Looking for some vacation ideas or day trips in Utah?
In 1847, Brigham Young announced, “This is the right place” as he gazed over the Salt Lake Valley for the first time. More than 150 years later, Utah is still the right place, especially if you are looking for fun family activities and adventures.
Here is an A to Z list of the best Utah destinations for families.
You’ll never forget the first time you see the iconic Delicate Arch in person. It is just one of hundreds of arches and other natural wonders to be found in Arches National Park, located near Moab in southeastern Utah.
A is also for
- Antelope Island State Park
- American West Heritage Center
Hikers, photographers, and casual tourists love Bryce Canyon for its spectacular array of brightly colored hoodoos and other rock formations in this national park. It is also one of the best places around to view the night sky and the park offers night programs year-round.
B is also for
- Bear Lake State Park
- Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
- Beaver Mountain Resort
- Big Cottonwood Canyon
- Bridal Veil Falls
Though one of the lesser known of Utah’s national parks, Capitol Reef is a great family destination. Whether, you prefer gorgeous scenery, geology, dinosaurs, Native American or pioneer history, Capitol Reef has something for you. You can even pick your own fruit in its historic orchards.
C is also for
- Canyonlands National Park
- Cedar Breaks National Monument
- Clark Planetarium
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Cove Fort
There are places in Utah where you almost can’t dig a hole without hitting a fossil. It’s paradise for families who love dinosaur sites and museums. You can find them, large and small, all over the state. Here are some of our favorites.
- Dinosaur National Monument – Vernal
- Natural History Museum of Utah – Salt Lake City
- Prehistoric Museum – Price
- Utah Field House of Natural History – Vernal
D is also for
- Dead Horse Point State Park,
- Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum
- Days of ’47 events
Utah has two of these, one in Park City and one in Ogden. Both theaters are historic landmarks dating back to the 1920’s and have since been renovated and restored. Both theaters host a variety of productions and events, including screenings for the Sundance Film Festival.
E is also for
- East Canyon State Park
- Ensign Peak
There is nowhere else in the United States where you can stand in four states at the same time. Head to the Navajo Nation in Utah’s southeast corner for this one-of-a-kind experience.
F is also for
- Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
- Family History Library
- fly fishing
- Frontier Homestead State Park
The Great Salt Lake is the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere. And it’s located just minutes away from downtown Salt Lake City and other cities as it sprawls northward. Visit Antelope Island State Park to see, swim in and learn about the Great Salt Lake. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a day trip to see Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty on the lake’s remote northern shore.
G is also for
Visit the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City this summer to see the new Rocky Shores exhibit featuring bears, sea lions, seals and otters. It is an exciting addition to the existing Elephant Encounters and Asian Highlands habitats. If you haven’t been to the Hogle Zoo in the last ten years, it’s a whole new place.
H is also for
The city of Ivins is the home of Tuacahn Amphitheatre where you can watch Broadway-style shows against a stunning backdrop of red rock. See Disney’s Aladdin and Hairspray in the summer of 2012, along with a variety of concerts. Ivins is also the gateway to Snow Canyon State Park, where it is warm enough to hike and play outdoors year-round.
I is also for
Jordan River Parkway
This system of parks and trails runs along the Jordan River west of Salt Lake City between the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake. This trail is popular with runners, cyclists and equestrians and accesses many public parks. There is also canoe access into the river itself. Off-highway and motocross enthusiasts will want to visit Jordan River State Park, which features several tracks.
J is also for
There aren’t a lot of places in Utah that start with K… but this one is really fun. Kangaroo Zoo is an indoor inflatable playground full of slides, bounce houses and more with three Wasatch Front locations. Here are more examples of hometown fun that many Utah families enjoy.
Lagoon is a summer tradition for many Utahns. Scream on the thrill rides, take photos of your little ones on the kids’ rides, splash at Lagoon-a-Beach, stroll through the museums in Pioneer Village, or enjoy the musical entertainment. Come back in October for Halloween-themed Frightmares.
L is also for
Utah has a lot of great family-friendly museums. They tend to be new, high-tech and interactive. Pick one and show your kids how much fun learning can be. You might be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy it too. Here are a few of our favorites.
M is also for
This new museum is one of Salt Lake City’s best attractions. Interactive exhibits and play areas will keep families happy, while everyone can enjoy the informative exhibits on dinosaurs, native cultures, weather, and more.
N is also for
Salt Lake City was the host of the 2002 Winter Olympics and the legacy of that event continues at twelve venues along the Wasatch Front. You can see where the Olympians played and learn about the event, or try a winter sport. There aren’t many places where you can ride in a real bobsled. Venues we’ve written about include:
- Utah Olympic Park – Park City
- Deer Valley Resort – Park City
- Park City Mountain Resort – Park City
- Soldier Hollow – Midway
- Snowbasin Resort – Ogden
O is also for
- Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park
- Ogden Nature Center
Utah is home to an exceptional number of ancient petroglyphs. Petroglyphs can be found in seven of Utah’s national parks and monuments, as well as in numerous other places throughout southern and eastern Utah. Here’s a list of petroglyph sites we have visited.
- Dinosaur National Monument – Vernal
- McConkie Ranch – Vernal
- Newspaper Rock – Moab/Monticello
- Potash Road – Moab
P is also for
- Palisade State Park
- Pineview Reservoir
Quail Creek State Park
Quail Creek’s warm climate and convenient location just off of I-15, north of St. George, make it a popular place for boaters and anglers year-round. Come camp here, or just stop by to go wading on one of its many warm days.
Find peace and beauty in the middle of Salt Lake City at Red Butte Garden. Children will enjoy the splash pad, koi pond, waterfall and maze in the Children’s Garden. Adults will love the gardens, the classes and the concerts. Everyone will enjoy the memories.
R is also for Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
Utah’s has the Greatest Snow on Earth. It’s not just a slogan. The light, fluffy powder that falls from the sky is perfect for skiing and snowboarding on Utah’s mountains in the winter and spring months. It’s also really accessible. You’ll find 10 resorts within an hour’s drive of downtown Salt Lake City.
Here are the resorts we’ve skiied (so far).
- Beaver Mountain Resort
- Nordic Valley Resort
- Park City Mountain Resort
- Powder Mountain
- Snowbasin Resort
- Snowbird Resort
- Solitude Resort
S is also for
- Snow Canyon State Park
- Soldier Hollow
- Starvation State Park
- Scenic Byways
- State Capitol Building
- Sundance Film Festival
- St. George
Located at the geographic and cultural heart of Salt Lake City, Temple Square is one of the best-known symbols of the state of Utah. Walk the temple grounds and then choose from surrounding visitor centers, libraries, museum, the conference center, restaurants, or the new City Creek Center that are also owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
T is also for
- This is the Place Heritage Park
- Timpanogos Cave National Monument
- Thanksgiving Point
- Topaz Camp
- Tracy Aviary
Utah Shakespeare Festival
Theater lovers have flocked to the Tony-Award winning Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City for more than 50 years. The festival produces six plays, both Shakespearean and contemporary, every summer and additional plays during the fall season. The shows are complemented by the Green Show, which is free and great for kids, and educational programs.
U is also for
- Utah Museum of Fine Arts
- Uinta Mountains
- Utah Motorsports Campus
Vernal is a fun destination for a summer getaway. The Utah Field House of Natural History and Dinosaur National Monument are located nearby. The Field House is one of the best museums in Utah to see dinosaur fossils and replicas. Dinosaur National Monument recently opened a new visitor center after a five-year closure.
Take one look at a photo of the Wave and you’ll understand why this southern Utah hike is so popular. Get a permit in advance to see this colorful sandstone chute on the edge of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
W is also for
- Wasatch Mountain State Park
Categorizing extreme sports under the letter X might be a stretch, but finding world-class extreme sports in Utah is not. Skiing, snowboarding, canyoneering, paragliding, jeeping, ATVs, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, sky diving and even SCUBA diving are all here in Utah. Here are a few we’ve tried.
- Whitewater rafting in Dinosaur National Monument
- Helicopter ride over Red Cliffs Desert Preserve
- Skiing Utah’s 14 resorts
- Snow Tubing at Soldier Hollow
- Snowshoeing in Bryce Canyon
- Zip line and summer tubing at Utah Olympic Park
- Alpine coaster at Snowbird
Yuba State Park
Popular with boaters, Yuba State Park is a sprawling lake in central Utah. Yuba boasts warm waters, sandy beaches, fishing, OHV trails, and it is one of the few state parks with boat-in camping areas. Don’t have a boat? You can rent boats, personal watercraft and off-highway vehicles in the park.
Zion is a happy place for casual tourists and adventurers alike. Marvel at the towering red rock cliffs from a hike, a bike, the shuttle, or a shady spot on the lawn in front of the Lodge. You’ll see why many families return to Zion year after year.