This post was sponsored by Heber Valley.
Ready to unplug?
I understand where you’re coming from. Family life gets crazy and even the time honored family vacation is too often interrupted by phone calls, email, texting and altogether too much screen time.
It's time to take a REAL vacation!
Have you considered Heber Valley in Utah? It’s a four-season, outdoor oriented destination less than an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City and just 15 minutes from Park City. While it’s close and connected, Heber Valley offers lots of irresistible ways for families to unplug.
I’ve visited Heber Valley with my family in every season and there is always something fun to do there. Here are the family activities I recommend.
Heber Valley’s three state parks offer top notch camping, hiking, picnicking, fishing, golf, boating, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and snow tubing.
Jordanelle and Deer Creek State Parks are lake parks, known for excellent fishing and water sports. Feeling adventurous? Take a kite boarding lesson at Deer Creek during a summer stay.
Wasatch Mountain State Park is a huge park – 23,000 acres – set aside for a variety of fun outdoor activities. Wasatch Mountain is home to four (!) golf courses, all with mild summer temperatures and outstanding mountain views. Wasatch Mountain Golf and Soldier Hollow Golf each boast 36 holes. Golf families need not look further to fill their itineraries.
Heber Valley Railroad
We took a ride on the Heber Valley Railroad with my husband’s extended family a couple of years ago. It’s a great activity for families – especially those with a wide range of ages. The youngest grandchild was a preschooler at the time and he thought using the bathroom on a train was almost magical. The older kids enjoyed roaming the historic train cars. I was happy to let them do it while I enjoyed the on-board entertainment and the scenery outside.
Heber Valley Railroad runs year-round and regularly hosts special trains like Thomas, Princess, or Polar Express rides. Read more about our experience on the Heber Valley Railroad here. Visit the Heber Valley Railroad website here.
I don’t even like fish, but I still jumped at the chance to try fly fishing with my family in Heber Valley with Rocky Mountain Outfitters. Heber Valley offers so many opportunities to try something new!
On an absolutely perfect May morning, my 6-year-old son hooked a fish while practicing his first cast. Not to be outdone for long, my 8-year-old daughter hooked her first fish minutes later.
Provo River, estimated to have 45,000 fish per river mile, is a blue ribbon fishery known for it’s quality of fish, ease of access, and beautiful surroundings.
Soldier Hollow hosted the cross-country ski and biathlon events in the 2002 Winter Olympics. It’s still a world-class venue for cross-country skiing, but there is a whole lot more happening there throughout the year. We tried their tubing hill last year and my kids are begging to go back. Soldier Hollow is also home to the hugely popular Midway Ice Castles each winter.
At the end of the summer, Soldier Hollow hosts the Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championships. It’s a huge event, bringing in competitors from as far away as South Africa and Brazil. It’s something you won’t get to see in many other places.
The Homestead Resort in Midway is a local institution. It’s popular for romantic getaways, but it’s a great choice for families too. The hotel is lovely on its own, but I was surprised by how many fun activities are available on-site.
Swimming or diving in the Homestead Crater is a truly unique experience. It’s a geothermal pool inside a natural limestone dome. It’s a great place to take a SCUBA class, or just to soak or swim in the naturally heated mineral water.
The Homestead Resort has it’s own golf course and it offers a variety of fun family activities including horseback riding, campfires, free concerts, guided hikes in the summer. Sleigh rides and snowshoeing are fun in the winter.
Across the street, you’ll find the Homestead’s sister property, the Zermatt Resort. This Swiss-inspired hotel has one of the better indoor pools we’ve seen, great restaurants, spa, and lots of on-site activities and services.
The cities of Heber and Midway are not large, but they have an impressive number of good restaurants between them. Foodies, localvores, vegetarians, vegans and those of us who just want a good burger and shake will have no trouble finding their flavor in Heber Valley.
We are fans of the salsa bar at Tarahumara, the artisan pizza at Galleria Cafe, and the beautiful Sunday Brunch at Z’s Steak and Chop House. For that burger and shake, head for Dairy Keen on Heber City’s Main Street.
How else can we help?
Need a place to stay? We stayed at Zermatt Resort, which has a good indoor/outdoor pool and onsite activities for families. Read my full review of Zermatt Resort here. Check rates and reviews at TripAdvisor or Booking.com.