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Killer Weekend: Kanab

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This charming little town on the Arizona/Utah border is about as quaint as can be, with a handful of gift shops, some nice cafés and a relaxed appeal that calms visitors down as soon as they roll in.

But there is more than meets the eye in Kanab. Almost in the center of the Grand Circle, the town of about 5,000 is surrounded by majestic landscapes. Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks, the Vermilion Cliffs, the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, the mighty Grand Canyon and the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument are all close by, making Kanab an incomparable base camp.

1) Light up the night

Kanab hosts a number of street festivals downtown. One favorite is the Balloons & Tunes Roundup, a festival of hot air balloons and live music. Don’t miss the balloon glow where pilots light the crafts after sundown in downtown Kanab. Then join hundreds of visitors and make a wish with a Chinese wish lantern.

2) Finding Zion

Established as Utah’s first national park, 229-square-mile Zion National Park is a display of some of the most exquisite works of geology in the world. A shrine of natural history and ecology, the park is rich in wildlife and diverse environments, featuring mountains, desert, slot canyons and towering walls.

3) Catch the sunrise

The hoodoos that fill Bryce Canyon National Park are unlike anything anywhere. And while nearby attractions bustle with crowds, Bryce is off the beaten path and receives far fewer visitors than its neighbors. Head to Sunrise Point for a magical morning you’ll never forget.

4) Make a friend

What started as a few friends trying help homeless animals has become the largest no-kill shelter in the country. Best Friends Animal Society is a state-of-the-art, 4,000-acre facility that provides care for all kinds of furry friends, and people come from across the world to volunteer there. Hang out with pot-bellied pigs, talk to the parrots, feed the goats, cuddle up with a bunny and take a fun-loving dog for a walk all before lunch. Who knows, you might just make a new friend for life.

5) Pretty in pink

At Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, visitors can camp, ride ATVs, hike, four-wheel and more. These moving sand dunes are in a constant state of change, so each day is different. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle, found only in this 3,500-acre area.

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