Utah is one of America’s best family destinations. With ancient rocks, world class resorts, history, class, this state has something for everyone. With 700+ flights coming and going from Salt Lake City International Airport, organizing transportation and logistics can be a breeze. As you plot your itinerary you can look into cabins for rent in Utah, national park adventures or just about anything in between.
A true year round destination, Utah offers visitors of all ages world class ski resorts and world class national parks. It is easy to find a variety of activities for multiple different interests at any time of the year.
You could spend weeks in Utah and barely touch the surface, quite literally, of many of its enticing wonders. In order to have the best time possible, don’t try to cram too much into too short of a visit. Ensure you check the driving distances between the areas you want to visit. Here are some ideas to get your planning started.
Visit Park City
Only 45 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, Park City is a year round adventure mecca. Home to the United State Ski Team, the training center for members of the Australian freestyle ski team and home of the Sundance Film Festival, Park City is a happening place. For those who love shopping it has the largest collection of factory outlet stores in Northern Utah. A historic district, the downtown area also boasts a lively shopping center. In 2008 Forbes Traveler Magazine named Park City one of twenty “prettiest towns” in the United States. Many a parent has reported that the words “I’m bored” leave their child’s mouth while spending time in this fun mountain town.
Go to the Land of Dinosaurs
Dinosaur National Monument is a step back in time to view amazing geology and rock art. This is a real life history lesson better than what you can get in any classroom. Several easy to moderate hikes are suitable for all age groups and abilities. The Fossil Discovery Trail leads visitors down an easy hike through geologic formations going back 80 million years or so. This trail will lead you to the Douglas Dinosaur Quarry where the learning and discovery can continue. For those that are experiencing the desert climate for the first time, the Plug Hat Trail offers an up close and personal observation of the pinon-juniper forest as well as great view of the Unita Basin.
Find Family Fun Time
One of the largest in the west, the Lagoon Amusement Park thrills guests with roller coasters rides and water slides. If the heat starts getting to you, your group can always check out the Seven Peaks Water Park for a chance to cool off. The majority of the ski resorts transform into summer time fun recreation areas in the summer. Zip lines, alpine slides, Euro bungy, horseback riding and ATV tours are just a few of the activities you may find.
Explore The Mighty 5
Perhaps one of Utah’s most remarkable features is its national parks. Attracting visitors from all over the world a person could spend years exploring them all. If you don’t have years, you can at least try to check out all or some of what has become known as The Mighty 5. If you do plan to visit a couple of different parks, make sure you buy the national park’s pass. That will save you a lot of money in the long run. Also ensure that you drink and carry adequate water, wear a hat and protect yourself from the sun. Plenty of people get taken off guard by Utah’s hot and arid climate so don’t waste any of your precious vacation time to feeling ill. Take the proper precautions and prepare for an active time in nature. Here is a brief breakdown of The Mighty 5:
Canyonlands National Park: Known for a dramatic desert landscape carved by the Colorado River this is a great park for the views. Island in the Sky is a huge, flat topped mesa with panoramic overlooks. The towering rock pinnacle known as The Needles is also a big draw for visitors. Ensure you leave enough time to check out the Island in the Sky Visitors Center.
Arches National Park: North of Moab this park contains more than 2000 natural sand stone arches. Famous for its beautiful arches, Landscape Arch is the longest rock arch in Arches National Park and Delicate Arch has made it into many postcards and family photo albums. The formation of the arches, spires and balanced rocks are a result of the park laying atop an underground evaporate lay or salt bed.
Capitol Reef National Park: Franklin D Roosevelt designated the area as a national monument in 1937. Capitol Reef National Park is known for its colorful canyons, ridges, buttes, monoliths and petroglyphs. Impressive to see, check out the Capitol Dome if you get a chance.
Bryce National Park: The major feature of this park is Bryce Canyon itself. However, despite the name Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. One of the main things to see here is the distinct geologic structures called hoodoos.
Zion National Park: Zion National Park has a large diversity of plant and animal species. Known for having over 289 bird species and 75 mammals, this is a good place to sit quietly for a while. For the very adventurous, try hiking the nerve wrecking Angles Landing.
As you look to plan out your Utah adventure don’t feel too bad if you can’t fit all this into one trip. Utah is a place to visit many times over.