From snow-capped mountains to red rocks that look otherworldly, Utah is a kaleidoscope of landscapes begging to be explored. Come discover this unique state, where natural beauty, adrenaline-pumping adventure, rich history, and cultural heritage collide.
Utah is a state that thrives on captivating contrasts. It’s a land where desert landscapes meet majestic mountain ranges, where the spiritual meets the adventurous, and where the past meets the present. Whether you’re a thrill seeker looking to conquer the next summit or a history buff eager to explore impressive landmarks, Utah beckons you to immerse yourself in an array of unforgettable experiences.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Utah, from awe-inspiring national parks to hidden gems that make this state a treasure trove of experiences. Buckle up, it’s going to be an amazing ride!
Visit Arches National Park
Arches National Park is like stepping into a surreal painting. With over 2,000 natural stone arches, this park is a playground for photographers and hikers. Don’t miss the iconic Delicate Arch, which you might recognize from Utah’s license plates. See the sights at your speed with this self-guided driving audio tour. Or, book this 4WD tour of Arches National Park from Moab, for a “behind the scenes” experience.
Wander Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is a geological wonderland known for its unique hoodoos—spire-shaped rock formations. The park offers a range of hiking trails that take you up close to these natural sculptures. Sunrise and sunset are magical times to capture the hoodoos glowing in vibrant colors.
Hike in Zion National Park
Zion National Park offers some of the most scenic hikes in the country. The Narrows, a trek through a narrow canyon with towering walls, is a must-do. But if heights are more your thing, try the vertigo-inducing but utterly breathtaking Angels Landing. Or enjoy the park from the comfort of your car by following the 57-mile Zion Canyon scenic drive. As it winds through the park, you’ll find several pull-offs that allow you to stretch your legs and drink in the scenery.
Hit the Slopes in Park City
Park City is a winter wonderland that offers world-class skiing opportunities. Known for its luxurious ski resorts and vibrant après-ski scene, this mountain town is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. And if you’re not into skiing, there’s always snowboarding, snowshoeing, or simply enjoying a cup of hot cocoa by the fire.
Tour Temple Square
Temple Square in Salt Lake City is a spiritual and architectural marvel. Home to the Salt Lake Temple and the Tabernacle, you can learn about the history and beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all while enjoying beautiful gardens and historic buildings.
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Photograph the Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats are like another planet. This vast expanse of flat, white salt crust is famous for land speed records and offers a unique backdrop for photography. Just be sure to check the conditions before you go, because it can get muddy after it rains.
Go White-Water River Rafting on the Colorado River
For adrenaline junkies, white-water river rafting on the Colorado River is a must. The river offers various levels of rapids, making it suitable for both beginners and experts. Plus, the surrounding red rock canyons provide a stunning backdrop for your adventure.
Experience the Natural History Museum of Utah
If you’re a history or science buff, the Natural History Museum of Utah is a must-visit. Located in Salt Lake City, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the natural history of the region, from prehistoric times to the present.
Discover the Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is one of Utah’s most iconic landmarks. The salty waters of the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere offer several unique recreational activities. Antelope Island State Park, located on the lake’s biggest island, provides a unique vantage point to appreciate the lake’s vastness. And, you can hunt for the island’s free-roaming bison and antelope herds. It’s easy to experience both, the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island, on a day trip from Salt Lake City.
Take a Dip in the Homestead Crater
The Homestead Crater is a geothermal spring inside a limestone dome. It’s a unique place to swim, snorkel, or even scuba dive. The mineral-rich waters are said to have therapeutic properties, making it a relaxing experience.
Climb Red Rocks in Moab
Moab is a rock climber’s paradise. Known for its red rock formations that look like the surface of Mars, it offers a range of climbing experiences, from beginner routes to challenging ascents. And if climbing isn’t your thing, there’s always mountain biking or off-roading to enjoy.
Relive Olympic Glory at the Utah Olympic Park
The Utah Olympic Park in Park City is a living legacy of the 2002 Winter Olympics. You can try various Olympic sports, tour the museum, or even watch athletes in training. It’s a unique way to experience the Olympic spirit without leaving the country.
Roam Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park is known for the Waterpocket Fold, a nearly 100-mile-long warp in the Earth’s crust. The park is less crowded than Utah’s other national parks, making it a peaceful place for hiking and enjoying nature.
Gaze Skyward at the Hill Aerospace Museum
Located near Ogden, the Hill Aerospace Museum offers a fascinating look at aviation history. With a range of aircraft on display, from vintage planes to modern fighters, it’s a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts.
Bike the Slickrock Trail
The Slickrock Trail in Moab is a mecca for mountain bikers. The trail offers a unique riding experience on a smooth, petrified sand dune. It’s challenging but incredibly rewarding, with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Roam the Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park looks like a scene straight out of a sci-fi movie. Known for its mushroom-shaped rock formations, it’s an excellent place for hiking and photography. Just be careful – the goblins (rock formations) are known to play tricks on your sense of direction!
Stroll through the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum
Located in Salt Lake City, the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum offers a peaceful escape from the city. With themed gardens and a range of plant species, it’s a lovely place for a leisurely stroll or photography.
Drive Scenic Routes
With jaw-dropping vistas and unforgettable panoramic views, Utah offers some of the most scenic drives in the country. Whether it’s the iconic Monument Valley, the mountainous Alpine Loop, the stunning Highway 12, or the serene Mirror Lake Highway, each route offers a unique glimpse at the natural beauty of Utah.
Unwind in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest offers a range of outdoor adventures, from hiking and camping to fishing and horseback riding. It’s a great place to disconnect and immerse yourself in nature.
Birdwatch at the Tracy Aviary
Located in Salt Lake City, the Tracy Aviary offers a chance to get up close and personal with a variety of bird species. From eagles and hawks to more exotic birds like toucans, it’s a fun and educational experience for all ages.
Float on Lake Powell
Despite its name, Lake Powell isn’t a lake but a man-made reservoir in Southern Utah. With its calm waters surrounded by stunning red rock cliffs, it’s a kayaker’s and paddleboarder’s dream. Plus, you can explore some of the lake’s hidden canyons and coves.
Trek through Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park offers a range of landscapes, from red rock formations to lava tubes. It’s a great place for hiking, rock climbing, camping, and even horseback riding. Despite its name, it’s a year-round destination.
Go Wild at the Hogle Zoo
Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo is a family-friendly attraction home to a range of animals from African elephants to Arctic polar bears. It’s a great way to spend a day, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
Experience Farm Life at the Wheeler Historic Farm
The Wheeler Historic Farm offers a glimpse into Utah’s agricultural past. With historic buildings, farm animals, and even a farmer’s market, it’s a fun and educational experience.
Uncover Fossils at Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument offers a unique opportunity to see real dinosaur fossils embedded in the rock. This national monument isn’t just a museum, it’s an active paleontological site where scientists continue to make new discoveries.
Tour the State Capitol
The Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City is not just a hub of government — it’s a piece of architectural beauty. With its neoclassical design and amazing views of the surrounding area, it’s worth a visit whether you’re into politics or not.
Have You Explored Utah?
Which of these things to do in Utah have you experienced? Is there anything I should add to my list? Share your insider tips and favorite things to do in Utah in the comments section below. Your adventure could be someone else’s inspiration!
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