Outside Zion National Park

Hotels, restaurants, and shops keep popping up in Springdale, population 529, on the southern boundary of Zion National Park, yet the town still manages to maintain its small-town charm—and oh, the view! There are many wonderful places to stay and eat, and if you take the time to stroll the main drag you can pick up souvenirs. A free shuttle carries you through town, or you can rent a bike.

If you have time to explore, there's always Virgin, La Verkin, and the ghost town of Grafton, which you might recognize from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and other films. Today there's only a stone school and a dusty cemetery. Hurricane, population about 14,000, has experienced much growth within the past decade and keeps sprouting new chain restaurants and lodgings. (Locals emphasize the first syllable, barely uttering the last.) There are historical sites, a world-class golf course, and the Hurricane Canal, dug by hand and used for 80 years to irrigate fields around town.

Heading east from Zion is Mount Carmel Junction, an intersection offering some funky small-town lodgings and the studio of American West artist Maynard Dixon.

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