ST. GEORGE – Southern Utah is known for its warm temperatures and red rocks, but for many Utahns, it's also synonymous with spring break.
"We come here every year," says Stansbury Park resident Deede Vickers. "We just love all the hiking. And my husband likes to do rappelling, so he comes with his friend and they do different canyons."
The Vickers share their spring break destination with thousands of others. This week is among the start to a busy tourism season for Southern Utah.
"St. George is really well known for Spring Break," says Paul Jewkes with the St. George Convention & Tourism Office. "The nice sunny atmosphere. People love to get away and just come down and soak up some rays and warm up."
With temperatures in the 70s and 80s, who can blame them? Hundreds of families are vacationing from St. George to Zion. For many of the school kids, it's a drastic change of scenery.
"We have our trees and really green stuff, and then we get here and it's just all red," says South Summit Middle School student Jessa Gines. "We're kind of like, cool, this is different."
Zion National Park alone brings in over one million visitors per year to the area. Tourism directors say they plan for the spring, saying it's a huge economic drive for the community.
"The restaurants thrive, the hotels are full," says Jewkes. "There's a lot of events going on in town."
Park managers say they're also ramping up for summer. Federal cuts have threatened national parks across the country, and at Zion, they're hoping it doesn't lead to losses in the tourists' outdoor experience. But hikers say as long as they can traverse the trails, they're happy.
"I've never been here before, so I don’t know what it's like yet. But I am really excited to go see all the mountains and everything."
More information on events going on in the Southern Utah area can be found at calendar.atozion.com.