Hurricane, Utah ~ Gateway To Zion!
There are several small towns in Utah that remain under the radar, until the summer vacation season is in full swing. The small towns that are located near the National Park travel routes primarily focus on tourism for income, while a strong local economy exists that most travelers do not notice. It is as if there is an invisible dividing line that separates places where the tourists are expected to go and where the locals conduct their daily existence.
The experienced tourists do recognize businesses along the main drag where they will be greeted with smiles. Other tourists with less road scholar savvy often end up finding no welcome mat at local gathering spots where members of the community seek refuge from constant onslaught of foreign visitors. Respecting the locals and giving them room to breathe definitely is part of modern tourist etiquette.
The attraction of the peace and quiet that can be found in small western towns in the wide open spaces does draw the interest of visitors that desperately want to escape their big city existence back home. Many such travelers fall in love with the thought of living a simpler lifestyle in a small town and the theme of the vacation soon turns into a home shopping venture. These kinds of tourists slowly cruise along side streets while looking for real estate signs. The locals sometimes just look and scratch their heads while saying to themselves something like, “That carload of German tourists sure does look lost. I just hope that they do not stop to ask us for directions to Zion or something!”
Hurricane, Utah, is a prime example of a small historic old west town that is located on a primary vacation travel route to a popular National Park. Most of the businesses along the main travel corridor cater to the tourist trade, while a few blocks off the beaten path a strong local community exists. Hurricane is a place where you will find everything from cattle sleeping under a shade tree in the backyard to great little antique chops where priceless western collectibles can be found!
People that are in a hurry to get to Utah’s famous National Park destinations pass through Hurricane in the blink of an eye with no thought of stopping to take a break from the road, while other tourists that move along at a leisurely pace will notice that there is something different about the hospitality businesses in this town. Sure, there are a few fast food chain restaurants, just like at any town along the highway, but there are also unique specialty restaurants that have interesting signage that is designed to captivate tourists. Even the car maintenance shops have amusing signage that is unlike anywhere else in Utah.
Tourism definitely is the name of the game in Hurricane! Good old fashioned locally owned and operated motel lodging is available. There are antiques and collectable shops that are worth taking the time to browse. If stocking up on food for a campout is on the agenda, the local grocers offer much lower prices that what can be found at the tourist trap general stores that are located near the boundaries of Zion National Park. There are also outdoor adventure shops that offer 4×4 vehicle rentals. There are businesses that rent watercraft in Hurricane too.
Hurricane is located at the intersection of Interstate Highway 15 and State Road 9. Utah State Road 9 is the main travel corridor through Zion National Park and there are many interesting sights to see along this scenic drive. Quail Creek State Park, Sand Hollow State Park and the Red Cliffs Conservation Area are all located next to Hurricane. For those that seek a place to go hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, boating or riding dune buggies, Hurricane is a great starting point. Hurricane even has a premier sporting clays shooting park. St George, Utah, is just a few miles down the highway and there are many historic points of interest in this city. Of course Zion National Park overshadows all other attractions near Hurricane, since Zion is one of the most popular parks in the world!
Driving through Hurricane is not exactly taking the road less traveled, because thousands of tourists pass through this town on the way to Zion each day. What is nice is the fact that most of the Zion traffic just passes right through, so visitors will immediately notice that Hurricane has an unhurried relaxed pace. The summer vacation travelers that do take the time to stop to smell the roses will certainly find that the little gateway town of Hurricane has plenty to offer!