Top reasons to visit Best Friends

Beat the winter blahs with a trip to our Kanab, UT Sanctuary. Volunteer with animals. Experience natural beauty.
By Kelli Harmon

It’s January, when most of us are dreaming of our next vacation. And while a trip to Europe or the beach or Disneyland might top many travelers’ lists, more people than ever are making Best Friends their dream-come-true destination. The more, the merrier, we say, which is why we put together a list of the top reasons to book a flight or hop in the car and head to southern Utah where about 1,600 animals are waiting to welcome you.

Seeing is believing the magic of Best Friends

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Watch a video about our Sanctuary

If you’re even a little bit familiar with Best Friends, you know that our Utah Sanctuary is a pretty special place. But it’s impossible to fully understand that until you drive through the 20,000-acre canyon and visit the animals here for the first time. Here’s a 30-second preview to get you dreaming. 

We’re number one in Fodor's

That’s right. Fodor’s named Utah the No. 1 travel destination for 2016. It’s not just the top U.S. destination, but the top destination in the entire world. And, a visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary has made the Utah Office of Tourism’s list as one of the top 25 “must-do” activities in Utah.

Puppies and kittens and piggies, oh my

Cuteness overload is a constant risk here at the Sanctuary, with about 1,600 animals in residence on any given day. Visitors get to meet Best Friends’ special needs animals: dogs, cats, horses, parrots, wildlife, bunnies and pigs. And each one is so loved by the people who care for them that even the stodgiest of onlookers eventually succumbs to a case of the warm fuzzies.

Winter lodging deals

Stay right in Angel Canyon on the Sanctuary grounds in our cottages, cabins or RV sites at discounted winter rates. And Best Friends members get lodging discounts year-round, with even bigger winter discounts. Not a member? Click here to become one.

Give a pet a vacation

Volunteers can extend the vacation experience to our animals, too, through outings and sleepovers, which means double the fun (you, plus a Sanctuary pet). Sanctuary dogs are eager to hop in the car with you for a few hours of hiking (some of our Dogtown residents have even gotten to see the Grand Canyon on outings with volunteers). And both dogs and cats can go on sleepovers with visitors for the night. 

Behind-the-scenes tours

Not only do we have free daily tours of the Sanctuary, but there are also more in-depth tours of each animal area, the clinic and even the canyon itself. On these tours, visitors can get up close and personal with Best Friends staff and animals and learn about how we make sure all the animals have what they need to be happy and healthy.

Volunteer with your favorite species

Volunteers can help out not only by walking dogs and petting cats — you can also groom horses, train goats, walk pigs, make toys for parrots, socialize puppies and cuddle bunnies. These are tough jobs, but someone has to do them.

Want parks? We’ve got parks

The Sanctuary is located just a few miles outside of Kanab, Utah, which is one of the most central locations to stay for out-of-this-world hiking and to visit nearby national parks. The Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are all less than a two-hour drive from Best Friends. Visitors from all over the world come for the parks and stay for the Sanctuary (or the other way around). Either way, a visit to Best Friends includes endless opportunities for side trips.

Find out more and plan your dream vacation


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