The abundance of things to do in Kanab, Utah and the surrounding area is overwhelming. Micro vacations to the area only deepen the hunger for more exploration. With land so vast and geologic features so wild, you’ll want to plan a week or more in the area to truly start to comprehend the beauty of southern Utah. Throw your name in the lottery each morning for the coveted Wave permit and head out on a new adventure each day. Here are 9 unique experiences in the area that aren’t the Wave, and still win hearts every time.
This article was created in partnership with the Kane County Office of Tourism, Utah. All photos courtesy of the Kane County Office of Tourism.
Stay a while, soak it in
With such an array of lodging, Kanab makes a wonderful basecamp for exploring the surrounding country. The only trouble is that a weekend simply won’t do! Extended stays are available at many of the hotels, cabins, and boutique options around Kanab. Additionally, there is a diverse selection of vacation rentals: everything from tiny homes to treehouses, to larger houses appropriate for bigger groups.
1. Slot canyons
Practice your Spiderman skills in some of the narrower slot canyons in southern Utah, or walk through knee deep rivers in others. There are too many slot canyons to count throughout Kane County, so pick one that suits your adventure level and have fun! Remember to appreciate these fluid rock formations without marking them up by scratching markings into them.
2. National Parks
Kanab is a short, stunning drive from three major national parks. Zion National Park is only 30 minutes from Kanab, and an hour and a half from both Bryce Canyon National Park and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park (tip: the road and services open May 15). Towering cliffs, deep canyons, subway-shaped slots, glowing rock hoodoos, and miles of trails await in these national parks. Completely unique from one another, and unlike anything else you’ve seen.
3. Art & Culture
Museums and galleries throughout Kanab recollect the region’s ancient and pioneer roots. Other attractions, like the Little Hollywood Museum, demonstrate the area’s Wild West film history through old movie sets and memorabilia. Around downtown Kanab, several galleries feature art particular to the region’s history, culture and geology.
4. White Pocket
Simply east of the notorious Wave formation, White Pocket requires an arduous 4WD approach, but visitors are rewarded with fascinating and bizarre landscapes for miles. Twisted geology and ice cream colored rock will leave your imagination reeling.
5. Buckskin Gulch
Spend a day or more wandering through the deepest slot canyon in the southwest! The steep walls of Buckskin Gulch are simply enchanting. Day hike in this canyon, or backpack the full 25 miles to the other end and return via shuttle. Remember your Leave No Trace skills and pack out what you pack in, respect wildlife, and leave these spaces pristine for your next visit.
6. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Sand dunes that are as enjoyable to stare at as they are to play in? ATVs, dirt bikes, and dune buggies are all allowed at the dunes, but hiking and sand boarding are fun ways to explore as well. Alternatively, venture out to the non-motorized areas of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park for shutter-perfect sunsets and flawless sand squiggles.
7. Eat! One of the best things to do in Kanab, Utah
One of the best things to do in Kanab, Utah is eat! You’ll be blown away at the caliber of restaurants in this small desert town. Foodies will love the ethnic options in addition to the upscale (yet unpretentious) restaurants in town, too!
8. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
A vast and true wilderness, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is chock full of slot canyons, paleontological remains, Native American artifacts, and layers upon layers of geologic history and colors. Hiring a guide for this expansive region is certainly a great idea.
9. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
Truly a haven, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary rescues all sorts of animals and provides for them on their massive (and quite beautiful!) property. Visitors can actually spend the night, volunteer, foster pets, take them on hikes, and of course adopt them! The sanctuary is a rewarding and memorable experience for many visitors. Check with them in advance, as they’re limiting visitors to smaller groups for now.
Read up on what we did last time we visited Kanab and missed out seeing the Wave. Spoiler alert: it worked out just fine!