Along with many Utah residents, one of our favorite places to spend spring break is down south in St. George. Months of cold and snow make everyone eager to chase the sun. Spring in Utah's south is typically an idyllic 70s & sunny -- think Southern California weather --perfect to enjoy some time on the water or lounge in that red desert sand.
These are some of our favorite places to visit for a little spring break fun. So let's countdown the best lakes near St.George! I guarantee you won't guess #1 ;)
5. Ivins Reservoir | Fire Lake Park
This is more pond than lake, but the lack of motorized boats make it a great option for families to do a little kayaking, paddleboarding, or swimming. The best part about this lake is that it is near Snow Canyon State Park and has a great view of the magnificent red cliffs. We love doing a little hiking in the morning and then heading over to the reservoir nearby to cool off afterwards.
4. Quail Creek Reservoir
Located in Hurricane just 15-20 minutes northeast of St. George, this is the lake closest to town, making it a very popular spot for families on spring break. In fact, it often reaches max capacity so it's a good idea to arrive early. Its warm water and beautiful scenery make it a great place for boating, fishing, and paddleboarding.
There are paddleboard rentals on site for $45 for 4 hours or $70 for the day.
Money saving tip: Rent your gear off-site.
Grab a paddleboard before leaving town and keep it for the length of your trip, JJ's Paddleboards in Lehi is running a 50% off spring break special - inflatable paddleboards that fit in your trunk are just $14/day.
3. Gunlock Reservoir + Gunlock Falls
30 minutes west of St. George is another reservoir that's popular for boating and paddleboarding called Gunlock.
However, the water sports are more of a bonus to what I think is the main attraction - the seasonal waterfalls! Even calling them 'seasonal' is somewhat of a misnomer because sometimes they go years without appearing. But when the water levels in the spring are high enough, the reservoir overflows, creating these stunning and picturesque waterfalls over some classic red rock cliffs. Spring break is the ideal time to see the falls, then spend the rest of the day playing at the lake.
2. Sand Hollow State Park
Sand Hollow is hands down our favorite lake in the St. George area! The reason we have it at #2 and love Sand Hollow so much is the combination of what we think is the #1 best sandy beach in Utah + some awesome cliff jumping spots + clear, warm water.
Rent on site: The Beach at Sand Hollow-$90 per day
Rent off site and pack it in the trunk: JJ's Paddleboards-$14 per day
Also, adventure awaits off the lake. With the giant sand dunes nearby, you could have yourselves a pretty epic outing riding a RZR in the dunes.
If you're looking for a place to stay in St. George, we recommend the SpringHill Suites in Washington. It's right on a golf course, close to shopping and restaurants, and less than 20 minutes from Sand Hollow.
1. Lake Las Vegas Paddleboarding
Honestly, don't let this #1 spot surprise you. Spring break in St. George can get a little crowded and surprisingly expensive, so why not keep heading south for just another 90 minutes?
Las Vegas may not be top of mind for a family-friendly spring break trip but we promise you won't regret it. You'll get warmer weather and warmer water, not to mention a nicer hotel with more amenities for a cheaper price !
We stayed at the Westin Lake Las Vegas - It's a 4-star hotel for less than $150/night! We stumbled upon this hidden gem while looking for a place to stay in East Las Vegas that was off the strip and family-friendly.
Stay 5 nights and it's only $125/night. Here are the highlights:
Resort right on the lake
State of the art fitness center with yoga classes
High end spa--if mom needs a break from the kids
Multiple pools and a waterslide
Small private beach that's a perfect launching spot for paddleboarding.
Not far from Lake Mead or Valley of Fire
Sits across from a European Village with waterfront activities and amazing restaurants on the water
Bonus adventure: schedule a day trip to Valley of Fire for some very cool kid-friendly hikes. Spring break is the perfect time to go, before it gets too hot. 🔥
And if you're looking for a unique restaurant experience, try dining at Hell's Kitchen, from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey and his TV show.
Quick tip for a family getaway at any of these lakes: If you need new swimsuits or summer toys for spring break, save yourself some time and buy it all on Amazon. It can be almost impossible to find anything in stock in Utah or Nevada stores when it's not summer, including in St. George and Las Vegas.
So, buy beach/lake essentials online before heading out of town.
Here are some we recommend:
Beach Essentials under $50
Swimwear under $30
Beach Essentials under $20
$1 SAND TOY HACK: This happened to us by accident but in spring, sand toys aren't easy to find due to it not being summer season. We went to Dollar Tree and bought household items like mixing bowls, small cleaning buckets, sifters, funnels and spoons for the kids --(worked like a charm).
And if you're passing through Utah County on your way out of town, stop by JJ's Paddleboards to rent an inflatable paddleboard for your trip!
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