Moving in general can be stressful and full of surprises. But it can be downright scary to adventure on to somewhere you aren't very familiar with. As a local company most of us have lived in St. George for years and we thought we'd lend a hand by giving newcomers a few tips to settle in!
Firstly, let's talk about Google Maps!
St. George was originally built as a small town (probably not news to most people researching it.) With only a few main roads and scattered settlements to work with, city planners have had to improvise and adapt over the years in regards to addresses and travel. Those of us who have grown with the changes had it easy, learning the directions as they were created (St. George, Utah's growth has been very recent.) But residents that have not lived here for the past 20 years may have a little harder time finding their way around.
The Greater St. George Area is comprised of small towns that slowly built themselves into each other. You can drive from the far end of Ivins (the Eastern side) to the far end of Hurricane (a town just outside of the St. George area to the west) in about 45 minutes or less. Which means if you work across town or run errands regularly, you will almost certainly be crossing from St. George to Washington or one of several others cities every day.
Our recommendation would be to get to know the area BEFORE you have to get back to work and every day life. The benefit to the Washington County being built this way is that you are able to traverse it rather quickly. The physical area is not all that large, take some time while you are moving or before making the move to drive the streets! Use your phone to navigate back and forth from certain waypoints. There are almost always multiple non-linear paths that you can take to reach your destination and knowing how to avoid traffic or get somewhere quicker is always a major bonus. This will also get you accustomed to the way traffic flows and Utah is known for their fast (and sometimes erratic) drivers (even in when there is severe weather!)
Which brings me to my next tip...
Don't try to predict the weather!
The weather in St. George is unpredictable to say the least... Most people see the city as "Sunny St. George, Utah," and it most definitely is! Sometimes...
With all of the beauty around it is sometimes humbling to remember that everything you see when you come to Southern Utah is basically a desert. And as deserts are known for their harsh weather St. George is no exception.
We have flash floods, major wind storms, random rains (sometimes downpours), even snow some winters, thought it doesn't stick around long. We have temperatures in the twenties and below in the winter, and possibly north of 115* F in the summer. And you could experience every single one of these elements in one day! With all of that being said it is an amazingly beautiful place to live and experience all of these elements, and the weather is typically very nice (though it is very hot every summer.) Just try to always be prepared.
Activities in the area are vast! No matter where you are you will see runners, bikers of all varieties, side-by-sides, boats etc. With Ski slopes 1 1/2 hours away and lakes completely surrounding the area there is almost no limit to the outdoor activities you can choose from. With that there is a caveat. There are fewer "big city" amenities than one might prefer.
We are getting more things like, "Rage Rooms" and "Virtual Reality Games" but there is much room for improvement.
Because the area was originally advertised as somewhat of a "Retirement Community" as well the influence of religion the "nightlife" in St. George is not especially vibrant. There are more bars and restaurants downtown and the laws on alcohol have relaxed a bit which has livened things up in certain areas, but you still have to order food if you want to drink alcohol unless you are in a bar.
Yes, you HAVE to order food.
Most people know that Utah has odd laws regarding alcohol, So lets go over a few.
Just recently they took away the restriction on alcohol content. You could only buy 3% beer unless you bought from Utah breweries.. then it can be 9% ish... also unless you are labeled a bar you cannot sell liquor. But some places you can eat also sell liquor. No liquor at the grocery store though, only liquor stores. And the big one... if you want to drink alcohol you have to order food. Many restaurants can sell liquor and mix drinks but you do have to order food and the amount of alcohol in each drink is limited, so your whiskey sour is gonna be a little more sour than whiskey.
Also the legal limit just changed to .05 blood toxicity. Honestly your guess is as good as ours we have just lived with it.
The last tip is to just be friendly. Most of the people who live here are very friendly helpful people. There are stigmas about people having 7 wives (which is the FLDS and they mostly inhabit Colorado City and keep to themselves) and the area being overwhelmed by Mormons (which is true however the area is far more diverse and has always been extremely welcoming) but what the community truly cares about is the values.
Your neighbors help you and strangers will talk to you. Be careful who you smile at or you may just make a new friend. One of the most common stories I hear from newcomers is that someone struck up a conversation or helped them out "out of the blue." It is about attracting like-minded people! So just be friendly and you will fit right in!