#7. St. George
It’s said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but there is no denying the breathtaking beauty of St. George, UT in southern Utah. Surrounded by Zion National Park, the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness area and the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, it’s easy to see why outdoor-loving families are drawn to St. George, and why the city is on our list of the Best Cities to Raise a Family.
There are so many family-friendly activities in St. George, it can be difficult deciding where to start. A good place to begin is Zion National Park, where you can escape for an afternoon or an entire weekend. Zion is one of the region’s most popular attractions for visitors and residents, and the region’s more than 300 days of sunshine mean the park can be enjoyed just about every day of the year. Whether hiking, mountain biking, ziplining or canyoneering, the park’s scenic views can’t be beat.
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Besides Zion National Park, families can find adventure together at Snow Canyon State Park, Sand Hollow State Park, Quail Creek State Park or Gunlock State Park.
The adventure continues indoors at the St. George Children’s Museum, which houses a number of interactive and educational exhibits and activities. There’s also the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, which features an impressive collection of dinosaur tracks, fossil fish and plants and rare dinosaur remains. The children’s museum also hosts a series of summer camps for kids and has a generous “pay as you will” admission policy so that income never comes between families and museum fun.
Another reason St. George is great for families is the Washington County School District, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. The district receives high marks from parents, and is rated a seven out of 10 on GreatSchools.net. The district offers open enrollment, which means parents can choose which school their children will attend, regardless of zoning. WCPS offers more than two dozen elementary schools for grades K-5, intermediate schools for grades 6-7, middle schools for grades 8-9 and six high schools.
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The economic outlook for families in St. George is also promising. On average, workers in St. George have the shortest commute of any other city on our list, and unemployment is less than four percent – and falling.