the daily activities offered -- including everything from spa treatments to meditation hikes to African drumming -- is enough to make your head spin. During our brief stay, we preferred an outdoor yoga class in the resort's lush gardens. "Downward dog" definitely takes on a grander meaning when your inverted view is of the Red Mountains, with the soundtrack provided by a gently trickling waterfall.
Up for some more active exploration? Book a guided hike at one of the (many) nearby nature spots in the area. These are available through the reception desk at the Red Mountain Resort.
As you can imagine, hiking is a big part of any trip to St. George. Closest of all is Zion National Park, about 25 minutes from the resort, where you can show up ($25 per vehicle) and be hauled from the main park entrance in a free shuttle up to popular hiking spots like the Altar of Sacrifice and Angel's Landing. Throughout the ride, you'll be treated to fun historical and geological facts about the land. Just be sure to pack a good lunch and plenty of water -- after a day of climbing, you're going to need it.
Particularly in warmer months, on any given weekend, you may encounter a dozen or so boats, jetskis, and kayaks launching into the water at nearby Sand Hollow Reservoir. The giant lake functions as the town's local "beach." Join in the fun by booking a kayak trip at Red Mountain Resort to spend a pleasant day paddling up and down the reservoir's red rock islands, and – if you're brave – diving off the cliffs. The four-hour trip costs $125 per person.