The natural wonders surrounding the town of Moab, Utah are a happy place for my husband and me. The first time we went there together, and the first time ever for him, was a few weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Contemplating the grandness and beauty of God’s creations brought peace to our souls and that feeling about Moab has never left us. A few months ago, we realized that we had not been there since our oldest child could be carried in a Snuggie and our youngest had never been there at all. The time had come to make another pilgrimage and make more special memories with our children and we made plans to go on President’s Day Weekend. We invited my parents to come with us. I know that not everyone could travel with their parents and in-laws, but ours are so pleasant and easy-going that we invite one set or the other on many of our vacations. It’s a great opportunity for us to catch up with them and for our kids to bond with them. Our parents also get AARP rates at the hotel and seniors over the age of 62 can get a lifetime pass to the National Parks for $10.00. BONUS!
There are a lot of reasons for lovers of the outdoors to visit Moab. For us, it’s the national parks. The entrance to Arches National Park is just outside of town and the most accessible part of Canyonlands National Park is about 35 miles away. Dead Horse Point State Park is on the way to Canyonlands and, despite its strange name, it should not be missed. Jeep and mountain biking enthusiasts will also find world-class trails in the Moab area. I have been to Moab at least three times in January or February and winter is a great time to visit the area because there is a good chance that the weather will be sunny and in the 50’s, the crowds are smaller, and you get off-season rates.
Moab is a tourist town and there are lots of lodging options. You can find campgrounds, B&Bs, ranches, vacation rentals, and lots of low- to mid-range hotels and motels. I looked into several options online, but this time we decided on the Aarchway Inn. For this vacation we wanted our hotel to have a good complimentary breakfast, a refrigerator in the room, Disney and/or Nickelodeon on television, and generally positive online reviews, all for a competitive price. Aarchway met our needs for $59 per night. A couple of things that the Aarchway has that we hadn’t seen before were a hot breakfast and a playground. Most hotels where we stay offer waffles, fruit, cereal, bagels, etc. Aarchway has hot scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits, and gravy and we thought they tasted pretty good. The playground was also fun for the kids for a short while in the morning while we were waiting for Grandma.
For food, Moab has lots of familiar fast food chains, but no sit-down chains, such as Applebee’s or Chili’s. I’m pretty sure that Moab has done that on purpose and it’s cool with us. We did give some business to McDonald’s (our kids’ favorite) and Subway for lunches, but for dinner, we chose a local pizza restaurant called Zak’s. A friend had recommended it to Grandma. The food was not as good as I’d hoped, and I would like to try somewhere different next time, but they did have something to make everyone happy in a casual kid-friendly atmosphere. My husband said that his meal hit the spot. The adults all ordered the pizza and salad buffet and the kids ordered from the kids’ menu, which offered the usual fare. Our kids ate grilled cheese and Kraft macaroni and cheese with fries. I thought that the salad bar was lacking in fresh vegetables, but it was February and such things are not in season yet. I didn’t think the pizza was amazing either, but there was a nice selection of traditional and more interesting choices and the pizza chef was right behind the bar and asked if I had any requests. I didn’t take him up on it, but it was something fun I hadn’t seen before.
Moab is about a five-hour drive from Salt Lake City. We left on a Thursday afternoon and came home on Saturday night. It was a quick trip and we didn’t do nearly as much as we would have liked, but all that sunshine and beauty was good for our souls and it gave us a reason to not wait so long before our next visit.