Southern Utah stretches from the high desert of Moab to the canyons and cliffs of Zion National Park, boasting unique and inspiring landscapes. People travel from all over to off-road, climb, hike, camp, and explore the history of Southern Utah.
Beyond towns like Moab, St. George, and Cedar City, you will find five national parks, plus several state parks, national recreation areas, national monuments, and more in Southern Utah.
This area has access from the Las Vegas and Salt Lake City airports. Avoid the crowds by camping in dispersed areas, opting for state parks over national parks, and visiting during shoulder seasons.
Best Time to Visit Southern Utah
The best time to visit Southern Utah is from April to June or September to November. The parks are less busy, and temperatures are more bearable in the desert climate. Plus the scenery is either blossoming with high-desert flora and fauna or erupting in shades of orange against the backdrop of the red rocks.
State Parks in Southern Utah
Edge of the Cedars State Park
Are you into learning about the history of the region you’re visiting? Then Edge of the Cedars State Park is a must-stop during your Southern Utah tour.
Located in Blanding, the park is an Ancestral Puebloan ruin with a modern museum. While the relic snaps a picture of the Puebloan people who inhabited the area from 825 to 1225 AD, the museum is home to Anasazi pottery and other artifacts. It’s also an ode to contemporary Native Americans within the Four Corners region.
The park offers a picnic area and paved trail around the ruin, but no camping. The day-use fee to enter Edge of the Cedars State Park is $5.
RV Campgrounds Near Edge of the Cedars State Park
Dead Horse Point State Park
Located near Moab, between Arches and Canyonlands national parks, Dead Horse Point State Park is a less busy alternative to Horseshoe Bend.
This state park towers above the Colorado River and serves views of quintessential Southern Utah topography. The Colorado River courses through piercing pinnacles and commanding buttes. If you manage to catch the sunrise or sunset over Dead Horse Point, you’ll see the warm hues of the sun melt into the Colorado River, and the canyon walls explode into a natural masterpiece.
You can bike, hike, and camp within the designated International Dark Sky Park.
“Location is unbeatable and so close to trails and canyon,” according to a Campendium reviewer who stayed at Kayenta Campground within the park.
The vehicle fee to enter the park is $20.
RV Campgrounds Near Dead Horse State Park
Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park is a geological phenomenon in Green River, Utah. The park is home to thousands of goblin-like structures that withstood water erosion and windblown dust.
Goblin Valley also has hiking, camping, canyoneering, and mountain biking opportunities. Wild Horse Mesa Mountain Bike Trail and Little Wild Horse Canyon are worthwhile treks. Plus, Capitol Reef National Park is nearby.
Camp in the park among the goblins or opt away from the crowds and find dispersed camping nearby. You can’t beat the views regardless of where you decide to park.
Goblin Valley State Park charges a $20 entrance fee per vehicle.
RV Campgrounds Near Goblin Valley State Park
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Did you know that legend says if you remove a piece of petrified wood from Escalante Petrified Forest State Park you will bring yourself bad luck?
Don’t let that scare you from visiting this state park in Escalante. The park features trails winding through petrified wood forests and lava flows, a visitor center with fossils and dinosaur bones, a fully-stocked reservoir, and camping options.
Day-use fees are $10.
RV Campgrounds Near Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Goosenecks State Park
Get away from the crowds at Goosenecks State Park. This is a primitive area near Mexican Hat that overlooks the meandering San Juan River.
While the San Juan River courses through Goosenecks State Park, so does the history of the Fremont people. This area is ripe with artifacts, petroglyphs, and pictographs both preserved in a museum and out in the open.
The park allows primitive camping, and there are several dispersed options nearby too.
“What a great boondocking place!” says one Campendium reviewer. “The sites of the valley and the monuments are beautiful to see. It is very quiet out here as well.”
The entrance fee for Goosenecks State Park is $5 per day and $10 for overnight stays.
RV Campgrounds Near Goosenecks State Park
Kodachrome Basin State Park
As you get closer to Kodachrome Basin State Park the landscape will explode with monolithic stone spires shooting toward the sky. It’s one of the most picturesque parks in the state—so much so that the National Geographic Society named the area Kodachrome after the type of film used in photography and movies.
Aside from exploring the 2,240-acre park in Cannonville, you will also have access to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park.
Kodachrome Basin State Park is an ideal home base because it has two campgrounds with hookups, and is recognized as a Dark Sky Park.
The day-use entrance fee is $10 per vehicle.
RV Campgrounds Near Kodachrome Basin State Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Right near Zion National Park is Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab, Utah. It’s a must-stop if you’re in the area.
Pink hues of sand stretch for miles, thanks to the nearby Navajo sandstone cliffs. The best time to visit is just after rainfall when the sand is cool beneath your toes, and the refreshing air picks up your giddy screams in an empty park.
The park also provides opportunities for ATVing, hiking, and camping. Since the campground only has 17 sites, consider dispersed camping or Dark Sky RV Campground nearby.
It is $10 per vehicle to visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
RV Campgrounds Near Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Sand Hollow and Quail Creek State Parks
Sand Hollow and Quail Creek are sister state parks only 10 miles apart in Hurricane, Utah.
They’re both home to reservoirs where water sports and fishing abound. Sand Hollow is also known for off-highway vehicle exploration because it offers 15,000 acres of dunes to explore among the red rocks.
If you’re traveling to Utah off-season, consider visiting Sand Hollow and Quail Creek state parks, since the climate and water stay mild for most of the year. Plus Zion National Park is less than an hour away.
Camping is allowed in and around the parks. Both Sand Hollow and Quail Creek charge a $15 entry fee per vehicle.
RV Campgrounds Near Quail Creek State Park
Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park’s canyon geography often gets overlooked because Zion National Park is an hour away, but this Utah state park is definitely worth the visit.
Located outside of St. George, the park sits where the Mojave Desert, Great Basin, and Colorado Plateau meet. Hikers, road cyclists, and climbers come here to connect their love for nature and history with their outdoor passions.
The park entry fee is $10 per vehicle and $5 per pedestrian or cyclist. There is also a campground within the park that offers 27 sites with varying levels of hookups.
“This is an absolutely gorgeous camp spot nestled in a red rock canyon,” according to a Campendium reviewer. “Very clean, freshly paved and level sites.”
RV Campgrounds Near Snow Canyon State Park
Tips for Driving Your RV Through Southern Utah
- Carry an emergency roadside equipment kit.
- Depending on how many parks you plan to visit in a year, it may be worth purchasing a Utah state park pass. Parks typically have an entrance and/or vehicle fee.
- Prepare for slower travel and do a routine RV maintenance check before you depart. The roads can be tight, windy, steep, and busy with traffic.
- Remember to be a responsible and respectful tourist. You’ll be driving through mostly small towns with delicate ecosystems.
- Take advantage of the many dispersed camping options in Utah. You’ll save money, avoid crowds, and wake up to beautiful scenery.