Utah is known for its scenic views, invigorating outdoor experiences and the “Big 5” national parks, including Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef.
Eco-conscious nature-lovers have long loved Utah but, in recent years, the rising tiny house trend has gained traction and made it even more accessible for travelers to visit the state. Just 20 minutes outside the gates of Zion National Park, you’ll find The Dwellings at River Rock, a tiny and small house village in La Verkin, Utah.
We decided to pull off a safe and socially distant getaway to the Zion area before the holidays. It was easy to get there from our home in Las Vegas and it was exactly what we needed to get into the holiday spirit.
Here’s why this tiny house oasis near Zion National Park makes for the perfect socially distant vacation — over the holidays or year-round.
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Renting a tiny house in Southern Utah
The Dwellings at River Rock consists of about a dozen luxury small and tiny house vacation rental houses ranging from 300 to 800 square feet. They were designed to lend a smaller sustainable footprint while providing the best amenities of home. Each house is modern in design and comes with all of the essentials including a kitchenette, full-size bathroom with toiletries, full-size sleeping spaces, Wi-Fi and outstanding views of the Virgin River and the Pine Valley Mountains.
We had the pleasure of staying in the Shocking View Stacker, which is an 800-square-foot small house and it was the perfect vacation space for a family as small as three or as large as eight.
The Shocking View Stacker was outfitted with a queen-sized master bed, loft with two sets of twin bunk beds and a living area that could be turned into another sleeping space with a full-size sleeper sofa.
The best part about these luxurious tiny houses is the emphasis on indoor/outdoor living. Each unit has doors that slide open to an outdoor sitting space complete with lawn chairs, a grill and outdoor cocktail bar. There was plenty of space to share a family meal or grab one nearby. The Red River Roasting Company is a mom-and-pop establishment serving coffee, sweets and sandwiches within walking distance of The Dwelling.
One of the main reasons we chose this location, aside from the views and its proximity to Zion National Par,k is because we knew that we could be safe and remain socially distant here while enjoying some time outside as a family. The properties are free-standing meaning that you remain a safe distance away from your neighbors and still get to enjoy all the things that make this property unique.
How to get there
McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas or Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), which just opened the second phase of the new facility, are the closest airports to The Dwellings. You’ll drive two hours from LAS and 4.5 from SLC.
Gallery: How Much It Costs To Visit These Isolated Getaways (GOBankingRates)
St. George, Utah is a driveable 30 minutes away and it’s four hours from Flagstaff, Arizona. Bryce Canyon is also a two-hour drive if you are aiming to cross off multiple of Utah’s Big 5 national parks in one trip.
Related: How to visit national parks for less
How to book
The cost of The Dwellings at River Rock range vastly depending on the size of the home you choose and the season that you visit. In general, expect the luxury tiny houses to range from about $150 to $300 per night. However, one benefit of traveling with extended family and friends is sharing the costs.
While you can book directly with The Dwellings, there are also options to book via Airbnb and other third-party booking apps to cut costs. If you book with Airbnb, be sure to use a credit card that will reward you for the purchase. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card both code Airbnb purchases as travel so you’ll earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points with the CSR and 2x with the CSP.
Related: Sapphire showdown — Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Also, be on the lookout for seasonal promotions. There is currently a low season winter discount for up to 40% off bookings that can be used through the rest of the season, excluding the holiday dates. This is perfect to take advantage of for remote learning or prior to returning to school after the holidays — especially if you already live nearby and can get there without visiting an airport or boarding a plane.
Contactless check-in and checkout
The property offers contactless and keyless entry. On the day of your booking, you will receive a text message with the passcode to the room’s keypad. It will be a four-digit number that you can input in the door upon entry and exit. Checkout is also contactless. You simply leave the property and housekeeping will come as scheduled to clean and sanitize, which was nice and helped us feel safe and secure.
Exploring Zion National Park right now
As mentioned, Zion National Park and the Springdale Metropolitan area are a quick and scenic 20- minute drive from The Dwelling. This property made a great basecamp for us to explore the area and enter the park for the weekend.
COVID-19 reservations and restrictions
From the property, we drove 25 minutes to the Springdale Visitor center to get on the shuttle that goes to the park. Zion National Park is currently requiring that all guests that want to take the shuttle reserve tickets ahead of time for each member of the family. There is a $1 nonrefundable fee per ticket.
In-park shuttles accepted only a limited number of people per bus and aided in air ventilation by opening all windows and skylights.
We found it easy to explore trails while keeping our distance from others. The park closed all trails that were narrow and did not allow social distancing.
Zion National Park did an excellent job handling social distance requirements and we felt safe for the duration of our trip.
Travel looks different for many of us right now during COVID-19 but our tiny house oasis made it accessible for my family to enjoy a socially distant vacation with minimal contact with others. Heading to Zion National Park can make for a great holiday getaway for families looking for a change of scenery or for year-round during distance learning. With properties ranging from 300 to 800 square feet, there is a wide variety for couples, families or solo travelers. If you’ve been skeptical to try the tiny house living craze, this is the perfect place to start.
Featured image by evenfh/Shutterstock.com
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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