The largest and fastest-growing town in southern Utah sits between hills of red sandstone and the winding Virgin River, a beautiful area of the state aptly dubbed Color Country. Its proximity to a number of national and state parks (not to mention Las Vegas , right over the Utah-Nevada border;), and its year-round pleasant weather has given it the reputation as a Four Corners playground.
The area’s idyllic climate was the very reason “Utah’s Dixie” was founded in 1861 by Mormon families sent by Brigham Young to grow cotton. The church leader eventually established his own winter home here, and in 1877 the gleaming white St. George Temple was built; it’s the first Mormon temple in the West (Salt Lake City’s was not yet completed), and the oldest active Mormon temple in the world. Only church members can go inside, but visitors can admire the grounds and the building, impressively lit at night, and are welcome to visit the St. George Tabernacle. The “jewel in the desert,” a beautiful example of craftsmanship and artisanal detail, seats 1,200 and hosts free weekly concerts.
St. George also has two destination spas for outdoor enthusiasts who want to be pampered in a dramatic natural setting. Both feature top-notch health-conscious restaurants, accommodations that honor the Southwest aesthetic,, and the myriad activities of the surrounding area. The Red Mountain Spa prides itself on its adventure offerings, with mountain biking, rock climbing, and boulder hopping among the cliffs and canyons of adjacent Snow Canyon Slate Park. The Green Valley Spa and Tennis Center boasts a similarly full slate of outdoor activities as well as horseback riding and tennis, while its indoor facilities offer everything from Pilates to cooking to life coaching. Both spas benefit from St. George’s dozen golf courses, only one of which is private. Thespian pursuits make an appearance at Utah’s impressive summertime Shakespeare Festival In nearby Cedar City.