120 miles NE of Las Vegas, Nevada; 305 miles SW of Salt Lake City

In the fall of 1861, Brigham Young sent 309 families to establish a cotton-growing community in the semiarid Virgin River Valley. Today, St. George has more than 70,000 inhabitants. Life in St. George, known as one of Utah's more conservative communities, is still strongly influenced by the Mormon church. At an elevation of 2,800 feet, the town is also a winter home to many snowbirds -- not the feathered variety, but humans who annually flee the cold of more northern climes for this region's gentle winters. Despite the climate, this desert city appears quite green, with tree-lined streets and lovely grassy areas. St. George also has more than a half-dozen golf courses, along with recreational and cultural facilities to suit most every taste.

St. George is also the gateway to some of the most spectacular scenery in the West. Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon national parks are within relatively easy driving distance, as are Cedar Breaks and Pipe Springs national monuments and Snow Canyon, Gunlock, and Quail Creek state parks. Depending on your itinerary, St. George may be the largest town that you stop in en route to Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Capitol Reef National Park, and the prehistoric Indian sites in the Four Corners area.