Active Getaway in Utah’s Red Mountains

Many of us are pursuing more nature, activity and adventure during our travels. This year, most of my travels have revolved around visiting America’s National Parks. And while doing so, I discovered Red Mountain Resort catering to those looking for an active getaway. Nestled in Southwestern Utah’s red rock bluffs, Red Mountain Resort is a one-of-a-kind active destination retreat, inspiring guests to pursue health, wellness, balance and joy. 

active getaway in St George Utah
Enjoy desert sunsets in St George. Photo by Red Mountain Resort Photography.

Getting There

In November, I planned a one-week road trip across Southern Utah’s parks. I flew into Salt Lake City, drove to Moab for 3 nights, where I visited Arches and Canyonlands. Another 5 hours of scenic drive took me to Red Mountain Resort in St. George. On my way back, I drove 2 hours to Las Vegas, where I boarded my flight back home.

You can also fly directly to St. George Municipal Airport or Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, and take a shuttle or taxi to the resort.

The Setting

Red Mountain Resort is in the suburbs of St George, a small town in southwest Utah. I only spent a few hours visiting St George’s town square, the Mormon temple, antique stores and cafes. You can sign up for a guided walking tour through the resort, or just drive around yourself.

The resort itself is surrounded by jaw dropping scenery. There are volcanic rocks right in your backyard, which backs up to Snow Canyon State Park. You can see red rocks, black lava remains, desert like vegetation, and snow covered mountains – all right outside your room!

Utah's stunning scenery
Watch the beautiful scenery at Red Mountain Resort

The Resort

Original site of a wellness research center, you will find some original dome structured buildings at Red Mountain Resort that are now used as a spa and offices. You can get a massage, body wrap, or simply gaze out the large windows lounging in the spa’s relaxation room.

spa at red mountain resort
Relax at Sagestone Spa & Salon

There are 3 swimming pools, jacuzzis and a fitness center. Here you can take dozens of classes such as yoga, stretching, dance, and more – all included in your stay. There are also expert health and fitness consultants at the fitness center, so make sure to book an appointment.

stay active swimming pool
Cool off in one of the pools

I stayed at one of the 82 Desert Oasis Rooms which was spacious and comfortable. The bathrooms were huge, with tiled floors and rain showers. There was a private patio overlooking the pool, and lots of natural sunlight coming in.

The resort gives each guest a welcome gift – a notebook, backpack and water bottle – to take on your outdoor adventures. So, you are not really encouraged to spend much time in your room.

Eat healthy at Red Mountain Utah
Scrumptious dinner of tofu tacos

Healthy Eating

The Canyon Breeze restaurant on sites serves 3 meals a day. They usually offer breakfast and lunch buffets, but due to COVID-19, there’s only seated and to-go meals.

Though the food is not limited to vegetarian or plant based exclusively, the idea is to eat fresh and control portion size. Every dish is less than 500 calories, incorporating health conscious cooking techniques, and packed with texture and flavor. For example, my breakfast of healthy pancakes had 3 bite size discs served with a homemade prickly pear syrup and lots of berries. For dinner, we were always served a vegetable soup and house salad, followed by an entree (shrimp and grits, vegetable tacos), and a small dessert. There is a strong emphasis on wholesome meals that satisfy your palate and keep you nourished.

If you like to drink a glass of wine with dinner, that is feasible too. The restaurant had a decent collection of wines by the bottle that you can order during your stay for an extra charge.

And if you’re vegan, kosher or have any specific dietary needs, the chef can accommodate you too.

active getaway while hiking
Hiking in the Red Rocks

Fitness and Adventure

Those who want to stay active, get into shape, and explore Utah’s national parks would find the biggest draw to Red Mountain Resort. There are lots of classes and guided hikes, which makes it very easy for solo travelers. You don’t have to worry about driving to the parks, finding a parking spot, looking up a trail, or getting lost!

There are different types of hikes that are offered every day, ascending from beginner (Explorer), intermediate (Challenge) and Morning Walks. These go into Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Snow Canyon State Park, and other spots located within a short driving distance. I consulted with the concierge about the hikes, got detailed maps, and did a lot of the hikes on my own.

Each day, I started with a healthy take out breakfast from Canyon Breeze restaurant, followed by a solo interpretation walk around the labyrinth. Then I ventured into a class or two before a scrumptious outdoor lunch, and explored more of the surrounding trails through the afternoon. Here were some of my favorite hikes…

hiking at snow canyon utah
Take a sunset hike in Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park

You can walk from the resort to Snow Canyon State Park, bike or drive there. The park itself is only 20 miles from north to south, but has interesting landscapes. Jenny’s Canyon Trail takes you into slot canyon, while Johnson Canyon Trail offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels.

active adventure Red Mountain
Discovering ancient rock art makes the hike even more interesting

Anasazi Ridge Petroglyphs 

This 2-hour trail explores the Anasazi culture where you can see 1000-year old farmstead ruins and petroglyph drawings, along with inspiring panoramic views.

activities in Zion national park Utah
Zion National Park is spectacular anytime of the year

Zion National Park

Utah’s first national park has massive sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and flowing Virgin River. There are dozens of hiking trails inside Zion National Park that can keep you active for days, so make sure to plan your route ahead of time. Also note that it is mandatory to park your car and take a shuttle inside the park during peak hours.

Kayenta Art Village
Stroll through a live art garden in Southern Utah

Kayenta Art Village

The Red Mountain Resort also organizes trips to nearby Kayenta Art Village (located less than 10 mins away). This artist colony showcases a number of studios, cafes and shops, as well as a collaborative outdoor art installation. Walking through the desert gardens on a sunny afternoon is quite mediative.

All-Inclusive

Unlike other all-inclusive destinations, Red Mountain Resort caters to fitness oriented travelers, who don’t travel to just lay by the pool. Also, it is perfect for singles. You can go by yourself and make friends at the Community Table at dinner, or during one of the group activities.

Still, the resort offers all the amenities of an all-inclusive. All vacations include accommodations, daily guided hikes, bike rentals, three healthy meals daily, fitness classes,  healthy life classes and events, personal discovery activities, and WiFi.

Walking at Red Mountain Resort
Reflective trail and labyrinth at Red Mountain Resort

It’s About You!

Red Mountains Resort feels like the perfect place to get away from the stressful life we often lead, and escape to a quieter place. Here you can invest in yourself – clear your head, feed your body, and work on your health. Simply watch the reflection of the sunrise and sunset on the rocks, as they magically change from red to orange hues. You will feel the energy around you. Plus, the Southwest temperatures make southern Utah an ideal year round destination to pursue outdoor activities.

Dock Yourself at Blue Haven Resort and Marina

Tucked away at the northeast side of the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos (TCI) is a boutique resort where you can have your entire family over for a destination wedding or a family getaway. While most tourists stay at one of the large resorts (Sandals, Beaches, etc) in Grace Bay, the solace traveler may prefer the quieter residential neighborhood where Blue Haven Resort and Marina is located. Its easy to rent a car and drive to the property, which is only a few minutes from restaurants and attractions.

First glimpse from the lobby of the white sandy beach and turquoise water is enough to take your breath away. The resort overlooks the mangroves directly in front and to the open Atlantic water on the right. The property, designed in elegant Caribbean fashion, was built as a condominium complex, but after the economic downturn, it was converted into a hotel.

blue haven resort TCI

Every room at Blue Haven is a fully equipped condo with separate bedroom and living areas. A modern looking kitchen and dining area is perfect for those who like to eat in during those extended stay vacations. King size bed and walk in closets, a bathroom large enough to fit a New York City apartment, and a private balcony with cozy lounge chairs – why would you ever leave?

Blue Haven is not an all inclusive resort (although meal packages can be purchased), but there is grocery store and deli where you can pick up breakfast, salads, sandwiches, coffee, juices, as well as fresh ingredients to cook with. For fun, lay by the infinity pool, play bocce ball, or watch a movie under the starry skies. Pamper yourself with a massage or facial at Elevate Spa or burn off those rum punches at the gym.

blue haven resort TCI

There are two additional restaurant on the property. SALT is an open air, casual eastern where you can walk into with sandy feet, and cricket playing on the background television is a subtle reminder of the English influence on the island. Taste the local flavors such as conch fritters, jerk shrimp and tuna tartare with a backdrop of the marina. For a more refined evening atmosphere, have dinner at Fire and Ice, a locally acclaimed restaurant serving Caribbean inspired international cuisine.

blue haven resort

You cannot visit the third largest barrier reef in the world without indulging in water sports. Located at Blue Haven are Big Blue Unlimited, a water sporting facility that offers stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, kiteboarding, snorkeling, diving, private boat charters, biking and cultural eco-tours across the islands, and Caribbean Cruisin that organizes day trips to other islands, North and South Caicos ferries, fishing charters and Jet Skis right off the hotel’s lagoon.

blue haven resort

The marina at Blue Haven is one of the only two on the island that can accommodate yachts, sailing and deep sea fishing boats arriving at the official port of entry into the Caribbean. Blue Haven Marina is an Island Global Yachting (IGY) destination, offering gas, utilizes, customs/ immigration and all hotel amenities to the guests.blue haven resort

Blue Haven Resort is one of the newest properties on Turks and Caicos, and the ideal place to relax in sand, sun and water anytime of the year. Don’t just dream of it – go!

Book your stay at the Blue Haven Resort now with TripAdvisor

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Southern traditions continue in coastal Georgia

Most people don’t see Georgia as a vibrant tourist destination. Yet Georgia has beautiful scenic mountains, beaches, lakes and small towns; the crowds are not overwhelming and southern hospitality is abundant. The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort at Saint Simons Island is one such place in Georgia where generations of families have been vacationing, keeping it sort of a family secret. Continue reading “Southern traditions continue in coastal Georgia”

Rooms for Good

Your next vacation can help a wounder warrior. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) works to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service men and women. The organization provides direct programs and service tailored to meet the needs of families impacted on or after 9/11. Now you can also help contribute to this important cause and enjoy a fun getaway at the same time.

photo courtesy Gaylord Opryland

Gaylord Hotels has started a Rooms for Good program in partnership with WWP where the hotel will donate 10% of proceeds from booking the special packages in May and June 2012.

If you have not been to the Gaylord Opryland, it is a must visit destination. Read my previous post about the resort.

The Rooms for Good packages start at $179 per couple and includes 1 night stay and breakfast for 2. Special military packages start at $139 per couple. You can chose any of the Gaylord locations – Washington DC, Orlando, Nashville or Dallas. Click here to make a reservation.

Destination Gaylord Opryland

Until a few weeks ago, I had not even heard of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN. The Gaylord Opryland is much more than a resort and convention center, it is an experience. When I arrived there, I had mixed feelings –  it looked like a tropical rain forest, had the creativity of Las Vegas, and the inclusiveness of a cruise ship.

Stepping into the palatial lobby embodied with giant glass sculptures and dazzling ceilings, gave you the impression of stepping into the Bellagio. As porters hauled luggage to one of the 2,880 guestrooms, you found yourself wandering the nine acres of botanical gardens and cascading waterfalls under the 15 story high glass atrium.

The interior of the resort is home to over 50,000 tropical plants maintained at 72 F year round. There is also a quarter mile long indoor river where you can go for a boat ride and tour the property. The guide will make sure to point out the fruit trees and give you some education about the plants. In the evenings, watch the water fountains dance to a sound and light show at the Delta Atrium. Being home to country music, there are live performance and entertainment daily.

Besides the overall architectural marvel, there are also the restaurants, spa, pools and boutiques to enjoy at the resort. Strolling along the shops at the Magnolia pavilion feels like you have stepped into a piazza in Florence. The two stories building have Italian look and feel while the flooring is of cobblestone. Again, this reminded me a lot of the shops in the Venetian and Bellagio in Vegas. The boutiques carried souvenirs, sundries and unique art and gift items.

A number of dining options are presented to you at the hotel itself. There are 20 restaurants that offer everything from British pub (which includes Indian), Italian, Mexican, sushi and contemporary fast food to an upscale Steakhouse. The food is prepared by some of the best chef’s in the country and the service is exceptional. Most employees at the Gaylord Opryland have long tenures so you can tell they are truly passionate about their work.

The little ones would particularly enjoy the special activities organized just for them. Besides learning about the plants and walking through the waterfalls, they can also sneak into Shrek’s den and hang out with the characters from the movies, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and Shrek. At Christmas time, the property converts itself into a wonderland with 2 million lights and many festivities.

Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway or an adventure for the entire family, the Gaylord Opryland is not just a place to stay, it is a destination like no other.