Protect Your Trip »

Best places to visit in utah.

Utah is truly an outdoor lover's dream. With natural wonders – including five national parks – and small towns with outdoor activities galore, Utah offers ample opportunities to reconnect with nature. To help you decide where to go for your next getaway, U.S. News took into account factors like attractions, value and accessibility to determine the best places to visit in Utah. Vote for your favorite destination below to help decide next year's list.

Zion National Park

Arches national park, bryce canyon national park, monument valley, canyonlands national park, dinosaur national monument, dead horse point state park, capitol reef national park, grand staircase-escalante national monument, salt lake city.

outdoor places to visit in utah

More and more people are discovering the beauty of Zion National Park. Utah's first national park features more than 90 miles of backpacking and hiking trails, including The Narrows, a one-of-a-kind slot canyon that takes travelers through the slimmest section of the park. There are also easier paths like Canyon Overlook Trail and Pa'rus Trail, as well as more strenuous ones, such as Angels Landing (permits are required) and the Watchman Trail. If hiking doesn't present enough of a challenge, visitors can also go canyoneering down or rock climbing up Zion's 2,000-foot-tall sandstone cliffs.

outdoor places to visit in utah

With an array of jaw-dropping red rock formations, including 2,000-plus natural arches (the most you'll find in any area on Earth), Arches National Park delights more than 1.5 million visitors each year. Some of the park's most popular rock formations include Landscape Arch (the longest arch in North America), the Windows Section (one of the most picturesque locations in Arches) and Fiery Furnace (a challenging natural labyrinth between sandstone walls). Adventurous visitors can go hiking, rock climbing, canyoneering and more, while less-active travelers might prefer to see the park from the comfort of a vehicle or on horseback.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Bryce Canyon National Park is often described as otherworldly, and it's easy to see why. Its sunset-colored natural amphitheaters and hoodoos (Bryce Canyon has the highest concentration of these irregular rock columns in the world) are almost too perfect to be real. Hiking and horseback riding are great ways to see these natural beauties during the warmer months. Meanwhile, cold-weather pursuits like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are available in winter. For an extra memorable experience, camp out at this International Dark Sky Park at night to enjoy a full moon hike.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Moab sits conveniently between Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, making it a great home base for travelers looking to visit both parks. Vacationers will find plenty to do in and around town, too, including outdoor activities like biking, hiking, off-roading and whitewater rafting. For a bird's-eye view of Moab's stunning red rock formations, visitors can go skydiving or enjoy a thrilling flight in a plane or hot air balloon. After an active day, head to a local restaurant to satisfy your appetite and listen to some live music.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Located in Utah and Arizona, Monument Valley features a red landscape that is easily recognizable. Here, you'll find Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, which houses sandstone towers and buttes that have appeared in movies like "Forrest Gump" and "Stagecoach." Must-do activities in the Utah section of the valley include hiking, horseback riding and stargazing. You'll want to also save time for learning more about the park's Navajo history, which you can do while admiring the scenery during a guided vehicle or horseback tour with a Navajo tour operator.

outdoor places to visit in utah

With a prime location near the Utah-Arizona border, the small desert town of Kanab is an excellent jumping-off point for outdoor explorers. Not only is Kanab surrounded by several must-see national parks, including Bryce Canyon, Zion and the Grand Canyon, but the town also provides access to lesser-known wonders like Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and the Sand Caves. What's more, Kanab is known as the gateway to The Wave, an iconic Arizona sandstone formation that is only accessible via an online lottery system. Save time for hiking Wire Pass Trail to the Buckskin Gulch, the longest and deepest slot canyon in the Southwest.

outdoor places to visit in utah

This Utah national park is divided into four districts, each of which offers a different experience. The most accessible district is Island in the Sky; it rises more than 1,000 feet above the ground and provides spectacular views of the area. In the southeast corner of the park lies The Needles, a region with colorful sandstone spires, a historic cowboy camp and prehistoric rock art. The Maze's challenging, remote roads and hiking trails are best attempted by those with experience. And in the last district – where the Colorado and Green rivers form – you can explore via canoe or kayak.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Dinosaur National Monument, a protected area on the Utah-Colorado border, is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in dinosaurs. Budding paleontologists can venture to the Utah side of the monument to see its array of fossils, many of which are on display inside the Quarry Exhibit Hall. After admiring the fossils, visitors can head to the Cub Creek Area, where several hiking paths – including the Fossil Discovery Trail – and pictographs and petroglyphs left behind by the Fremont people are located. The national monument also offers opportunities to camp, fish and go whitewater rafting.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Sitting about 30 miles outside of Moab, Dead Horse Point State Park is undeniably one of Utah's most magnificent travel destinations. There are ample ways to explore this state park, from mountain biking the Intrepid Trail System to traversing the park's eight miles of family-friendly hiking trails. Just don't leave without visiting Dead Horse Point's overlook, which towers 2,000 feet over the powerful Colorado River and provides panoramic views of Canyonlands National Park. In the evening, retreat to one of the park's campgrounds to admire the stars from this International Dark Sky Park .

outdoor places to visit in utah

While Capitol Reef National Park may not be as well known as Utah's other national parks, it is just as breathtaking. The park's main attraction is the nearly 100-mile-long Waterpocket Fold, a buckling of the Earth's surface. Capitol Reef is home to plenty of hiking trails and backcountry routes; just remember, backcountry routes here are not official maintained trails, so you'll need to obtain a backcountry permit and exercise caution. Other popular activities include biking, horseback riding, rock climbing and canyoneering. If you'd rather exert less energy during your visit, opt for a scenic drive.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a natural wonder that took millions of years to create. Occupying nearly 2 million acres, this protected area is divided into three units. The Escalante Canyons section is a hiker's dream, with backcountry trails that travel past waterfalls, arches and narrow canyons. The remote Grand Staircase region is where visitors will find Utah's most extensive network of slot canyons, as well as the colorful cliffs that give the monument its name. Separating the two areas is the Kaiparowits Plateau, which contains an impressive collection of fossils that are sure to delight paleontology enthusiasts.

outdoor places to visit in utah

You may immediately think of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when you think of Salt Lake City, but you would be remiss if you limited yourself to Temple Square. Utah's capital city is also home to interesting museums (the Natural History Museum of Utah is a popular option), multiple professional sports teams (attend events from rugby matches to motorsport competitions) and an exciting live music scene (catch an outdoor show at Red Butte Garden). Plus, Salt Lake City boasts proximity to a number of ski resorts and trail-filled Wasatch Mountain State Park, making it especially appealing to adventure seekers.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

outdoor places to visit in utah

Bonneville Salt Flats

outdoor places to visit in utah

You May Be Interested In

outdoor places to visit in utah

Best U.S. National Parks for 2024

outdoor places to visit in utah

Best Places to Visit in Arizona

outdoor places to visit in utah

Best Places to Visit in Colorado

outdoor places to visit in utah

Best Places to Visit in New Mexico

Best places to hike in the usa.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 18 Best Napa Valley Wineries to Visit in 2024

Lyn Mettler|Sharael Kolberg April 23, 2024

outdoor places to visit in utah

The 25 Best Beaches on the East Coast for 2024

Timothy J. Forster|Sharael Kolberg April 19, 2024

outdoor places to visit in utah

The 50 Best Hotels in the USA 2024

Christina Maggitas February 6, 2024

outdoor places to visit in utah

The 32 Most Famous Landmarks in the World

Gwen Pratesi|Timothy J. Forster February 1, 2024

outdoor places to visit in utah

9 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in Florida for 2024

Gwen Pratesi|Amanda Norcross January 5, 2024

outdoor places to visit in utah

24 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S. for 2024

Erin Evans January 4, 2024

outdoor places to visit in utah

26 Top Adults-Only All-Inclusive Resorts for 2024

Zach Watson December 28, 2023

outdoor places to visit in utah

Solo Vacations: The 36 Best Places to Travel Alone in 2024

Lyn Mettler|Erin Vasta December 22, 2023

outdoor places to visit in utah

26 Cheap Beach Vacations for Travelers on a Budget

Kyle McCarthy|Sharael Kolberg December 4, 2023

outdoor places to visit in utah

The 50 Most Beautiful White Sand Beaches in the World

Holly Johnson December 1, 2023

outdoor places to visit in utah

PlanetWare.com

21 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Utah

Written by Lana Law Updated Feb 15, 2022

Utah is one of the nation's great outdoor states, with fabulous ski resorts, incredible national and state parks , and natural wonders like you won't find anywhere else in the world. A road trip through Utah is one the best ways to see the sights, and scenic drives are everywhere throughout the state.

For cultural highlights or nearby skiing, head to Salt Lake City . If you're looking for outdoor adventures, from hiking, mountain biking, and camping to ATV motorcycle riding and off-road pursuits, be sure to check out Moab and St. George . You'll even find lakes in Utah where you can bask on a beach or enjoy a boat ride.

Keep in mind, Utah's elevation varies considerably, and while it's hot and sunny in some areas, it may be snowing in others. Some parks have only limited accessibility in winter, and some towns almost shut down during this season , but most of the best places to visit are open year-round. For more ideas, see our guide to the top attractions in Utah.

1. Zion National Park

2. arches national park, 3. monument valley, 4. canyonlands national park, 5. bryce canyon national park, 6. salt lake city temple, 7. utah's ski resorts, 8. park city, 10. grand staircase-escalante national monument, 11. dead horse point state park, 12. capitol reef national park, 13. st. george, 14. sand hollow state park, 15. snow canyon state park, 16. cedar breaks national monument, 17. natural bridges national monument, 18. dinosaur national monument, 19. great salt lake, 20. bonneville salt flats, 21. coral pink sand dunes state park.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park, less than a three-hour drive from Las Vegas , features some of Utah's most outstanding scenery. Red rock cliffs, waterfalls, and stunning vistas are some of the key attractions.

Many of the park's most impressive sites are found in Zion Canyon, along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive , which follows the valley floor. From spring until fall, a sightseeing bus takes visitors through the park along this route, stopping at all the major sites and trailheads. This makes touring the park very simple. In winter, you can drive this route in your own vehicle.

The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway runs east-west through the park and is also a must-do drive. This self-drive route takes you high above the valley and offers incredible views from the lookouts.

Sometimes referred to as a vertical park due to its sheer vertical walls, Zion is a hiker's paradise. The most popular hikes in Zion are accessed off the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. Here, you'll find everything from simple walks along the valley floor to cliff-side trails, like the famous Angel's Landing trail, which is not for the faint of heart or anyone with a fear of heights.

If you are here to truly experience the outdoors, you'll find quality campgrounds and RV parks in and near Zion National Park .

  • Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do in Zion National Park

Arches National Park

Stunning stone arches and rolling petrified dunes, backed by the often snow-capped peaks of the La Sal Mountains, make this one of the most scenic parks in Utah. Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches. The most famous of these, and the most photographed, is Delicate Arch , standing like a horseshoe jutting out of the ground, framing the distant mountains.

Numerous walking trails and hikes lead to the most popular arches and other interesting rock formations. But many of the main highlights can be seen right from the scenic drives through the park and easily accessed from the parking areas.

The best places to visit in the park are Devil's Garden, Delicate Arch, Fiery Furnace, Double Arch, Park Avenue, Balanced Rock, the Windows, Broken Arch, and Sandstone Arch.

Arches National Park is located just outside Moab , a town well-known by mountain bikers and outdoor adventurers. The park is considerably higher than the town and reached via a winding road with impressive views. You'll find several other scenic parks in the vicinity and a variety of good campgrounds in the area.

Monument Valley

Like a scene from an old western film, red rock buttes rise up from the orange desert floor, and occasionally a horse and rider even wanders by. This is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park , located on the Navajo Indian Reservation on the Utah-Arizona border.

Numerous films and commercials have been shot in this scenic area, which is famous for its spectacular red mesas and stone pinnacles. Within the park is Valley Drive, a one-way, 17-mile, self-drive dirt road running between the buttes and through the dramatic landscape. Pullouts all along the route offer great opportunities for photography and soaking up the scenery.

If you want to go beyond this one road to explore the park more fully, you must use a guide, which can be arranged at the visitor center. If you don't have time for the drive, which is usually done at a snail's pace due to the curves and sightseeing stops, the view from the Monument Valley Visitor Center is spectacular, and one of the best viewpoints in Monument Valley.

Canyonlands National Park, Mesa Arch

Canyonlands National Park is Utah's version of the Grand Canyon, without the crowds. The park has three sections, but the main portion, which attracts the majority of sightseers, is Island in the Sky . This area offers incredible vistas looking out over carved canyons and beyond to the snow-capped mountains. It is arguably as impressive as the Grand Canyon in its own unique way, and far less visited.

One of the main attractions in Island in the Sky is Mesa Arch . This beautiful stone arch, particularly stunning in the early morning hours or late afternoon, forms a window to the canyons, buttes, and torn landscape below. Also of note in this section is the White Rim Road , which runs down from the park to the valley below, following a dirt road of switchbacks along sheer cliff walls. This road is only for the brave. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the White Rim Road, across the road from the Island in the Sky Visitors Center.

Canyonlands' Island in the Sky section is located not far from the town of Moab. The main access point is reached by heading north along Highway 191, beyond Arches National Park. The Needles District is located in the opposite direction, off Highway 191 heading south from Moab and takes about two hours to reach.

The other two sections of the park, the Needles District and The Maze , offer a slightly different type of landscape but are also impressive. These areas are more remote. The Needles area is one of the best places for hiking in the park, and The Maze is a popular place for 4x4 road trips.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The brightly colored and tightly packed hoodoos that dominate the landscape at Bryce Canyon are what set this national park apart from the rest of the spectacular sites in Utah. Stone pillars, glowing in shades of orange, pink, cream, and cinnamon, jut up from the floor of a huge natural amphitheater, creating a magical landscape that almost begs to be explored.

A scenic drive runs through the park and provides numerous lookouts all along the canyon. However, it's worth venturing down into the forest of hoodoos on one of the numerous hiking trails in the park to fully appreciate the size and unique shapes of these formations. Bristlecone pine trees are another surprise attraction found in Bryce.

Bryce Canyon National Park is located at an elevation of 8,000 to over 9,000 feet and receives snowfall during the winter months and into spring. Temperatures up here, even in summer, can be cool to very cold. The best time to visit is from April to October, particularly if you are planning on staying at one of the campgrounds in the area .

This park might feel like it's a long way from anywhere, but there are several options for visiting Bryce Canyon from Las Vegas .

Salt Lake City and the Mormon Temple

Salt Lake City is often associated with skiing and winter activities, and certainly many of the best ski resorts in the state can be reached within an hour's drive of here. But this is a city worth visiting, regardless of the season, and offers numerous attractions and things to do .

Standing on Temple Square is the late 19th-century Temple , the largest Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and one of Salt Lake City's principal sites. The temple may only be entered by church members, but it is definitely worth walking by to have a look. Another site in the area worth checking out is the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

The entire complex is in the midst of a massive multi-year renovation and revitalization, with different buildings under construction at different times. Be sure to check to see what is open before visiting to avoid disappointment.

Alta Ski Resort

If you're a skier and haven't been to Utah, it's time to go. While other states like Colorado and California tend to steal the spotlight, Utah has some fantastic ski resorts .

Utah gets a surprisingly large amount of snow every year, and the snow that does fall is light and fluffy, making powder days especially amazing. Fun fact: The largest ski resort in the United States is located in Utah.

Many of the best resorts are located within an hour of Salt Lake City, either in the Little Cottonwood Canyon, where you'll find Snowbird and Alta; or Big Cottonwood Canyon, where Solitude and Brighton call home; or up by the town of Park City, where Deer Valley and Park City Resort are located. Other popular ski resorts in Utah are Snowbird, Alta, Snowbasin, Sundance, and Powder Mountain .

Park City

Park City is a fun mountain town, about 45 minutes southeast of Salt Lake City, and home to some of Utah's best ski resorts . Park City is an actual historical town not something artificially created for the skiing crowd. As a result, you'll find an authentic main street with buildings, now full of restaurants and shops, dating from the town's mining days.

One of Park City's most famous events, the annual Sundance Film Festival , is held in late January. At this time, the town is buzzing with creative energy, and regular celebrity sightings are the norm.

On the town's doorstep is Park City Mountain Resort , with lifts operating right from town, and just down the road is Deer Valley Resort , one of Utah's poshest ski resorts. Both of these offer outstanding terrain for all levels of skiers.

Utah Olympic Park , also located in the vicinity, was used as a venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Today, it offers year-round activities for kids and adults, from ziplining and hiking in summer to bobsledding in winter.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Park City, UT

Slickrock Trail in Moab

For outdoor adventures in the Southwest, it's hard to beat the town of Moab. As the closest community to Arches National Park , Canyonlands National Park , and Dead Horse Point State Park , this area offers endless opportunities for hiking, biking, rafting, off-road adventures , and more. The rolling petrified dunes and surrounding mountains provide breathtaking scenery and offer a playground for numerous outdoor pursuits.

Mountain bikers come here in droves in the spring and fall for the outstanding riding. Although the town is known among mountain bikers for being the home of the famous and challenging Slickrock Trail , you can find trails here for all levels of bikers. When it comes to hiking, the trails in the nearby parks offer amazing scenery, including Utah's famous Delicate Arch . You'll also find some incredible campgrounds near Moab .

In winter, this area receives snow, and the adventure opportunities diminish. The best time to visit is in the spring (March to May) and fall (September to October) . You can still enjoy yourself here in summer, but daytime temperatures get very hot.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a huge area of rugged terrain, with a landscape of canyons, arches, hills, waterfalls, forest, and scrubland. It offers a sense of remoteness that is hard to find in other parks.

Dirt roads, where you can drive great distances without ever passing another vehicle, are all part of the experience. Covering 1.9 million acres, this is the largest national monument in the United States, and it's managed by the Bureau of Land Management, not the National Park Service.

Hiking is a popular way to explore the region. Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail offers some fabulous scenery and is one of the most photographed locations in Grand Staircase-Escalante.

In the southern part of the monument is Paria , a town near the Paria River, founded in 1865, but abandoned by 1920. Remnants of the town and the nearby areas have been used in a number of western films.

The park offers camping, but if you're looking for a little more luxury, one of the best resorts in Utah is right next to Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park, just outside of Moab , delivers one of the best lookouts of any state park in Utah . The main viewpoint looks over a gooseneck in the Colorado River carving through the colorful landscape. Cliff walls rising 2,000 feet and plateaus at various levels stretch out into the distance.

On a shelf of land below the viewpoint, the Potash Road runs along a ledge. Looking to the left along this road, you can see Thelma and Louise Point , where the final scene of the motion picture Thelma and Louise was filmed.

The best way to see the sights at Dead Horse Point State Park is to take a stroll on the walking trail along the rim.

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is another great place to explore Utah's interesting landscapes. Located directly west of Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef reveals a huge wall of banded sandstone rising above the Fremont River.

The canyons, rock spires, cliff walls, arches, and gorges are an inspiration for anyone with an interest in photography. From a distance, the wall dominates the landscape and glows an almost purple color in the late-day sun.

Most people come here for sightseeing, but you'll also find a variety of hiking trails in the area. This park sees far fewer tourists than most of the other big parks in Utah, which can be a refreshing treat.

The nearest town to Capitol Reef is Torrey , to the west of the park, where you can find accommodation and camping options . The park's visitor center is 15 minutes from town and located at the start of the beautiful Capitol Reef Scenic Drive , one of the main highlights of a visit to the park.

St. George

St. George's position in southern Utah, near some incredible parks, makes it a convenient city to base yourself if you're interested in outdoor activities. But, even if you're not, the town has its own attractions and is worth a visit.

Zion National Park is just an hour away, and one of Utah's great undiscovered natural areas, Snow Canyon State Park , is less than 20 minutes away. Within a half-hour drive of St. George, you'll find outstanding hiking trails , as well as beautiful areas to camp .

The city of St. George has a number of attractions and things to do related to its Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints history, including the St. George Temple and the Brigham Young Winter Home Historical Site . Pioneer Park and the adjoining Red Hills Desert Garden are also must-see sites.

Sand Hollow State Park

Just down the road from St. George is one of Utah's best state parks , Sand Hollow. This unique park holds a large lake with several unique features. At one end, exposed sandstone rocks descend into the clear waters; at the other, sand dunes extend towards the water's edge, making for wide and wonderful beaches, some of the best in Utah.

The park is one of the most popular places to camp near St. George , with sandy, but tight sites located just back from the beach at the Sandpit campground, or for the RV set, the West Side campground is near the entrance and is more spread out.

The park is full of great things to do, like motorized off-road riding in the 15,000 acres of sand dunes, swimming in the warm waters, kayaking, and pleasure boating.

Snow Canyon State Park

Located mere minutes from downtown St. George is Snow Canyon State Park. Somewhat overshadowed by the famous national parks nearby, this amazing state park has the best of everything the big parks have but all packed into a relatively small area, and without the crowds.

Take one of the many wonderful hiking trails across petrified sand dunes to see the spectacular red and tan rocks tower up from the valley floor against impossibly blue skies. If you'd like to get underground, climb down into one of the lava tubes , and give some thought to what fiery events once took place here. If slot canyons are your thing, the park has those, too.

A popular campground attracts RVers and tenters from across the country to its scenic sites.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

The same forces of nature that shaped Bryce Canyon were at work in Cedar Breaks, creating a smaller but equally dynamic-looking amphitheater. Dominated by colorful hoodoos, the amphitheater is more than 2,000 feet deep and three miles in diameter.

Located at an elevation of 10,000 feet, the park sees full on winter conditions, with snow covering the monument from fall until spring. Cedar Breaks is open year-round, but the scenic drive through the park (Highway 148) is closed from approximately mid-November to late May or June.

The best views can be seen from the Rim Drive . A number of short hikes along the rim and through alpine meadows and forest offer good views of the canyon and access to a few bristlecone pines.

The Spectra Point and Ramparts Overlook Trail is a popular four-mile route along the edge of the plateau that leads to a viewpoint of the spectacular Cedar Breaks Amphitheater.

Less spectacular, but interesting nonetheless, is the Alpine Pond Trail , a circular, two-mile hike to a subalpine forest glade and a pond at the end of the trail.

Sipapu Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument

South of Canyonlands National Park, but somewhat out of the way, is Natural Bridges National Monument, protecting some outstanding formations. If you are in the vicinity, or if you haven't had an opportunity to view a natural bridge before, this park is definitely worth a stop. The main tourist attractions are three natural bridges ; Kachina, Owachomo, and Sipapu, all of which are accessible by short hikes.

If you are only going to visit one, make it Sipapu , the largest and most impressive of the three. The walk in is a moderately strenuous, 1.2-mile round-trip hike, and it involves navigating steep sections and climbing a few stairs and ladders.

Kachina Bridge is reached by a 1.5-mile round-trip hike, but the trail is easier, although it still has some steep sections.

Owachomo Bridge is the easiest to reach, requiring less than a half-mile round-trip walk. It is the smallest of the three but still worth seeing.

Also of interest in the park are the Horsecollar Ruins , revealing the remains of ancient Native American buildings inhabited more than 700 years ago.

Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument is known not only for the large number of Jurassic period fossils that have been discovered here but also for the surrounding terrain. The main highlight is the collection of more than 1,500 dinosaur fossils, which can be seen embedded in the cliff wall of Carnegie Quarry.

The new Quarry Hall has been built right over top of a section of the rock, allowing for close up access and comfortable conditions for visitors. Hiking, rafting, and camping are also popular activities at Dinosaur National Monument.

Snow-covered mountains reflected in the Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake, a half-hour drive northwest of Salt Lake City, is the largest inland lake west of the Mississippi, measuring 72 miles long, 34 miles wide, and up to 50 feet deep. It is a remnant of a much larger freshwater lake, Lake Bonneville.

Following a fall in the water table, this lake was left with no outlet and shrank as a result of evaporation, leaving the Great Salt Lake Desert. The combination of evaporation with the inflow of surface waters rich in minerals led the salt content of the lake to rise steadily, and at one stage it reached 27 percent (eight times as high as the world's oceans).

At the south end of the lake are bathing beaches and a recreation park . Like the Dead Sea in Israel, Great Salt Lake is salty enough to allow bathers to float without sinking.

Bonneville Salt Flats

About 90 minutes west of Salt Lake City along I-80, near Wendover, is an unassuming area of flat land, extending off into the distance as far as the eye can see. But during certain times of the year, this area becomes the world's fastest race course .

This natural salt flat is perfectly flat, devoid of all vegetation, and most of the time has a hard surface, making it perfect for high speeds. Speed Week is held here each year in August and World of Speed is held in September. These races have produced world land-speed record runs.

Most of the time it's completely empty, and you can try it out for yourself. If you venture out here when no event is taking place, you'll find little more than a sign on the side of the road and endless miles of salt flats. Take exit 4 off I-80 , turn right, and drive past the truck stop. There is nothing else out here. Eventually, you'll come to a sign and an area where you can drive onto the flats at your own risk.

In winter, some areas of the salt flats are covered in a thin layer of water and are not drivable.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

The coral pink color of the sands at this park make for an interesting twist when it comes to sand dunes. Sculpted by the wind, the shifting dunes and rolling hills are also a fun place to play. Popular things to do here, beyond simply climbing the soft sand mountains, are sandboarding, ATVing, and of course, photographing the scene.

While the park is mainly used for day-use visits, a pleasant campground is located on the edge of the dunes, with sites sheltered by small trees.

instagram logo

More on Utah

Utah Travel Guide

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Newsletters
  • Sweepstakes
  • Destinations

24 Best Places to Visit in Utah — Including National Parks, Turquoise Lakes, and Giant Salt Flats

Red sandstone arches, turquoise lakes, and epic skiing are some of the many standout attractions in Utah.

Evie Carrick is a writer and editor who’s lived in five countries and visited well over 50. She now splits her time between Colorado and Paris, ensuring she doesn't have to live without skiing or L'As du Fallafel.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Utah doesn't get as much attention as some of its neighbors (ahem, Colorado), but anyone who's visited the Beehive State knows that it's in a class of its own. Its motto is "Life Elevated," after all. The landscape goes from desert marked with red sandstone arches to giant, snow-covered ski mountains and bright-white salt flats. In fact, the terrain is so stunning and varied that much of the natural landscape is designated national park, national monument, or national forest land.

It's impossible to check out every site the state has to offer in one visit, but certain places stand out. In addition to housing five phenomenal national parks, there are endless ski areas, state parks, hot springs, lakes, and mountain towns that are all worth exploring.

With that in mind, here are 24 of the best places to visit in Utah.

Zion National Park

Don Eim/Travel + Leisure

Utah has five renowned national parks, but Zion was the state's first — and there's a reason why. Hiking below the steep red cliffs surrounding Zion Canyon is truly awe-inspiring, as are the park's slot canyons, emerald-colored pools, and waterfalls with hanging gardens.

Park City is one of those places where you can have it all. It's just over 30 minutes from Salt Lake City, but has a mountain town feel that's complemented by a huge network of biking and hiking trails in the summer and two great ski areas — Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort — in the winter.

Goblin Valley State Park

In addition to camping among Goblin Valley State Park 's hoodoos, you can spend the day exploring Little Wild Horse slot canyon, which includes a stretch where the walls are so tight that you have to turn sideways to get through.

Powder Mountain

With the most skiable acreage in North America, Powder Mountain is the place to be when the snow starts flying in Utah. In addition to cruising down the resort's 154 trails, you can go off piste, exploring the mountain's untracked in-bounds terrain. (Oh, and the area receives an average of more than 500 inches of snow annually.)

Paria Canyon

This natural wonder lies on the Utah-Arizona border, but is still on the Utah side. Paria Canyon is one of the longest and deepest slot canyons in the world, found within the wildly beautiful Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness.

Arches National Park

The reddish-orange sandstone arches of this national park feel like they belong in another world. In addition to hiking under or walking over the arches (there are more than 2,000 of them), you'll find other geological wonders, including Balanced Rock, which towers over the desert landscape.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is unlike any other state capital in the U.S. It sits at the base of the Wasatch Range, providing a mountain backdrop to even the most urban downtown area. To see the two sides of the city, you can walk the Temple Square , headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, before grabbing lunch at the Mark of the Beastro , a vegan diner with a devil theme.

Unlike other parts of the state, the city of St. George boasts year-round warm weather and easy access to endless recreation — from the dunes and red sandstone cliffs of Snow Canyon State Park to the reservoir of Sand Hollow State Park to the iconic Zion National Park . This destination also has incredible dining and great golfing.

Canyonlands National Park

The desert landscape of Canyonlands National Park is marked with towering rock pinnacles, remote canyons, and Native American rock paintings. Meanwhile, the Colorado River cuts through the dry scenery, providing whitewater rapids sought out by rafters and kayakers.

This city in eastern Utah is a gateway to the red rock wonders of the state — many of which are found within neighboring Arches and Canyonlands national parks. In addition to the parks, Moab is home to myriad petroglyphs and real-life dinosaur tracks.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is as rugged and remote as it gets, which is why it was one of the last places in the continental U.S. to be mapped. These days, you can view rock art by the ancient Anasazi and Fremont cultures, see dinosaur fossils, and explore the monument's slot canyons, arches, and monoliths.

Dead Horse Point State Park

This state park is as dry as it is immense. With a high-desert landscape of canyons crisscrossed with trails, travelers come to look out over the dramatic Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park. Note: When the sun drops, stick around — Dead Horse Point State Park also has stellar stargazing.

Bonneville Salt Flats

You don't have to travel all the way to South America to see the Uyuni Salt Flat; you just have to get to northwestern Utah, where the Bonneville Salt Flats sprawl over 46 square miles. The flats, which resemble snow, are actually a blinding-white salt crust that's five feet thick in some areas.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The largest concentration of hoodoos (columns of rock jutting out of the ground) can be found in Bryce Canyon National Park . In addition to the red sandstone wonders, the park provides stunning sunrise and sunset views and dark skies perfect for stargazing.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Admiring the sunset on the mounds of red sand in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park should be on every travel wish list. Visitors can hike, drive, and even slide down the dunes, which are estimated to be between 10,000 and 15,000 years old. (Sandboards and sleds are available to rent.)

Mystic Hot Springs

This unique take on natural hot springs funnels the mineral water into a series of reclaimed bathtubs and pools where you can soak the day away. For the full experience, stick around for some on-site live music or sleep in one of Mystic Hot Springs ' many buses (including one that followed the Grateful Dead ).

Not far from Salt Lake city in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains lies this ski area that boasts 3,240 feet of vertical terrain and around 500 inches of snow annually (it has the longest ski season in the state). In the summer, you can play on Snowbird 's alpine slide or take the tram to the top.

Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaurs once roamed much of Utah, and there's no better place to see and learn about it than at Dinosaur National Monument . The remains of these great wonders are still visibly embedded in the rocks, while petroglyphs showcase the area's first human populations.

Fifth Water Hot Springs

It doesn't get much better than hiking to hot springs. After just over two miles on the trail, you'll come upon a waterfall and the Fifth Water Hot Springs or Diamond Fork Hot Springs. Sit back and relax, but keep in mind you have to hike back to your car.

Homestead Crater

One of Utah's lesser-known natural wonders, the Homestead Crater is a geothermal hot spring set in a limestone dome. Inside, under the "natural skylight" created by the dome's opening, you can swim, scuba dive, or snorkel. (Fun fact: This is the only warm-water dive site in the continental U.S.)

Bear Lake State Park

Everything in Bear Lake State Park revolves around the park's shining jewel: Bear Lake. This freshwater spot is nicknamed the "Caribbean of the Rockies" because of its bright turquoise color, which is thanks to an abundance of calcium carbonate deposits in the water. In addition to sunbathing on the sandy shores, fishing, jet skiing, and sailing are popular activities.

Mount Timpanogos

One of Utah's most popular and recognizable mountains, Mount Timpanogos tops out at 11,752 feet above sea level. To summit the mountain — nicknamed "Timp" — it's a 14-mile hike round-trip. Along the way, hikers are treated to views of glacial lakes, waterfalls, and wildflowers.

Capitol Reef National Park

Everything in Capitol Reef National Park revolves around a literal wrinkle on the earth that consists of layered sandstone, canyons, and rock formations. Known as the Waterpocket Fold, the geologic monocline extends almost 100 miles and is surrounded by white sandstone domes, towering monoliths, and otherworldly pillars and arches.

Goosenecks State Park

Goosenecks State Park is tiny, but mighty. It's renowned for its clifftop vistas over the roaring San Juan River. And the views don't stop when night falls — you just have to look up. The park was recently even given an International Dark Sky designation .

Related Articles

25 Adventures For Your Utah Bucket List

Explore the best of the Beehive State.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

outdoor places to visit in utah

With five national parks and millions of acres of wilderness waiting to be explored, the toughest part about exploring Utah is deciding where to begin. Should you hike the mountains near Ogden, Salt Lake City and Park City ? Or road trip south to discover some of the most rugged landscapes in America.

You can’t go wrong in Utah, so here’s a random list of 25 perfectly spectacular jumping-off points. Think of it as a slightly more focused version of randomly dropping your finger on a map.

1. Explore the Zion Narrows

outdoor places to visit in utah

2. Day Hike to Blanche Lake

outdoor places to visit in utah

3. Hike Bryce Canyon’s Riggs Spring Loop

outdoor places to visit in utah

4. Hike to White Pine Lake

outdoor places to visit in utah

5. Hike Angels Landing at Night

outdoor places to visit in utah

6. Relax in Saratoga Hot Springs

outdoor places to visit in utah

7. Hike Coyote Buttes North to the Wave

outdoor places to visit in utah

8. Backpack to Silver Lake

outdoor places to visit in utah

9. Backpack to Lake Catherine and Bag Sunset Peak

outdoor places to visit in utah

10. Explore the Subway Top Down

outdoor places to visit in utah

11. Hike to Diamond Fork (Fifth Water) Hot Springs

outdoor places to visit in utah

12. Camp at Goblin Valley

outdoor places to visit in utah

13. Backpack Reflection Canyon

outdoor places to visit in utah

14. Wildflower Hike in Albion Basin

outdoor places to visit in utah

15. Camp at Willow Lake

outdoor places to visit in utah

16. Short Hike to Double Arch

outdoor places to visit in utah

17. Summit the Pfeifferhorn

outdoor places to visit in utah

18. Hike Kanarraville Slot Canyon

outdoor places to visit in utah

19. Backpack to Red Pine Lake

outdoor places to visit in utah

20. Backpack Kings Peak

outdoor places to visit in utah

21. Hike to False Kiva

outdoor places to visit in utah

22. Camp by the Spiral Jetty

outdoor places to visit in utah

23. Hike through Wire Pass Slot Canyon

outdoor places to visit in utah

24. Ski Little Cottonwood Canyon

outdoor places to visit in utah

25. Photograph the Bonneville Salt Flats

outdoor places to visit in utah

Get more information on these adventures and others around Utah at Utah.com .

Cover photo: Scott Kranz

Don't see your favorite adventure on The Outbound? Show us by creating an adventure.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Discover Scenic Byway 12 in Utah

Tara Schatz

Ready to embark on a 124-mile journey into the most stunningly beautiful landscape in the southwest?

outdoor places to visit in utah

2019 Pursuit Series Kicked Off In Utah

Pursuit Series

An amazing weekend in the Wasatch Mountains with outdoor adventures, smiling faces, and plenty of new friends.

outdoor places to visit in utah

10 Days Across the Plains of Arizona and Utah (in a van!)

Jordan Tarver

outdoor places to visit in utah

8 Bucket List Canyoneering Adventures in Southern Utah

Liam McNally

It's cold, rainy and windy at home, which means I'm daydreaming about Southern Utah.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Spend 3 Minutes Flying Over Southern Utah's Dixie National Forest

Your Forests. Your Future.

  • Local Adventures
  • Tours and trips
  • Camping Nearby
  • Outbound PRO Membership
  • Add your property

Mobile Apps

App Store

© 2024 The Outbound Collective - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy

The 8 greatest places to visit in Utah: experience the outdoors at its best

Dec 2, 2021 • 6 min read

Man standing near Golden Cathedral (Neon Canyon) in Escalante.

Hiking beneath Golden Cathedral's high arches in Utah © Federica Grassi / Getty Images

With soaring sandstone arches, serpentine slot canyons, slickrock domes, and hoodoos of all shapes and sizes, Utah boasts some of the most otherworldly panoramas on planet Earth.

Public lands cover two-thirds of the state, offering vast opportunities to hike, bike, raft, ski, climb and camp – or simply gape at epic views from behind the wheel of a car. If the outdoors is your thing, Utah is your place. Here are the best places to go for a uniquely Utah experience.

Base yourself in Moab for outdoor adventures

On the doorstep of two national parks, a national forest with summits over 12,000ft, and endless acres of slickrock-clad Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, Moab is ground zero for outdoor action in Utah. A variety of restaurants, shops, hotels and outfitters line the streets downtown.

Just to the north, Arches National Park is graced with some of the most spectacular examples of what wind, water, freezing, and thawing can do to rock over time. If there is one must-see destination in Utah, this might be it, though in peak season the crowds can be the stuff of nightmares.

Nearby Canyonlands National Park (Utah’s largest) sees far fewer visitors while offering countless spots to view a Martian-like landscape from the rims or the bottoms of huge canyons, or among formations such as The Needles , Chocolate Drops, or Land of Standing Rocks. The Green and the Colorado Rivers meet in the heart of the park.

Moab also offers easy access to some of the best mountain biking anywhere, as well as prime desert rock climbing, river rafting, and more.

Canyons of the Escalante is a great hiking region

Prepare to get wet and dirty hiking this sinuous canyon system that’s hewn into a massive field of petrified sand dunes. Spanning some 1500 sq miles, including sections of both Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area , the Escalante is wild, rugged country. Though you’ll probably end up wading through pools and creeks, struggling among tamarisk groves, and scrambling over rocks, it’s more than worth it. The sublime beauty of the sensuous red- and orange-hued walls, streaked with desert varnish, inspires a sense of gratitude for life itself. Each side canyon has its own character – some feel private, intimate, while others are impressively grand. Aim for highlights such as the Golden Cathedral and Stevens Arch, or pick a route where you’re less likely to run into other people. Either way, you’ll be glad to be wherever you are.

Skiers and snowboarders on top of a snowy peak with mountains stretching into the distance

Wasatch Range has world-class skiing

Home to the alpine events during the 2002 Olympic Games, the Wasatch Range features world-class skiing on the western fringe of the Rocky Mountains. Want to hit the varied terrain at the largest ski area in the US? Head for Park City . Want to ski on slopes that ban snowboarding? Deer Valley and Alta are for you. And these are just a few of the top resorts in a region that receives some 500 inches of powder each winter. But snow sports aren’t the only draw. Each January you can join the filmmakers, celebrities, and movie lovers who flock to the Wasatch for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival . Perfect for even a quick getaway, all of this is within an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City airport.

Bears Ears National Monument is home to Ancestral Puebloan Sites

Covering 1.36 million acres of land sacred to the region’s Native American tribes, Bears Ears National Monument features some of the most remarkable Ancestral Puebloan sites in Utah. Regardless of how much time (and energy) you have, there’s something here for everyone. You can practically drive right up to the petroglyphs that crowd onto Newspaper Rock . Hiking for a few hours on Cedar Mesa will take you to ruins with names like Moon House and House on Fire – named for the effect of the morning sunlight reflecting on the rocks around the stone structure. And on a multi-day backpacking trip in Grand Gulch , you’ll find cliff dwellings, kivas and granaries set between burly canyon walls. Wherever you choose to go, you can’t fail to wonder about the lives of the people who lived on this land some 2000 years ago, and what they were expressing through their art.

A large bus driving through a huge red rock arch that curves over a highway

Highway 12 is perfect for a scenic drive

In a state with no shortage of scenic roads, this route may well top the list. At one end, you’ll drive among the huge, surrealistic domes of Capitol Reef National Park , where the rock is every color of the rainbow. Just to the west, Highway 12 then plunges south, over a 9400ft pass, and down into the exquisite geology of Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. Some of the most eye-popping views from the road are found between the towns of Boulder and Escalante, but there’s plenty to explore along the way, too. Take a quick side trip east of Boulder along the Burr Trail Scenic Byway, or get out from behind the wheel and hike around the drip-castle world of Bryce Canyon National Park , near the western end of the highway.

San Juan River is the best spot for rafting trips

Meandering through Utah’s southeastern corner, the San Juan carves a gorgeous route through 300 million years of geologic time. On rafting trips, ranging from two to seven days, you’ll float between sheer canyon walls, past cliffs etched with hundreds of petroglyphs, and through miles of twisting “goosenecks.” At night, you’ll camp on sandy beaches gazing at pristine starry skies. Since most of the rapids rarely rise above class II, this trip is less about white water and more about the scenery and experiencing the rhythm of the river. It’s perfect for families with kids and hardcore outdoor enthusiasts alike. 

A group of people in red kayaks on a river in a gorge

Dinosaur National Monument is packed with fossils

Back in Jurassic times, animal carcasses washed down a river, ran aground on a sandy bank, and settled into the sediment. Many of these creatures were deposited in the same place, forming a densely packed pile of bones, now preserved as fossils in exposed layers of sandstone in Dinosaur National Monument . Quarry Exhibit Hall was built around one such formation, making it easy to see about 1500 fossils "‘in the wild" – in an air-conditioned space. More fossil beds can be viewed on trails, including a 1.2-mile loop from the visitor center. More than just one of the richest dinosaur caches in the world, the park, which stretches into Colorado, also features stunning scenery within the Green and Yampa river corridors that can be hiked and rafted.

Salt Lake City has excellent dining options

Hands down the best culinary scene in Utah is in its capital. You’ll find everything from innovative farm-to-table restaurants to family-run diners. Salt Lake’s top-notch international cuisine includes Mexican, Ethiopian, Greek and Nepalese. There’s even a New York-style deli that Jewish publication,  The Forward , calls “a must.” Brew pubs and coffeeshops abound. For a more serendipitous exploration of the Salt Lake City food scene, the neighborhoods of downtown, Liberty Park or Sugar House are abundant with a diverse selection of restaurants and coffee shops.

You might also like: The best ski resorts in Utah for everyone    See the best of the Mighty Five on these best hikes in Utah    Zion or Bryce Canyon? How to choose between Utah's top national parks   

Explore related stories

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA

Apr 23, 2024 • 9 min read

Utah is made for hikers. Strike out into its big wilderness and you’ll be floored by incredible diversity of the environs.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Apr 22, 2024 • 13 min read

outdoor places to visit in utah

Apr 14, 2024 • 8 min read

Magnificent view of the Grand Canyon with RV making a stop in the mountain heights at sunset

Mar 29, 2024 • 6 min read

outdoor places to visit in utah

Mar 15, 2024 • 10 min read

Nayara Tented Camp

Mar 11, 2024 • 8 min read

outdoor places to visit in utah

Jan 29, 2024 • 7 min read

outdoor places to visit in utah

Jan 5, 2024 • 6 min read

outdoor places to visit in utah

Dec 11, 2023 • 6 min read

220A5057.jpg

Nov 27, 2023 • 6 min read

45 Best Things To Do & Places To Visit In Utah

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: April 8, 2021  - Last updated: October 17, 2023

places to visit in Utah

Are you packing for a trip?

The United States is home to innumerable options; you are spoilt for choice on what to do in Utah for your adventure or sightseeing.

Utah is a beautiful state that brings travelers from within and beyond, with its many tourist attractions and amazing sights.

You may find this a top destination for wildlife exploration, thanks to its five national parks, which earned the state the ‘Mighty Five’ name.

Utah is also covered by acres of wilderness, exciting to look, walk, or bike through.

The outdoors are attractive, and natural wonders are lined for your visit.

Utah’s cliffs and mountains make great hiking grounds, and its waterfalls are spectacular.

The state’s varying elevation means that certain areas may snow, while others are sunny hot.

Therefore, you can consider visiting ski resorts in Salt Lake City and enjoy some splash of snow.

Moab and St. George could be your stop for motorcycle riding, off-road thrills, and camping, among other activities.

Utah is also home to American history; there is plenty to learn about old dinosaurs, the Mormon Temple, and the Old West.

As you look around the state, going through your options, there are beautiful places you may not wish to miss and things you must do. Below is a bucket list:

Table of Contents

1. Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Kris Wiktor / Shutterstock

You may find Zion National Park to be one of the remarkable places to visit in Utah.

It boasts of plant and wildlife variety and incredible scenery, with waterfalls, red rock cliffs, slot canyons, and lovely vistas to grace every visitor’s eyes.

Driving from Las Vegas could take you under three hours to get to the park.

If you visit between spring and fall, you can enjoy a bus ride through some of the park’s most beautiful areas, such as in the Zion Canyon, through the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

If you consider self-driving, the park’s east-west Zion-Mount Carmel Highway could be one of your places of interest, with its amazing views above the valley.

Off the two scenic drives, you can consider various hiking options.

The valley floor can be suitable for a walk; the Angel’s Landing trail, among other cliff-side trails, could also be fun for heights.

You can enjoy an ultimate camping experience in or near the park, thanks to the quality grounds and available RV parks.

Address: Utah, United States

2. Lake Powell

Lake Powell

Johnny Adolphson / Shutterstock

Despite its name, Lake Powell is a human-made reservoir in Utah rather than a lake.

Its vast size makes it possible to indulge in various activities, such as boating, kayaking, wakeboarding, and swimming, among more.

Watercraft is another possibility for enthusiasts; you can get a hand from one of the available rental companies.

A quiet and relaxing stay in a houseboat could also work for you.

Visitors love Lake Powell for its shoreline stretch of 2,000 miles and lovely sunny weather.

Annually, the reservoir attracts about 2,000,000 people, making it a top destination in Utah and the United States.

If the breathtaking blue of the water or the attractive contrasting stones are not enough, you can explore the various hiking trails and the nature around Lake Powell.

Nearby, you must see the Rainbow Ridge National Monument, dubbed as the world’s highest natural bridge and situated in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

3. Arches National Park

Arches National Park

anthony heflin / Shutterstock

Utah offers more in the Arches National Park of beautiful rock formations and over 2,000 stone arches.

The park’s rich red stone is a natural exhibit of the Old West.

Explore history further in the 1898 one-room cabin, Wolfe Ranch.

Most guests love to visit the Delicate Arch, the Double Arch, the Broken Arch, and the Sandstone Arch.

Other significant points of interest include the Fiery Furnace, Devil’s Garden, Park Avenue, the Windows, and Balanced Rock.

The drive to Arches National Park is one of the fun things to do in Utah.

You may love the views through the winding road, which towers over Moab, a neighboring town.

You can visit any of the other scenic parks, and if you would consider camping, you may love the available grounds.

Why drive if you can hike?

Besides the scenic drives, hiking or walking through the trails to the park’s arches is a healthy and fun way to spend your day.

Address: Moab, Utah, United States

4. Monument Valley

Monument Valley

RomanSlavik.com / Shutterstock

One of the fun things to do in Utah besides hiking is horseriding and jeeping.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park offers an excellent destination for indulgence and lovely sights in the Navajo Indian Reservation.

It is one of the top 10 destinations that could transform your trip’s experience.

You should walk out of the Valley with the history of the Old West and Native America.

Some of your must-sees are the 1,000 feet-tall sandstone formations.

A self-drive through the 17-mile dirt road of Valley Drive is an exciting way to spend your time; between the buttes, you can enjoy the sights of the remarkable landscape.

You can capture your moments throughout the drive on pullouts.

The Monument Valley Visitor Center offers incredible views of the park.

Local guides can help get your way around the Valley; you can also get a travel guide for further visits to other areas of the park.

Most guests love to tour the Lower Monument Valley and the Mystery Valley.

Address: US Highway 160 & US Hwy 163, Monument Valley, UT 84536, United States

5. Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort

starlyw / Shutterstock

How far would you go for a good time in the snow?

Skiing down the Park City Mountain Resort in Utah could be one of the cool things to do for your adventure.

The ski resort is considered America’s second-largest and attracts a large number of skiers all around Utah and beyond.

Park City Mountain Resort sits on 7,300 acres of mountain.

If you feel unconfident or rusty, you can join the US ski team’s training.

The resort offers more to all guests, regardless of their skills or age, at the Park City Ski and Snowboard School.

The 330 available trails pump the fun by allowing appropriate trails according to skiing abilities or level.

Besides the 9 am to 4 pm winter schedule, you can enjoy night skiing on selected runs.

One of the best things any snow-lover would do is let loose and enjoy the cold.

Park City Mountain Resort offers a fantastic opportunity for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts.

Address: 1345 Lowell Ave, Park City, UT 84060, United States

6. Natural Bridges National Monument

Natural Bridges National Monument

Zack Frank / Shutterstock

Have you seen a natural bridge before?

If not, the Natural Bridges National Monument could be a fun stop for siteseeing in Utah.

You will come upon the bridges south of Canyonlands National Park.

The natural bridges you will view at the monument are Sipapu, Kachina, and Owachomo; getting to them takes short hikes.

Of the three bridges, Sipapu attracts the most visitors, thanks to its large size and fascinating looks.

However, you may not find the hike to it the easiest.

You will have to go through 1.2 miles of steep regions and climb some ladders and stairs.

The trail to Kachina Bridge is more extended than Sipapu’s by 0.3 miles but more manageable, despite its steepness at some points.

Owachomo Bridge is the smallest, with the easiest trail and shortest distance of a half-mile.

Before leaving the park, why don’t you tour the Horsecollar Ruins?

It holds 700-years-old Native American building remnants.

Address: Lake Powell, UT 84533, United States

7. Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Scott Prokop / Shutterstock

Enjoy more places to see natural wonders at the Canyonlands National Park , with million-year-old canyons and rock formations, which resulted from the Colorado River.

The Canyonlands settlements have ensured the preservation of native culture; you can explore the various Native American art in the Horseshoe Canyon.

You can catch the canyons’ prettier sights and even view snow-capped mountains from the Island in the Sea, a section out of the park’s three that most guests visit.

If you tour Island in the Sky early in the morning or in the afternoon, you may love the sights of the spectacular Mesa Arch.

The White Rim Road offers an adventurous drive on a dirt road and through sheer cliff walls to a valley.

If you do not brave up for the drive, you can enjoy views from the Island in the Sky Visitors Center.

Besides the Island in the Sky section are The Maze and the Needles District.

If you have the time this weekend, you can take a 4×4 drive around The Maze or hike the Needles District.

Moab

Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

If you want to spend more time indulging in fun outdoor activities, you can consider the town of Moab for your next destination in Utah.

Moab is strategically situated in proximity to Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park.

You can have fun biking, hiking, rafting, or on off-road adventures, among other entertainment indulgences.

You may enjoy watching the rolling dunes or catch the remarkable sights of the surrounding mountains.

You can also tour them to try various other activities, such as mountain biking.

Moab is popular among bikers during spring and fall, thanks to the conducive weather.

Slickrock Trail is one of the town’s renowned trails for its challenges.

If you are hoping for all-level trails, you will find a suitable one.

Nearby parks have hiking trails that lead to breathtaking sights, among them being the Delicate Arch.

You can also try an overnight experience camping out in any of the nearby and quality grounds.

You may not have as much fun in Moab during winter due to the snow.

Summer can get extremely hot during the day but is accommodative of some outdoor activities.

Therefore, you may find spring and fall to be the most suitable times to travel here.

9. Homestead Crater

Homestead Crater

Homestead Crater

One of the things you must do in Utah is to visit the Homestead Crater —take a dip, or at least take a trip.

This geothermal spring is a top destination, thanks to its concealment under a 10,000-year-old 55-foot limestone rock.

After the Wasatch Mountain’s melting snow tore into the earth’s interior, the heated water formed a volcano-shaped limestone deposit.

The spring is situated within the Homestead Resort, Midway, Utah.

To get to the hot waters, you can make a reservation with the resort for a self-guided tour without necessarily being Homestead’s guest.

While the Homestead Crater is a hub for adventure and fun, you do not need the first-hand experience for a good time.

The in-built tunnel could be exciting enough, as it leads inside the cave, where you can swim, snorkel, practice yoga on a paddleboard, scuba dive, or get a therapeutic soak.

Address: 700 North Homestead Drive, Midway, UT 84049, United States

10. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

silky / Shutterstock

Consider a tour of the Bryce Canyon National Park , one of the famous places for hoodoo rock protrusions.

The park offers various views of the beautiful formations and more places to see.

You can catch these sights in a scenic drive through Bryce Canyon or camp down when the weather is right, taking your time to look around.

Nevertheless, hikers can enjoy an up-close experience with many perspectives.

You can also tour the park on horseback; the available outfitters make it easy to organize rides.

One of the park’s hiking trails runs through the forest of hoodoos, an attraction you may love to explore.

Nature offers its best with bristlecone pine trees.

When planning for your visit to Bryce Canyon, Utah, you can consider any time between April and October.

Due to the park’s elevation of 8,000 to 9,000 feet, the region’s winter months could extend into spring with cool to cold temperatures throughout the year.

11. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City

f11photo / Shutterstock

You can pack up any time of the year and be sure to have some fun in Salt Lake City , Utah.

It is a popular destination for, among other year-round activities, skiing.

Salt Lake City is packed with excellent ski resorts within proximity.

You can find something interesting to do this weekend from one of the city’s many tourist attractions.

If you would like a trip down history lane, Salt Lake City has plenty of lessons to share.

One of the oldest structures that yet stands is the Mormon Temple.

The Latter-Day Saints temple was put up in the 19th century as one of the largest in the city.

Today, the Mormon Temple holds loads of American history, after some of the country’s most significant events.

While the temple serves a Mormon-only entry, you can enjoy views of the old and historical structure walking by.

The State Capitol and the Mormon Tabernacle could also interest you some time along the day.

12. Antelope Island

Antelope Island

NickOmanPhoto / Shutterstock

Wildlife is one of nature’s best, and the Great Salt Lake provides a lovely home.

It is where to go for beautiful views.

The Great Salt Lake is otherwise known as one of the world’s largest lakes.

On it is Antelope Island , the lake’s largest island.

One of the best things to do in Utah is to visit Antelope Island, where you can catch sights of antelopes, coyotes, sheep, water birds, and bison, among other wildlife.

Besides the animals, you can also enjoy views of natural springs and mountains, which make the island stand out.

The 1848 Field Garr Ranch has not changed since its original establishment and stands in Antelope Island as Utah’s oldest building.

You can look around and enjoy all the beauty while learning about the region’s history.

Thanks to its proximity to Salt Lake City, you may not have trouble getting to the island.

Address: Davis County, Utah, United States

13. The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake

Bella Bender / Shutterstock

How would you like to float on the water surface?

The Great Salt Lake is a fun destination in Utah for swimmers and lovers of the wildlife.

Anyone else can also visit the lake for its amazing sights.

It is one of the free things to do.

What was once part of the 20,000 square miles of the ancient Lake Bonneville today stretches over 75 miles.

Little of the great ice age lake sits as the Great Salt Lake and today boasts being the Western Hemisphere’s largest lake, with none as large all through the west of the Mississippi River.

The lake’s high salinity makes it buoyant enough for swimmers to float over the water surface.

Its salinity also affects fish, making it a habitat only conducive for migratory birds, among other wildlife that does well in salty waters or its environments.

Most of the Great Salt Lake’s visitors love to start with Antelope Island, thanks to its fabulous beaches and waters; from there, you can also catch views of the Great Salt Lake and rare surrounding sights.

14. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

kojihirano / Shutterstock

One of the things you can consider doing in Utah is tour some of the region’s most remote areas of arches, canyons, forest, scrubland, waterfalls, and hills; the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument offers it all.

The park sits on 1.9 million acres, making it America’s largest national monument.

Enjoy a drive through the less-traveled dirt roads.

Hikers are also sure to have a fun time.

Enjoy the Lower Creek Falls Trail’s breathtaking scenery, one of the park’s most popular areas.

The nearby Paria town is an interesting stop you could make during your tour.

The town was established in 1865, south of the monument and neighboring the Paria River.

While Paria town has been lost to time since its 1920 abandonment, several western films have shot scenes in its remains.

For non-stop adventure, you can camp out in the Grand Staircase Escalante.

If the wild doesn’t interest you as much as luxury does, you can settle in any resort near the park.

Address: 745 US-89, Kanab, UT 84741, United States

15. Moqui Cave

Moqui Cave

Matthew Thomas Allen / Shutterstock

Your exploration of Utah should go all the way to Moqui Cave , the Southern Utah sandstone cave, and one of the state’s tourist spots.

It doubles up as a history museum with fluorescent minerals.

Take a trip down history lane in the footprints, fossils, art, pottery, among other displays of remnants from the cave’s early occupants—Native Americans and dinosaurs.

If your day is getting hotter, you can relax with some refreshments at an outdoor cafe.

While temperatures may go up, they do not exceed 65 degrees in the cave.

The museum holds a great collection of artifacts; look through them and travel back in time.

The teepee will lead you to a black-lit room with glowing paintings and minerals.

Do you have vacation ideas for a good time?

You can consider the Moqui Cave.

Besides having fun and relaxing, you can look into the history of Native America and the museum’s extinct dinosaurs.

Things to see include glowing minerals and paintings in the museum’s black-lit room.

Address: 4581 US-89, Kanab, UT 84741, United States

16. Utah Shakespeare Festival

Utah Shakespeare Festival

Yuri Turkov / Shutterstock

Do you love plays?

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is one of the events you must attend in Utah; it is held every year between June 29 and October 21.

If your schedule can accommodate the nine plays in line along with several other events, then you are sure to have a trip of a lifetime.

You can attend play seminars in the mornings and enjoy talks about performances.

On Mondays and Fridays, you can join the Repertory Magic and share your inquiries on scene changes.

Do you get curious about what goes on backstage?

Have a tour; you must see the gear, including props and scenery.

Between July and August, you can enjoy Q&As over luncheons.

Would you take a free event offer?

Catch Greenshows between June 29 and September, and daily production seminars.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is a perfect stretch of exciting events and entertainment that you do not want to miss.

Besides the enjoyable performances, the festival offers plenty of helpful lessons and holds regular discussions or talks.

Address: 195 W Center St, Cedar City, UT 84720, United States

17. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary​

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary​

hedgehog94 / Shutterstock

Would you provide sanctuary to a homeless animal?

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is a haven for homeless animals.

The no-kill center with roughly 1,700 cats, dogs, horses, bunnies, birds, among other animals, offers adoption, receiving more from all over the country.

Since animals with special needs often go unattended, Best Friends provides a sanctuary; recovering animals also have some safe space here.

You can visit Best Friends to meet the adorable animals.

The sanctuary offers lessons and tours.

Events that may interest you include Thanksgiving dinner, Paint Your Pet’s Portrait, and binny yoga.

The animals are grouped into respective houses: Cat World, Dogtown, Horse Haven, Bunny House, Parrot Garden, and Piggy Paradise.

If you love pets, one of the things you can consider doing in Utah is adopting from Best Friends.

Nevertheless, a mere visit could transform your trip’s experience.

Address: 5001 Angel Canyon Rd, Kanab, UT 84741, United States

18. Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple

Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple

Mr. James Kelley / Shutterstock

Utah’s Hindus come together in the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple , established in 1998 and inspired by the Indian Rajasthani architecture.

Due to Utah’s Mormon popularity and populace, a Hindu temple stands out.

The temple was built on 15 acres.

It has a beautiful landscape of some animals, a large pavilion, a lake, and a waterfall.

The beautiful surroundings make this temple one of the lovely places to be in Utah.

If your schedule will be clear over this weekend or any time of the week, why don’t you pay a visit?

The temple is open for daily visits.

Besides watching the animals, you can have a look at the rare architecture.

You can also enjoy a vegetarian buffet for lunch.

In the temple room, a kirtan session awaits; you can then visit the gift store before proceeding with your tour.

Why don’t you join the Hindu festivals?

You can celebrate Holi and Diwali and understand a little about their culture.

Address: 311 W 8500 S, Spanish Fork, UT 84660, United States

19. Natural History Museum of Utah

Natural History Museum of Utah

Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock

Preservation of history is one of the ways to keep culture and heritage alive.

One of the places to visit is the Natural History Museum of Utah for a trip down history lane with its 1.5 million and more artifacts.

Various items in the paleontology section represent the Intermountain West.

The history houses cover the anthropology section, with 11,500 BC specimens.

Frozen DNA swatches are exhibits of the botany section.

You can also view reptile, bird, mammal, and amphibian specimens in the vertebrate zoology section.

Other sections you can visit include the entomology section; it is home to the six continents’ insect specimens.

The malacology section presents six marine mollusks classes.

The mineralogy section holds a worldwide minerals collection.

You can use the gift shop and if you have time, relax at the in-house café.

If you would like some lessons or enjoy recreational activities, the museum’s all-ages program could suit you.

Address: 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, United States

20. Angels Landing

Angels Landing

Wisanu Boonrawd / Shutterstock

Do you imagine an entire day dedicated to only hiking?

If you are an enthusiast, the idea may sound fun.

Angels Landing is one of the places to visit in Utah.

Hikers who travel worldwide to try Angels Landing’s hiking trails enjoy a fun stretch to Zion National Park.

The valley floor at Zion is a spectacular view from the top.

Not all who try make it to the top of Angels Landing, considering the hike’s challenges.

It rises to a 1,500-feet elevation through 2.5 miles.

You will come upon narrow sections and sharp drop-offs along the trail, which may test your limits the more.

Nevertheless, if you are up for it, you could walk out of this place with plenty of experience and after lots of fun.

If the hike does not go well for you, the Scout Lookout could be a suitable turnaround; you are not limited on the best ways to spend your day!

Address: West Rim Trail, Zion National Park, UT, United States

21. Valley of the Gods

Valley of the Gods

Dmitry Pichugin / Shutterstock

Looking for more places to visit in Utah?

Try the Valley of the Gods .

There, you will find many mesas and rearing rock formations.

You will come upon the Valley of the Gods, driving southwest of Utah and outside the Mexican Hat.

The valley stretches over 27 kilometers through a dusty trail.

You may enjoy the drive and the many sights along the way; above are massive mushroom rocks and huge sandstone towers.

You don’t have to end your visit there; the valley offers quality camping grounds.

You can enjoy an overnight experience, with beautiful scenery.

Hikers and mountain bikers can have fun exploring the terrain.

Make memories in the Valley of the Gods.

You can enjoy your week bursting with activity and have a weekend retreat in the valley.

Its beautiful sights, hiking, mountain biking, and camping opportunities make this one of Utah’s best destinations.

Address: Mexican Hat, UT 84531, United States

22. Hill Aerospace Museum

Hill Aerospace Museum

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

One of the best things to do in Utah is to learn from the Air Force and its preservation of American history.

The Hill Aerospace Museum holds one of the wealthiest artifacts’ collections in the United States, with items from five eras.

The United States Air Force’s field museum takes the shape of an aircraft and is one of the top Utah attractions you may love to visit in Utah.

While the museum’s collection exceeds 4,000 items, only 20% is displayed.

Therefore, learn from and marvel at what you can get your eyes or hands on.

The Lindquist-Stewart Gallery receives most of the museum’s visitors who love beautiful artwork, among other artifacts on display.

If you would be interested in attending aerospace and defense speeches, the Plane Talk lecture series could be an exciting stop.

You can consider more of what to see, visiting the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame before departure.

Address: 7961 Cottonwood St Building 1955, Hill AFB, UT 84056, United States

23. The Narrows

The Narrows

Stephen Moehle / Shutterstock

Did you get to Zion National Park?

If the Angels Landing is a hiker’s sport, The Narrows is a hiker’s paradise.

A majority of Zion National Park’s guests enjoy a hiking chance through The Narrows trail.

The adventure you can expect in this hike best suits the brave-hearted and the daring.

As the name suggests, The Narrows is Zion Canyon’s narrowest section; you may come upon areas of width twenty feet.

The canyon is towered by impressive walls that you may love.

Along the trail are other interesting Utah attractions and exciting challenges.

Prepare to get wet and cold as you cross over the Virgin River.

You may find the river’s boulders discomforting to walk on; they can also get slippery.

Therefore, quality hiking gear would go a long way to transform your experience.

If your weekend schedule is flexible, a hike through The Narrows could be an exciting thing to do in Utah.

Address: Temple of Sinawava, Zion National Park, Springdale, UT 84767, United States

24. Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

Guy In Utah / Shutterstock

A lake can offer plenty of opportunities for exciting activities; you can enjoy some time out on the Mirror Lake, one of the Utah attractions, and indulge in various exciting stuff.

The lake stretches over 22 acres at the bottom of the Bald Mountain, which stands at 12,000 feet.

Its visitors love its clear waters and the perfect location.

You can boat for hours, fish, and explore the beautiful waters.

Kayaking is also a fun sport.

If you would like to extend your time, you can camp out for one or more nights.

The Mirror Lake wins most of its visitors’ hearts, with the wildlife sights from the surrounding forest; any time of the day, you can enjoy watching wildlife.

The lovely surroundings of Mirror Lake result in more possibilities of fun through any of the various hiking trails.

You may find it perfect for a stopping or recharge point.

25. La Verkin Creek

La Verkin Creek

Base Camp Vegas / Shutterstock

Utah offers additional hiking opportunities for what to do at the La Verkin Creek.

You will come upon the Creek near the Zion National Park.

If you are thinking of ways to spend your weekend, a hike through the Creek’s trails could be exciting; you can also camp in the quality grounds.

Nearby is the stunning Toquerville Falls—here, sandstone ledges surround beautiful waterfalls, flowing into a pool.

You may love to visit the Creek during summer since it provides a suitable environment for a chill or cool-off.

Utah’s La Verkin Creek is simple but impressive.

After looking around, you can settle down to enjoy the ambiance of the surrounding areas.

The Toquerville Falls’ clear water could be an ideal solution for the summer heat.

Why don’t you visit this Creek today?

26. Meadow Hot Springs

Meadow Hot Springs

Do you love the feeling of steam over your skin or watching springs shoot?

One of the places to visit is the Meadow Hot Springs.

Enjoy time in exceptionally clear water with a perfect backdrop.

Utah is the home of adventure; you should not leave the state before discovering the awesomeness of Meadow Hot Springs.

The pool is situated on private property, four miles from Fillmore.

The property’s owner has been so kind as to allow public access to the springs.

Nevertheless, the rules you will find at the main gate help to uphold the friendly co-existence.

When you pay a visit, be sure to abide by the rules.

Address: Meadow, UT, United States

27. Four Corners

Four Corners

Images by Dr. Alan Lipkin / Shutterstock

You may know the Four Corners Monument as a meeting point for four of America’s states.

The monument serves as an attraction to all interested in a bit of history and other lessons.

Four Corners is situated at the USA’s South-west, connecting some of the most beautiful states : Utah, New Mexico , Colorado , and Arizona .

You may not come upon any such states’ meeting point in the United States; therefore, some guests love to see this rarity and enjoy an on-foot experience.

Navajo and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe governments also border at the Four Corners.

Therefore, you can visit the monument to be part of history and get a sense of the area’s indigenous culture and heritage.

If you hope to have more than an adventure in Utah, the Four Corners Monument could offer something unique for your trip.

Explore the native history and learn about the surrounding states.

After that, drive around Utah for more tourist attractions and fun stuff to do.

Address: 597 NM-597, Teec Nos Pos, AZ 86514, United States

28. Alpine Loop

Alpine Loop

Abbie Warnock-Matthews / Shutterstock

You do not have to do much sometimes but enjoy the magnificence of a scenic drive.

For 20 miles, the Alpine Loop takes you through a stretch of alpine canyons.

You can stop at many points along the way to enjoy Utah attractions, such as views of Mount Timpanogos, famous for its glaciers, among other incredibly-looking mountains.

You can detour to the Timpanogos Cave National Monument, which you will come upon along your drive.

Take some time to look around the spectacular Cascade Springs, which may as well interest you.

Most visitors love to watch the springs, whose water trickles from the mountains.

Enjoy the beauty of nature, watching the native trout swim around the more extensive and clearer pools of water.

It is okay to take some time off all the adventure and enjoy your surroundings; the Alpine Loop does not disappoint.

29. Corona Arch

Corona Arch

Sierralara / Shutterstock

If Moab town and the Arches National Park have made it to your destination considerations, you can add Corona Arch to your list of things to see.

While Utah is home to many land formations and fantastic arches, the Corona Arch makes one of the state’s largest, attracting visitors from within and beyond.

The arch is a natural sandstone formation situated between Moab and the park.

You may find it a great chance to hike.

Since the distance to the arch is relatively short, most if not all visitors manage the hiking trail.

The trail picks up north of the Colorado River, off Highway 191, and stretches through three miles.

You may enjoy climbing ladders, rocks, and metal cables, among more.

Touring and hiking to the Corona Arch is one of the exciting and free things to do.

Address: Moab, UT 84532, United States

30. Under Canvas

Under Canvas

NickSpinder / Shutterstock

Can you imagine how a camping experience in some of the most luxurious settings would be?

Under Canvas is an ideal stop in Utah for lodging and camping on excellent grounds.

Under Canvas sits on an estimated 200 acres and is situated near Zion National Park, about 20 miles apart.

You may love the destination for a quiet and solo retreat or an overnight exploration of what the American Southwest has for you.

Inside, you will enjoy showers, a sink, a private deck, and a flushing toilet.

The camping site is also towered by sandstone cliffs, providing a beautiful view.

During winter, you may find the woodstove within the tents to be quite handy for heat generation.

Address: 3955 Kolob Terrace Rd, Virgin, UT 84779, United States

31. Bluff Fort Historic Site

Bluff Fort Historic Site

Jakub Zajic / Shutterstock

History presents more lessons at Bluff Fort Historic Site .

Among what to do is spend your day going through the olden days’ establishments and determining their purposes; explore the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition.

You may find the fort’s construction interesting and effective on its goal—it provided defense from invaders.

Therefore, the cabin doors and windows face inward.

You can tour Bluff City and learn about its communal purposes, including a church, school, and public meeting venue.

You can also have a look through the Bluff co-op, where residents got their food and staples.

The fort has transformed since the late 1880s.

It was taken down in 1883 and upgraded in 1890 to Victorian-style houses.

Despite the fort’s changes, the community retained its culture, shifting to ranching.

You can enjoy plenty of sights to see and lessons at the fort’s visitor’s center.

If you have time, you can also visit the gift shop before departure.

Address: 550 East Black Locust Ave, Bluff, UT 84512, United States

32. Utah Symphony

Utah Symphony

Polina LVT / Shutterstock

One of the oldest expressions of the arts is music.

The Utah Symphony promotes the arts in Utah through tours and educational programs.

The symphony is a part of the American West culture.

One of the places to visit is the Abravanel Hall to catch the Utah Symphony’s performances.

If you have the time, you can also consider attending Park City’s Deer Valley Music Festival summer concerts.

The symphony boasts of several Grammy Awards nominations.

It also holds records of its creations.

Catch the 6.45 pm MasterWorks performances’ pre-concert lectures or the 8 pm concerts.

If you are in no hurry, the 90 to 120 minutes of performance could turn out remarkable.

You can enjoy an experience of a lifetime, attending the symphony’s events; this is one of the places in Utah that can offer the best for your trip.

Depending on how flexible your budget is, a VIP package could suit you for one of the Utah Symphony concerts.

Address: 123 W S Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, United States

33. Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park

Anton Foltin / Shutterstock

Some of the most breathtaking views can be a fantastic way to unwind during your vacation.

One of the places to visit is the Dead Horse Point State Park for great lookouts in Utah.

There are various viewpoints from which you can catch beautiful sights.

From the main point, the lovely landscape presents a gooseneck in the Colorado River.

You may also enjoy looking over at the distant 2,000-feet cliff walls.

You can drive down the Potash Road below the viewpoint; to the left, views of Thelma and Louise Point will grace your eyes—Thelma and Louise, a motion picture’s final scene, was filmed at the point.

A walking trail stretches through the rim, providing some of the most remarkable views in the park.

You can stroll down the trail and enjoy the experience.

You will come upon Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab, a suitable location for the adventure.

Address: UT-313, Moab, UT 84532, United States

34. St. George

St. George

Layne V. Naylor / Shutterstock

More outdoor activities and Utah attractions await you at St. George.

Located in southern Utah, the city is home to some of the top parks and the state’s points of interest.

St. George holds a Mormon history; therefore, it is one of the destinations most visitors to Utah want to see.

You can tour the Brigham Young Winter Home Historical Site or visit St. George Temple.

Over the weekend, you can walk to Pioneer Park or view the Red Hills Desert Garden.

If you enjoy hiking, you may find various trails within a thirty-minute drive of the city.

You can also camp out in some of the highest-quality grounds in Utah.

Drive to Snow Canyon State Park, which is under 20 minutes from St. George.

If you have time, you can also take the one-hour drive to the nearby Zion National Park.

Planning to visit St. George soon? Why not check out some of the things to do in St. George, Utah ?

35. Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival

PureRadiancePhoto / Shutterstock

Every January, the Sundance Institutes hosts the Sundance Film Festival in Utah’s Park City; it is America’s largest independent film festival.

Robert Redford’s Wildwood started Sundance in 1978, intending to take Utah’s film-making to another level.

Thanks to the festival’s independence, Sundance has maintained its goal and continues its annual event.

If you enjoy films and entertainment, you may have a good time at the festival, which runs for two weeks.

Park City’s night screenings make the destination more attractive.

Enjoy some fun time with your friends or family.

Since the event happens only in January, early preparation could go a long way in ensuring you get the most out of your trip.

Address: Park City, UT, United States

36. Carl’s Critter Garden

Carl’s Critter Garden

Carl’s Critter Garden

Would you like to try an experience, unlike many others?

You do not need much time or any money for it; one of the things to see in Utah is Carl’s Critter Garden.

The outdoor museum features a simple design and presents themed collections of animals and artwork.

You will come upon Carl’s Critter Garden in Hanksville and along Highway 24.

It is on the way to Capitol Reef National Park.

Therefore, why don’t you spare some minutes to start your day with a fun exploration of abstract artwork?

You can enjoy a chill during the stop, looking through the exciting exhibits, among them dinosaur sculptures put together from recycled materials, such as old car parts.

Carl’s Critter Garden is free to enter and view; nevertheless, you may donate if you wish.

While you may not walk out with history lessons or ancient culture, there is so much you can love about this roadside stop’s simplicity.

Stopping by is one of the free things to do.

Address: 864, Hanksville, UT 84734, United States

37. Cove Fort Historic Site

Cove Fort Historic Site

jdjohannsen / Shutterstock

Take a trip back to the 1800s at the Cove Fort Historic Site ; you may not come across any such constructions of the Latter-Day Saints.

Cove Fort’s purpose was to provide shelter, food, and water to Idaho and California travelers of the Latter-Day Saints.

You can enjoy educative tours around the fort to get a sense of how life was like in the early times.

Among the available sections for exploration is the feeding area for residents, known as the “big room” or kitchen; this was also a space for meetings and religious gatherings.

Residents bathed and washed their garments in the washing and weaving room.

You can look around the family and guest rooms or see the telegraph office, post office, blacksmith shop, replica barn, prairie wagon, and even bunkhouse.

Cove Fort preserves some of Utah’s history and could be one of the destinations to have a good time and learn.

Address: Highway 161se, Beaver, UT 84713, United States

38. Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum

Utah Field House of Natural History State Park

mark byzewski / flickr

Explore prehistoric geological exhibits at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum .

The park is home to some of history’s oldest records in geological objects.

Of what may interest you is the Unita Fossil Journey; you will see a 90-foot Diplodocus skeleton.

You may also enjoy the Stories in Stone film.

For a more interactive experience, the Morrison Dig Site and Fossil Lab allows you to look into an article’s fossil or debris identity; you can also learn more touring the lab.

Go back 145 million years at the Jurassic Hall, with three old skeletons; from around the same time, are displays at the Eocene Gallery.

The Rocks Revealed section takes you through the earth’s four major eras, with fossils exhibits.

Are you traveling with children?

You can consider the dinosaur garden, which has interesting models, or the children’s lab for more fun.

Address: 496 E Main St, Vernal, UT 84078, United States

39. Park Silly Sunday Market

Park Silly Sunday Market

Shopping is one of the top things to do in Utah, and the Park Silly Sunday Market is one of the places to go.

Before leaving the state, you must visit Park City and shop in the open-air Park Silly Sunday Market.

The market was established in 2006 and is opened every June through to mid-September.

The great variety of items and the roughly 2,000 vendor booths bring the city at least 200,000 visitors every year.

Depending on your interest, you can visit various stalls and view their options.

Farmer’s market stalls are lined with delicious pantries, while the many antique vendors or regional arts and crafts offer rare and unique selections.

If you are looking for excellent food joints, plenty of food trucks could interest you.

Live music performances are held during the market season, topping all the activity; you can also catch stilt walkers, balloon artists, and magicians, among other strolling performers.

Between June and mid-September, why don’t you find time to visit the Park Silly Sunday Market and spoil yourself with something nice?

Address: 780 Main St, Park City, UT 84060, United States

40. Mystic Hot Springs

Mystic Hot Springs

OGrounds / Shutterstock

Utah is home to some of the best sights and ancient histories of the United States; hot springs are major tourist attractions.

One of the places to go for a good time in a soaking pool is the Mystic Hot Springs .

In 1995, an artist came upon the area covering Mystic Hot Springs on his way to Denver from Vegas .

The natural hot spring would serve two pools of his creation.

Today, it attracts many visitors to Utah.

Besides two concrete pools, the soaking area is built with six vintage cast-iron bathtubs; the bathtubs have mineral-rich water, which will leave you refreshed, with no after-smell.

Mystic Hot Springs is situated in Monroe.

The soaking passes go for $15, purchasable on their website.

You may also have to make a reservation for access.

Address: 475 E 100 N, Monroe, UT 84754, United States

41. Amangiri

Amangiri

How would you like to dine and enjoy breathtaking views?

The Amangiri offers luxury dining options in Southern Utah.

It sits on 600 acres and is located in a protected valley, half an hour from Page town.

You can catch spectacular sights of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from Amangiri.

Guests love the beautiful swimming pool built into the center of the hotel.

Besides working out in the fitness center, you can enjoy spa services or practice yoga in the yoga pavilion.

The hotel serves a seasonal menu based on the American Southwest and the Navajo culture and heritage.

Address: 1 Kayenta Rd, Canyon Point, UT 84741, United States

42. Hole N’ The Rock

Hole N’ The Rock

Ruslan Kalnitsky / Shutterstock

One of the roadside stops you may love in Utah is the Hole N’ The Rock .

The 5,000 square foot home provides a unique experience—it is carved into a rock.

You will come upon the Hole N’ The Rock home on your way to the Arches National Park and Moab, along Highway 91.

Take some time to explore the home’s exotic zoo.

Things to see include camels, zebras, and bison.

You can also shop in the gift store.

You can visit Hole N’ The Rock any time of the year.

If you would consider a guided tour, you may have to part with some admission fee.

Address: 11037 US-191, Moab, UT 84532, United States

43. Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument

As the name suggests, Dinosaur National Monument attracts visitors for its extensive record of dinosaur fossils discovered within the region and its surroundings.

The primary collection of over 1,500 fossils may astound you; they are embedded in the Carnegie Quarry’s cliff wall.

Visit the monument for an amazing experience and learn about the evolutions through time.

For closer access to the monument, you can now enjoy your time in the Quarry Hall, opened over a section of the rock.

Most guests love to hike or raft.

The quality camping grounds also attract overnight guests.

If the weekend is nearing and you are out of ideas of what to do, you can head over to the Dinosaur National Monument with your friends or family and make memories that last, learning from fossils lost to time.

Address: 11625 E 1500 S, Jensen, UT 84035, United States

44. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

David Gilder / Shutterstock

What do you have in mind for fun things to do in Utah?

You can try sandboarding or sand games in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park .

You may find the park’s pink sands attractive; the shifting dunes and rolling hills make good playing areas.

Visit the state park today, go over the soft sand mountains, have fun ATVing, and even sandboarding.

Every once in a while, stop for some rare photo shots.

The park is open for day-use visits.

Due to the nature of sand, you can find suitable campgrounds on the edge of the dunes, where small trees provide some shelter.

You may find the site perfect for solo retreats or trips with friends and colleagues.

Look around and play in the sand.

Address: 12500 Sand Dune Rd, Kanab, UT 84741, United States

45. Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Sara Edwards / Shutterstock

You should not end your trip to Utah before visiting the Cedar Breaks National Monument .

The amphitheater goes to a depth of 2,000 feet and around a three-mile diameter.

Despite being open throughout the year, Cedar Breaks experiences winter conditions, regardless of the season, thanks to its elevation of 10,000 feet.

Therefore, Highway 47, which offers a scenic drive, is closed between mid-November and late May-June.

You can take down the Rim Drive for some of the most incredible views; you can also catch the canyon’s sights on short hikes through the rim and alpine meadows.

The bristlecone pines look beautiful.

Enjoy a four-mile drive on the Spectra Point and Ramparts Overlook Trail and through the edge of a plateau.

You will come to the Cedar Breaks viewpoint.

End your exploration with the two-mile Alpine Pond Trail.

The circular hike leads to a subalpine forest clearing and, as the name suggests, a pond.

Address: UT-143, Brian Head, UT 84719, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Utah

If you are looking up adventurous destinations and vacation places in the United States, Utah could be top of your list.

There are various things to see and places to visit in the state.

Plenty of fun outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, skiing, swimming, fishing, sandboarding, ATVing, among others, await you.

You can go back in time and learn from the abundant natural resources, such as fossils, artwork, pottery, footprints, and artifacts conserved over time.

Visit forts and have a sense of the native cultures and heritages.

The state’s national and state parks preserve the country’s rich history.

You can enjoy some time in hot springs and dine in some of the most scenic restaurants in Utah.

View various wildlife and explore different lakes, cliffs, mountains, and even valleys.

Utah is the home for adventure and a place you may not wish to leave.

You are spoilt for choice on the best things to do in Utah.

If you have the time, spend it making memories.

Happy travels.

THE EVOLISTA

25 Best Places to Visit in Utah For Your Utah Bucket List + Map

This Utah Bucket List is filled with adventurous things to do and mind-blowing beauty.

The Utah Mighty Five National Parks are a huge draw to the state but the epic Utah hidden gems are also what make it one of the most beautiful states in the USA The destinations on this list are undeniably the best places to visit in Utah .

A road trip is our favorite way to explore Utah. Use the Utah attractions map at the bottom to plot your course. That way you can plan your route without missing any of the best sights to see in Utah.

We’ve road tripped Utah in our car several times and tried out van life with an Outdoorsy rental. If you are looking to do a sprinter van rental, the code  Jen50 will get you $50 off your first Outdoorsy rental .

This post contains affiliate links. If you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure  here .

Best Places to Visit in Utah

Planning a trip to the American Southwest? Check out these latest posts.

  • 18 Things to do in Kanab, Utah on the Utah/Arizona Border
  • 20 Best Places to Visit in Arizona for Your AZ Bucket List
  • 20 Bucket List Adventures Around the World
  • 10 Hiking Essentials to Pack for a Day Hike

25 Best Places to Visit in Utah For Your Utah Bucket List

These 25 places to put on your Utah bucket list came from spending a few months exploring the state and some of our favorite travel bloggers recommendations.

You’ll also find tips and the best places to stay to make your trip planning easy. Where we can, we’ve listed the best things to see along with hotels and campgrounds.

This interactive Utah attractions map will allow you to see where everything is located.

Utah Attractions Map

Best Things to Do in Northern Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats Tops the List of Cool Things to do in Utah

About 1.5 hours west of Salt Lake City at the Nevada border are the Bonneville Salt Flats. This picturesque area has a hard salt crust that covers more than 25,000 square acres of land.

The high speed cars that race on the salt at Bonneville Speedway is one of the reasons this remote area is well known. We were lucky enough to catch all the action including a new world record set at 470 MPH.

Visiting Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah is such a unique, bucket list experience.

Bonneville is also the site for other annual events like the Salt Flats Endurance Runs. These races vary in length from a 5K to a 100 mile ultra marathon. The Utah Rocket Club hosts a rocket launch event called LDRS (Large Dangerous Rocket Ships).

To visit Bonneville, pull off Interstate 80 at the rest stop and drive your own car right onto the salt. We highly recommend catching sunrise or sunset there.

Regardless of the time you visit, bring a camera and have fun taking photos especially when it turns into a big mirror after it rains. If it’s wet though, you can’t drive your car on it because you can get stuck.

Since the area is run by the Bureau of Land Management, you can camp for free in one of the designated areas. Check the weather first, it’s really hot in summer. The Best Western Plus Wendover Inn is also nearby.

Utah Ice Castles

Ice Castles in Midway is One of the Best Winter Places to Visit in Utah

Recommended by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports

Located in the cute mountain town of Midway, Utah, Ice Castles is a winter attraction built entirely from ice.

The experience, which is typically only open in January and February, features 25 million pounds of icicles, all hand-placed to create the acre-size walk-through display. The ice glows and lights up at night with color-changing LEDs. 

But this unique Utah attraction is more than just a beautiful, artistic place to visit. It also features ice slides, crawl spaces, a maze of tunnels and caverns, and narrow squeeze spaces designed to look like the famous slot canyons in Utah .

It is great for a romantic date night or a family outing, as kids love exploring the icy playground. Dress warmly, in insulated pants and coats, and plan to spend about an hour to truly appreciate this man-made wonder.

You’ll want to book tickets in advance on their website, as the popular attraction sells out quickly since it’s only open two months of the year. 

Mount Timpanogos Alpine Loop Utah

Hiking Mount Timpanogos Alpine Loop is a Fun Thing to Do Near Salt Lake City

Recommended by McKenna Hurd of One More Step Travels

When hiking near  Salt Lake City Utah, the Alpine Loop is a must visit! This scenic byway is one of the most beautiful places in the Wasatch Mountains. It’s home to Utah’s most famous mountain: Mount Timpanogos, measuring 11,752 feet tall.

Reaching the summit is a rite of passage for Utah hikers and definitely bucket list worthy!

There are two ways to hike Mount Timpanogos—the gradual way through wildflower-filled meadows or the steeper way past waterfalls and lakes. Both ways are stunning and get you to the top after about 8 miles of hiking.

16 miles in one day can be a daunting task, so if you aren’t ready to conquer Mount Timpanogos, take a drive along the entire Alpine Loop. There are enough activities on the loop to last a day or even a long weekend.

You can explore Timpanogos Cave National Monument, kayak or stand up paddleboard in Tibble Fork, and stroll along Cascade Falls or one of the many other hikes in the area.

Before you leave, stop by or stay overnight at Sundance Mountain Resort ! It’s a beautiful resort with lodging for all group sizes. The activities at Sundance are endless, from skiing in the winter to zipping over the mountains anytime of year.

Entrance to the alpine loop is $6, or free with a National Parks Pass . The road past Sundance is closed during the winter, so visit before then to enjoy the beauty of nature, away from the bustling cities on the other side of Mount Timpanogos.

OARS Green River Utah

Rafting the Green River in Utah is a Great Family Bucket List Adventure

Recommended by Ladona Stork of Walking the Parks

Rafting the Green River is an adventure not to be missed that starts at Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge in the SW corner of Colorado. It continues for 3 to 4 days through the Dinosaur National Monument, and ends near Vernal, Utah.

Floating through the aptly named Gates of Lodore , rafts pass through a narrow canyon that is carved out by the Green River. The canyon walls, 800 feet tall, cast an ominous shadow over your raft as you travel downstream.

As a protected area, rafters experience exhilarating class II, III and IV rapids just as naturalist and explorer John Powell’s team did in 1869.

Well, except in a modern raft designed for the rushing water instead of his small wooden boat that smashed against the rocks.

Group camping sites are spread along the river bank where the dark sky makes for amazing star watching. 

This multi-day rafting trip is best experienced with a professional guide, although you can enter an annual lottery for your permit if you have heavy duty gear. OARS rafting trips on the Green River are available from May – September.

May brings high water and strong river currents so children must be at least 11. However, summer trips are calmer and kids as young as 7 are welcome. Best of all, the guides provide all your gear.

The guides secret spots along the river like their favorite swimming hole, hot springs and waterfalls.

The Green River also offers fishing opportunities as the river is stocked with trout. Both a Colorado and Utah fishing license is required as the river flows through both states.

Visiting Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks

Arches National Park is One of the Must Sees in Utah

With over 2,000 natural stone arches – the largest concentration of arches in the world, Arches National Park has something amazing for everyone.

There are quite a few easy trails that are really close to the parking areas and great for families like Sand Dune Arch, Double Arch, and the North and South Window.

Photographers and hikers head up the slick rock Delicate Arch for spectacular sunsets.

The area of Moab itself is one of the best Utah places to visit for adventurers. Bike enthusiasts come from all over for the Slickrock Moab Bike Trails .

It’s a strenuous 12 mile ride though incredible terrain. If it sounds fun but maybe too hard, just know that E-bikes are allowed.

A few great tours that will add lots of fun to your trip are the half day Colorado River rafting trip and driving a 4×4 on the Hells Revenge Guided Tour . You can even take the kids and get a serious adrenaline rush.

A great time to visit Arches is Spring and Fall when the weather is nice, tons of activities are available but the crowds are definitely the biggest. Summer is extremely hot.

The winter is peaceful and cold but you get a chance to see massive arches at times all by yourself.

The Needles Utah

The Needles in Canyonlands National Park for a Backcountry Adventure

Recommended by Meg of Fox in the Forest

Backpacking The Needles District in Canyonlands National Park should be on everyone’s bucket list, especially if you’d like to experience the raw desert magic of eastern Utah.

Think wacky sandstone spires piercing the sky, hoodoos twisting their way into canyons, and landscapes that look like they came straight out of Mars. That’s what visiting this secluded district in Canyonlands is like!

There are countless routes for the intrepid backpacker, many of which are considered the best  hikes in Moab   for those who don’t mind roughing it.

By far, the Elephant Canyon area is the best part to backpack in Canyonlands. It offers super secluded spots to catch the most magical views. You’ll get to choose from plenty of spur trails and have lots of backcountry campsites to spend the night.

Tip: Make sure to check out Druid Arch at sunset, you’re almost guaranteed the entire place to yourself!

Spring and fall are the best seasons for backpacking the Needles, particularly mid-March through April, and October through mid-November. Avoid summers are temperatures are extreme.

You can backpack the Needles in two days. Spending a night at one of its backcountry campsites is essential to fully get to experience the desert.

The Needles is a very remote place and you’ll need to carry enough water for the time you’ll be there. Moreover, you need a permit to backpack the Needles.

They tend to book out months in advance, so make sure you snag one as soon as you confirm your trip.

Backpacking the Needles is not recommended for dogs or children due to the extreme conditions. For an even longer adventure, look into bikepacking the famous White Rim Loop .

RELATED POST: 60 Bucket List USA Road Trips

Under Canvas Moab Glamping Best Things to do in Utah

Glamping in Moab to Visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Recommended by Allison Green of Eternal Arrival

One of the most bucket list worthy places to visit in Utah is Moab, and you can up the ante by glamping at the beautiful Under Canvas Moab glampsite — a must on any  Moab itinerary .

Located just a short drive from two national parks, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, glamping in Moab is the perfect way to continue the outdoor adventure, even while you sleep!

While glamping at Moab, there are tons of different activities you can do during the day before returning to your glampsite.

Check out Delicate Arch for a sunrise hike, admire the sunset at Dead Horse Point State Park, or take a scenic drive through Canyonlands. Then return to Under Canvas Moab for s’mores, stargazing, and an amazing sunrise the next morning. 

Visit Under Canvas Moab in fall and spring for the best weather. Summers are boiling hot and the tents only have small battery-powered fans. 

Winter is cold and can snow in Moab! However, there are wood-fired stoves you can use to heat the glamping tent on chilly nights, and plenty of warm blankets if you need it.

Under Canvas Moab is both kid- and pet-friendly! Kids will have a great time staying in the tents, and some of the tents come with a small tipi-style structure for kids to sleep in away from the parents. 

Bring a portable battery pack for any electronics, and be prepared to unplug — there is no WiFi (though I was able to get phone service).

Book it in advance because it sells out quickly, especially the nicer tents with private bathrooms! The tents without private bathrooms share the bathrooms on-site are very clean and well tended.

RELATED POST: 7 Amazing Glamping Destinations in the USA

Capitol Reef National Park Utah

Capitol Reef National Park Petroglyphs

Recommended by Ale Leon of Sea Salt & Fog

Capitol Reef is the hidden gem of Utah’s National Parks. Located in the south-central area of the state, the park is relatively unknown (a good thing!).

Capitol Reef is stunning, and has many epic, bucket-list worthy adventures for everyone. The best part? No crowds! One of the  best things to do in Capitol Reef National Park  is to explore its history.

The park is home to beautifully preserved petroglyphs carved by the Native American people that inhabited the land hundreds of years ago, and they don’t require a ton of effort to see. 

The most accessible area to see the petroglyphs is right off the main road (Hwy 24). There are signs pointing the way, a parking lot, and a boardwalk with signs that will tell you where to look.

Bring binoculars to see the petroglyphs better, they’re high off the ground in the red rock face. 

Another spot to see petroglyphs is on the Capitol Gorge trail. This super easy hike will first take you to see petroglyphs so close you can touch them, then to see the Pioneer Register where settlers carved their names into the rock in the 1800s. 

The Capitol Reef Resort in nearby Torrey has beautiful cottages, luxurious Teepees and even covered wagons to add the adventure. In the park, the Fruita campground is a good choice.

The weather tends to be beautiful and cooler than the rest of Utah, but winter brings snow that can close down the park. Aim for early fall or late spring for your visit!  

Bryce Canyon Utah Bucket List

Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park

Recommended by Kate Storm of Our Escape Clause

Dramatic, striking, and easy to find, hiking through Wall Street slot canyon is not only one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park, it’s one of the best Utah bucket list destinations!

So many visitors just see Bryce Canyon from up above at the various view points but hiking down among the hoodoos gives you a better appreciation for how amazing they are.

Wall Street, one of the most popular hikes is a perfect quick addition that allows you to experience the beauty first hand.

It can be accessed either from the Navajo Loop trailhead or the Queen’s Garden trailhead. The views from Navajo Loop are a bit better, as you descend into the slot canyon rather than climb out of it.

If you combine both trails (two of the most popular in the park!) with a hike through Wall Street, the total distance is about 3 miles. Wall Street closes during the winter but there are plenty of things to still do in Bryce Canyon in winter .

If you are looking for a longer distance, more challenging hike try the 7.8 mile Fairyland Loop Trail .

For the best views, consider hiking in the middle of the day when the light reaches the bottom of the canyon. It’s a great place to capture an amazing family photo.

To stay in the Bryce Canyon area overnight, the Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel features beautiful views, great rooms, and a fantastic breakfast.

Zion National Park Has Some of the Top Sights to See in Utah

Zion National Park is one of the best places to visit in Utah and many people end up staying for at least a few days. There are multiple Utah bucket list hikes and it’s great to do one per day.

Stay in the area for a multi day Zion trip at South or Watchman campgrounds or Red Rock Inn Cottages is also a great option.

USA Trip Ideas Zion National Park

The Narrows is a Top Tourist Attraction in Utah for Good Reason

Recommended by Mark and Kristen Morgan from Where Are Those Morgans

The Narrows river slot canyon hike deserves not only to be on every Utah bucket list, but also every US hiking bucket list. It is that good.

Walking through ankle, shin, knee and even waist deep water up the North Fork of the Virgin River, with towering red cliffs just meters apart on each side is endlessly exhilarating.

You can choose two ways to do this hike; either from the top down (permit required) or the bottom up.

The Narrows top down can be done either as a 16 mile one-day hike or an overnight backpacking trip. It begins at Chamberlain’s Ranch and ends at the Temple of Sinawava.

Permits must be obtained in advance or with a walk-in permit.

Hiking The Narrows bottom up  is the more popular way to experience this extraordinary canyon. Visitors can begin at the Temple of Sinawava and simply turn around whenever ready.

To reach the “end” of the day hike version, you must wade through water, traverse boulders, scale banks and have a good level of stamina. It will take around 8 hours total to reach ‘Big Springs’ and return back to the trailhead.

Fall is the best time to hike The Narrows. The water level is lower and there are fewer people.

Summer is crowded but the water is warmer. In Spring the trail closes regularly due to high water levels. The Narrows hike is not good for pets or younger kids.

Renting a walking pole is vital and renting neoprene boots, socks and pants is highly recommended.

Angels Landing Utah

The Angels Landing Hike is One of the Coolest Sights to See in Utah

Recommended by Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler

Angels Landing is an immense rock formation in Zion National Park that is often touted as the one of the most breathtaking and dangerous hikes in the world. The knife edge ridge trail with drop-offs on each side draws experienced hikers from all over.

The 5-mile roundtrip route usually takes 4-5 hours to hike and involves steep slick rock and holding on to chains to protect you from falling off. Leave kids and pets at home for Angels Landing. Off-season is the time to go to avoid summer queues.

The route begins at the Grotto Trailhead with easy hiking along the canyon bottom into the shady Refrigerator Canyon. Next Walter’s Wiggles begin. The 21 switchbacks bring you up the slope to Scout Lookout.

Views of Zion Canyon and the behemoth formation of Angels Landing are abundant. Scout Lookout is a perfect rest stop before tackling the challenging steepness to come.

From here the excitement begins with a climb of 500 feet with steep drop-offs on either side. This final half mile up a razor thin ridge gripping chains to keep you from falling is the essence of a Utah bucket list adventure.

The view from the top of Angels Landing across the expanse of Zion Canyon makes it all worthwhile.

Subway Hike Zion Utah Bucket List

The Subway Hike is One of the Best Hikes in Utah

Recommended by Agnes of The Van Escape

The Subway Hike in Zion   is an amazing adventure for everyone who likes hiking and fabulous rock formations. What makes the Subway special is it’s tube-like tunnel.

After the challenging trek getting there, it seems like you enter a different world, the Subway, to a different galaxy. Mother nature made this oval tube perfectly. Step by step, you move forward on the slippery rock, wondering what is at the end of the tunnel. 

This unusual slot canyon is located within the Zion Wilderness in Zion National Park in Utah and you need a Zion wilderness permit to do this hike.

It’s a long, 8 miles round trip in rough terrain, so start your hike early in the morning. The all-day adventure includes walking in the cold stream and crossing it from one riverbank to another with plenty of slippery stones.

The best season to do this hike is fall, when the level of water in the stream is the lowest.

Check the weather forecast before hitting the trail if you want to do it in spring or summer. For your safety, check the water level and the speed of its current. 

Pack your items, especially the camera, in a waterproof bag to prevent them from getting wet. Also, wear waterproof shoes with good grip and neoprene socks for this hike. Trekking poles will also be helpful.

Sights to See in Utah Near Escalante

Best Places to Visit in Utah Upper Calf Creek Falls

Lower Calf Creek Falls is a Great Place to Visit in Utah with Kids

The area around Escalante, Utah is off the beaten track for most people. Hands down it has some of the most magnificent landscapes in the state.

It’s definitely worth a trip on Utah Scenic Byway 12 through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Right off the highway, you’ll find the trailhead for Lower Calf Creek Falls. The hike is 6.7-miles out-and-back with very little elevation gain. It’s easy enough for kids but it does take 3-4 hours to complete the trek.

Since there’s very little shade, make sure you head out early. Along the hike, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of Calf Creek Canyon, as well as some prehistoric petroglyphs.

The enormous sandstone canyon walls are reminiscent of Zion National Park without the crowds of people.

And at the end of the trail, you’ll be rewarded with a dip in the pool at the base of a stunning 130-foot waterfall. It’s a great spot for picnic too.

So if you’re looking for a memorable outdoor adventure, be sure to add Lower Calf Creek Falls to your list. Yonder Escalante Luxury Glamping is a great place to stay in the area with the coolest cabins, a pool and outdoor theater.

Coyote Gulch Utah Bucket List

Coyote Gulch Tops the List of Utah Outdoor Adventures

Recommended by Jenny Kotlyar of Limitless Hiker

Coyote Gulch is a must do backpacking trip in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument in Utah.

This is one of the most stunning backpacking trips and Utah bucket list adventure. It takes you from the top of the canyon down to the bottom where you will spend a majority of the time hiking through the river.

You’ll see alcoves carved by water, natural arches, and pictographs. Spend time exploring some of the local waterfalls, enjoying the arches, or scrambling to see ancient archeological sites.

This is an 11 to 25 mile backpacking trip depending on which trailhead you start at and if you do any side hikes while you’re there. There are several trailheads, but the most popular one starts at Hurricane Wash.

Although it’s a backpacking trip, it’s a beginner-friendly one because there is minimal elevation gain/loss. 

The Utah desert can get very hot so this hike is best done in April, May, October, or early November when temperatures are warm but still mild.

Backcountry permits are required, but they can be acquired at the trailhead. Pets are not permitted on this trail and make sure to properly dispose of human waste by carrying it out in WAG bags.

Cosmic Ashtray Utah Bucket List

Cosmic Ashtray is Definitely a Utah Bucket List Hike

If you’re looking for a challenging hike that’s sure to test your endurance, look no further than the Cosmic Ashtray near Escalante, Utah.

This rugged hike is 8-11 miles long, depending on the trail you take, and features some of the most breathtaking views in the state.

The Cosmic Ashtray was created by erosion over hundreds of thousands of years and is now a massive weathering pit that’s almost 200 feet wide.

The oval pit is filled with a red hued sand dune and features a large 33′ tall rock inside, garnering the nickname, the Navel.

While it may not be the most comfortable hike on the list, it’s definitely one of the most unique and definitely worth checking off your Utah bucket list.

Just be sure to bring plenty of water and a GPS to avoid getting lost – this is one hike you don’t want to take lightly.

Utah Tourist Attractions in Southern Utah

Kanarra Creek Places to Visit in Utah

Kanarra Falls is a Must Do Utah Hike

Kanarra Creek Falls is a Utah hidden gem. This slot canyon is unique for its two interior waterfalls, and it’s a popular destination for hikers because it’s so beautiful and it’s a canyoneering adventure. This is like a mini-Narrows.

Depending on the time of year, when you first enter the canyon you may be walking through water. It might be cold too!

As you approach the first waterfall, you’ll find an aluminum ladder attached to a tree. Then there is a boulder you need to climb over that is more difficult to get to the 2nd waterfall.

Make sure you wear waterproof hiking boots when it’s cold and water shoes for hiking (flip flops won’t work) in the summer. You need a good grip for climbing and it can be slippery.

A permit is required for this popular hike. You can purchase a $12 permit online or at the trailhead kiosk. Only 150 hikers are allowed per day, so if you’re planning a visit to Kanarra Creek Canyon Trail, plan ahead!

Check the weather before you go. Like all slot canyons, Kanarra Creek is subject to flash floods.

It’s only a 1 hour drive from Zion National Park, making it the perfect day trip for visitors to Utah.

Visit Utah State Parks – Snow Canyon State Park is One of the Best Things to do in St George Utah

Snow Canyon State Park is a 4,700 acre hidden gem at the bottom southwest corner of Utah that’s perfect for your bucket list. It’s only and hour from Zion National Park and filled with gorgeous red rock hikes that most people don’t know about.

Families love Jenny’s Canyon , a short hike with a cool slot canyon. The lava tube caves are one of the most unique sights to see in Utah. Take the 2.5 mile round trip Lava Flow Overlook Trail and bring a flashlight so you can see in the dark caves.

Dogs are not allowed on the trails in Snow Canyon State Park but the rest of the Red Reef Conservation area is kid and pet-friendly. Red Reef Trail is a 2.2 mile round trip hike to a waterfall. Don’t miss this beautiful hike!

Since St. George is such a popular golf destination, definitely add a tee time to your trip. In the evening check out a concert or show under the stars at the outdoor Tuacahn Amphitheatre .

Or combine your stay with relaxing spa services at Red Mountain Resort .

Weather wise, St. George, like all of Utah is nicest in Spring and Fall. Winter is temperate with some rain and snow but generally mild. Summer is crazy hot but also busy because so many people stay in St. George to visit Zion National Park.

Buckskin Gulch Things to do in Kanab Utah

Buckskin Gulch is a Utah Hidden Gem Most People Miss

Recommended by Chris and Lindsay of Called to Wander

One of the most beautiful ways to connect with Buckskin Gulch is via the Wire Pass Trail.

This hike in itself is amazing, as it takes you through the narrow slot canyons that lead to Buckskin Gulch. The trail eventually opens up to wide expanses with towering walls.

People that want to hike the entire 15 miles typically do this as a multi-day backpacking trip, for which a permit is required. There aren’t many places in the world with better views of the night sky than from within Buckskin Gulch! 

The best time to hike Buckskin Gulch is in the fall or spring. You are still likely to encounter water in the gulch leftover either from the snow or the rain. Still, this is part of the journey and adds to the adventure. 

Buckskin Gulch is one of the most popular hikes in Utah . At 15 miles, this adventure is not for everyone. But you don’t have to tackle the whole thing if you don’t want to. In fact many people only go in for the first few miles and are completely wowed.

Utah slot canyons and gulches can be extremely dangerous when rain causes flash flooding. Don’t go on this hike if the weather report is predicting rain.

Another safety issue can be extreme summer temperatures so make sure to bring tons of water and hike early in the day.

The hike through Buckskin Gulch is both kid and dog-friendly. An awesome hotel if you are traveling with a pet is the Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile in Kanab, Utah.

In addition to being the nicest hotel for pets and owners, it’s conveniently located to the office for Buckskin Gulch overnight permits and The Wave Lottery .

RELATED POST: 18 Awesome Things to Do Near Kanab Utah

Toadstool Hoodoos Utah Bucket List

Toadstool Hoodoos – One of the Coolest Utah Tourist Attractions

Recommended by Wendy Lee of Empty Nesters Hit the Road

Located in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah, not far from Kanab, is an unusual grouping of rocks called The Toadstools.

It looks as if someone has intentionally placed these rocks to mimic a collection of giant mushrooms, but this is a naturally occurring sight. In fact these are actually hoodoos, columns or pinnacles of weathered rocks. 

Fortunately it’s easy for anyone to see these rocks since the mostly flat trail to and from Toadstools is just 1.5 miles.

While you can’t climb on the actual Toadstools, the rocks around them are very kid-friendly. There are also great views of the surrounding canyon. Dogs are also permitted on the trail as long as they remain on a leash. Allow about one hour for this hike.

This area gets very hot in the summer. It’s not unusual for temperatures to exceed 100 degrees, so this may not be the best season for hiking to The Toadstools. But winter, spring, and fall are all good times for this hike. 

Page, Arizona is conveniently located 30 minutes from The Toadstools, where you’ll find other activities, like the Horseshoe Bend Hike , and hotels.

Bucket List USA Monument Valley

Monument Valley is One of the Most Unique Places to Visit in Utah

Recommended by James Ian of Travel Collecting

When you think of classic wild west scenery with picturesque buttes and mesas rising up out of the valley floor, you are probably thinking of Monument Valley. Featured in countless movies, it has the most iconic western scenery in the United States.  

Monument Valley is half in Utah and half in Arizona, and fully in the Navajo Nation. The whole area is officially the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and there is a $20 per vehicle entrance fee.  

The main route through the valley is a 17-mile loop scenic drive, which is currently only available on a tour with a Navajo guide. 

There are also tours into the backcountry where you see less visited places and visit a Navajo hogan (traditional mud house).  On the main loop drive, you’ll see all of the most famous landmarks and get to stop at John Wayne Point.

The only hike you can do without a guide is the Wildcat Trail. It’s a great way to experience a part of the valley that very few people do. 

Best visited in spring or fall, Monument Valley can be very hot in summer and snow in winter. If you visit in summer, it is best to head out early in the morning or late in the afternoon, especially if you have kids.

In a one day visit, you can do the scenic drive, possibly a longer back country tour, hike the Wildcat Trail, try Navajo nachos at the restaurant, and do some souvenir shopping.  The closest place to stay is The View overlooking the main valley. 

Evolista Valley of the Gods

Valley of the Gods is an Epic Place to Explore in Utah

Utah is home to many amazing geological attractions, and the Valley of the Gods is one of the most impressive. However, it’s rarely visited because it’s impressive neighbor, Monument Valley is only 35 miles away.

This area of Cedar Mesa sandstone was sculpted 250 million years ago into buttes and monoliths, and today it offers breathtaking views.

There is a 17 mile unpaved loop that allows you to drive past these sandstone monuments. This is a great place to break out your camera or drone to capture

The Valley of the Gods is less crowded than nearby Monument Valley, making it a great option for those who want to avoid the crowds.

And since it’s located on Bureau of Land Management land, there’s no permit required and camping is free. So if you’re looking for an Utah attraction that’s truly out-of-this-world, be sure to add the Valley of the Gods to your list.

Rainbow Bridge Canyon Arizona

Rainbow Bridge National Monument

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, add a visit to Rainbow Bridge National Monument to your Utah bucket list. Spanning 275 feet and standing 290 feet tall, Rainbow Bridge is one of the world’s largest natural bridges.

The bridge was first discovered by the ancestors of the Navajo almost 8,000 years ago, and in their culture, it is considered a sacred symbol.

Rainbow Bridge is best visited in spring or fall, and there are several ways to get there. You can take a boat tour from Waheap or Bullfrog Marina, or you can rent a boat and make the 50-mile journey yourself.

Or, if you’re feeling adventurous and you’re in great shape, you can get a permit from the Navajo Nation and hike the 32-mile round-trip backcountry hike (just be prepared for some rough terrain).

No matter how you get there, a visit to Rainbow Bridge National Monument is sure to be a memorable Utah experience.

We hope that this list helps you find some of the best places in Utah that you may not have known of before. What places do you have on your Utah Bucket List? Have we missed any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.

Must Sees in Utah – Central Utah

Goblin Valley Utah Bucket List

Goblin Valley State Park is a Great Stop on a Utah Road Trip

Recommended by Ashley Jansen of Jetset Jansen

Utah is full of unique places to visit but one that looks particularly other-worldly is  Goblin Valley State Park .  

The state parks in Utah can often get overlooked because of the 5 National Parks within the state, but that’s also an advantage when it comes to the crowds. 

Goblin Valley is a little off the path and kind of in the middle of nowhere. It’s about a 40-min detour south of I-70 and about 1.5 hours from Moab. However, if you have the time, it’s a great stop for the afternoon or a short day trip. 

This state park is full of weird looking formations, nicknamed ‘goblins’.

There are 3 valleys to explore that are full of rock formations and one of the fun things about this park is that you can roam free. It’s essentially a rock playground, because they allow you to climb all over the rocks here.

Some of the formations are quite large, so exploring the valleys is pretty fun, although you definitely want to keep an eye out for how to return. 

As you can imagine with rocks in the middle of nowhere, there’s little to no shade here. Going in the middle of summer and in the middle of the day can get extremely hot and you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of water and snacks.

If you want to stay in the area, Goblin Valley does have a campground and even a unique yurt option. It’s a fun place to explore and definitely worth the effort to get there!

San Rafael Swell Hiking Utah

San Rafael Swell One of the Secret Beautiful Places in Utah

Recommended by Ashlee Fechino of The Happiness Function

The San Rafael Swell is a dramatic upheaval in Utah close to Green River. The area has become one of the fastest-growing places to visit, thanks to its rock formations and wide-open spaces.

For outdoor enthusiasts of all types, the San Rafael Swell offers full enjoyment with its diverse terrain that ranges from steep canyons to wide open spaces for camping, hiking, mountain biking, and more.

It is free to explore and camp in the San Rafael Swell since it is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Camping on BLM land  is one of Utah’s best-kept secrets because camping on public land is free!

Once campers find a dispersed campsite (meaning camping without a formal campground), it is important to be mindful not to damage biological soil crust along the way.

These complex crusted dirt ecosystems take years and even centuries before growing across arid west landscapes.

This part of Utah can be hot in the summer. The best times to hike and camp in the area are spring and fall.

Since there are practically no facilities, recreationists must bring their own food, water, bathroom equipment, electricity, etc., and practice  Leave No Trace . There is limited to no cell phone reception in this remote area.

For outdoor enthusiasts of all types, whether you’re a couple, a solo traveler, or family, the San Rafael Swell makes for the perfect backcountry adventure.

Dogs are even allowed in the area too! Be sure to add exploring the San Rafael Swell to your Utah bucket list!

Meadow Hot Springs Utah Bucket List

Meadow Hot Springs is One of the Awesome Hidden Places in Utah

Recommended by Jessica Schmit of Uprooted Traveler

On a Utah road trip , a fun thing to do in central Utah is take a dip in Meadow Hot Springs. It’s a series of three warm pools in the bucolic town of Meadow.

These springs reside on a private farm, in the middle of a literal cow pasture, so their more rural location has allowed this picturesque spot to fly under the radar.

The road to get to the main parking area is gravel and, while it has a few potholes, most passenger vehicles should be able to make it down the road just fine.

The first pool from the parking lot is the clearest and hottest of the springs, at a toasty 100°, making it the perfect spot to warm up during the cooler months.

The second and third pools are a bit chillier (and can be, at times, murkier) than the first and are probably a better bet to soak in during the warm summer months.

The springs are child-friendly and while leashed dogs are welcome, they must not swim in the springs themselves.

While some soakers seem to get a bit rowdy at night, plan your visit for just before sunset and watch the stars twinkle to life here- with little light pollution around. The stargazing is incredible.

During your visit, be sure to follow the posted rules and when you’re done soaking, remember to pack out any of your trash.

These pools are privately owned and if treat badly, the owners may cut off access to them and prevent future hot spring lovers from relaxing at this beautiful spot.

If you’re looking for a place in the area overnight, try the Best Western Inn & Resort or camping at the Fillmore KOA Journey.

Other Posts You Might Like:

  • UTAH / ARIZONA:  How to Win The Wave Lottery to Hike the Wave
  • TRAVEL:  The Best Places to Travel in October
  • ARIZONA: Visiting Sedona for Hiking and the Sedona Vortex

Save These Best Places in Utah to Visit to Add to Your Bucket List? Pin It!

Utah Bucket List Pin

About Jenifer

You might also like....

White Pocket Things to do in Kanab Utah

18 Best Things to do in Kanab Utah (2024)

Bonneville Salt Flats Utah

Visit Bonneville Salt Flats Utah: 10 Important Tips

This all looks amazing!!

Jennifer Curated By Jennifer

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply

Copyright 2024 - The Evolista | All Rights Reserved | Disclosure

Wandering Wheatleys - Logo

The 25 Best Things to do in Utah

  • Pinterest 164

Top Things to do in Utah

Often referred to as one of the best outdoor states in the US, Utah offers about a million postcard-worthy sights and attractions to explore. You’ll find everything from unique natural wonders to renowned national parks to world-class outdoor recreation. Whether you’re looking to do some serious snowboarding, hiking, or camping under the stars, Utah has plenty to offer! 

Hikers will love Zion National Park, while skiers and snowboarders will flock to the 10 top-rated ski resorts that surround Salt Lake City . For offbeat adventures, you can take a memorable trip to Utah’s otherworldly attractions such as Coral Pink Sand Dunes and the Bonneville Salt Flats. And don’t forget to add the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere to your Utah itinerary!

Dynamic cities like Salt Lake City, Moab, and Ogden offer gourmet dining and cool cultural attractions, while almost every corner of the state is a photographer’s paradise. It’s no secret that this state is a hiker’s nirvana. If you really want to go big, you can even combine your trip to the Mighty 5 national parks on an epic road trip. 

With so many things to see and do, you might not know where to begin. It’s almost impossible to see it all, so we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best things to do in Utah for you. Stick to our curated list of top-rated Utah bucket list recommendations for a chance to explore the best parks, natural sites, and family-friendly attractions.

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 25 Best Things to do in Utah

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

25 Cool and Unique Thing to do in Utah

1. explore salt lake city.

Cool Things to do in Utah: Salt Lake City

Known as a religious hub for Mormons, Salt Lake City is a surprisingly vibrant and diverse destination. The capital city offers an ideal home base for exploring Utah’s top ski resorts and renowned red rock country. Dubbed the “Crossroads of the West,” you can also visit this dynamic city en route to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. 

You’ll find many top attractions to explore, from the one-of-a-kind City Creek Center mall to Utah’s largest library, The City Library. Add Temple Square to your itinerary to learn about LDS history or head straight to one of the ski resorts, as there are 10 within an hour of Salt Lake City International Airport! 

Unique Things to do in Utah: Salt Lake City

The downtown area features historic architecture and a bustling shopping, restaurant, and nightlife scene. For a dose of culture, visit the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art , National History Museum of Utah , and the Red Butte Gardens . 

If you’ve got extra time, browse the 9th and 9th district to see the trendy espresso bars and bakeries. You can also explore Sugar House, one of Salt Lake’s oldest neighborhoods. The hip area is dotted with boutique shops, bookstores, and art galleries. Alternately, opt for a quiet picnic in Liberty Park, Salt Lake’s largest public park. 

2. Float on the Largest Saltwater Lake in the Western Hemisphere

Unique Things to do in Utah: Largest Saltwater Lake in the Western Hemisphere

Visiting Great Salt Lake State Park is easily one of the coolest things to do in Utah. Not only can you see the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River and the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, but you can also float on it!

The salinity of the water averages about 12%, making it two to seven times saltier than the ocean. Easily accessed from Salt Lake City, many travelers flock to Bridger Bay to float on the salt water and experience this unique phenomenon. If you want to leave the shore without getting wet, you can also bring a kayak or stand-up paddleboard.

Best Things to do in Utah: Largest Saltwater Lake in the Western Hemisphere

Sailing is also a popular activity on the lake and full-service marinas are available at Great Salt Lake State Marina and nearby Antelope Island. If you feel like spoiling yourself, guided sunset cruises are a luxurious way to take in the spectacular sunsets. 

This is also a great spot for birdwatchers, as Great Salt Lake State Park is home to millions of migrating waterfowl in spring and fall. Utah’s state bird, the California Seagull, can be seen here as well as endangered falcons and bald eagles. You might even spot them as you’re floating in the lake!

3. See the Bison at Antelope Island State Park 

Fun Things to do in Utah: Antelope Island State Park

Located 25 miles north of Salt Lake City, Antelope Island State Park is rich in natural beauty. It’s a must-do in Utah if you enjoy wildlife watching. 

This unique park offers the chance to spot free-roaming bison and antelope herds as well as mule deer and bighorn sheep. The park also hosts several events and activities throughout the year, including guided hikes and an annual Bison Roundup.

Utah Bucket List: Antelope Island State Park

You’ll also find numerous opportunities for outdoor reaction, including white sand beaches that lure in sunbathers. The 36 miles of hiking and biking trails lead to spectacular views of the lake and island scenery. The one-mile Buffalo Point hike offers beautiful views overlooking Salt Lake, Antelope Island, and the park below. 

Water sports lovers can rent kayaks and paddleboards at the on-site marina. Many travelers also enjoy swimming in Great Salt Lake’s salty waters. You can also spend a memorable night under the stars in one of the several primitive campsites. This park is an internationally certified dark sky park so the stargazing is incredible here. 

4. Take a Winter Trip to Park City 

outdoor places to visit in utah

Speaking of legendary winter sports destinations, Park City is one of Utah’s most famous. This picture-perfect mountain town has a deep appreciation for the outdoors. Its snow-covered slopes were even featured in the Winer Olympics in 2002. 

Park City is home to 426 downhill trails across almost 10,000 acres, offering endless possibilities for adventure. Park City Mountain is the largest ski resort in the US, while Deer Valley is known for its luxurious amenities and outstanding skiing. 

Woodward Park City is a new attraction with Mountain Park, a chairlift-accessed ski and snowboard facility with base area learning zones and large freestyle zones. Alternately, cross-country skiers can visit nearby Soldier Hollow Nordic Center .

outdoor places to visit in utah

After hitting the slopes, take a stroll down Park City’s quaint Main Street and browse its collection of restaurants, bars, shops, and Victorian buildings. You can also hit the road and follow the Guardsman Pass Scenic Byway or Provo Canyon Scenic Byway for spectacular alpine scenery surrounding Park City. 

If winter sports aren’t your favorite, Park City is also a lovely destination to visit in warmer months. Its beautiful mountains and nearby state parks transform into an excellent spot for hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. 

5. Visit the Quaint Mountain Town of Ogden 

Unique Things to do in Utah: Ogden

Known for its access to world-class skiing, biking, and hiking trails, Ogden is a popular outdoor destination in Utah. It also offers a wide range of attractions near its charming downtown area, from interesting museums to gourmet dining and an energetic nightlife. 

Best Things to do in Utah: Ogden

Skiing is a big reason why most travelers make a stop in Ogden. Nordic Valley and Powder Mountain in Eden and Snowbasin in Huntsville are just some of the most popular options for ski enthusiasts. 

History buffs will want to visit Hill Aerospace Museum , which features military aircraft, missiles, and aerospace vehicles from across the globe. Next, head to Ogden’s Historic 25th Street to browse the collection of museums in Union Station , including the popular Utah State Railroad Museum.

Fun Things to do in Utah: Ogden

Kids will love the dinosaur exhibits at George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park and ice skating at Ice Sheet . Active travelers can hike the Waterfall Canyon Trail to see a display of cascading waters or stop and smell the roses with a stroll through the landscaped lawns at Ogden Botanical Gardens . 

6. Soak Up the Sun in the “Caribbean of the Rockies”  

What to do in Utah: Caribbean of the Rockies

For fun in the sun in Utah, head to Bear Lake State Park . Dubbed the “Caribbean of the Rockies” due to its beautiful turquoise-blue water and sandy beaches, Bear Lake is a 20-mile long and eight-mile wide natural lake with charming towns dotting its shoreline. 

The lake’s natural beauty combined with its modern facilities make it an ideal destination for families, offering outdoor recreation such as boating, kayaking, swimming, fishing, and camping. Away from the shore, outdoor enthusiasts will find more than 100 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and ATV adventures. 

Utah Things to do: Caribbean of the Rockies

Bask in the sunshine at Rendezvous Beach or try your hand at jet skiing on the calm waters. You can also drive part of the Logan Canyon Scenic Byway, which is the most scenic route from Northern Utah to Yellowstone and runs right through Bear Lake State Park. 

If you come to Bear Lake in the winter, expect a snow-filled wonderland. Ice fishing and snowmobiling are popular activities in the colder months. Don’t forget to sample the local raspberries, as this fruit is famous at Bear Lake!

7. Adventure on the Land and Water at Sand Hollow State Park 

Fun Things to do in Utah: Sand Hollow State Park

Renowned for its red sand beaches, Sand Hollow State Park boasts dazzling red rock formations and a 1,322-acre reservoir. It offers a wide range of activities for all ages and skill levels, including water sports such as boats, jet skis, wakeboarding, paddleboarding, and kayaking. 

From May to September, the reservoir’s waters are pleasantly warm and make it a great spot for swimming and other water-based activities. Fishing enthusiasts can cast from the shore or from a boat and try their hand at reeling in bluegill, crappie, bass, or catfish. 

Cool Things to do in Utah: Sand Hollow State Park

On land, ATV riders flock to this easily accessible park near the town of Hurricane to traverse its open sand dunes and 62,000 acres of technical trails. The 12-mile Sand Hollow Reservoir OHV Trail is ideal for all skill levels, while the Maze OHV Trail boasts steep ascents and cliff exposure. ATV rentals are available on-site. 

Families love this year-round destination, as kid-friendly activities like picnicking, hiking, and camping are popular. After a long day in the sun, the Beach at Sand Hollow (BASH) offers an enticing menu of burgers, sandwiches, ice cream, frozen drinks, and a shaded place to rest. 

8. Marvel at the Bonneville Salt Flats 

Utah Bucket List: Bonneville Salt Flats

Many travelers say that Bonneville Salt Flats is one of the coolest things to do in Utah… if not the entire United States! Located about an hour outside of Salt Lake City, the 30,000-acre expanse is by far one of the most unique natural attractions in Utah.

The history of the salt flats is just as fascinating, with the formation dating back to the end of the last ice age. The 12-by-5 mile stretch of land features a salt crust ranging from a few inches to five feet thick to create a dazzling white plain as far as the eye can see. 

What to do in Utah: Bonneville Salt Flats

One of the most impressive places to marvel at this natural wonder is along I-80, about 10 miles east of Wendover. Take Exit 4 and follow the signs to the Speedway and you’ll find a parking area at the end of the road (40°45’45.3″N 113°53’46.3″W). There’s also an established rest stop called Salt Flats Rest Area Westbound, where you can walk out onto the soil. 

While the salt flats are open year-round, there are a few annual events held throughout the summer, including the popular Speed Week. Make sure to pack accordingly, with layers for changing temperatures and sunscreen and sunglasses because the salt crust reflects the sun upwards. 

9. Enjoy a Steamy Soak in Fifth Water Hot Springs 

Unique Things to do in Utah: Fifth Water Hot Springs

Fifth Water Hot Springs, also known as Diamond Fork Hot Springs, features multiple pools with enticing blue waters. Surrounded by a stunning canyon encompassed by red rock cliffs, it’s one of the most unique things to do in Utah. 

Located about an hour drive from downtown Salt Lake, the quick 2.5-mile Three Forks Trailhead to the hot springs boasts a gradual 700 feet of elevation gain. It’s an easy-to-follow route, with the first half hugging the side of Sixth Water Creek. 

Must do things in Utah: Fifth Water Hot Springs

A footbridge crosses Sixth Water Creek about a mile in, where you’ll continue to Fifth Water Creek. This is where you’ll catch your first glimpse of the cobalt-blue waters. 

You’ll reach a series of picture-perfect soaking pools, which range in color from milky blue to emerald green. Just beyond the section of pools, you’ll see a cascading waterfall with several more tubs, which marks the end of the trail. 

Dip your toes in the pools to choose which temperature fits your preference best. This remote hot spring can get busy during the weekend, so a weekday visit is recommended for those looking for a quiet experience. 

10. Take a Step Back in Time at Dinosaur National Monument

Best Things to do in Utah: Dinosaur National Monument

The Dinosaur National Monument near Jensen is as cool as its name implies. Yes, dinosaurs once roamed here! Best of all, their remains are still visible and embedded in the rocks. 

Dinosaur history comes to life at this unique attraction, where its geological wonders have eroded the earth’s crust to reveal ancient fossils. Kids will love touring the dinosaur quarry for a chance to peek at the 1,500 fossils on display and embarking on a driving tour around the park.

Unique Things to do in Utah: Dinosaur National Monument

Along the short auto tour, you can see rock formations while enjoying stunning views of Green River. You’ll also have a chance to marvel at ancient rock art, including petroglyphs and pictographs created by pigments. 

Outdoor adventures here include hiking nature trails, backpacking, and whitewater river running, as well as more leisurely activities such as birdwatching and fishing. The Fossil Discovery Trail, Sound of Silence Trail, and Desert Voices Trail offer a look at the park’s geology and are family-friendly. 

11. Get Lost in the Hoodoos of Goblin Valley State Park 

Cool Things to do in Utah: Goblin Valley State Park

Known for its fascinating formations, Goblin Valley State Park boasts a unique landscape covered with sandstone “goblins” that is often compared to Mars. Its surreal appearance is like nowhere else in Utah, creating a maze-like playground with nooks and gnomes. 

It’s a showcase of geologic history with its exposed cliffs and layers of rock that date back to 180-140 million years ago. Not only is it one of the best places to stargaze in the US, but it’s also an exciting destination for hiking, mountain biking, and camping. 

What to do in Utah: Goblin Valley State Park

The main attraction is the Valley of the Goblins, a three-square-mile area covered in hoodoos that is open for on-and-off-road trail exploration by foot. There are more than a dozen trails to follow, ranging from easy to moderate and one to four miles roundtrip. 

If you want to explore on two wheels, there are seven miles of beginner to intermediate singletrack mountain bike trails, while canyoneering is also a popular activity for thrill-seekers. Goblin Valley State Park remains relatively unknown and makes a great alternative to the popular national parks of Utah.

Book a stay at one of the park’s 26 campsites or two yurts for a chance to see the goblin formations contrasted with the starry skies. 

12. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping in Moab 

Utah Things to do: Moab

Moab is an adventure lover’s paradise and one of the coolest places to visit in Utah. It’s a major hub in the United States for outdoor recreation, where hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, climbing, and canyoneering are popular.

It’s also an ideal destination to make as your home base for exploring Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks. From here, it’s easy to access Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Zion National Park. 

Best Things to do in Utah: Moab

Moab’s slickrock and rugged terrain offer an endless list of trails for 4×4 tours, while professional guides can take you to where the Green River meets the Colorado River, which is the biggest white-water section in North America.  

Moab is also famous for its region’s sandstone formations that lure in climbing and canyoneering enthusiasts from around the world. Wall Street and Longbow Arch are two favorites. Alternately, take a scenic drive to Dead Horse Point Scenic Overlook. 

After an adventure-filled day, spend your time browsing the locally-owned restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries that dot the charming Main Street area. 

13. Admire the Scenery in Arches National Park 

Unique Things to do in Utah: Arches National Park

Utah’s red-rock wonderland, Arches National Park offers unique landscapes of contrasting colors, arches, and interesting rock formations. With its range of impressive sights, it’s a no-brainer to add this park to your Utah bucket list.

You can follow the 19-mile Arches Scenic Drive and stop at various viewpoints. The La Sal Mountains Viewpoint is one of the most popular, offering 360-degree panoramic views of the park and the La Sal Mountains in the distance. The Balanced Rock formation is another pull-over-worthy pit stop. 

Utah Bucket List: Arches National Park

Get out and stretch your legs on one of the park’s iconic trails. Delicate Arch is one of the most photographed spots in Arches, especially at sunset. If you’re not up for a strenuous hike, visit the Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint for an easy view of Delicate Arch. 

The Devils Garden hike offers a wealth of unique formations, including the chance to see the 290-foot sandstone Landscape Arch. On the way, Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch are bonus sights. The family-friendly Windows Section is another favorite, as it’s a short, easy trail.

For a non-arch view, add the Fiery Furnace to your itinerary to see a labyrinth of rock fins. The ranger-led hikes to this site are popular, as they boast maze-like landscapes of challenging terrains. 

14. Explore the Picture-Perfect Canyonlands National Park 

Must do things in Utah: Canyonlands National Park

Considered an absolute must-do in Utah, Canyonlands National Park boasts endless landscapes of deep canyons, towering mesas, pinnacles, cliffs, and spires. Stretching across 527 square miles, it is the largest park in Utah and one of the most diverse. 

With such a wide variety of travel experiences on offer in this park, you’re spoiled for choice! Start your journey by embarking on an epic hike through The Needles district for access to over 70 miles of trails. Be sure to marvel at the colorful sandstone spires poking up from the desert floor along the way. 

What to do in Utah: Canyonlands National Park

Afterward, get up-close with Mesa Arch, one of the most photographed landforms in the West. The 50-foot stone window sits atop a 500-foot cliff and offers sweeping views of the valley, canyons, and the distant La Sal Mountains. 

One of the most famous vistas in Canyonlands is at Grand View Point. It’s on the edge of Island in the Sky mesa at the end of a one-mile sandstone staircase. In the end, you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of Monument Basin.

If you’ve only got a few hours to explore, drive the park’s 20 miles of paved roads and savor the stunning views. Sunrise and sunset are both beautiful times of day to capture the park’s otherworldly natural beauty. 

15. Visit the Iconic Dead Horse Point 

Best Things to do in Utah: Dead Horse Point

Considered one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the world, Dead Horse Point State Park is one of Utah’s most popular parks. Towering 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, the famous Dead Horse Point Overlook boasts stunning vistas of the pinnacles and buttes. 

Often compared to the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon, this park sits above the beautiful White Rim Trail and offers beautiful views of Canyonlands National Park. You can capture these views along the eight miles of trails that wind around the park. 

Cool Things to do in Utah: Dead Horse Point

The trails lead to eight different overlooks and are flat and easy. The West Rim Trail offers jaw-dropping views across the Colorado River, while the section between Dead Horse Point Overlook and Meander Overlook is said to be the most photogenic in the park. 

Mountain bikers can explore the Intrepid Trail System, which offers 16.6 miles of trails with varying degrees of difficulty. In addition to slick rock sections, looping singletrack, and sandy washes, you’ll discover incredible scenery around every corner. 

Before you start your journey, stop at the visitor center and art gallery for an overview of the park’s overlooks. The best time to visit is during spring and fall, as the summer is hot and the winter offers the possibility of snow. 

16. Photograph Beautiful Landscapes in Capitol Reef National Park 

Fun Things to do in Utah: Capitol Reef National Park

While Utah is home to an array of impressive national parks and monuments, none quite compare to the expansiveness of Capitol Reef National Park . Packed with endless landscapes of desert rock, this less-visited destination deserves a spot on your Utah bucket list. 

Start your journey by driving along the eight-mile Capitol Reef Scenic Drive, the main road that runs through the park. The road trip offers a glimpse of the park’s natural beauty. You’ll pass massive domes and immense red sandstone mountains.

Utah Bucket List: Capitol Reef National Park

Home to an array of remote desert hikes and slot canyons, it’s a perfect destination for hikers who find peace in seclusion. The moderate 3.4-mile Cassidy Arch trail is one of the most popular, offering stunning scenery overlooking the Grand Wash. 

Another favorite is the 1.8-mile Hickman Bridge hike, where you can follow along the Fremont River and enjoy beautiful overlooks. For an aerial view over Fruita, follow the more strenuous 3.4-mile Cohab Canyon trail. 

You can also visit Cathedral Valley, a remote desert area and the northern district of Capitol Reef with sandstone monoliths and colorful Bentonite hills. You’ll find solitude here along Cathedrals Trail, which offers panoramic views of the interesting rock formations. 

17. See Impressive Formations in Natural Bridges National Monument

What to do in Utah: Natural Bridges National Monument

Made famous for its iconic bridges, Natural Bridges National Monument offers a nine-mile paved loop drive dotted with scenic overlooks. The main features of this park are the three natural bridges: Sipapu Bridge, Kachina Bridge, and Owachomo Bridge.

Rubberneck your way through the one-way loop via the Bridge View Drive. Along the way, you’ll find numerous overlooks and trailheads that lead down to each bridge. The easiest hike is at the last bridge, Owachomo, which boasts a half-mile trail where you can stand under the landmark. 

Utah Things to do: Natural Bridges National Monument

The bridges have Hopi Indian names: delicate Owachomo means “rock mounds,” while Sipapu means “the place of emergence” (it’s also the second-largest natural bridge in the world). Lastly, the massive Kachina means “dancer.” After seeing the natural bridges, you can also explore Horse Collar Ruin, a preserved ancestral Pueblo site or check out the Solar Panel field.

For a more comprehensive look at the area, stop by the visitor center. You’ll find a variety of interpretive displays that describe the attractions in more detail and it’s also where you can sign up for talks on astronomy in this International Dark Sky Park. 

18. Take a Hike in Zion National Park 

Cool Things to do in Utah: Zion National Park

One of the most beautiful parks in the US, Zion National Park is home to massive sandstone cliffs, a history museum, and numerous hiking trails. It’s one of the best things to do in Utah if you’re an outdoor lover. The park offers endless opportunities for adventure, including horseback riding, rock climbing, and canyoneering. 

Explore the sights along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive for a chance to get an up-close look at the canyon floor and towering cliffs. The park’s shuttle bus offers a hassle-free way to explore. You can hop off and explore trailheads along the way. 

Unique Things to do in Utah: Zion National Park

You can also drive along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway for dramatic views of the valley as it hugs the cliff wall. Make sure to stop at the Canyon Overlook Trail, a one-mile round trip hike to an incredible viewpoint. 

Angels Landing is one of the most famous trails in Zion, a strenuous hike that leads to a viewpoint overlooking Zion Canyon. The easier 2.2 mile Riverside Walk follows the Virgin River and displays waterfalls in the spring. The Lower Emerald Pools is family-friendly and features majestic views of a weeping wall and glistening pools. 

19. Trek Through “The Narrows”

Fun Things to do in Utah: The Narrows

If you’re looking for a true adventure, plan a hike through The Narrows in Zion National Park. It is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, with walls that are 1,000 feet tall and a river that is 20-30 feet wide. 

It’s one of the world’s best slot canyon hikes and can be tailored to suit any ability level. It even features the paved, wheelchair-accessible Riverside Walk. However, if you wish to see more, the trail basically becomes the Virgin River and you’ll have to slosh through the water to get through it. 

Utah Bucket List: The Narrows

The best way for first-time river hikers and those with only a limited time to explore The Narrows is to hike the Bottom-Up route. In the summer, it’s an easy to moderate hike, depending on the water flow, and kids four feet or taller can do it. 

For seasoned backpackers, there is an option to hike The Narrows in its entirety. The Top-Down hike from Chamberlain’s Ranch includes 16 miles downstream over one or two days, exiting at the Temple of Sinawava. Permits are required for this option. 

Most people hike The Narrows in the late spring and summer when the water is at its warmest and the water level drops. Fall is another ideal time, offering stable weather but shorter days. 

20. Plan an Adventure in St. George

Less than an hour from Zion National Park, St. George is Utah’s warm-weather retreat. Its beautiful landscapes of red rock mesas and lush waterways offer the perfect setting for a weekend getaway. The city is home to excellent outdoor recreation options, shopping, golf, and luxury spas. 

A trip to St. George is one of the best things to do in Utah during the winter, as its relatively warm temperatures offer respite from the rest of Utah. Golfers can tee off at the top-rated Entrada at Snow Canyon , while the Red Hills Desert Garden is Utah’s first interactive desert garden with more than 5,000 plants. 

If you’re looking for a hiking adventure, add Snow Canyon State Park , Pioneer Park, Green Valley Gap, or Moe’s Valley to your itinerary. Quail Creek State Park is another great spot for outdoor fun, and a popular spot for fishing, swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, and boating. 

Top family-friendly attractions in St. George include the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm and the St. George Children’s Museum . Those interested in the area’s pioneer heritage can tour Brigham Young’s winter home and the Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum. 

21. Go ATVing at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park 

What to do in Utah: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Get off-the-beaten-path and discover real adventure in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park . It’s a playground for off-road excursions, featuring a picture-perfect landscape of orange-red sand dunes that are said to be 10,000-15,000 years old.

Located just southeast of Zion National Park near the town of Kanab, the park and its dunes were formed by the erosion of pink-colored Navajo sandstone. The 2,000 acres of sand are open to OHVs and four-wheelers, while hiking and kid-friendly playing are also popular. 

Utah Things to do: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Four-wheelers can check out the Sand Highway, which is a one-way trail in a small canyon set on the boundary of the dunes. The South Boundary Trail is another favorite, offering a stretch of several miles that continues along the eastern side of the main dune area. 

The park is open year-round and a campground and primitive camping are also available. The best time to visit is spring, early summer, and fall, as when temperatures are at their most mild. 

22. See the Colorful Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon 

Fun Things to do in Utah: Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its multi-colored rock pinnacles called “hoodoos” and a series of natural amphitheaters. One day is all you need to explore this top-rated park. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to hike past unique formations and take in the landscape from multiple viewpoints. 

This national park is filled with short, scenic trails that wind past beautiful canyon vistas. Navajo Loop is one of the most popular in the park. It starts with incredible views at Sunset Point and makes its way to Silent City and Wall Street, where you can catch a glimpse of a range of colorful hoodoos.

Cool Things to do in Utah: Bryce Canyon

Sunset Point is one of the most easily accessible overlooks, offering stunning vistas over the park without having to trek down a trail. Other popular viewpoints to marvel at the hoodoos include Inspiration Point and Bryce Point.

You can sign up for a guided horseback excursion through the park. Or if you want the perfect chance to see the spectacular formations at sunrise, you can spend the night at one of the two campgrounds. 

23. Follow the Scenic Rim Drive at Cedar Breaks National Monument 

Utah Bucket List: Cedar Breaks National Monument

Set at an elevation of 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks National Monument was nicknamed the “Circle of Painted Cliffs” by early Paiute people. Just a short drive from Brian Head, the naturally carved amphitheater sits atop the Markagunt Plateau and is truly a sight to behold.

The coliseum plunges 2,000 feet to its floor and its surrounding landscape is home to spectacular hiking trails with over-the-top views. Around every corner, you’ll find something new, from unique arches and towers to hoodoos and canyons in brilliant shades of red, yellow, and purple. 

Must do things in Utah: Cedar Breaks National Monument

Stretch your legs along the two-mile Alpine Pond Trail, which follows a loop into a forest of spruce trees. For a walk along the amphitheater’s rim, hike to the scenic Spectra and Rampart Points to get a closer look at the geology of Cedar Breaks. 

If you’re ready for some serious backcountry hiking, the Rattlesnake Creek Trail in the Ashdown Gorge Wilderness is a 2-3 day hike that drops into the amphitheater below the canyon rim. Overnight adventures can be enjoyed at the modern on-site campground. Cedar Breaks is a certified Dark Sky Park so expect spectacular star-speckled skies!

24. Hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls

Unique Things to do in Utah: Lower Calf Creek Falls

Home to narrow slot canyons, picturesque waterfalls, prehistoric village sites, and abandoned Western movie sets, the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument is an oasis for adventure-seekers. Spanning nearly one million acres, this remote location and dramatic terrain was the last part of the continental US to be mapped!

Capturing a view of the plunging waters at Lower Calf Creek Falls is a must. It’s a rewarding treat after the six-mile round trip hike past towering red cliffs and rock formations. You might even spot some ancient petroglyphs along the way!

Cool Things to do in Utah: Lower Calf Creek Falls

If you have exploring slot canyons on your Utah bucket list, check out Willis Creek Slot Canyon and Buckskin Gulch. Zebra Slot Canyon gets its name from its distinct stripe patterns, while Spooky Gulch is a short slot canyon located on the Hole-in-the-Rock road. 

Other attractions to tick off your list include the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Escalante Heritage Center, and the Escalante Natural Bridge. The Devil’s Garden is a natural playground for little ones, where they can climb over rocks and families can take advantage of the picnic tables. 

25. Gawk at the Star-Filled Skies at Kodachrome Basin State Park 

Best Things to do in Utah: Kodachrome Basin State Park

Utah’s beautiful scenery makes it a top spot for camping in the United States. With this, you’ll also find the highest concentration of certified International Dark Sky Parks and Communities and endless opportunities for stargazing. 

One of the most popular places to experience the natural wonders after the sun sets is at Kodachrome Basin State Park . Boasting unique pillars in shades of red, pink, white, yellow, and gray, this 2,240-acre park also has the perfect recipe for a night of stargazing. 

Cool Things to do in Utah: Kodachrome Basin State Park

With its blend of geographical remoteness, excellent air quality, high elevation, and distance from urban areas, Kodachrome Basin has one of the darkest skies remaining in the continental US. You can even marvel at the Milky Way with the naked eye!

Time your visit right for one of the astronomy events and star parties, or sign up for a ranger-led constellation tour for a chance to peer at the distant nebula, galaxies, and star clusters through a telescope. During the day, you can hike to the top of the 3.5-mile easy Panorama Loop Trail for panoramic views of the park and its sandstone layers that date back 180 million years. 

That’s it – 25 of the best things to do in Utah! What’s your favorite thing to do in the Beehive State?

Planning a trip to Utah? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!

SHARE THIS ON PINTEREST

Top Things to do in Utah

Frequently Asked Questions

Park City is one of Utah’s most legendary winter sports destinations. This picture-perfect mountain town has a deep appreciation for the outdoors. Its snow-covered slopes were even featured in the Winer Olympics in 2002. Park City is home to 426 downhill trails across almost 10,000 acres, offering endless possibilities for adventure.

Many travelers say that Bonneville Salt Flats is one of the coolest things to do in Utah… if not the entire United States! Located about an hour outside of Salt Lake City, the 30,000-acre expanse is by far one of the most unique natural attractions in Utah. The history of the salt flats is just as fascinating, with the formation dating back to the end of the last ice age. The 12-by-5 mile stretch of land features a salt crust ranging from a few inches to five feet thick to create a dazzling white plain as far as the eye can see.

Fifth Water Hot Springs, also known as Diamond Fork Hot Springs, features multiple pools with enticing blue waters. Surrounded by a stunning canyon encompassed by red rock cliffs, it’s one of the most unique things to do in Utah.

If you’re looking for a true adventure, plan a hike through The Narrows in Zion National Park. It is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, with walls that are 1,000 feet tall and a river that is 20-30 feet wide. It’s one of the world’s best slot canyon hikes and can be tailored to suit any ability level. It even features the paved, wheelchair-accessible Riverside Walk.

Utah’s beautiful scenery makes it a top spot for camping in the United States. With this, you’ll also find the highest concentration of certified International Dark Sky Parks and Communities and endless opportunities for stargazing. One of the most popular places to experience the natural wonders after the sun sets is at Kodachrome Basin State Park. Boasting unique pillars in shades of red, pink, white, yellow, and gray, this 2,240-acre park also has the perfect recipe for a night of stargazing.

While Utah is home to an array of impressive national parks and monuments, none quite compare to the expansiveness of Capitol Reef National Park. Start your journey by driving along the eight-mile Capitol Reef Scenic Drive, the main road that runs through the park. The road trip offers a glimpse of the park’s natural beauty. You’ll pass massive domes and immense red sandstone mountains.

About the Author:

Charity De Souza

Born and raised in Florida, Charity moved to London after college and caught the travel bug. She then traveled full-time as a digital nomad for over a decade, living in the UK, New Zealand, China, and Thailand. With around 60-ish travel stamps in her passport, her favorite memories include skydiving in Switzerland, eating sushi in Japan, island hopping in the Philippines, and camping overnight in the Sahara Desert. She’s now a freelance writer living in Portugal with her husband and son.

View all posts

Related Posts

Half Dome Hiking Guide Yosemite National Park

Guide to Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite Valley

The Best Boutique Hotels in Savannah, Georgia

The 12 Best Boutique Hotels In Savannah

Best Airbnbs in Charleston, South Carolina & Vacation Rentals in Charleston, South Carolina

12 Incredible Airbnbs in Charleston, South Carolina

Leave a comment cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Places To Go

Utah is made up of vibrant and historic cities and towns, all surrounded by natural beauty. These natural landscapes are designated as national parks, national monuments, national forests, state parks and millions of additional acres of open spaces with no official designation save for "Utah."

Mighty 5 National Parks Ski Resorts

outdoor places to visit in utah

Parks & Outdoors

outdoor places to visit in utah

Dark Sky Parks

outdoor places to visit in utah

Cities & Towns

outdoor places to visit in utah

Ski Resorts

Find itineraries by.

See All Itineraries Previous Group Next Group

outdoor places to visit in utah

The Complete Capitol Reef Trip

Planning a trip to Capitol Reef National Park? Explore these local-favorite destinations in the Capitol Reef region to make the most of your trip!

Hiking, Scenic Drives/Road Trips

  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Petroglyphs
  • Stargazing Capitol Reef
  • Explore the town of Torrey, Utah
  • Fremont Indian State Park

See Itinerary

outdoor places to visit in utah

Ski City Downhill + Downtown

Big city amenities support 10 different resorts within an hour of SLC International, which means the best in downhill meets the best in downtown.

Community, Kid-Friendly, Non-ski Winter Activities, Ski and Snowboard, Urban Experiences

  • Craft coffee, dining and spirits
  • Alta Ski Area or Snowbird Ski Resort
  • Solitude Mountain Resort or Brighton Ski Resort
  • Performing arts, après-ski and live music

outdoor places to visit in utah

Red Rock & Dark Skies: Stargazing the National Parks

This road trip through southwest Utah takes you to four of Utah’s best places to see the Milky Way — Capitol Reef National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Adventure, Scenic Drives/Road Trips, Solitude, Stargazing

  • Hell's Backbone Grill
  • Bryce Canyon Lodge
  • Ranger-led Star Programs
  • Road Trip Southwest Utah

outdoor places to visit in utah

Base Camp Kanab

From the vermilion, white and pink cliffs and wide expanses of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, to the twisting sandstone bottlenecks of Buckskin Gulch, even the vertigo-inducing views of Zion National Park if you've never been, this six-day itinerary will show you why Kanab is the perfect base camp for adventure.

Cycling, Hiking, Scenic Drives/Road Trips

  • Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument
  • Lake Powell
  • North Rim Grand Canyon
  • Zion National Park

Play The Hits: Exploring Salt Lake City's Iconic Sights

Utah’s capital city boasts a unique history. It is rich in frontier history for sure but its story didn’t end (or begin) there. Experience the many layers of history, prehistory and contemporary culture.

Arts, History and Heritage, Urban Experiences

  • Temple Square
  • Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Natural History Museum of Utah
  • Red Butte Gardens

outdoor places to visit in utah

Alpine, Après and Arches

Timed perfectly for winter, this journey takes you to some of the finest mountain resorts in the world, then to the most spectacular vistas of the scarlet-hued desert.

Hiking, Non-ski Winter Activities, Scenic Drives/Road Trips, Ski and Snowboard

  • Ski Northern Utah
  • Explore Southern Utah in Winter
  • Alpine Mountains to Red Rock Expanses
  • Ski Boots to Hiking Boots

Outdoor Beauty

View All Previous Group Next Group

outdoor places to visit in utah

Head to one of Utah’s many Certified International Dark Sky Parks for the best celestial views on earth. You can find a dark sky experience that fits every itinerary.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Lakes & Reservoirs

Utah's reservoirs and lakes are some of the biggest in the country.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Utah is known as the home to Life Elevated®, and the abundance and proximity of incredible mountain ranges is at the heart of Utah's identity.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Utah State Parks

There are more than 40 state parks that stretch across Utah, from the rich blue waters at Bear Lake to the hot, orange and pink sands of Coral Pink Sand Dunes.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Utah's National Parks

Known as the Mighty 5, each national park can be an entire vacation all in itself. The best visits include a mix of activities inside and outside of the park, and guided experiences to bring the stories of these remarkable landscapes to the forefront.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Utah's Scenic Byways

In total, Utah’s distinct topography provides the surface for 28 scenic byways, which add up to hundreds of miles of vivid travel experiences wherein the road trip is as memorable as the destination.

Top Traveler Cities

Moab is surrounded by a sea of buckled, twisted and worn sandstone sculpted by millennia of sun, wind and rain

Park City, UT

Park City is the perfect mountain town. The winter slopes were once featured in the Olympics, and in summer the mountains and nearby state parks and reservoirs transform into a hiking, mountain biking, fishing and camping mecca.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City makes a great gateway for travelers making a trip to Utah's ski resorts or southward to Utah’s renowned red rock country.

St. George, UT

St. George is perfect for family adventures, luxury spas, extensive shopping, championship golf and nearby outdoor recreation assets.

Showing 0 of 0

Well-prepared travel is responsible travel.

Do your part by planning ahead

outdoor places to visit in utah

The Happiness Function

20 adventurous outdoor things to see in utah.

utah-rafting

Discover top outdoor recommendations for the best things to see in Utah, including touring national parks, exploring national forests, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, mountaineering, camping, rafting, and skiing! Utah’s spectacular geology paired with an abundance of public land is sure to spark your outdoor wanderlust of epic proportions.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a commission if you purchase through our links, at no extra cost to you. Please read  full disclosure  for more information.

Why Utah is an Outdoor Recreation Mecca

Utah is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., with much of the state being part of the Intermountain Colorado Plateau or national forests. The high desert ecosystem and geology forming incredible sandstone canyon and mountain topography coupled with over 35 million acres of federally managed public land make for extraordinary outdoor recreation opportunities. Roughly 70% of Utah is public land owned by the Federal government divided between multiple agencies.

So, what do these numbers mean for exploring Utah, and why do we care?

The abundance of public lands creates opportunities for adventurous outdoor recreation because there are so many unique areas, trails, and backcountry to explore!

While exploring Utah, visitors can sightsee and discover:

  • 5 National Parks,
  • 8 million acres of U.S. Forest Service Land, and
  • Over 22 million acres of BLM Land.

Holy cow – it sounds wild, freeing, and fun! Are you ready to plan epic outdoor trips in Utah? Let’s go!

Best Things to See in Utah: The National Parks

To help you plan a trip you won’t forget, we have rounded up some of the best things to see in Utah from other travel writer experts! Keep reading for recommendations to plan your most memorable trip to Utah.

1. Road Trip Utah’s “Mighty Five” National Parks

Contribution by Ashlee Fechino of The Happiness Function

Have you heard of the “Mighty Five?” It is a popular term among the travel writer community.

So, what is the Mighty Five?…

The Mighty Five refers to taking a road trip to see Utah’s five national parks, including:

  • Arches National Park , near Moab
  • Canyonlands National Park , near Moab
  • Capitol Reef National Park , near Torrey
  • Bryce Canyon National Park , near Panguitch
  • Zion National Park , near Springdale

Take a week or so off to road trip across Utah.

Explore some of the most incredible national parks in the U.S., and top Utah tourist attractions.

First, let’s begin with the Moab area, one of the coolest towns in Utah.

2. Hiking in Arches National Park

Guest contribution by Nikki of She Saves She Travels

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

One of the best outdoor things to do in Utah is definitely hiking in Arches National Park . Located in the southeast part of the state near Moab, Arches is truly a geologic wonder. It’s an incredible place like no other, and it simply begs to be explored.

The most well-known arch in the world is Delicate Arch , and it’s the star of the park. It’s not an easy hike, although most can accomplish it with enough time. Peeking over the summit and getting the first view of Delicate Arch is simply breathtaking! Make sure to get to the park early during peak travel times as parking spaces are limited.

There are plenty more  Arches National Park hikes , including hikes for all skill levels and abilities. The windows section of the park includes several arches, so if visitors only have one day to spend in the area, this is a perfect spot. 

Perhaps one of the most visually stunning spots in Arches National Park is Park Avenue Trail . There are no sizeable arches to see; however, the rock ‘fins’ are lined up all along the canyon. These rock fins are arches in the making, as fins are an early part of the arch creation process.

So, while there are lots of outdoor activities in Utah, Arches National Park should be on any adventure lover’s bucket list!

3. Backpacking the Needles in Canyonlands National Park

Guest contribution by Michelle of The Wandering Queen

Canyonlands National Park  is located in eastern Utah near the city of Moab. The national park consists of four districts: The Needles District, Island in the Sky District, The Maze District, and The Rivers District.

The most popular area is Island in the Sky, but the most unique and adventurous district is the Needles District. Since this is part of the national park system, there is a $30 entrance fee. 

backpacking canyonlands needles district against tall sandstone monolith

The Needles District is a backcountry area with unique landscapes filled with spires and its infamous needles. The harsh desert climate is full of orange-brown spears jetting out of the ground. The district is remote, and the land provides virtually no water sources. The area’s non-hospitable climate can make it a tough excursion; however, it has views unlike anywhere else in the world. 

Obtain a backcountry permit to camp a couple of nights in the district. This way, visitors can experience the needles to the fullest. If you want to hike to see the best views, trek the Chesler Park Trail . It will be an 11-mile hike round trip.

Since the climate is harsh in the summer, we recommend visiting in the spring, fall, or winter. As mentioned previously, there is no water in the park, so make sure to bring plenty of water with you. Dehydration and running out of water is a common issue, so plan accordingly and bring extra fluids. 

Backpacking through The Needles is one of the best southwest experiences in the USA. The Needles is an extraordinary landscape filled with caves, spires, slot canyons, and so much more. If Moab is a destination, Canyonlands National Park , especially the Needles District, is a must-see. 

4. Hiking to Druid Arch in Canyonlands

druid-arch-hike-canyonlands-utah

To complement backpacking in the Needles District, hikers can plan a trek to Druid Arch . You can take your time backpacking to the famous arch or plan an all-day 11-mile there and back trip.

The trailhead to hike to Druid Arch is located near Monticello, Utah, in Chesler Park. Chesler Park is about two and a half hours south of Moab to a separate Canyonlands National Park entrance.

The route will take you through sandy washes, incredible views of the iconic Needles; there will be some rock scrambling, as well as a ladder climb.

The trail to Druid Arch is moderately difficult because of the relatively long distance for a day trip, some rock scrambling, and the ladder climb to reach the sandstone arch.

Hiking to Druid Arch in Canyonlands is truly a hidden gem in the magnificent and primitive Utah backcountry.

5. Mountain Biking the White Rim Canyonlands

canyonlands-national-park-moab-utah

If you’re into mountain biking, be sure to add biking the White Rim in Canyonlands National Park to your life bucket list!

The White Rim is a 100-mile jeep trail that wanders through the Canyonlands Island in the Sky District .

It will take 2-4 days to complete. Bikers need to pack in all of their food, water, and camping equipment.

Permits are required for this epic backcountry adventure. The White Rim is an incredible thing to see in Utah!

6. Visiting Dead Horse Point State Park

dead-horse-point-state-park

Though not a national park, add visiting Dead Horse Point State Park to your Mighty Five road trip. The park is on the way to the Canyonlands Island in the Sky entrance off of UT-313.

Dead Horse Point State Park has camping, hiking, mountain biking, and stargazing. It is also famous for the river bend overlook !

Don’t miss this stop with incredible views of Utah’s canyon country and the Colorado River.

7. Exploring Capitol Reef National Park

Guest contribution by Ale of Sea Salt & Fog

capitol reef fruita district against tall sandstone cliffs

Capitol Reef National Park is the hidden gem of Utah’s parks. Home to red rock canyons, lush fruit orchards, and amazing hiking, this park is a must-visit. 

Located in south-central Utah, Capitol Reef is about a 3.5-hour drive from Salt Lake City. Unlike the other more famous parks, Capitol Reef doesn’t attract many crowds. In fact, it’s fairly common to find near-empty hiking trails. 

The park is broken up into three districts: Fruita, the Waterpocket Fold, and Cathedral Valley . The Fruita area of the park is the most easily accessed. Here, you’ll find fruit orchards and local, homemade fruit pies. Worthwhile hikes include the 2-mile-long Capitol Gorge trail , which will take you past petroglyphs and the Pioneer Register . You’ll find rock inscriptions of early pioneers – a cool historical spot. 

The Grand Wash trail is another great hike. It’s 4.4 miles long but is relatively flat and has you walking through a deep red rock canyon. Right off this trail, you’ll also find the Cassidy Arch – a large rock formation that was rumored to be the hiding spot of outlaw Butch Cassidy. Follow a  one-day Capitol Reef itinerary  to ensure you don’t miss anything! 

Entrance to Capitol Reef is free unless you’d like to do the scenic drive or access certain hiking trails. In those instances, a $20 per vehicle fee applies. 

8. Exploring Bryce Canyon National Park

Guest contribution by Sarah of Roadmaps & Restaurants

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of Utah’s Mighty 5 and a must-visit when exploring Utah.  Located in southern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is known for all of the hoodoos.  Hoodoos are column-like rock formations, and they can be found through the canyon. 

The cost to enter Bryce Canyon National Park is $35 for one car with up to 15 passengers.   

things to see in utah bryce canyon overlook

There are a variety of hiking trails throughout the park that weave through the hoodoos. The 1.4 mile Navajo Loop trail is one of the most popular hikes in the park. It begins at Sunset Point and takes you down into the canyon past multiple famous hoodoo formations, including Thor’s Hammer .  The hike also includes the infamous Wall Street , which is a series of switchbacks that lead to a narrow slot canyon. The Navajo Loop is often combined with the Queen’s Garden hike for a 3-mile trek that shows the best of Bryce Canyon. Not interested in hiking? Highway 63 provides access to many scenic overlooks if you’d rather observe the magical hoodoos from above. 

Bryce Canyon is a certified dark sky park , so the stargazing is out of this world! On a dark night, you will be able to see the Milky Way and thousands of stars. The park also offers a variety of astronomy programs and Astronomy Ranger talks that are definitely worth a listen!

9. Hiking in Zion National Park

Guest contribution by Olivia of Girl with Blue Sails

things to see in utah hiking in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is an experience you cannot miss when visiting Utah. One of the most popular national parks in the United States, Zion welcomes visitors all year round. The main road through Zion winds through the canyon with red and orange mountains towering above.

The most popular hike in the park is The Narrows , a 16 mile stretch of river that runs through a gorge surrounded by canyon walls a thousand feet high. When hiking the trail through The Narrows, guests need walking sticks and sturdy shoes as most of the trail is through the river itself. Whether hiking part of the trail or the whole stretch, The Narrows is an otherworldly experience. 

Another must-see in Zion is a hike to the emerald pools . Spanning 3 miles long and offering three different paths at various difficulty levels, this hike offers impressive views of the surrounding cliffs and mountains on the way to the emerald pools. Visitors can expect to see waterfalls streaming down, creating pools of beautiful emerald water. 

Zion National Park gives visitors a taste of the beauty of Utah’s red rock desert and forests. As with any desert climate, visitors can expect extreme weather, sometimes varying greatly from day to night. Whether visiting for just a day or a week-long stay, Zion offers its guests an experience of a lifetime. 

Off-the-Beaten Path Things to See in Utah

Besides all of these things to do in Utah’s national parks, we have included other outdoor activities you don’t want to miss, including exploring slot canyons, stand-up paddle boarding, rafting, camping, mountaineering, and skiing!

10. Canyoneering Orderville Canyon Slot Canyon

orderville-canyon-utah-girl-wading-through-water

If you are curious about exploring the backcountry in Zion National Park off the beaten path and obtaining backcountry permits to The Narrows or The Subway are difficult, Orderville Canyon is an excellent canyoneering day trip option.

This hike is suitable for experienced hikers and beginner canyoneering. The trail is rated as difficult and strenuous due to its 11-mile route; two short rappels (rappel gear required), a couple of small swims, rock scrambling, and wading through water.

Orderville Canyon is an excellent day trip adventure in the Zion backcountry! It is truly a hidden gem of Zion National Park. The route starts off in an open area at a higher elevation. As you wander down Orderville Canyon, the walls begin to narrow, get steeper, and a stream emerges, which is tributary to the Virgin River, eventually leading to the Narrows. It’s the perfect canyoneering trip on a hot summer day in the desert.

Be sure to get a backcountry wilderness permit ahead of time before your trip. For more information, check out this article with everything you need to know about Hiking Orderville Canyon .

11. Canyoneering Wire Pass Slot Canyon

Guest contribution by Megan of Red Around the World

things to see in utah wire pass slot canyon

The  Wire Pass slot canyon hike  in Utah is one of the best ways to get to Buckskin Gulch , the longest and deepest slot canyon in the world . While Buckskin Gulch may be the main draw of the area, Wire Pass is still incredible.

The hike is officially 3.7 miles, but we recommend hiking into Buckskin Gulch a bit to see that, too. Five miles is a reasonable distance to plan for the whole thing. It’s mostly an easy hike, but there is one 8-10 foot drop with a boulder scramble. Sometimes there is a ladder or logs set up to help you get down, but if you’re not comfortable doing that, don’t try it ( Search and Rescue (SAR) is called here a lot because of this drop ). Go up and around, then back in to see what you went around.  

This is such an amazing hike and makes for a great day trip from Page or Kanab . It’s also a great alternative if you aren’t one of the lucky ones to score a permit for The Wave . 

Most of the trail is just following a wash which isn’t the most exciting, but once you get to the slot section, it will all be worth it.

There isn’t really a bad time to do this hike, but it could be snowy in the winter, and it will be extremely hot in the summer, especially on the hike in and out through the wash. The slot canyon will be a little cooler; make sure to bring plenty of water. 

There is a $6 fee per person that can be paid at the trailhead with your phone.

12. Backpacking Coyote Gulch Escalante National Monument

coyote-gulch-escalante-national-monument

Another backcountry Utah treasure is backpacking in Coyote Gulch . Coyote Gulch is a bucket list destination due to its tucked-away arches, and the only access is by foot.

Access to Coyote Gulch is located off Hole-in-the-Rock-Road in Escalante National Monument.

Begin the backpacking adventure from the Red Well Trailhead . A 28-mile route (there and back) will take you through alcoves, arches, a natural bridge, canyons, and epic sandstone geology. Coyote Gulch leads to the Escalante River; as you wander down the canyon, the water begins as a trickle, which leads to a more significant stream.

There are a few ways to enter Coyote Gulch, so do some research ahead of time.

Permits are required for overnight stays. Plan a minimum of 2-4 days to trek this epic route.

Add backpacking through Coyote Gulch to your Utah adventure bucket list!

13. Sightsee Escalante National Monument Scenic Byway 12

escalante-national-monument

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is home to incredible backcountry canyoneering and hiking .

Some of our favorite routes are to backpack into the Grand Gulch and Coyote Gulch . But, if you’re not up for quite that big of an adventure, driving the scenic route will provide incredible views along with photography opportunities.

Scenic Byway 12 also connects Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park . Take your time, stop along the lookouts, and enjoy this rural and remote canyon country.

14. Whitewater Rafting Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands

utah-rafting

Moab, Utah, is a hub for whitewater rafting and rafting is a popular attraction! Visitors are drifted down the Colorado or Green Rivers beneath towering canyon country. It is one of the most memorable experiences you could have in the desert!

Moab has a few rafting companies to choose from. Plan a whitewater rafting trip through Cataract Canyon! Cataract Canyon carves through Canyonlands National Park .

A whitewater rafting trip in Utah will truly be a memorable life experience. Rafting trip options include single or multiple days. We recommend a multi-day adventure to have the best rafting experience!

15. Stand-up Paddle Boarding the Colorado River

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has become an incredibly trendy adventure sport activity. It is really fun!

SUP-Moab-Colorado-River

There are a few places to rent stand-up paddleboards near Moab where visitors can SUP the Colorado River. Do a simple Google search to find a company that suits your expectations if you need to rent gear. Or bring your own SUP gear!

16. Camping & Stand-up Paddle Boarding Lake Powell

things to see in utah SUP at Lake Powell

Lake Powell , also known as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area , has over 2,000 miles of shoreline. The Glen Canyon Dam created Lake Powell in 1966, so it is surprising young (and these days, surprising low from drought).

To visit Lake Powell in Utah, head down towards the Bullfrog Marina . You can bring your boat, rent houseboats, camp, swim, and stand-up paddleboard!

One of our favorite areas to camp along Lake Powell is in the Stanton Creek campground area . Here you can find primitive camping right next to the shore.

Pitch your tent on the beach, bring your own everything (camping gear, water, food) because there is no electricity and only portable vault toilets. Launch your watercraft of choice ( kayak , stand-up paddleboard, boat) right from your campsite!

If you aren’t going to camp close to the portable bathrooms, be sure to bring your own bathroom kit . It is required to pack out human waste and trash while recreating at Lake Powell.

If you have the Annual National Parks Pass , the pass covers entry into Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The annual pass does not cover camping fees.

Shop the Annual National Parks Pass at REI !

17. Camping in the San Rafael Swell

The San Rafael Swell is an incredible geologic upheaval in Utah. You can’t miss its notable rocky presence from I-70 near Green River, Utah. The San Rafael Swell is one of the fastest-growing places to visit in Utah! This is because the area is comprised of wide-open spaces and is public land managed by the BLM .

things to see in utah san rafael swell

Visitors can find dispersed camping , hiking, canyoneering, mountain biking, and off-roading.

The San Rafael Swell is super rural. Cell phone reception is hit and miss.

Be sure to practice Leave No Trace and be mindful not to bust the biological soil crust while exploring Utah’s backcountry.

18. Exploring Utah’s National Forests and Mountains

bryce-canyon-national-park-overlook-april

Utah is not just all high deserts. With over eight million acres of public land managed by the U.S. Forest Service in Utah, outdoor recreation enthusiasts can find camping, mountaineering, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding galore.

One of the best-kept secrets about exploring forest service land and the national forests are the opportunities for dispersed camping. You can camp for free in some places! There is a 14-day stay limit.

Check out the U.S. Forest Service in Utah to find more information regarding campsites, hiking, and other outdoor adventures.

19. Mountaineering Utah’s 8 Prominence Peaks

things to see in Utah view of Henry mountains

When most people think of Utah, they think of the high desert scenery, red rock sandstone canyon country, and valleys. But did you know there are 80 mountain peaks in Utah? Yes, you read that correctly, 80! These mountains make for adventurous outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, mountaineering, skiing, and snowboarding.

Add mountaineering to your outdoor list of things to do in Utah! Colorado isn’t the only state in the lower 48 with epic mountain peaks along with a cult following striving to reach each summit. Utah has its own world-class mountaineering. There are eight famous mountains to trek and summit in Utah, though, not for the average hiker!

Utah’s 8 Ultra-Prominence Peaks Include:

  • Kings Peak in the Eastern Uinta Mountains – elevation 13,534′
  • Mount Peale in the La Sal Mountains – elevation 12,726′
  • Mount Ellen in the Henry Mountains – elevation 11,522′
  • Deseret Peak in the Stansbury Mountains – elevation 11,531′
  • Mt. Nebo in the Wasatch Mountains – elevation 11,928′
  • Flat Top Mountain in the Oquirrh Mountains – elevation 10,620′
  • Mt. Timpanogos in the Wasatch Front – elevation 11,750′
  • Ibapah Peak in the Deep Creek Mountains – elevation 12,087′

20. Skiing and Snowboarding

park-city-ski-resort-things-to-do-in-utah

Utah has some of the best ski towns in the U.S. and is home to 15 ski-resorts making for wonderful winter vacations. Many of the resorts are less than an hour from Salt Lake City. Known for crazy snowfall, powder days, terrain parks, and accessible backcountry, here is a list of Utah’s ski resorts by area.

So, when are you planning your next ski trip!?

Salt Lake City Area Ski Resorts

  • Alta Ski Area
  • Brighton Ski Resort
  • Solitude Mountain Resort

Park City Area Resorts

  • Deer Valley Resort
  • Park City Mountain
  • Woodward Park City

Ogden Resorts

  • Nordic Valley Resort
  • Powder Mountain
  • Sundance Resort

Hiking Gear Recommendations

We have rounded up some of our top gear recommendations for your epic Utah trip!

  • Day Pack  –   Osprey pack
  • Water bottles  – at least one gallon of water per person per day in the desert – we like the BPA free Nalgene brand because they don’t weigh much
  • Comfortable hiking boots  –   Oboz for women and men .
  • Trekking poles  –  Leki carbon poles
  • Sunscreen  and  chapstick  –   Sun Bum  brand is environmentally and ethically safe

Final Thoughts

There are many fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities and things to see in Utah. Whether you are visiting for a weekend, passing through on a road trip, or planning your next winter ski trip, there is so much to do, from whitewater rafting to hiking and enjoying some of the most incredible national parks in the country. Utah is one of those states you can visit any time of year and find fun things to do. We hope this list of some of the best things to see in Utah inspires you.

Ashlee & Pablo

You might also enjoy…

Are you planning a trip to explore Utah and the Southwest?

You might enjoy our other articles with things to see in Utah.

  • Zion National Park:   Things to Do in Zion: 2-Day Adventure Guide
  • Bryce National Park: How to Visit Bryce Canyon in One Day
  • Capitol Reef National Park:   Guide to Visiting Capitol Reef National Park
  • Arches and Canyonlands National Parks:   How to See Arches & Canyonlands in One Day
  • Moab:   Moab Summer Road Trip Ultimate 3-5 Day Guide
  • Moab:   Things to Do in Moab: Fun Outdoors Adventures
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area:   Best Shoreline Camping Spots at Lake Powell
  • Grand Canyon North Rim:   Best Things to Do at the North Rim Grand Canyon
  • Grand Canyon South Rim:   How to Spend One Day at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim

Save on Pinterest for later!

top photo: Coyote Gulch in Escalante National Monument, middle photo: Arches National park at sunset, bottom photo: Arches National Park monument drive

We would love to hear from you!

Have you done anything on the list of top things to see in Utah?

Or what activities are you planning to do?

Leave a comment if you have questions about exploring Utah! We’d love to help you.

top photo: Coyote Gulch in Escalante National Monument, middle photo: Arches National park at sunset, bottom photo: Arches National Park monument drive

Ashlee Fechino

19 comments.

' data-src=

Ahh, I didn’t get to the Needles district last time but would love to go someday! I’d love to check out the Druid Arch! Dead Horse Point State Park + Capitol Reef are definitely up there on my favorites — someday after I learn astrophotography, I wanna go back to take more photos! 😛

' data-src=

Squeee what a post! Utah really does look like heaven for hikers (as long as you bring looads of water!) These views are sooo beautiful, and so varied. I would miss the greenery if I lived there, but I really like the idea of visiting to hike.

' data-src=

Hi Josy! Utah is heaven for hikers – especially in the spring and fall 🙂 Thanks for reading.

' data-src=

I visited most of the national parks and a couple of national monuments in Utah as a kid, but I’m dying to get back and explore more of the backcountry! I’ve heard the backpacking in Capitol Reef is particularly good. And it’s great that there are so many water-sports options to add some variety after hiking in the desert.

Hi Carrie! You will have to go backpacking in Capitol Reef! I got to spend quite a bit of time there one summer and I will never forget it. Thanks for stopping by!

' data-src=

Wow! I’ve always wanted to go to Bryce & Zion, but after reading this, I feel like I could spend months just hiking around Utah. This is such a great guide!

Hi Adriana! Thanks for reading. Hope next time you visit Utah you have a great trip!

' data-src=

UTAH looks like a Fun place to visit, with so much to see and do !! Someday, I will visit.

Hi Uncle Burt! Thanks for reading our article! You would think Utah is beautiful 🙂 Hope you are staying warm and not getting tooooo much snow!

' data-src=

That was quite a detailed post! I have heard a lot of Utah but never had the chance to visit it. Adding it to my bucket list now 🙂

Hi there! Hope you can visit sometime. Thanks for reading.

' data-src=

Utah keeps calling my name…so beautiful! I definitely want to hike the Mighty 5 national parks and it’ll be an epic road trip. Your post will be so helpful to explore the best things to see in Utah.

Hi Karen – you would have a great trip to Utah. Lots of places to hike and take cool photos.

' data-src=

Hey Ashlee!

Thank you for sharing this!! I’ve never been to Utah but it looks like a hidden gem 🙂

Hi Jade! Thanks for reading. You will have to visit sometime.

' data-src=

Utah is gorgeous! I have got to explore more of this beautiful state! Great post 🙂

Hi Sydney – thanks for reading. Utah is one of our favorite states. You would have a blast exploring and taking photos.

' data-src=

Que maravilla Las Actividades al aire libre en Utah. Las fotografias increibles. Realmente son lugares soñados. Me encanto verlos a Uts en medio de ese paisaje.

¡Hola Cristina! Gracias por leer nuestra publicación y comentar. Pablo y yo nos hemos divertido mucho a lo largo de los años explorando Utah.

Hi Cristina! Thank you for reading our post and for commenting. Pablo and I have had lots of fun over the years exploring Utah.

outdoor places to visit in utah

24 Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: From Snowy Peaks to Cozy Retreats

Grab your winter gear and hold on to your sleds, folks! The majestic landscapes of Utah transform into a winter wonderland once the snow starts to fall, and believe us when we say – it’s nothing short of magical. But we know not everyone feels the same way – some of you just want to cozy up by the fire and hibernate until spring comes. Whether you’re outdoorsy or indoorsy, there are a ton of fun things to do in Utah in the winter. From hitting the slopes to soaking in hot springs, from exploring Utah’s national parks without the crowds to feeding penguins at the aquarium, Utah has a huge variety of fun winter activities for families.  

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: skiing

We’re parents of five kids who live here in Utah and we’d be lying if we said all of us enjoyed the cold and snowy weather. JJ is a big skier, so he loves winter in Utah. But Brittany is a California girl at heart and would rather load up the minivan and drive out of town when that snow hits. But trust us, there’s much more to do in Utah in the winter than just ski. 

We’ve curated this list to have a mix of snowy activities, indoor activities, and even a few things down in Southern Utah where the winter weather isn’t so harsh. Whether you’re like JJ or Brittany, one thing is for sure – there are a ton of cool things to do in Utah in the winter. We hope this list helps you find a few to add to your own winter bucket list! 

Top Outdoor Things to Do in Utah in the Winter  

1. ski the “greatest snow on earth”  .

Skiing in Utah is a quintessential bucket list experience for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. The state’s arid climate and plentiful snowfall combine to create that fluffy, powdery snow that skiers love. Utah’s license plates are adorned with the motto proclaiming, “Greatest Snow on Earth”.

Utah boasts 21 world-class ski resorts and an endless supply of backcountry terrain for skiers to sample that snow themselves.  Park City Mountain Resort is the largest ski resort in the United States, boasting over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain and a wide range of trails catering to both beginners and expert skiers alike.

Brighton and Solitude in Big Cottonwood Canyon are personal favorites as well. Brighton used to be the best place to take kids because kids 10 and under skied free. Now they lowered the age to 6 and under. That can make finding affordable skiing hard to find in Utah, especially with kids.

For more info on the best resorts for families, check out our guide to affordable family skiing in Utah .

Whichever one you choose, skiing in Utah is a bucket list experience you must try at least once in your life.  

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: skiing

2. Midway Ice Castles

The Midway Ice Castles are a frozen fairy tale brought to life and one of Utah’s most enchanting winter attractions. You don’t have to be a fan of Elsa from Frozen to enjoy them either, though you probably will end up belting a few lines from “Let It Go”.

We took our kids a few years ago and their sense of wonder really came alive. We enjoyed wandering through a maze of glacial formations, sliding down icy slides, and strolling through archways leading to secret tunnels.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: ice castles

With each icicle meticulously formed to create towers of shimmering ice, they are a spectacle any time of day but they’re best seen by night. Illuminated by LED lights, the castles glow with ethereal beauty against the night sky. This crystalline wonderland captivates the imagination, making it an unforgettable adventure for families, couples, and solo explorers alike.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: ice castles

3. Snowshoeing  

Another great way to get outside and experience Utah’s winter landscapes is to go for a hike. Utah’s snowshoeing will take you to some truly breathtaking scenery – frozen lakes & waterfalls, dense forests of evergreen pine trees, and incredible mountain vistas. Many of Utah’s summer hiking trails are accessible throughout the winter as long as you have snowshoes or spikes on your boots. It’s also a much cheaper alternative to skiing and snowboarding if you’re looking for more affordable things to do in the winter in Utah.  

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: snowshoeing

If you’re new to snowshoeing, we recommend going somewhere that has groomed trails and snowshoe rentals. The Sundance Nordic Center is primarily for cross-country skiing but offers six miles of snowshoeing trails. Another option is the Solitude Nordic Center in Big Cottonwood Canyon. This one is slightly cheaper (only $8 a day) and has twice the amount of trails (over 12 miles), including the very popular Silver Lake Loop. You can also take a private 1-hour tour for $49.    

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: snowshoeing

If that sounds like something you want to try, check out these related posts:

  • Beginner’s Guide to Snowshoeing
  • 10 Best Snowshoeing Trails in Utah
  • 6 Awesome Snowshoeing Trails in American Fork Canyon

5. Sled onto a frozen lake  

Tibble Fork is a small reservoir located in American Fork Canyon that’s a popular destination for families to go kayaking and paddleboarding. Like most Utah lakes in the winter, Tibble Fork completely freezes over transforming it into a winter playground.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: sledding Tibble Fork

But what makes Tibble Fork unique is the sloped beach. When it gets covered in snow, it turns into the perfect hill for sledding and tubing. Our kids love sledding down the beach right onto the frozen lake. And the views are heard to beat!

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: sledding Tibble Fork

5. Go tubing  

While you can go tubing at nearly any park or golf course with a decent hill, that comes with a price – the walk back up the hill again and again. Especially with little kids, am I right? There are a few places in Utah that offer tubing hills with tow ropes, so you can enjoy the thrills without the complaining kids. The two best places are Woodward in Park City and Solider Hollow but we prefer Soldier Hollow because it’s cheaper and less touristy.

Soldier Hollow is nestled near Wasatch State Park in Midway, Utah. It boasts 1,200-foot-long tubing lanes, which claim to be the longest in Utah. You’ll feel that adrenaline surge and kids’ screams and giggles will fill the air as you zoom down their meticulously groomed corduroy tracks. For non-skiers and families, this is one of the most fun things to do in Utah in the winter.

outdoor places to visit in utah

6. Swim in a hot springs crater  

Chase those winter blues away with a soak in some hot springs and a one-of-a-kind swimming experience. The Homestead Crater in Midway is a geothermal hot spring, hidden within a limestone dome. The mineral-rich waters are wonderfully soothing and a constant 90-96°F. Relaxing, doing paddleboard yoga, or even scuba diving in this warm oasis is an adventure you won’t want to leave off your Utah bucket list . It’s certainly one of the most unique things to do in Utah in the winter.

outdoor places to visit in utah

7. Hike in the snow to a secluded hot spring  

Speaking of hot springs – Utah has plenty more where that came from! But none quite so enchanting and adventurous as this one. Fifth Water Hot Springs aka Diamond Fork Hot Springs is a natural hot spring located near Spanish Fork Canyon. The main draw for people is to swim in these uniquely colored hot springs, but you also hike past three scenic waterfalls on the way there. It’s a major Instagram hotspot thanks the picturesque blue & green pools, so it can get crowded.

You really have to work for this one though, because it requires a long hike through the snow – as long as 6 miles each way depending on road closures. Even so, winter is still a popular time to visit, go snowshoeing along the trail, and soak in the natural hot springs. To avoid weekend crowds, try hiking early in the morning during the week.

outdoor places to visit in utah

8. See the Utah Lake ice stacks 

I first heard about these on Instagram from a viral video that showed the ice stacks forming as strong winds pushed blocks of ice onto the shore of Utah Lake. I just had to see it for myself, so I loaded up the minivan and took the kids to American Fork Marina. There are plenty of places to see them along the vast shorelines but this was the most easily accessible.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Utah Lake ice stacks

The ice stacks only form when the temperatures have been consistently low enough for the lake to entirely freeze over. Then as temperatures warm and the wind starts howling, a spectacle of nature’s artistry emerges in the form of ice stacks, creating a mesmerizing scene that is both otherworldly and breathtaking. When they catch the light of the low winter sun, they cast shadows and glow with a spectrum of blues and whites that are as mesmerizing as the northern lights. Go at sunset for the best lighting!

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Utah Lake ice stacks

9. Ride a snowmobile  

When winter falls on the mountains of Utah, it becomes a wonderland not just for skiers but snowmobilers as well. Utah offers some of the most scenic and exhilarating trails in the Western United States. It can even be a family-friendly outing, with miles and miles of groomed trails to choose from.

Here are two of the most popular snowmobile trails where enthusiasts flock to experience the best of Utah’s winter:

  • Uinta National Forest – The Uinta Mountains boast hundreds of miles of snowmobiling trails, with terrain ranging from beginner to expert. The Mirror Lake Highway offers a gateway to this winter wonderland, but it’s closed to cars in the winter and becomes a snowmobile track, providing access to higher elevations and vast open areas for a thrilling ride among Utah’s highest peaks.
  • Logan Canyon – We love to head up to Bear Lake in the winter and stay at a snowy cabin. If we’re lucky and there’s enough snow, we like to take the snowmobiles around the Bear Lake Golf Course. But the best place to go is Logan Canyon, which has a trail system that spans an extensive network of routes. With its wide, groomed trails, it is well-suited for families and groups looking for an enjoyable day trip. The scenery is varied, featuring everything from dense forests to open meadows, and the area is known for its deep powder and breathtaking views.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: snowmobiling

10. Fat biking in the snow  

Fat biking is essentially mountain biking with super wide (fat) tires. It’s gained popularity in recent years as one of the best things to do in Utah in the winter, especially among outdoor enthusiasts looking for an alternative to skiing. There are many hiking trails that allow bikes, but American Fork Canyon is one of the best places to try this new sport.

While driving the Alpine Loop is one of the best fall activities in Utah , the road is actually closed in the winter. You can drive as far as the Pine Hollow Trailhead but to go farther than that, you’ll have to go without a vehicle. You can stick to the main road or choose one of the trails nearby as long as you go with someone who knows the terrain.

outdoor places to visit in utah

11. Hike the snowy hoodoos of Bryce Canyon  

Utah’s national parks, collectively known as the Mighty Five, are some of the most popular in the United States. Visiting in the summer peak season can mean extreme heat and large crowds. For those seeking to enjoy the landscapes with a little more solitude, winter can be a great time to go.  

Bryce Canyon is located at nearly 8,000 feet in elevation, so it is very cold and very snowy. But hiking among the orange hoodoos when they’re complemented by the white snow adds an element of mystique to the national park that most visitors never witness. It’s certainly one of the most unique things to do in Utah in the winter.

outdoor places to visit in utah

Top Olympic-Themed Things to Do in Utah in the Winter 

Speaking of the greatest snow on Earth, there’s a reason Salt Lake City was selected to host the 2002 Winter Olympics. But winter in Utah isn’t just about skiing. There’s an incredible variety of winter sports to take part in as well. Several of the Olympic venues are still in use today, so whether you just want to visit the sites to watch an event or want to try your hand at some Olympic winter sports at actual Olympic venues, these places are sure to be a memorable part of your trip. 

12. Ride a bobsled at the Utah Olympic Park  

The Utah Olympic Park in Park City was built for the 2002 Winter Games. It’s a huge 400-acre venue that features bobsled & luge sliding tracks, six Nordic ski jumps, and a museum dedicated to the 2002 Winter Olympics. It’s now used as an official US Olympic Committee training site and continues to host competitions. Check the calendar to see if any ski jump, aerials, bobsled, luge, or skeleton competitions are being hosted during your trip.  

You can also tour the museum to see Olympic memorabilia and walk through interactive exhibits to learn about the different winter sports and athletes featured in the 2002 Olympics. Or if you’re feeling especially daring, you can even take a ride yourself in a bobsled, zooming down the track at over 80 miles per hour. 

outdoor places to visit in utah

13. Try cross-country skiing at Soldier Hollow  

The Soldier Hollow Nordic Center is located in the picturesque mountain town of Midway. This Olympic venue hosted 23 different events for cross-country skiing, nordic combined, and biathlons. The best athletes in the world still use the venue for training and to compete in US Championship, World Cup and Olympic-qualifying events.  

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: cross-country skiing

While it’s worthwhile to go as a spectator, it’s even more fun to get in on the action yourself. Soldier Hollow offers cross-country ski rentals and has 20 miles of trails for every skill level, including beginners. There are also group lessons if you’ve never tried it and want to give it a shot. It’s surprisingly fun and an excellent workout. 

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Soldier Hollow

14. Ice skating at the Utah Olympic Oval  

The Olympic Oval in Kearns is an ice rink venue that hosted the speed skating events in 2002. Like the other venues, this one also continues to host speed skating championship events. Most of the year, it’s open to the public for open ice skating, hockey and other things. They also offer lessons if you want to learn to ice skate, figure skate, speed skate, or even learn to play curling. 

outdoor places to visit in utah

Top Things to Do in Utah in the Winter During Christmas Season 

15. take a sleigh ride in the snow  .

As wintertime approaches do you find yourself singing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…to hear sleigh bells in the snow”? If you really want to bring the “White Christmas” song to life, there are in fact several places you can take a sleigh ride in the snow. Downtown Salt Lake City offers horse-drawn carriage rides near Temple Square. Eden, Midway, and Park City are the best mountain towns to find a sleigh ride, each offering multiple options. Some even end with a luxurious dinner in a secluded yurt.  

outdoor places to visit in utah

16. Celebrate Christmas with a Nativity scene

Whether you’re a local, a visitor, or just someone looking to bask in the glow of holiday spirit, Utah’s nativities provide a way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ. From live performances where real animals make cameo appearances (and sometimes, adorably steal the show!) to intricate displays, Utah knows how to set the stage for that holy night.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Christmas nativities

In downtown Salt Lake, the most prominent Christmas festivities happen at Temple Square. The grounds are open to the public at no cost and feature an amazing display of Christmas lights, nativity scenes from around the world, and a light show projected on the ceiling of the tabernacle.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Christmas nativities

17. Christmas light displays

When it comes to Christmas light displays, Utah doesn’t just throw on a few twinkling bulbs and call it a night. Oh no, we turn our state into a brilliant wonderland of luminescence! From traditional light displays to drive-through spectacles with dancing lights, the Christmas lights in Utah will make even the grinchiest hearts grow three sizes.

One of the best Christmas lights displays in all of Utah is Luminaria at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. Every winter, this 50-acre botanical garden turns into a massive walk-through Christmas light experience. Other fun Christmas light experiences include drive-through shows like Christmas in Color or Festival of Lights. And don’t forget about Zoo Lights and the Festival of the Seas at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Christmas lights

Looking for Christmas-related things to do in Utah in the winter? Check out our post on our favorite Christmas   activities in Utah !

Top Indoor Things to Do in Utah in the Winter 

18. museum of natural curiosity   .

For anyone with kids, the “Curiosity Museum” at Thanksgiving Point is a real life-saver during the cold winter months. We love to take the kids often because it’s a great way to keep them active without having to bundle them up for the cold and snow. Kids can run around on the huge indoor playground, climb the rope bridges, play with sensory water exhibits, make music, put on a play, and more.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Curiosity Museum

With more than 400 interactive experiences, you’ll find every corner buzzing with science, technology, and the arts brought to life in the most engaging ways. The Museum of Natural Curiosity isn’t just a place to escape the cold—it’s a destination where minds are ignited, and the dreary winter days are transformed into an exhilarating adventure of learning and fun.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Curiosity Museum

19. Airborne Trampoline Park   

For those long winter nights when the kids are bouncing off the walls, we like to take them to Airborne where they can literally bounce to their heart’s content. These sprawling arenas filled with wall-to-wall trampolines promise high-flying fun for all ages. And for us parents – it’s a surprisingly good workout just trying to keep up with the kiddos.

And it’s not just trampolines, either. There’s a ninja warrior course, foam pits for trying tricks, arcade games, escape rooms, and a huge indoor playground for the little ones. With locations in Draper, South Jordan, and Lindon, Airborne Trampoline Parks are easily accessible to anyone in Salt Lake or Utah counties.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Airborne Trampoline Park

20. Drive go-carts at The Grid   

Looking to add a touch of excitement to an otherwise gloomy winter day? Zoom on down to The Grid in Lindon. Inspired by the neon-lit, digital realm of “Tron,” this indoor racetrack offers an adrenaline-infused escape from the frosty outdoors. Here, families can bond over heart-pounding go-kart races and high-speed thrills. The minimum height to ride is 4’10” though, so you’ll have to leave the littles at home.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: The Grid go karts

21. Step inside a tropical paradise at the Butterfly Biosphere 

Escape the winter cold and step into a tropical oasis at the Butterfly Biosphere in Lehi, Utah. It’s the state’s only butterfly conservatory, where you can marvel at over a thousand butterflies fluttering in a lush paradise. The biosphere is climate controlled to replicate a hot and humid jungle so it feels a bit like you’ve left the snow behind for a mini tropical vacation.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Butterfly Biosphere

We’ve gotten lucky a few times and had the beautiful blue morphos land right on one of the kids. That never gets old! But it isn’t just about the butterflies. They have all kinds of creepy crawlies, like glow-in-the-dark scorpions, tarantulas, and all sorts of exotic bugs. Not to mention the indoor treehouse and slide to wear the kids outs.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Butterfly Biosphere

22. Feed the penguins at Living Planet Aquarium  

The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, Utah, is an aquatic marvel that offers a unique blend of educational experiences and entertainment, showcasing ecosystems from around the globe. From the mysterious depths of the ocean’s Open Sea to the vibrant and bustling life of the South American Rainforests, there’s a world of exploration waiting. The aquarium is home to a vast array of species including playful penguins, majestic sharks, and delicate seahorses.

One of the key highlights is the 300,000-gallon shark tank where visitors can witness these awe-inspiring creatures glide past from the safety of a tunnel. For a more hands-on experience, the interactive touch pools allow for close encounters with stingrays and sea stars.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

But what makes the aquarium one of the best things to do in Utah in the winter is the chance to get hands-on with the penguin encounter. You actually get to feed the penguins yourself! Our oldest daughter got to go when she turned six and it was a truly unforgettable day.

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: feed the penguins

Warm-Weather Things to Do in Utah in the Winter 

23. head south to st. george  .

In the southern half of the state average temperatures are slightly warmer, and snowfall is much less frequent. St. George has average highs in the 50s in the winter and rarely receives any snow. That may not sound like a big difference but when you’re trading below-freezing temperatures and gloomy inversions for 50 degrees and sunny, it actually can be just what the doctor ordered. 

St. George is where many locals go during the cold winter months to get a dose of warmth and sunshine. The main reason to visit St. George is to see Utah’s famous red rock desert landscape with three beautiful state parks nearby that provide ample opportunities to enjoy the desert landscape without the stifling heat of the summer. There are so many things to do in St. George Utah , you won’t regret adding it to your winter itinerary. 

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: St George

24. Visit Zion in the off-season  

Zion National Park also has milder winter weather than Northern Utah. While it does get snow, especially at the parts of the park that are higher in elevation, you can frequently experience highs in the 50s in the middle of winter. The best time to go is when the shuttle service isn’t running – you’re free to roam the park as you wish without waiting in long lines and dealing with throngs of people. 

You may not be able to do some of the more popular hikes like Angel’s Landing or The Narrows (without additional safety equipment and preparations), but there is still plenty to see and do in the park beyond those hikes. Zion Canyon Overlook is a great alternative with equally stunning views!

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: Zion

Reflecting on Our Favorite Things to Do in Utah in the Winter

Don’t let anyone ever tell you, “There’s nothing to do in Utah in the winter!” Send them our way if they do. Whether you’re a snow enthusiast or sun-seeker, our beautiful state has something for you.

Our diverse list has whisked you through the powdery slopes and the silent majesty of snowshoeing adventures, invited you to the giddy joy of sledding on glassy lakes, and encouraged you to embrace the warmth of hidden hot springs amidst the chill. We’ve shown you the awe-inspiring beauty of ice stacks on Utah Lake, the rush of snowmobiling through frosted forests, and the unique pleasure of biking or hiking through snow-dusted landscapes.

For those preferring the cozy indoors, we’ve shared spaces where curiosity and fun soar at museums and trampoline parks, and tropical warmth awaits at the Butterfly Biosphere. And let’s not forget the delightful penguins awaiting your visit.

If winter’s chill becomes too much, Southern Utah and Zion offer a sunny respite with its milder climate and tranquil off-season.

So, bundle up—or not—and get out and explore the wonders of Utah’s winter. And with this list in hand, your winter bucket list is sure to be brimming with excitement!

–JJ & Brittany🤘🏻

Our family is on a mission to experience the best our home state of Utah has to offer and help other families find affordable, kid-friendly adventures in the process.  You can follow us on Instagram  @theminivanbucketlist  or download our free printable Utah Bucket List for a list of the top hikes in the great state of Utah, both for kid-friendly and more adventurous hikes.

winter in Utah

Plan, Ready, Go®

17 Amazing Things to Do in Southern Utah

' src=

As one of my favorite destinations in the West for unparalleled landscapes, southern Utah is a mecca when it comes to incredible things to do, especially if what you’re looking for is desert scenery at its best. These are the best things to do in southern Utah.

If you’re currently planning your trip to southern Utah, chances are you’re wondering what are the best things to see and do in that part of the state.

Plan the perfect trip to Southern Utah. Grab your free travel planner here.

mountain ridges in Zion National Park

This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See disclaimer.  

Zion National Park

If you’re yearning for a desert-filled adventure, Zion National Park has you covered. Located in southwestern Utah, Zion is one of the most beautiful and popular national parks in the US.

Zion National Park is a perfect go-to for hiking trails, contrasting landscapes, and wildlife spotting. Most of the best views at Zion can be found along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, making it easy as pie to explore in a short time.

For unique hikes, try The Narrows, Emerald Pools, and a hike up the world-famous trail that leads to Angel’s Landing (if you’re not afraid of heights).

You might enjoy this guided hike of The Narrows , one of the most popular hikes in U.S. National Parks. Equipment provided.

On a quest to visit all 63 U.S. National Parks?  Grab your own copy of the  printable national parks tracker  to check off your progress as you visit each park.

Arches National Park

Rock formations in Devils Garden at Arches National Park

Arches National Park is famous for its eye-popping natural arches (of course!), other-worldly rock formations, and beautiful desert vistas. It is much smaller than other national parks, so you can cover it in a day or two.

Hike along Arches’ wonderful trails to take in as many of its fantastic landscapes and viewpoints as you can.

Highlights include quirky rock formations and arches scattered throughout the park, like the famous Delicate Arch plus Double O, Turret Arch, Landscape, and Sand Dune arches.

If you prefer a guided experience, try this full-day tour of both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

See the best of Utah’s National Parks with the  GuideAlong Utah Mighty 5 Audio driving tour bundle . No data connection is needed. No recurring charges. Just the best and most flexible audio tour available.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is all about peculiar needle-shaped hoodoos, bizarre rock formations, and sandstone pillars. One day should be enough to explore the park if you start out early because it is relatively small compared to the other Mighty Five parks.

Despite its size, Bryce Canyon does not lack natural wonders. Highlights include Fairyland Canyon, Silent City, Mossy Cave Waterfalls, and Queen’s Garden Trail.

Canyonlands National Park

Wide canyon landscape at Canyonlands National Park in Utah

Canyonlands is one of the best national parks to visit if you want to take a deep dive into the desert.

Deep canyons, rivers, sandstone cliffs, sheer red rock formations, tons of hiking trails, and spectacular views make Canyonlands one of the most scenic national parks in the United States.

Spanning 330,000 acres of nature, Canyonlands is divided into different sections: Island in the Sky, The Needles, and The Maze. 

It would be impossible to explore everything in one visit, but a few highlights you shouldn’t miss are Grand View Point, Mesa Arch, Shafer Canyon, Grand View Point Trail, Upheaval Dome, and Buck Canyon Overlook, all within Island in the Sky, the easiest section to explore.

Capitol Reef National Park

Gifford barn in Capitol Reef National Park

A lesser-known of the Mighty Five Utah national parks, Capitol Reef features cliffs, canyons, and domes in a geologic monocline known as the Waterpocket Fold, which, put simply, is a big 100-mile wrinkle on the earth.

Must-dos at Capitol Reef include driving Highway 24 scenic road through the park, Panorama Point and Sunset Point, hiking to Hickman Bridge and Cassidy Arch, walking along Grand Wash, and shopping for goodies at the Gifford Homestead.

For more information, read my post about Utah’s “Mighty 5” National Parks (including tips for where to stay).

Goblin Valley State Park

Located between Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park, Goblin Valley will make you feel like you’ve somehow traveled to another world (maybe to Mars?), one made up of eerie-looking hoodoos and rock formations. 

While here, the ultimate way to explore the valley is by hiking the Goblin’s Lair Trail, a 2.3-mile out-and-back trail that will take you through clusters of hoodoos, several canyons, and cavernous formations. Or try a guided 4-hour canyoneering adventure.

Goblin Valley State Park is also a certified International Dark Sky Park. Stargazing anyone?

PRO TIP: If you have flexible travel dates you need to check out Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights). You get amazing flight deals sent straight to your inbox with instructions on how to book directly with the airlines. Check out Going here. Going is my favorite way to find great travel deals. 

Grand Staircase—Escalante National Monument and Lower Calf Creek Falls

Spanning 1.87 million acres in southern Utah, Escalante National Monument is home to tons of natural treasures, including its amazing Grand Staircase of cliffs and terraces, monoliths, slot canyons, natural bridges, arches, the Escalante River, and Lower Calf Creek Falls, a set of waterfalls with a natural pool below where you can take a dip and cool off.

The Lower Falls hike is quite popular and a relatively flat 6-mile out-and-back hike.

waterfall cascading into a small pool at Grand Staircase Escalante

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Valley is a sort of trilogy when it comes to getting the best of Utah: The Old West, Native American culture, and stunning desert landscapes.

The entire Monument Valley region is known for its stunning scenery, mesmerizing hiking trails, and glorious striking red sandstone buttes, making it one of the most emblematic landmarks not only in Utah but also in the entire United States.

Hike the Wildcat Trail, check out Mexican Hat, or do the highly popular 17-mile scenic drive.

road leading into a valley with red rock formations

You might enjoy this extended Monument Valley tour with backcountry access.

Or try this 3-hour sunset tour with a Navajo guide. According to the tour operators, you’ll “see the famous West and East Mitten Buttes, John Ford Point, the Three Sisters, Moccasin Arch, the Totem Pole and more.”

If Monument Valley looks familiar to you, it may be because it has made appearances in many movies, including films like Sergio Leone’s 1968 film ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Forrest Gump, Lone Star Ranger, Mission: Impossible 2, and many, many more.

Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

red sandy hill with ricks and scrubby vegetation

Set in a transition zone between the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert, Red Cliffs Desert Reserve is a convergence of different ecosystems, which makes it a mecca for gorgeous desert landscapes and mixtures of flora and fauna, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Red Cliffs Desert Reserve actually became protected in order to provide the desert tortoise, a threatened species, a safe place to live. Moreover, many other endangered reptiles, mammals, and birds also call the reserve their home.

During your time here, you’ll get the chance to go on plenty of fun hikes, ranging from easy strolls to tougher desert challenges. The reserve includes Snow Canyon State Park (see below).

Snow Canyon State Park

the author kneeling at a scenic overlook at Snow Canyon State Park

Located at the exact intersection of the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert, Snow Canyon State Park mixes completely different ecosystems that together create a fascinating landscape.

Personally, I think the canyon scenery looks quite a bit like Zion National Park.

Known for its Navajo sandstone cliffs, petrified sand dunes, and extensive lava fields, Snow Canyon is a mecca for fun adventures. A few of the best things to do at Snow Canyon include hiking, scenic driving, sliding down sand dunes, spotting desert fauna, and rock climbing.

Dead Horse Point State Park

scenic viewpoint overlooking a bend in a river

This beautiful state park offers exceptional views of expansive canyons, stunning Colorado River overlooks, and outdoor adventures that will make you feel as though you’re walking over Mars—all without the crowds you’ll usually find at Arches and Canyonlands.

Start at the visitor center to access the miles of hiking and single-track mountain bike trails. There are eight miles of hiking trails leading to various overlooks. All are considered easy hikes. Dead Horse Park has been an officially designated International Dark Sky Park since 2016.

TIP: Keep track of all of your important travel details with a digital travel planner like this .

Located close to the border with Arizona, Kanab has been dubbed “Little Hollywood” because of the fact that it has served as a natural stage for many films and series, including John Wayne’s Stagecoach, The Lone Ranger, and Planet of the Apes.

Check out the Little Hollywood Museum, if you’re interested in learning more about the area’s film history.

Kanab is a great base from which to explore some of the area’s most unique natural destinations, including the Buckskin Gulch slot canyon, Thin Wire Pass, Coyote Buttes, and The Wave.

Try a guided hiking tour of Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon , less crowded than some of the other popular sites in Utah and Arizona. 

Visit Panguitch, Utah

classic looking old west town

This quaint historic town was founded by Mormon pioneers in a remarkable location. 

Located just 20 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park, towering mountains and lovely lakes enfold distinctive buildings, making the scenery at Panguitch look as though it came straight out of a painting.

As you stroll its streets, you’ll stumble across plenty of antique shops, local art galleries, and craft shops. As a fun fact, Panguitch means “Big Fish”, and the town is host to the Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally and the Annual Quilt Walk Festival.

St. George, Utah

More than just a gateway town to Zion National Park, St. George, Utah, offers plenty of wonderful things to do all year round. Don’t miss the historic Main Street and Ancestor Square in historic downtown St. George for great dining, shopping, and more.

Other top things to do in St. George include:

  • Top-rated golf courses
  • ​Pioneer Park (don’t miss the view from Dixie Rock)
  • Important historical sites such as Brigham Young’s Winter Home and Mountain Meadow Massacre Memorial 

Sand Hollow State Park

Sand Hollow State Park is one of the newest state parks in Utah, but it’s also one of the most popular. Known for its lovely blue water surrounded by stunning red sandstone scenery, Sand Hollow draws OHV enthusiasts from all over the area.

Sand Hollow State Park is also a great place for:

Dixie National Forest

At almost 2 million acres, Dixie National Forest offers visitors a ton of things to do. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking, ATV-ing, skiing, horseback riding, and more.

Don’t miss the forest’s scenic byway Highway 12, Highway 14, and Patchwork Parkway to see more of South Utah’s amazing scenery. The name of the forest comes from the way that this area was called Utah’s Dixie because of the settlers who traveled there from the Southeastern United States.​

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks is a natural amphitheater that draws visitors in to look at the beautiful red rocks scenery and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. ​

Hikers of all skill levels will find a trail at Cedar Breaks they will enjoy. Cedar Breaks is also known for its stargazing. The dark sky views are among the things that Cedar Breaks National Monument was created to protect. ​ ​

The bottom line

There’s no doubt that southern Utah is a truly remarkable place to visit in the United States, especially if scenery and stunning desert landscapes are what you’re yearning for.

Once you visit, it will kind of get under your skin and you’ll discover that one visit just isn’t enough. Utah, especially southern Utah is not a “one-and-done” kind of travel destination.

More articles to help you plan your trip to southern Utah

  • The best national parks in Utah
  • Utah bucket list of the top places to see in the state
  • Essential travel planning resources
  • How to plan a travel itinerary

Pin this post!  

things to do in southern utah

View the web story

' src=

Darcy Vierow is a busy professional and travel planning expert with years of experience maximizing travel with limited time and on a less-than-average salary. Her tips have been published by Forbes, MSN.com, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Aol, Newsbreak and GOBankingRates. Read more about Darcy Vierow .

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. *

Privacy Overview

The Top 13 Best Things to Do in Utah in December

11/15/2023 by Kristin Addis Leave a Comment

Utah is a playground of geological wonders, and December’s quieter crowds and snow-kissed landscapes offer a magical setting for outdoor adventures. With iconic canyons and lesser-known gems alike, the state beckons with activities that are uniquely enchanting in winter’s embrace.

In this guide, discover the best things to do in Utah in December, from peaceful overlooks to exhilarating hikes and unexpected adventures.

Table of Contents

1. Little Wild Horse Canyon

best things to do in Utah in december

In December, Little Wild Horse Canyon becomes a serene wonderland, largely devoid of the crowds you’ll find in warmer months. The cooler weather provides an entirely different hiking experience, with frozen water features adding to the canyon’s otherworldly beauty.

While summer poses the risk of flooding, this monnth offers safer conditions for you to explore this Utah secret. Located near Goblin Valley—an awesome destination in its own right—this slot canyon is perfect for those wanting a quieter winter adventure.

If a Utah road trip is in the cards for you this winter, Little Wild Horse Canyon definitely deserves a spot on your itinerary!

2. Needles Overlook

best things to do in Utah in december

Imagine taking in sprawling vistas of Canyonlands National Park — but without the constant click of cameras around you. Needles Overlook is your spot. The lower visitor numbers in December mean you can enjoy one of Canyonlands’ most jaw-dropping views, and there’s a chance you’ll have it all to yourself.

The overlook is accessible by car, and the scene becomes even more ethereal with a light dusting of snow, making the red-rock formations pop against the white backdrop.

3. Dead Horse Point State Park

best things to do in Utah in december

For a Grand Canyon–like experience without the masses, head to Dead Horse Point State Park in December. The crisp winter air enhances the clarity of the sprawling canyons below, offering picture-perfect views that rival any summer visit. Drive straight up to the viewpoint and, if you’re up for it, explore the park’s hiking trails blanketed in a soft layer of snow. The solitude and scenic landscapes make this a must-visit this time of year.

4. Bryce Canyon National Park

best things to do in Utah in december

There’s no season quite like winter to enjoy Bryce Canyon National Park. The iconic hoodoos look even more surreal with a crown of snow, creating a mesmerizing contrast between the earthy reds and the pure whites.

While many consider this a destination for other seasons, December offers a range of snowy activities. From snowshoeing and snowmobiling to cross-country skiing, Bryce Canyon is a hot spot for cold-season fun. Plus, fewer visitors mean you can savor the beauty in relative solitude.

Bryce Canyon made our list of the best national parks to visit in the winter , so check that out if you’re keen on getting outdoors as much as possible this month!

5. Bentonite Hills

best things to do in Utah in december

Bentonite Hills, often compared to Martian landscapes, are even more intriguing in December. On your way to the famous Temple of the Sun and the Moon in Capitol Reef National Park, the snow-kissed, multicolored hills provide a dramatic backdrop for winter photography.

Road conditions can change during this month, so always check the latest updates before venturing out. But if you’re looking for a spectacle that’s out of this world, Bentonite Hills is the place to be this month.

6. Goblin Valley State Park

best things to do in Utah in december

December brings a quiet charm to Goblin Valley State Park. Here, the mushroom-shaped hoodoos take on a frosty appearance, sometimes resembling bizarre snowmen in a winter wonderland. The park has two yurts available to rent, making it a great location for a cold-weather getaway.

One of my favorite things about this spot is that it’s a relatively unknown hidden gem in Utah . Visiting this month means it’ll be even more tranquil than normal, and that’s saying a lot, considering it never gets too crowded here. This is the ultimate pick for solitude!

7. Bonneville Salt Flats

best things to do in Utah in december

In December, the Bonneville Salt Flats offer a different kind of wintry spectacle. While summer sees cars zooming down the salt crust, this season offers its own quiet allure. Racetrack Playa is usually the safest area to explore, especially considering the risk of getting stuck in wetter conditions. Although you won’t be setting any land speed records, walking on this snow-like salt bed provides a serene, almost otherworldly experience.

8. Natural Bridges National Monument

best things to do in Utah in december

I visited Natural Bridges National Monument in the wintertime and was amazed by its stunning natural architecture. The monument features three prominent bridges that you can hike to, either individually or in a loop. December’s icy conditions, especially on the trail to the shade-draped Sipapu Bridge, mean it’s a good idea to pack shoe spikes. The visitor center is a valuable resource for up-to-date trail conditions.

If you’re seeking a winter hike that offers both solitude and natural beauty, this is your spot. Plus, Kachina Bridge is often more accessible and leads you to a seasonal waterfall, a hidden gem.

9. Ice Castles in Midway

For a fairytale December outing in Utah, don’t miss the enchanting Ice Castles in Midway . These award-winning works are meticulously crafted by artists and are only open in the colder months. As you wander through the frosty labyrinth, you’ll encounter elaborate sculptures and playful playgrounds of ice, making it a great choice for families with little ones. After exploring a bit, warm up with a cup of complimentary hot chocolate, completing your festive experience.

10. Arches National Park

best things to do in Utah in december

There’s something particularly magical about Arches National Park in December. While amenities like guided tours might not be available, the park’s hiking trails remain open, offering an intimate experience you won’t get in busier months. Even more captivating is the stargazing; thanks to its high altitude and remote location, Arches is a globally recognized site for astronomy enthusiasts. Embrace the chilly nights and witness a breathtaking night sky.

11. Monument Valley Stargazing

If you can’t get enough of stargazing in Utah this December, don’t miss out on Monument Valley. This is one of the best places to see the twinkling night lights this time of year. I recommend taking a guided tour, as it gives you the benefit of having a guide with a telescope for maximum viewing opportunities. Take it from me: you’ll never look at the stars the same way again after this!

12. Mystic Hot Springs

best things to do in Utah in december

Though I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Mystic Hot Springs in the winter months, I can imaging it’s just as beautiful as any other time of year. If you’re lucky enough to see snow on the ground during your December visit, the steam created will surely add to the overall magical vibe of this place. Check out my full guide to Mystic Hot Springs here .

13. Homestead Crater

You probably already know that I’m a dedicated hot springs enthusiast. If Mystic Hot Springs is too remote for you, Homestead is a stellar choice because it’s close to Salt Lake City. Imagine soaking in a geothermal hot spring concealed within a 55-foot limestone dome — an experience you can only get here.

This hidden gem offers a unique winter respite with constant water temperatures ranging from 90° to 96°F. Apart from the obvious allure of a warm soak in a frigid month, you can also partake in swimming, snorkeling, and even stand-up paddleboard yoga. It’s a subterranean escape that’s perfect for a December getaway in Utah.

So, ready to grab your gear and set out to experience the awe-inspiring landscapes, cosmic stargazing spots, and warm, underground retreats this December? Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature photographer, or simply looking for some cozy winter escapades, this list of the best things to do in Utah in December has something for everyone.

About Kristin Addis

Kristin Addis is the founder and CEO of Be My Travel Muse, a resource for female travelers all around the world since 2012. She's traveled solo to over 65 countries and has brought over 150 women on her all-female adventure tours from Botswana to the Alaskan tundra.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

 subscribe to our newsletter

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

outdoor places to visit in utah

9 Best Places to Live in Utah, According to Real Estate Experts

From the state capital to a buzzy ski town, here are nine of the best places to live in Utah.

Utah is a state of natural wonders that will leave even the most experienced traveler awestruck. With five national parks (Arches National Park, Bryce National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Zion National Park), the state rewards its residents and guests with millions of acres of stunning vistas featuring sandstone arches, vast canyons and valleys, towering buttes, lush mountains, and otherworldly salt flats. 

And while the Beehive State is certainly a popular vacation destination (in 2022, Utah recorded over 15 million visitors ), it is even more popular with new residents. U.S. Census numbers show that Utah was the fastest-growing state in the nation between 2010 and 2020, largely due to out-of-state migration. The state’s economy is also a big draw. Between 2017 and 2022, Utah ranked second in the country for economic growth, with manufacturing, real estate, and scientific and technical services as the largest employers. So, where do people settle down?

Here, we rounded up some of the best places to live in Utah, according to real estate experts. 

Related: 24 Best Places to Visit in Utah — Including National Parks, Turquoise Lakes, and Giant Salt Flats

Salt Lake City

Set in a valley surrounded by epic mountain views at 4,327 feet elevation, Utah's capital has something not many cities do — modern urban amenities and world-class winter recreation less than an hour outside the city limits. But for many of its residents, including realtor Paul Svendsen, who moved here with his family from San Francisco, Salt Lake City's draw lies in its manageable size and beautiful neighborhoods. 

"Running to get groceries is a snap. There's no commute. You never have to fight for parking, and you can get a reservation at a good restaurant the day before," Svendsen said. With its curving, tree-lined streets and stately homes just minutes from downtown and the University of Utah campus, Federal Heights is Svendsen's favorite area in Salt Lake City.

"The quintessential Salt Lake City home is probably a brick bungalow — the city has thousands of them, especially in the popular Sugar House neighborhood. The Avenues is a wonderfully intact historic area full of lovely Victorians from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Or if mid-century modern is more your thing, Olympus Cove has plenty of those, including some with cool views of the Wasatch Mountains or the Salt Lake Valley," he added. Currently, the median home price in Salt Lake City is $532,895.

With at least 10 ski resorts within a 45-minute drive, Park City is a winter sports enthusiast's haven. Along its historic main street, the annual Sundance Film Festival is a magnet for movie fans and Hollywood celebrities in January. In the warmer months, visitors and residents enjoy an abundance of cultural events, hiking, fishing, boating at Jordanelle Reservoir, and mountain biking. 

"Park City, rooted in its rich mining history, showcases a diverse array of homes representing various styles, sizes, and decades dating back to the late 1800s. The residential landscape ranges from charming mining cabins to modern ski-in, ski-out mansions," Daimon Bushi, a branch broker at Windermere Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International , told Travel + Leisure, adding that some homes offer access to skiing, hiking, or biking directly from their doorstep. He explained that Silver Star is a hidden gem with many high-end amenities and ski-in/ski-out access, while Old Town is for those who want to be closer to Park City's best bars, restaurants, and boutiques.

Provo and Orem

If access to education is a priority, consider these two neighboring towns at the heart of Utah County; Provo is home to Brigham Young University and Orem to Utah Valley University. 

"Both cities offer a small-town feel, yet have every amenity one could look for with shopping, restaurants, and recreation. The demographic is on the younger side and is family-friendly," Gary Peterson, an associate broker at Windermere Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International , said. The median home price in both towns is around $480,000, and there are many neighborhoods to choose from, including the upscale River Bottom.

Saratoga Springs

Although Saratoga Springs was incorporated only in 1997, its mineral springs and beautiful mountain views have drawn people for hundreds of years. However, according to Windermere Real Estate realtor Lisa Dimond, new residents benefit from having plenty of choice when it comes to homes that range from modern farm and traditional designs to prairie and ultra-modern styles.

"Saratoga Springs is one of Utah's most sought-out destinations for new construction, lifestyle, and ease of community. In addition to all the new construction, Saratoga Springs is working on building new schools, shopping — from large to small shopping centers — restaurants, and so much more," Dimond said. The median home price in Saratoga Springs is $568,122.

Related: Travel + Leisure Readers' 10 Favorite Resorts in Utah of 2023

Eagle Mountain

As one of the fastest-growing cities in Utah , Eagle Mountain attracts young people and families seeking a quiet and safe environment and a top-notch public school system south of Salt Lake City. The city boasts 50 square miles, including 30 miles of hiking and biking trails and easy access to open spaces and outdoor recreation.

And while real estate inventory is low, developers continue to build new homes — the median sale price in Eagle Mountain is $480,000. "You have everything from ranchette properties to mountainside homes with amazing views of Utah Lake, Cedar Valley, and the Wasatch Mountains, to carefree living in beautiful townhome and condominium communities," realtor Connie Elliott said.

This city in the larger Salt Lake City metropolitan area was once a booming mining town that now attracts residents with its Wasatch Mountains views, proximity to world-class skiing facilities, many parks, and outdoor activities. 

"There is no excuse for not getting out to enjoy the wonderful outdoors," longtime Sandy resident and realtor Lisa Jungemann said. "I have seen a lot of growth throughout the years, but Sandy still holds its charm." Jungemann explained that the city offers a wide range of home types — from luxury sprawling residences in the Pepperwood neighborhood to smaller bungalows and single-story rambler-style houses.

"Residents of Daybreak often say that Daybreak is more than a community; it is a lifestyle," Adam Frenza, associate broker at Windermere Real Estate , said. "Strategically planned villages are designed to draw residents out of their own backyards and into a plethora of beautifully unique community spaces, including neighborhood parks, a variety of pools, two amazing lakes, miles of walking trails, and a meandering bike path aptly named 'The Loop.’” Frenza says these “are just a few of the amenities that make this a wonderful place to call home."

Community is at the heart of this vibrant town south of Salt Lake City, where a busy year-round cultural program keeps its residents engaged and entertained. The city's downtown area is bustling with shops and restaurants, and a new library has been added, with plans for a new baseball stadium to open in 2025 .

Draper's main draw is the access to thousands of acres of protected land and open spaces, making it a haven for outdoor lovers and active lifestyle enthusiasts. The city is also known for its family-friendly amenities and emerging cultural scene. Draper's government just released plans for The Point , a multi-billion-dollar, mixed-use development with hotels, a retail promenade along the Jordan River, thousands of housing units, offices, and green spaces with hiking trails, which makes it one of the most important real estate developments in Utah.

"A favorite neighborhood in Draper that buyers should consider is SunCrest. This area is known for breathtaking vistas, invigorating mountain air, hundreds of miles of year-round trails, and a strong sense of community," Windermere Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International realtor Scott Steadman said, noting that the local market's performance suggests that now is an excellent time to buy property with the potential for long-term value and growth.

This Northern Utah valley town will charm you with its picture-perfect natural setting, allowing endless outdoor recreation. The city, home to Utah State University (its biggest employer), had a 2.2 percent unemployment rate in September , less than the nation's average of 3.3 percent.

According to Bankingrates.com , Logan is one of the top three cities in Utah where home prices have skyrocketed over the past three years. The company notes that home values have increased by 60 percent, reaching $421,327 in 2022. Redfin's data shows that the current median sale price is $367,000. 

For more Travel & Leisure news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Travel & Leisure .

Bkamprath/Getty Images

IMAGES

  1. 12 Stunning Landscapes You'll Only See in Utah

    outdoor places to visit in utah

  2. 25 Best Places to Visit in Utah (+ Map!)

    outdoor places to visit in utah

  3. The Big Utah Bucket List: 50 Great Places to Visit in Utah

    outdoor places to visit in utah

  4. The Most Beautiful Places in Utah

    outdoor places to visit in utah

  5. 25 Amazing Places to Visit in Utah in 2023 + Secret Local Tips

    outdoor places to visit in utah

  6. 11 Must See Off The Beaten Path Places in Utah

    outdoor places to visit in utah

COMMENTS

  1. 12 Best Places to Visit in Utah

    Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. #11 in Best Places to Visit in Utah. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a natural wonder that took millions of years to create. Occupying ...

  2. THE 10 BEST Parks & Nature Attractions in Utah (Updated 2024)

    Recommended Outdoor Activities (475) Revenue impacts these recommendations, learn more. See all. 2023. LIKELY TO SELL OUT* Hell's Revenge 4x4 Off-Roading Tour from Moab. ... Utah Tourism Utah Hotels Utah Bed and Breakfast Utah Vacation Rentals Flights to Utah Utah Restaurants Things to Do in Utah Utah Travel Forum Utah Photos Utah Map.

  3. Discover Utah's Limitless Outdoor Recreation

    This road trip through southwest Utah takes you to four of Utah's best places to see the Milky Way — Capitol Reef National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument. Adventure, Scenic Drives/Road Trips, Solitude, Stargazing. See Itinerary. 3 Days.

  4. 21 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Utah

    Utah is a great outdoor state with ski resorts, national and state parks, and natural wonders. Explore Zion, Arches, Monument Valley, Canyonlands, and Bryce Canyon, among other scenic places to visit in Utah. Find tips on when to go, how to get there, and what to do at each attraction.

  5. 24 Best Places to Visit in Utah

    24 Best Places to Visit in Utah — Including National Parks, Turquoise Lakes, and Giant Salt Flats ... Outdoor Soaking Tubs, and Next-level Stargazing — Just Minutes From Zion National Park.

  6. 25 Best Places to Visit in Utah (Bucket List Vacation Getaways!)

    Buckskin Gulch. Buckskin Gulch is one of the best places to visit Utah. At over 13 miles (21 km) long, Buckskin Gulch is for sure the longest and deepest slot canyon in the Southwestern United States. What makes it special is that Buckskin Gulch is also possibly the longest slot canyon hiking trail in the world.

  7. 49 Epic Places to Visit in Utah

    One of my personal favorite places to visit in Utah, Moab is an outdoor enthusiast's ultimate playground. Moab is the only place in Utah where strikingly bold sandstone mesas contrast adjacent snow-capped high-altitude mountains. Plus, there are so many incredible things to do in Moab.

  8. 25 Adventures For Your Utah Bucket List

    An amazing weekend in the Wasatch Mountains with outdoor adventures, smiling faces, and plenty of new friends. 10 Days Across the Plains of Arizona and Utah (in a van!) Jordan Tarver

  9. Best places to visit in Utah

    Here are the best places to go for a uniquely Utah experience. Base yourself in Moab for outdoor adventures. On the doorstep of two national parks, a national forest with summits over 12,000ft, and endless acres of slickrock-clad Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, Moab is ground zero for outdoor action in Utah. A variety of restaurants ...

  10. THE 10 BEST Outdoor Activities in Utah (Updated 2024)

    Fantastic ride through hidden gems of Arches. Review of: Arches National Park 4x4 Adventure from Moab. Written April 30, 2024. This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews. luciasalazarll. Houston, TX3 contributions. 0.

  11. 47 Epic Things to Do in Utah

    Hole 'N' the Rock. Venture inside a gigantic rock to view an old historical home and museum in Moab, UT. 📍 Google Maps | Phone: (435) 686-2250 | Website | Hours: 9 am-5 pm daily | Entrance: $6, adult, $3.50, children 5-10, Free under 5. Hole 'N' the Rock is one of the most unique museums in Utah.

  12. 18 Best Outdoor Activities in Utah

    Rafting Utah's Mighty Rivers. 4. Moab Rafting on the Colorado River. In addition to incredible mountain biking, rafting in Moab is also a must-do outdoor adventure. Explore the beautiful scenery of the Colorado River and its infamous canyons, red rocks, and buttes. Rafting in early summer is best for whitewater opportunities, while later in ...

  13. 65 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN UTAH IN 2023

    Doing so on horseback! Horseback riding is very popular in southern Utah, so this is a fun way to get in touch with the local culture. Consider this White Mountain tour, which welcomes beginner riders and goes through some impressive slot canyons along the way. 59. Dixie National Forest.

  14. 45 Best Things To Do & Places To Visit In Utah

    39. Park Silly Sunday Market. Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock. Shopping is one of the top things to do in Utah, and the Park Silly Sunday Market is one of the places to go. Before leaving the state, you must visit Park City and shop in the open-air Park Silly Sunday Market.

  15. 25 Best Places to Visit in Utah For Your Utah Bucket List + Map

    Visit Utah State Parks - Snow Canyon State Park is One of the Best Things to do in St George Utah. Snow Canyon State Park is a 4,700 acre hidden gem at the bottom southwest corner of Utah that's perfect for your bucket list. It's only and hour from Zion National Park and filled with gorgeous red rock hikes that most people don't know about.

  16. The 25 Best Things to do in Utah

    15. Visit the Iconic Dead Horse Point. Considered one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the world, Dead Horse Point State Park is one of Utah's most popular parks. Towering 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, the famous Dead Horse Point Overlook boasts stunning vistas of the pinnacles and buttes.

  17. Places To Go In Utah

    Red Rock & Dark Skies: Stargazing the National Parks. This road trip through southwest Utah takes you to four of Utah's best places to see the Milky Way — Capitol Reef National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument. Adventure, Scenic Drives/Road Trips, Solitude, Stargazing.

  18. 20 Adventurous Outdoor Things to See in Utah

    Off-the-Beaten Path Things to See in Utah. Besides all of these things to do in Utah's national parks, we have included other outdoor activities you don't want to miss, including exploring slot canyons, stand-up paddle boarding, rafting, camping, mountaineering, and skiing! 10. Canyoneering Orderville Canyon Slot Canyon.

  19. 25 Best Places to Visit in Utah & Things To Do

    Best Places to Visit in Utah & Things to Do. 1. Zion National Park. Zion National Park is located in the beautiful state of Utah. Its name, Zion, comes from the ancient Hebrew for sanctuary or refuge. The park is best for canyoneering, hiking, camping, and horseback riding.

  20. 24 Things to Do in Utah in the Winter: From Snowy Peaks to Cozy

    Top Outdoor Things to Do in Utah in the Winter 1. Ski the "greatest snow on Earth" 2. Midway Ice Castles; 3. Snowshoeing 5. Sled onto a frozen lake 5. Go tubing 6. Swim in a hot springs crater 7. Hike in the snow to a secluded hot spring 8. See the Utah Lake ice stacks 9. Ride a snowmobile 10. Fat biking in the snow 11.

  21. 10 Best Places to Visit in Utah

    Lake Powell. Best Places to Stay. Lake Powell is located on the Colorado River, stretching for nearly 200 miles from northern Arizona into southern Utah, backing up behind Glen Canyon Dam with numerous side canyons that form a jagged 1,900-mile shoreline. The second-largest man-made reservoir in the country, it boasts some amazing landmarks ...

  22. 17 Amazing Things to Do in Southern Utah

    At almost 2 million acres, Dixie National Forest offers visitors a ton of things to do. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking, ATV-ing, skiing, horseback riding, and more. Don't miss the forest's scenic byway Highway 12, Highway 14, and Patchwork Parkway to see more of South Utah's amazing scenery.

  23. The Top 13 Best Things to Do in Utah in December

    Embrace the chilly nights and witness a breathtaking night sky. 11. Monument Valley Stargazing. If you can't get enough of stargazing in Utah this December, don't miss out on Monument Valley. This is one of the best places to see the twinkling night lights this time of year.

  24. 9 Best Places to Live in Utah, According to Real Estate Experts

    According to. Bankingrates.com. , Logan is one of the top three cities in Utah where home prices have skyrocketed over the past three years. The company notes that home values have increased by 60 ...