There’s really not much about our hometown we don’t like … so “warning” visitors away from anything here in the fastest growing community in the U. S., may seem counter-intuitive. But, to be sure you enjoy every aspect of your vacation in our community, here are five suggestions of things we think you’ll want to avoid when vacationing in St. George:
1. Dixie Regional Medical Center
The major medical referral center for northwestern Arizona, southeastern Nevada and southern Utah are Dixie Regional Medical Center, a nationally recognized and award-winning, 245-bed member of Intermountain Health Care, Inc., a corporation President Barack Obama identified by name and called, “a possible national model in big health care.”
• Dixie Regional received the Get With the Guidelines GOLD-Plus Award for Stroke Care from the American Heart Association.
• In 2018 Becker’s Hospital Review listed Dixie as one of their 100 Great Community Hospitals.
• Dixie Regional’s spine program risk-adjusted outcomes are in the top 10% nationally (Neuropoint Alliance Data)
• Women’s Choice named us one of their 2018 America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Patient Experience
• In 2017, Dixie certified as a Level II Trauma Center
• Dixie began performing TAVR procedures (Transcatheter aortic valve replacement) in June 2017
• Dixie received the Society of Thoracic Surgery’s highest rating for CABG surgery in 2017 – 3 stars – and was featured in Consumer Reports.
• Becker’s Hospital Review included Dixie in their list of 51 Hospitals with the Lowest Heart Attack Rates in the nation.
• Dixie Regional partnered with Dixie State University to initiate a new physician assistant program.
• Dixie Regional won the Studer Group Excellence in Patient Care Award.
• Dixie Regional’s Surgical Assessment Center was featured as a national model in Becker’s Hospital Review.
• U.S. News ranked Dixie Regional a High Performing Hospital for Knee Surgery.
• Women’s Choice named Dixie Regional America’s Best for Bariatrics, Obstetrics, Patient Safety, Heart Care, Orthopedics and Stroke care.
Our local hospital is also the second largest employer in this part of the state, providing jobs for more than 2000, and with nearly 300 physicians, in every medical specialty, on staff.
Of course, no one plans a vacationing in St. George around the need for great healthcare, but if you need it, we’ve got it!
2. Road construction
Maybe it’s because we’re the nation’s fastest-growing community – or perhaps it’s just a normal and highly visible sign of progress – but there is construction everywhere in our town. Not just new large motels and office buildings, student housing projects, high-end custom homes and subdivisions becoming neighborhoods, and state-of-the-art additions to the hospital are popping up, but countless orange cones along Bluff Street signal road construction is also underway and has been for quite some time. Arrows flash to warn right lanes are about to merge left … and left lanes into right as this project to widen this major thoroughfare to ease congestion in downtown St. George, winds down.
So, a word of advice. If you’re vacationing in St. George anytime soon – and we hope you are – you’ll find it best to avoid Bluff Street, especially at the St. George Blvd. intersection or consider adding another 15-20 minutes to your around town travel time.
3. Turning Left When Vacationing in St. George
Of course, it’s not impossible to do, but turning left onto Bluff Street, River Road, St. George Blvd., or at almost any intersection around Dixie State University or the hospital can be an adventure. While traffic is a visible sign of the rapid changes our community is experiencing, local leaders are doing everything possible to keep things moving smoothly as we grow, including widening main streets and highways, building overpasses and creating new roadways to carry traffic from one side of town to the other. Nevertheless, here in our little valley, there are only a few options for efficient traffic flow.
So, if you are vacationing in our wonderful hometown, remember to take your time, consider your options so you don’t have to turn left and be careful out there.
The possibility of dehydration is very real in our community, especially in our long hot summer months and lots and lots of water is the best protection against the adverse effects of this seemingly innocent condition. However, even mild dehydration can impact mental functions, including memory, attention, concentration and reaction time; and, cause fatigue. Dehydrated vacationers may also experience low blood pressure, weakness, dizziness and increased risk of falls. None of these symptoms make for a pleasant vacation.
Things to watch for when vacationing in St. George include difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, bad breath and/or dry mouth, digestive issues, sudden food cravings, racing heart; scaly, dry skin; joint or muscle pain; headaches or dizziness.
Local residents usually defend our summer weather by responding, “yes, but it’s a dry heat.” So, our word of warning: never go out – from mid-April to mid-November, but especially in June, July, and August – without plenty of water. It could mean the difference between a memorable vacation in St. George and a really memorable vacation here in southern Utah.
5. Tortoises, Rattlesnakes, Chuckawalla … and Other Critters
Local residents don’t always agree whether Washington County is blessed or challenged with a large number of federally protected plants and animals. At the merging of three great ecosystems, the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau, our desert landscape is alive with a unique array of animals and plants including the Mexican spotted owl, Dwarf Bearclaw-poppy, woundfin minnow, Western yellow-billed cuckoo, Virgin River chub and more. During your vacation in southern Utah, if you see any of these beautiful species – and you might – for your protection as well as theirs … don’t touch!
When vacationing in St. George specifically to experience our amazing flora and fauna, the best way is to spend a day (or two) exploring the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The “Reserve” is 62,000 acres – approximately 20 miles wide and 6 miles deep – of spectacular scenery set aside by the Federal government for the protection, primarily of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise.
Created in 1996 through the Endangered Species Act, the Reserve is considered a very successful Habitat Conservation Plan. Administered by Washington County in a collaborative partnership with such federal, state and local agencies as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and State of Utah School and the State Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA).
The Reserve is north of Ivins, Santa Clara, St. George and Washington City and can best be seen from your vehicle along the I-15 freeway. But the Reserve’s extraordinarily unique environment can also be accessed on foot, bicycle or horseback. According to their website , “When you enter the Reserve at any one of the distinctive ‘step-over’ gates, you are entering a special place – not just another mountain bike trail or horseback ride.”
“The Reserve contains the most northern populations of the desert tortoise, Gila monster, sidewinder rattlesnake, and chuckwalla – reptiles typically associated with hotter and more southerly deserts, like the Mojave. The conditions in the region are such that several endemic species, which occur nowhere else in the world, can be found here.”
The Reserve’s free visitor center is located in downtown St. George at 10 N. 100 East. Not only can you find all the information necessary to explore this Washington County treasure, you can also meet some of these native creatures in a safe environment and enjoy a preview of the Reserve through impressive exhibits and presentations by the expert staff. Regular visitor center hours are 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
And, a not-so-gentle reminder … for your own safety, be sure you are adequately prepared for what is certain to be an amazing adventure. Wear close-toed footwear, a wide-brimmed hat and take along plenty of water because we can’t stress it enough …When vacationing in St. George, remember it’s really, really hot in Washington County from mid-April until early November.