Looking for a new, adventurous Bachelorette location? Zion National Park is the one for you! I've been to the big city ones before and they are incredible. But this bride is outdoorsy and loves to explore, so nailing down a typical location wasn't in the question. This post will outline our entire itinerary for a weekend getaway in Zion National Park.
Regardless if you're exploring with a bachelorette party or your family, I highly recommend Zion National Park. Our time in Zion was short, but it was the best adventure.
Some brides already know what they want - some like to be surprised. Every group is different; but I can attest to saying that Zion National Park is an amazing experience, especially for a small group of ladies. The bride stumbled upon this blog that had recapped their complete itinerary and she was SOLD. SO, this post will hopefully encourage you to pack your bags and bach in Vegas and a National Park!
Thursday | Flying into Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas airport is pretty centrally located and convenient for out of state people to fly into. It was decided that we would fly into Vegas Thursday, spend one wild night out, and then depart Friday morning to explore the best of Utah! We stayed at MGM Park on the Strip. A few girls arrived a day before and stayed at the Virgin Hotel - which they said felt cleaner and a bit safer.
We dined at a local hotel restaurant Thursday night called La Cave. Tapas style, it was delicious. There are SO many restaurants in Las Vegas, I would explore those next time too. We then Ubered to 'Old Vegas' to the Legacy Club for outdoor rooftop views and beverages. We ended our night with a quick walk on the strip and then headed back to our hotel for our early morning to zion.
With any trip, I'd recommend looking up places you want to go before arriving. Not only does this give you a clear plan, but it also gives you an idea of what you'll be paying at each place. Coming from this Atlanta city girl, Las Vegas prices were comparable to New York City (in my opinion).
Friday | Traveling to Zion National Park
Phew, after waking up from our night out in Vegas, we were really excited to get on the road and travel to Zion National Park. From Las Vegas, it is about a 4 hour drive. Nevada and Utah are on different time zones (which was all a surprise to us) so if you have immediate plans when arriving, be sure to iron out the details prior to heading out. We picked up the rental car from the airport Friday morning so we avoided paying for parking at our hotel.
If I've talked to you in person about this trip, you will know that things did not go to plan. It goes to show that no matter how much you plan something, other things can happen and detour, and you have to be ready to roll with it.
One of the girls on our trip had a medical emergency when we were getting into our rental car about to head out. We are thankful that we were Las Vegas still for immediate attention and care for her. Needless to say, we spent about 10 hours Friday outside of a local hospital waiting to hear updates and eventually release of our friend. We were incredibly thankful that she was okay and had wonderful care.
There was a delicious brunch place that was right across the hospital that we stumbled upon. I'd recommend it even to someone who is staying on the strip. It's about 3 miles from the Strip and delicious. It's called Good Morning Kitchen. We used the day to stock up on food from the grocery store, liquor (because it's tricky in Utah), get gas, and really just waited until we knew more about our friend.
Eventually, we hopped on the road in route to Utah. We arrived to our Yurt (which if you're unfamiliar, it's a circular tent of felt or skins on a collapsible framework) at East Zion Resort around 10:30pm. To celebrate our bride, we decorated the cabin before allowing her to come in. We had photo props, balloons blown up, customized mugs, mini posters (made in Canva), and confetti with her face on it. It made the Yurt feel really special after such a long day of traveling.
Saturday | Exploring Zion National Park
THIS WAS THE BEST DAY! Granted, if you read about Friday, you're probably thinking that anything can beat that.
General tips before heading to Zion National Park: do your research. In order to get in and out of the park early, we recommend having a National Parks Pass. You can renew them annually and it was very convenient to breeze through the entry points. That being said, get there early! I'm sure you read that before too - and it's true. We arrived around 7:45am and barely found a parking spot. There was no line for entry; however, when we drove through again on Sunday, the line was miles deep.
We knew we wanted to knock out a few hikes on Saturday to make up for lost time on Friday. We did not hike Angel's Landing. Our group wasn't comfortable with it; nor did we arrive early enough to beat the crowds (the park opens at 6am). Instead, we did a 3.5 miler hike which was gorgeous, not too strenuous, and well populated. There are plenty of knowledgable people who work for the park that are there to help and assist all travelers. We used them as a resource often as we weren't sure what each hike entailed.
We ate lunch inside the park at their cafe restaurant and it was much better food than we were all expecting. We made a quick pit stop at the car to drop off our jackets we wore in the morning, refill on water, and reapply sunscreen.
The Narrows | Zion National Park
There is simply nothing like it. Trenching upstream, surrounded by massive scaled mountains - it's a MUST do! We started around 2pm and went for about 2 hours. You can make it as long or as short as you'd like. The park ranger recommend going in about 2.5 miles - 3 miles where the mountains get REALLY narrow. To our understanding, after about 4 miles into the hike is where the water will go above your kneecaps up until about chest deep. Due to time and hunger, we ventured back so we could catch the sunset at our Yurt.
Our group had some pretty great Instagram captions for the Narrows:
- CANYON believe the weekend is already over! Happy to celebrate the beautiful bride-to-be with some ladies who ROCK. The chances of me writing this caption without Zion related puns were NARROW(s). -Rachel B.
- Be-Utah-ful weekend exploring. -Mal J.
- ZI-ON LIFE! (like 'high on life). -Mal J.
- this isn't that clever but it related to our circumstances: Utah> Nevada #iykyk #carpediem
- For the bride: "the best rock of them all *ring emoji*
TIP: Plan your meals
Back at the Yurt in East Zion Resort, food was limited. There were about 3 options on the map; two of them closed. We caught the food truck in its last 10 minutes of operating Saturday night for dinner. Thank goodness we did; otherwise, we would have had oatmeal and chips for dinner.
We highly recommend the food truck though: Archie's Food. It had a steady crowd for closing time and it was literally behind some other buildings. If you stay at East Zion Resort, it's a reliable food staple.
Saturday night: We arrived just in time for sunset where we quickly changed and snapped some basic bachelorette photos (shown below). All of the little details that the Maid of Honors planned were so touching and gave an element of personalization to the weekend. I really love the Camp Bach banner! Because what is a bachelorette weekend without 3,000 new photos on your phone?!? (I wish I was kidding) Tip for this: create a shared album. We had just a few people snapping photos and then would all upload right away. It avoids the conversation: "oh can you send this to me?" "ah, I don't have enough storage"...shared albums are the way to go!
The rest of the evening we made s'mores by the fire, went to the resorts hot tub and pool, and just chilled. After 28,000+ steps and the weekend of travel, we called it quits around midnight.
“I encourage everybody to hop on Google and type in ‘national park’ in whatever state they live in and see the beauty that lies in their own backyard. It’s that simple.”-Jordan Fisher, singer, dancer, and actor
Sunday | Traveling back to Nevada
The resort recommended a 1.5 miler hike that was 5 minutes away from camp. It was called Red Narrows in Orderville, UT. It looked like it would just be a path filled with horse poop as we were walking. HOWEVER, look at what it turned out to be. It looked just like Antelope Canyon in Arizona.
We were stunned with the outcome and beauty of such a convenient and simple hike. It was a great way to move our legs before venturing back to Las Vegas for our flights that afternoon.
We made a pitstop to the 'downtown' of Zion National Park. It's important to note that a lot of things in Utah are closed on Sundays, so if you want to shop around - another day might be better. Regardless, we found some souvenirs and little shops that were open and ventured around there.
If you are in town, you MUST go to Deep Creek Coffee. It was the BEST food we had all weekend. I mean, if you're looking for healthy foods, it will be SO GREAT. I had the Mediterranean Wrap (who's surprised) and again, it was delicious. *Peep the pictures below*
Things we learned
I said this earlier but it bears repeating: You cannot plan for the unexpected. You can be prepared; but no matter how much you plan, things might go wrong. And that's okay. Embrace it, do what you can to change it, and move on. We certainly had a weekend, but Saturday in Zion really made the whole trip for me. I'm thankful that it was such a great day. The photos alone are mesmerizing.
HYDRATE! Bring electrolytes (like LiquidIV) and buy jugs of water to keep in the car. Know what season you'll be experiencing once you're there: flash flood season, dry heat, get familiar with it.
We went in early September - and it was realllllyyy hot. Be aware of local temperatures and variances throughout the seasons so you can plan accordingly.
Other adventures worth exploring if time permits
We spent so much time in the car during the weekend that we had a lot of opportunity to see what else we could do...some of them that are popular:
- Angel's Landing Hike in Zion National Park - do your research ahead of time (tram tickets if needed / timing, etc), that one you NEED to be prepared for
- Seven Color Stones, Nevada - the colorful rocks you see all over Instagram. They're only about 15 minutes south of Las Vegas airport so if you're looking for a Instagrammable moment, there you go
- The Hoover Dam is also incredibly close to Las Vegas. Check the visiting hours though; we were not going to arrive in time for last call tickets so we skipped it
- Have you been recently and have a favorite?!?! Leave a comment on this blog post so other people know
Favorite things I packed
These are my exploring and hiking staples - there are basic things like chapstick, sunglasses, and a hat. But also things like bug spray, small cleaning wipes, miscellaneous things that are always helpful. Each girl received travel size 'Hangover Kit' of Tylenol, Advil, LiquidIV, make up wipes, tide to go, gum, chapstick, a tampon, and bug repellent wipes. They were super helpful and I'd recommend!
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. It’s my passion to share about traveling that can aid your experience or be shared with others. Let me know if you have any questions; happy to answer them below! Safe travels XO Courtney Paige