Fall Break in Utah is October 14-17, 2021 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.
All destinations on this list are OPEN in 2021, but many still have special requirements and limitations due to COVID-19. Be sure to check official websites for current policies.
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. Stand in four states at once at Four Corners Monument.
- 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 National Park is open and shuttle reservations are not currently required.
- 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. There are several hotels and lots of restaurants close by. 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.
- Fun Things to Do at Antelope Island State Park
- Tips for Making the Most of Your Day at Lagoon
- Tips for Visiting Rush Funplex in Syracuse
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 open! 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 have reopened. You can still see the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Sign, and enjoy local beaches.
- 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
Kids Free San Diego is back! Kids under age 12 get in free throughout the month of October at popular attractions like LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and many more. San Diego is one of my top Fall Break picks for families.
- 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 open, along with SEA LIFE Aquarium, Carlsbad beaches, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and other fun activities that will easily fill your school break. Don't forget to check out the special Brick-or-Treat event at LEGOLAND!
- 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 did for Fall Break 2020, and Yosemite is truly spectacular. October is the “off-season,” which means that crowds are lighter in this popular park. Reservations are required through September 30, 2021, and could be extended, so watch the official website carefully for an October trip.
- Tips for Your First Trip to Yosemite
- 10 Fun Things to Do in Yosemite National Park
- One Day in Yosemite
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
Flagstaff is a fun college/ski town just 90 minutes from the Grand Canyon. You might be surprised how many other fun things there are to do here. I loved the ancient ruins. My kids loved the zipline course.
- 15 Fun Things to Do in Flagstaff
- Tips for Planning a Flagstaff Family Road Trip
- Tips for Your First Trip to the Grand Canyon
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, and tours are available with reservations. Mid-October is the end of the regular season, so services may be limited in any year, but crowds are lighter.
- 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. There are lots of outdoor activities nearby, and opportunities to experience the Navajo and Zuni Nations are exceptional.
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!