The US is a big place, and Zion National Park might not be as close as you expect. If you are planning a trip there – or want to stop there on the way to another destination – then air travel is often the most convenient way to get there and back home without spending hours in a cramped car.
However, direct flights to Zion National Park are not really an option. Instead, you have to find a different airport, and the destination you choose can have a major impact on multiple parts of the trip: from travel times to accommodation.
Which is the closest airport to Zion National Park, and which airports are worth choosing if you have never been to Zion National Park before? Here is a quick breakdown of the options you have available.
- Why The Right Airport Matters
- The Closest Airports to Zion National Park
- Other Airports
- Which Airport is Best for Zion National Park?
Why The Right Airport Matters
While it can be easy to assume that the only difference between airports is the travel time, the airport you choose can have a direct impact on the way that your trip pans out. For example, not all airports are accessible from every location, and there can be times when one airport would take an extra flight to reach.
Even if you can reach them all, you do not always want to choose the closest airport to Zion National Park. If you are only going to Zion National Park, then that might be completely fine, but you may also want to balance the distances between other nearby destinations that you would like to visit.
Not all airports are in places where there will be readily-available accommodation. During peak holiday or vacation seasons, it is easy to end up struggling to find a hotel if you did not book one ahead of time.
Beyond that, there is also the fact that your accommodations might not be near the park itself. It is sometimes better to land near your accommodation than to try and land right next to the park, especially if you are on a tight schedule.
Getting to (and from) the park takes time, and you need to factor that into your travels. While it can be tempting to land as close as possible, this puts you far away from everything but the park. This can make it difficult to do anything other than visit Zion National Park.
Striking a balance is important, and finding the ideal travel time for everything you want to do can make a huge difference.
There is also the issue of cost. Some specialized airports cost a lot more but get you much closer to the park. It is up to you to decide whether or not it is worth the extra money, especially if you are trying to plan out a set budget for the trip.
The Closest Airports to Zion National Park
St. George Regional Airport
St. George Regional Airport is the closest airport to Zion National Park, sitting a mere 45 minutes away. You can fly here from connecting flights from Salt Lake City, which requires some extra planning but saves you quite a lot of time.
There are limited commercial flights to other locations, meaning that you generally have to plan around this airport to land there and use it effectively. However, the cost of actually flying there can be relatively inexpensive, so it depends on how close you want to get to the park itself.
If you are using St. George Regional Airport to reach Zion National Park, then you should really consider if you are going to use the same airport to leave. Since you can’t fly to as many destinations in either direction, it is important to know where you will go once your trip to the park is finished.
This is a great option for people who want to land and head straight to the park, but it does not necessarily put you in the best position for finding accommodation or flying to other destinations. However, people who are purely there for Zion will enjoy how quickly they can drive there.
You should use it: If you are planning on heading straight to Zion National Park, either as part of a larger journey or just a standalone visit.
The trip takes: About 45 minutes.
McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport is located in Las Vegas, making it a less-than-ideal option for getting straight to Zion National Park. It takes two hours to drive from the airport to the park itself, meaning that you will have to travel for a while.
On the other hand, being in Las Vegas gives you a lot of options when it comes to accommodation, food, and other sources of entertainment. Some of it can be quite expensive, but if you were planning to visit Vegas anyway, then McCarran is a good place to aim for.
While the added distance can be a pain to some people, it is not always a problem if you have other accommodation arranged near Zion National Park. There are also more ways to fly to McCarran than flying to St. George, making it a lot more convenient when flying in from other states or countries.
You should use it: If you are planning to check out Las Vegas or explore the area between Vegas and Zion National Park.
The trip takes: About two to three hours, depending on traffic.
Cedar City Regional Airport
CDC is very close to the park as well, rivalling St. George Regional Airport in how little time it takes to reach the park itself. Under ideal conditions, you can get there in just over an hour. As a small airport, it does not have many flight options, and you can only reach it from Salt Lake City International Airport.
Despite this limitation, it is a great place to turn to if you want an alternative way of accessing the park quickly, and you can always use it to head back to Salt Lake City International Airport to continue your vacation in a completely different place.
You should use it: If you are already visiting Salt Lake City and want a quick way to see the park but do not want to arrange any major flights.
The trip takes: Generally about an hour at most.
Not all airports are close, but they can still be useful if you need an alternative way of getting there.
Bryce Canyon Airport
Bryce Canyon Airport is located about 2 hours and 45 minutes from the park and is easily accessible from a lot of different locations. While this is not a special airport in many ways, it can still serve you well. If you want to experience anything nearby, and the travel time to the park is manageable.
It is located only a small distance away from Bryce Canyon, another national park that you might want to visit in your own time. Having access to both can really open up more options for you to take long walks and hikes or to just enjoy the natural scenery at your own pace.
You should use it: If it is convenient for your other plans on your trip.
The trip takes: About two hours and forty minutes, at the least.
Salt Lake City International Airport
Salt Lake City International Airport is located on the opposite side of the park’s borders to St. George Regional Airport. While it can easily access the park, it also gives you an excellent way to fly almost anywhere in your local area, and you have Salt Lake City itself to enjoy as well.
While this might not be ideal for driving to the park directly, it is still a good jumping-off point. However, if you want to drive there, then it offers a great scenic route and plenty of beautiful sights on the way.
You should use it: If you are already visiting Salt Lake City. It is best to use it as a stop on a chain of flights, though.
The trip takes: Four and a half hours, thankfully with a lot of nice things to look at on the way.
Furnace Creek Airport
Furnace Creek Airport is more suited to visiting Death Valley National Park, but it can still be used as a way to visit Zion National Park if you have no other options. The drive is long – about as long as driving from Salt Lake City Airport – but there are a lot of places to stop along the way.
You should use it: If you want to stop at multiple national parks, rather than just one.
The trip takes: Four hours and forty minutes of driving.
Which Airport is Best for Zion National Park?
If you want to arrive at the park as quickly as possible, finding a way to get to St. George Regional Airport or Cedar City Regional Airport is best. They are very close, and you can easily drive to the park without needing to prepare that much for the journey.
If neither of those is an option, aim for McCarran International Airport. Whether or not you want to stay in Las Vegas for a while, this is one of the better ways to reach the park without having to set up a complex chain of flights.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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