Southern Utah’s largest town lies between lazy bends of the Virgin River on one side and rocky hills of red sandstone on the other. The warm climate, dramatic setting, and many year-round recreation opportunities have helped make St. George (approximate pop. 72,500) the fastest-growing city in the state.
Local boosters claim that this is where Utah's summer sun spends the winter. Although it has gained a reputation as a retirement haven (thanks in large part to its warm winter climate and its plethora of golf courses ), it is not particularly appealing to most travelers.
In 1861, more than 300 Mormon families in the Salt Lake City  area answered the call to go south to start the Cotton Mission, of which St. George became the center (hence the frequently used term “Dixie” to describe the area). The settlers overcame great difficulties to farm and to build an attractive city in this remote desert.
Brigham Young chose the city’s name to honor George A. Smith, who had served as head of the Southern (Iron) Mission during the 1850s. (The title “Saint” means simply that he was a Mormon—a Latter-day Saint.)
Visits to some of the historic sites will add to your appreciation of the city’s past; ask for the brochure St. George Historic Walking Tour at the chamber of commerce.
St. George's new airport (SGU), five miles southeast of downtown, opened in early 2011 and, depending on the economy, will lead to an increase in air service. SkyWest Airlines, in partnership with Delta, is scheduled to have several daily direct flights to Salt Lake City .
Several of the usual rental car companies operate from the St. George airport: Budget (435/673-6825 or 800/527-0700), Avis (435/627-2002 or 800/230-4898), and Hertz (435/652-9941 or 800/654-3131).
It's an easy drive from Las Vegas to St. George, so travelers may want to consider flying into Vegas and renting a car there.
Greyhound buses (435/673-2933) depart from McDonald's (1235 S. Bluff St.) for Salt Lake City, Denver, Las Vegas, and other destinations. The St. George Shuttle (790 S. Bluff St., 435/628-8320 or 800/933-8320, www.stgshuttle.com ) will take you to Las Vegas ($25) or Midvale (Salt Lake City suburb, $55) in a 15-passenger van. Trips depart from the Shuttle Lodge Inn (915 S. Bluff St.).