Cedar City: 53 miles NE of St. George, 251 miles SW of Salt Lake City; Cedar Breaks National Monument: 21 miles E of Cedar City

This great little area is home to some unheralded -- and uncrowded -- natural gems. Cedar Breaks National Monument is like a miniature Bryce Canyon -- a stunning multicolored amphitheater of stone, with hiking trails, camping, and a plateau ablaze with wildflowers in summer. Brian Head is Utah's southernmost ski resort, but because it has the highest base elevation of any of the state's ski areas, it gets about 450 inches of powder each winter. Where else but southern Utah can you be on the links in the morning and on the slopes by the afternoon? And because Brian Head Resort is off the average skier's beaten track, lift lines are usually nonexistent.

But this area is more than an outdoor playland -- with Frontier Homestead State Park Museum and the nationally renowned Utah Shakespearean Festival, Cedar City happens to be a great place to experience a little history as well as some great theater. Even if neither of these attractions appeals to you, you'll probably end up in Cedar City anyway -- it's home to most of the area's accommodations and restaurants.