Known for its iconic red rock formations, beautiful national parks, and outdoor pursuits, Utah is the ideal spot for your next family vacation. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway to visit the kids at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, a sailing trip on the Great Salt Lake or a longer vacation at one of the state’s ski resorts, you’re sure to have a memorable time.
Utah has something for all ages, whether you’re into outdoor pursuits, history and culture, or just want to get away from it all. Salt Lake City is home to a number of great museums and family-friendly attractions, while the state’s five national parks offer endless opportunities for families to enjoy hiking, biking, horse-riding, and camping – or just have a cookout under the stars.
Moab Giants Dinosaur Park, Moab – This fantastic dinosaur park in Moab (set in the middle of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park) is home to over 100 realistic, life-size dinosaurs and provides some fantastic photo opportunities on your family vacation.
Temple Square, Salt Lake City – No Utah vacation is complete without a trip to Salt Lake City. While you’re here make sure you see Temple Square, the headquarters of the Mormon Church.
The Grand Canyon, North Rim – Although the Grand Canyon is technically in Arizona, the North Rim is just a short drive from Kanab, Utah, and it’s often a quieter place to enjoy a hike and the incredible views.
1. Salt Lake City – Utah’s capital city is where you’ll find the Utah State Capitol Building, Temple Square, and the Natural History Museum of Utah. If you’re here for a weekend getaway with the kids, take them to Clark Planetarium or Hogle Zoo.
2. Park City - This popular mountain resort in the Wasatch Mountains is the place to come for skiing and winter sports at Deer Valley Ski Resort and Park City Mountain. It’s also home to the Sundance Film Festival.
3. Zion National Park – This is Southern Utah’s favorite spot for climbing and canyoning, and there are some great hikes here too. Start at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center near the south entrance to find out which rock formations to check out on your adventure.
4. Bryce Canyon National Park – Known for its stunning ‘spire’ shaped rock formations, the best time to be here is at sunrise and sunset. With plenty of hiking trails to choose from, the sky here is one of the darkest in the United States, so you can see a fabulous display of over 7,500 stars (normally we can only see around 2,000 thanks to light pollution!). Stay in the small town of Tropic nearby; it’s a great base for exploring the area.
5. Arches National Park – Just north of Moab, Arches National Park is home to the largest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the world – over 2,000 to be exact!
The state has four very distinct seasons and the weather is generally hotter in the south, peaking at around 110°F in mid-summer. It’s cooler in the mountainous regions, and while winters are rarely too cold, snow is common. From November to April Utah’s ski and winter sports resorts are open for business, but if you’re looking to enjoy hiking, biking and water sports then summer or fall are the best times to visit.
Although there is public transport here, car rental is the best way to get around and see all the state has to offer, particularly if you’re planning on touring the national parks. Utah has a number of interstate highways, most notably the I-80 which connects to San Francisco, the I-70 which connects Southern Utah to Denver, and the I-15 to Southern California and Las Vegas.