Fall Break in Utah is October 15-18, 2020 for most public schools. Do you have plans yet?
If not, I have a few ideas. Most of them are in Utah, but there are also a few warm-weather destinations in neighboring states that we love. All are within one day's drive or a short flight away.
Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the temporary closure of some popular Fall Break destinations and limited access to others. This list includes closed and limited destinations because the pandemic won't last forever. Check official websites before you plan a trip.
Here are my favorite destinations for Fall Break in Utah. I've also included links to other Tips for Family Trips where you can find more ideas and inspiration for your trip.
Moab – Arches
People travel from all over the world to hike and bike in the Moab area. Arches National Park is just six miles outside Moab and it's filled with fun things to see and do. However, I recommend that you get up early to beat the Fall Break crowds.
- 10 Fun Things to Do in Moab
- Top Things to Do in Arches National Park
- Tips for Visiting Canyonlands' Island in the Sky
San Juan County – Four Corners
Consider planning your trip around the Southeast Utah Parks Pass, which costs $55 for an annual pass and includes Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Hovenweep, and Arches. Four Corners Monument is currently closed, but I'd add it to this itinerary for your next trip.
- 12 Fun Things to Do in San Juan County
- What to Expect at Natural Bridges National Monument
- Tips for Visiting Four Corners Monument
Goblin Valley State Park is a treat for the eyes and imagination. Little Wild Horse slot canyon is nearby. Book Goblin Valley campsites early or do a day trip from Green River, Moab, or Capitol Reef.
Capitol Reef is one of Utah's best national parks in the fall. In addition to beautiful scenery and hiking, this park has trees with colorful fall leaves and historic orchards full of apples that you are welcome to eat during your visit.
St. George – Zion
There are so many fun things to do in the St. George area, including Zion National Park, Snow Canyon, Tuacahn, and much more. Zion is open in 2020, but with limited shuttle service and park access.
- 10 Fun Things to Do in St. George
- Fun Things to Do at Zion National Park
- Where to Stay at Zion National Park
Kanab is located on the east side of Zion National Park, on the Utah-Arizona border. It's warm in the fall and the scenery is gorgeous, but it's less crowded. We loved visiting Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
- Tips for Visiting Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- 6 Ways to Visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
- Review of Zion Ponderosa Ranch and Resort
Bryce Canyon National Park is my go-to park in every season. There is nowhere on earth that is more beautiful, and it's an easy and affordable weekend trip from just about anywhere in Utah.
- Top Things to Do at Bryce Canyon National Park
- Tips for Your First Trip to Bryce Canyon
- Where to Stay at Bryce Canyon National Park
Lehi's Thanksgiving Point has become one of my favorite Wasatch Front getaways. The gardens, museums, and other activities are all fun for a day trip or an overnight getaway. Cornbelly's Corn Maze and other fall attractions are open for Fall Break.
Salt Lake City
There are always fun things to do in Salt Lake City. Consider building your itinerary around the Salt Lake Connect Pass, which includes 17 popular attractions and can be purchased for 1, 2, 3, or 365-days.
- 25 Free Things to Do in Salt Lake City
- 100+ Fun Things to Do in the Salt Lake City Area
- Our Review of the University Guest House
Build a fun, diverse Fall Break itinerary around Lagoon's Frightmares and Antelope Island State Park. I'm also a fan of the dining and shopping at Station Park in Farmington.
Ogden offers a nice mix of outdoor adventure and urban edge. Take younger kids to the Dinosaur Park or Treehouse Museum. Take older kids to the Salomon Center downtown. I love the restaurants and atmosphere on Historic 25th Street.
Have you been meaning to check Golden Spike National Historical Park and Spiral Jetty off your list? This is your chance. Add Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the ATK Rocket Display to your list and you have an easy day trip or overnighter.
Everyone knows about the big wall of dinosaur bones at Dinosaur National Monument but did you know about all the other fun things there are to do here? Think gorgeous scenery, hiking trails, petroglyphs, wildlife, and more.
- Tips for Visiting Dinosaur National Monument
- Tips for Visiting the Utah Field House of Natural History
- Our Review of Springhill Suites in Vernal for Families
You can have a fun Las Vegas family vacation, with or without visiting the famous Las Vegas Strip. I love both, but my kids prefer to book a non-gaming resort with a great pool and then visit Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, and other fun off-Strip activities.
- Best Family Activities on the Las Vegas Strip
- Tips for Visiting Hoover Dam
- Review of Tahiti Village Resort
We visited Ely, Nevada for the first time this summer, and there are a lot of great things to do here! Nevada Northern Railway is especially fun. Book the Haunted Ghost Train early to make sure you get a seat.
- 10 Fun Things to Do in Ely, Nevada
- What to Expect at Nevada Northern Railway
- Tips for Your First Trip to Great Basin National Park
Disneyland is closed for Fall Break 2020, but we look forward to returning soon! The parks are filled with Utah families every Fall Break. The addition of Disneyland's annual Halloween celebration has made this an even better choice in recent years. Book through Get Away Today for the best price on a hotel and ticket package.
- Tips for Oogie Boogie's Halloween Bash at Disneyland
- 30+ Ways to Save Money at Disneyland
- 15 Tips for Picking a Great Hotel Near Disneyland
Universal Studios – Hollywood
Universal Studios and many other attractions in the Los Angeles area are still closed. You can still see the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Sign, and enjoy local beaches. 2020 is not the best year for this fall trip but it is one of my favorite California trips! Save it for later.
- Tips for Your First Trip to Universal Studios Hollywood
- 9 Fun Things to Do in Hollywood
- What to Expect on a Warner Bros. Studio Tour
San Diego is OPEN in 2020 and welcoming visitors! Expect a few changes, but most popular destinations like SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo are open. Kids get in free to these popular destinations and many others in San Diego during the whole month of October!
- Tips for “Kids Free San Diego” Deals in October
- Tips for Visiting the San Diego Zoo
- Tips for Visiting SeaWorld San Diego
LEGOLAND California – Carlsbad
LEGOLAND California is still closed, but SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California is open in 2020. So are Carlsbad beaches, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and other fun activities that will easily fill your long weekend.
- Tips for Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND California
- Tips for Visiting SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California
- Tips for Visiting the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Yosemite National Park
This is what my family is doing for Fall Break 2020. Reservations are required this year to keep crowds down, but we saw that as an opportunity to see the park with a lot less of the usual traffic.
Are you missing summer already? Phoenix cools down by mid-October, but that just means that the weather is still great for swimming and not too hot for everything else. Book a resort with a great pool and plan hiking or golf for the cooler morning hours.
- 10 Fun Things to Do in Phoenix
- Our Review of Wigwam Resort
- Our Review of Arizona Grand Resort and Spa
Sedona, Arizona is a gorgeous destination for families who love the outdoors. Choose from dozens of hiking trails, historical sites, swimming holes, parks, and more.
Denver is a fun city for families. It's bigger than Salt Lake City and it has many urban amenities and outdoor activities for families. And it's a cheap and easy flight.
Mesa Verde National Park is a relatively short drive from Arches or Four Corners. The ancient cliff dwellings are amazing, but they are currently closed. Put this park on your wish list for next year.
- Tips for Visiting Mesa Verde National Park
- Tips for Visiting Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
I didn't realize how cool Gallup is until I had a chance to visit in the fall. This small city is surrounded by the Navajo Nation and Route 66 runs through it. This region is rural but was hit hard by COVID-19. Restrictions are still in place, so plan with care.
Fall Break in Utah is a fantastic time for family travel! The weather is usually just right and the long weekend is just enough time to visit a long list of wonderful places. Whether your family prefers a scenic outdoor trip, a city break, or a resort with a great pool, I hope you've found a few ideas on this list that are a good fit.
Have I missed one of your favorites? Please share it in the comments!