Utah is a state known for its stunning natural landscapes and outdoor adventures, making it the perfect destination for families who love to explore the great outdoors. With five national parks, numerous state parks, and endless opportunities for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities, there’s no shortage of things to do in Utah with your family.
In this guide, we’ll cover some of the top destinations and activities for families in Utah, as well as tips and advice for making the most out of your outdoor adventures. So pack your bags, grab your kids, and get ready to explore all that Utah has to offer!
Utah is home to five breathtaking national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. Each park offers unique and stunning landscapes, making them perfect for family adventures. Here are some must-see sights in each park:
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a true gem in Utah’s crown of natural wonders, enchanting families with its towering cliffs and serene river valleys. Hiking trails like The Narrows and Angels Landing offer challenges for older kids and a chance to see the park from breathtaking vantage points. For a more relaxed experience, the Riverside Walk is a gentle path that follows the Virgin River, suitable for all ages.
After a day full of adventure, families can find accommodations in one of the many Zion National Park hotels, providing restful havens with amenities to satisfy every member of the family and stunning views that extend the wonder of Zion right to your doorstep.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its unique geological structures known as hoodoos, which are tall and thin spires of rock that have been eroded by wind, water, and time. Families can enjoy stunning views of these formations along the park’s many hiking trails, like the Rim Trail or Queen’s Garden Trail. For an even more memorable experience, families can participate in the park’s Junior Ranger Program, where kids can complete activities and earn a badge as an official Bryce Canyon Junior Ranger.
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park offers families a glimpse into Utah’s pioneer history with its preserved orchards and historic buildings. Families can also hike to see ancient petroglyphs or go on a scenic drive through the park’s stunning landscapes. And don’t forget to stop at the Gifford Homestead for some delicious homemade pie made from fruit grown in the park’s orchards.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, making it a must-see destination for families. Kids will love exploring the park’s many hikes and discovering these unique formations. Families can also take a guided tour or attend a ranger program to learn more about the park’s geology, wildlife, and history.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is divided into four distinct districts, each offering its own unique experiences for families. The Island in the Sky district is perfect for families with younger kids, as it offers stunning viewpoints and shorter hikes. The Needles district is ideal for families with older kids who are up for more challenging adventures, like backpacking or mountain biking. The Maze and Horseshoe Canyon districts offer remote and rugged landscapes for families seeking a true backcountry experience.
Aside from its national parks, Utah also boasts numerous state parks that offer smaller-scale adventures for families. Here are a few to add to your itinerary:
Dead Horse Point State Park
Located near Moab, this state park offers stunning views of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park. Families can hike along the canyon rim or take in the sights from an overlook platform.
Antelope Island State Park
Families can experience a different kind of outdoor adventure at Antelope Island, where they can spot bison and other wildlife while hiking, biking, or horseback riding. The park also offers camping opportunities and a visitor center with educational exhibits.
Snow Canyon State Park
This state park is perfect for families who love to climb and explore unique rock formations. Families can also enjoy hiking, biking, or horseback riding through the park’s red rock scenery.
Tips for Family Adventures in Utah
Now that you have some ideas for where to go and what to do, here are a few tips to ensure your family’s outdoor adventures in Utah are safe and enjoyable:
- Always check the weather before heading out on any outdoor activity. Utah’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for any changes.
- Stay hydrated and bring plenty of water with you on hikes and other outdoor activities. The desert climate in Utah can be hot and dry, making it easy to become dehydrated.
- Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the activities you plan on doing. This includes hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and closed-toe shoes for hiking.
- Respect nature and leave no trace. It’s important to preserve Utah’s beautiful landscapes for future generations by practicing responsible outdoor ethics.
- Consider hiring a guide or joining a tour for more remote and challenging activities. This can provide added safety and knowledge about the area’s terrain and wildlife.
Utah is a dream destination for families who love to explore nature and create lasting memories. Whether you choose to visit its national parks, state parks, or both, there is no shortage of outdoor adventures waiting for you in this beautiful state. So pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and get ready to discover all that Utah has to offer!