Moab is a city in eastern Utah and it's the gateway to the awe-inspiring Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
This spectacular city is surrounded by rivers, forest, rugged land and a state park.
This stunning part of the world is well worth a visit, with jaw dropping landscapes, native American rock art, and even dinosaur tracks!
Moab offers the perfect combination of outdoor adventure and relaxing retreat, so there's something for everyone.
When visiting this incredible part of Utah, you’ll want to ensure you make the most of this archaeological oasis.
So here are our recommendations of the best things to do in Moab!
The nearest airports to Moab are domestic airports.
The closest is Canyonlands Field Airport (CNY), and you can get a flight from Salt Lake City or Denver airport to CNY with Skywest Delta.
CNY is 18 miles north of Moab, and you can make this journey by shuttle bus. Book the book the Moab Express shuttle from Canyonlands Airport as it can take you to a variety of different locations in and around Moab.
Domestic flights also run from Grand Junction Airport (GJT). GJT is an hour and a half’s drive away, or you can take a shuttle which takes the same amount of time.
The nearest international airports are Salt Lake City (SLC) and Denver (DEN).
If you fly into SLC you'll need to rent a car and drive 4 hours to Moab, whereas Denver is a 5-hour drive away! Both of these drives are very scenic, so allow for a lot of stops along the way!
Check flight prices and availability on Skyscanner!
If you're road-tripping around the United States then you can easily drive into Moab as it's located pretty much halfway between Salt Lake City and Denver!
Rental Cars often have some fantastic deals, but if you're looking for something bigger then why not hire an RV in Salt Lake City if that's your first stop?
This means you'll have plenty of space and flexibility, and you won't have to struggle to find accommodation during the peak months!
You can’t simply ‘hail a taxi’ in Moab! Nor can you book an Uber.
For this reason, you’ll want to rent a car to get around the area, and see all the best attractions in Moab.
There are numerous car rental options in the area including Canyonlands Jeep Rental, Moab Car Rentals and Enterprise Rent a Car, found at Canyonlands Airport.
This way, you can include some of the surrounding areas in your Utah road trip!
We mentioned before that the Moab Express shuttle takes you from Moab Airport into the town.
But there are also lots of other shuttle services providing transfers between popular locations in and around Moab, Utah.
Shuttle services take you from Moab town out to mountain bike trailheads, rivers and other popular cities in Utah and Colorado.
Some shuttle services even provide a transfer to Las Vegas.
Lazy Lizard Hostel is a great budget accommodation option in Moab.
They pride themselves as being one of the cheapest hostels in the US, and it's ideally located within walking distance of Moab town.
Their rates for dorm rooms start at $16, but you can also rent private rooms and cabins for reasonable rates too.
The hostel offers a whole host of amenities, including a shared kitchen, free wi-fi, hot showers, laundry, barbecues and free parking.
Of course camping is always a great cheap accommodation option, and Moab has lots of options for tent, caravan or campervan pitching. The Best way to find these options is by using a website like Pitchup!
Hotel Moab Downtown is located in the heart of Moab, and is 5.7 miles away from the entrance to Arches National Park.
It’s the largest full service hotel in Moab and is perfectly situated close to restaurants, shops, galleries and museums.
Another option is Expedition Lodge which is found in the heart of Moab, just 8.1 miles from Mesa Arch.
There’s an on-site pool for all guests to use, and breakfast is included in the rate. You'll also have access to free WiFi!
If you’re after a more unique stay then Moab is definitely the place for you!
There are lots of options like a glamping set up or a tipi.
For a luxury stay experience in Moab you can rent an entire apartment or villa which is a great option if you’re travelling as a group. Vista Villa is the perfect choice and sleeps up to 18 people!
SpringHill Suites by Marriott is a great luxury hotel option in Moab, and a buffet breakfast is included with every room.
There’s a fitness centre and an outdoor swimming pool available for all guests to use too!
First on the list of things to do in Moab is one for the adrenaline junkies amongst us….
Moab Adventure Center offers some amazing activities including river rafting, off-roading, rock climbing and canyoneering.
Canyoneering is slightly different to rock climbing, as rock climbers use textures, bumps and cracks in the walls to reach the top. Whereas, canyoner's slip or rappel into areas that can only be accessed by rope.
Visitors come from all over the world to canyoneer in Moab, and it's not hard to see why!
Moab Adventure Center’s most popular activity is Canyoneering at Grandstaff Canyon. This promises to be an unforgettable day out, rappelling 120 feet off Morning Glory Arch down into Ephedra’s Grotto.
Alternatively you could opt for a private canyoneering tour for a more customisable experience!
For things to do around Moab look no further than Arches National Park. This amazing park is found just 4 miles north of Moab, and is home to over 2000 natural sandstone arches (hence the name!)
The best known of these is perhaps Delicate Arch, but there are thousands of unique geological formations throughout the park.
In fact, the highest density of natural arches in the world are found at Arches National Park.
The park spans across over 310 square kilometres of high desert on the Colorado Plateau, and you'll find plenty of amazing activities to do here.
Some of the most popular include hiking, mountain biking, camping, canyoneering, horseback riding and rock climbing.
There are hiking trails ranging from just 15 minutes, all the way up to 4 and a half hours, so there's something for every ability!
Auto touring is a great way to see some of the amazing scenery that Arches National Park has to offer, as there are various routes and drives you can do that encompass both paved and unpaved roads.
If you’re self driving and want to stay away from packed tour groups, you could enjoy a self guided audio tour.
Or kick back and relax, and get someone to do all the hard work for you - 4x4 tours are very popular in the Arches National Park.
There are fees to visit, and at certain times of the year reservations are required before visiting the national park!
Without doubt one of the best Moab attractions has to be Canyonlands National Park.
Canyonlands is divided into four districts: The Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze and the Green, and the Colorado River.
Author Edward Abbey one described Canyonlands as "the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth—there is nothing else like it anywhere."
So it's certainly an unmissable thing to do near Moab!
You could end up spending days in Canyonlands National Park, but if you want to see some of the best bits with a guide, without eating too much into your Moab itinerary you can hop on a half day tour.
The Needles and Island in the Sky are great places for camping, and if you're camping out in Canyonlands you’d be a fool not to enjoy some stargazing.
Canyonlands is also a popular spot for hiking, boating, biking and climbing.
If you’re really prepared to splash out, you can see Canyonlands and the Arches from a birds eye view with a scenic plane flight over the two national parks.
Lying 32 miles away from Moab, Dead Horse Point State Park is one of Utah’s most spectacular parks.
Dead Horse Point offers panoramic views of the Canyonlands, as it towers 2000 feet above the Colorado river. So, it's no surprise to learn that it's one of the most photographed vistas on the planet.
The Dead Horse is around a 45 minute drive from Moab, and there's a $20 fee per car entering the park.
This park is also one of the best places to stargaze in the Moab area, and hiking is popular here too!
There’s an 8 mile trail which overlooks the East Rim and West Rim Trails, and you've also got the the Intrepid Trail System which is a 17 mile mountain bike trail.
Bikes are also allowed to ride single file on the paved roads!
Kayenta Campground and Wingate Campground are great overnight stops, and you can book the campgrounds up to four months in advance.
Kayenta has 21 RV campsites with electricity, whereas Wingate has 4 yurts, 20 RV campsites and 11 tent-only sites.
Hells’ Revenge is a 6.5 mile long 4x4 trail and it's one of the most popular drives in Moab.
Rated a 6 out of 10 for difficulty, its hazardous terrain means it’s only recommended for experienced drivers.
Although only 6.5 miles long, the nature of the trail means it takes 2-3 hours to complete.
The maximum speed on Hell’s Revenge is 15mph and all vehicles must stick to the designated roads and trails.
Despite its intensity, Hell’s Revenge offers some stunning views and is a truly unique experience.
If you don't want to take on this Moab attraction yourself, taking part in a guided tour is the best way to go.
This 3 mile hike takes visitors to one of the biggest and best arches near Moab.
The trail passes Pinto Arch and Bowtie Arch, before reaching Corona Arch (also known as Little Rainbow Bridge).
The trail is well marked with cairns and metal cable handrails, and there’s turquoise paint marking any paths where it might be easy to go off course.
There is very little shade found along the Corona Arch Trail, so it’s best to do the hike early in the morning during the warmer summer months.
Make sure you carry water with you at all times and wear a hat as well!
The trailhead is a 20 minute drive away from Moab, so it won't take you long to travel to.
It takes around 2 hours to complete the full out and back hike, but allow extra time to really take in the views.
The Colorado River flows 1450 miles through two Mexican states and seven US states (including Utah!)
The Moab area is a great place to enjoy rafting down the Colorado River, so what are you waiting for?
This exciting excursion is yet another great option for an adventure activity in Moab.
Not only is there the opportunity to raft through red rock canyons, but you can take in the breathtaking desert landscapes as you go.
Half day rafting trips give you plenty of time to enjoy some more of Moab’s stunning attractions for the rest of the day, or full day tours are also available.
White Water Rafting Tours near Moab will see you navigate rapids, and paddle through the Castle Valley, and Fisher Towers.
No prior water rafting experience is required to enjoy this amazing Moab activity.
Wilson Arch is a natural sandstone arch located 24 miles south of Moab.
The arch gets its name from local pioneer, Joe Wilson.
Now we’ve already established that Utah is home to lots of iconic arches, but so many of them are hidden behind traffic, crowds and fees.
Wilson Arch bucks the trend!
It costs nothing to visit and sits along the 191 Highway. The pull-out is well marked so it’s easy to find which means there's no reason not to go!
There’s an easy scramble up some red dirt to reach Wilson’s Arch, which shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.
The view from up here is pretty spectacular and offers a great spot for a picnic.
This is definitely one of the best free things to do in Moab!
Fisher Towers is renowned for being one of the most bizarre and unique landscapes in the Utah canyon country.
Its panorama consists of spires, gargoyles, pinnacles, fins and strangely shaped rock formations.
The best way to explore Fisher Towers is by hiking the Fisher Towers Trail, which is a 2.6 mile trail that takes hikers through the towers, sharp canyons and along vertical cliff edges.
The full round-trip hike is 5.2 miles, but hikers often opt to end the hike earlier at Ancient Arch or the base of Cottontail Tower’s West Ridge.
Utah's not short of dramatic landscapes but this place truly offers something special! For this reason, no trip to Moab is complete without heading to Fisher Towers!
Next up on this list of things to do in Moab is - you guessed it - another arch!
Mesa Arch (aka Rotary Arch and Trail Arch) is a pothole arch.
It’s found in Canyonlands National Park, lying on the eastern edge of the Island in the Sky.
Mesa Arch is perched on the edge of a cliff and offers amazing views of canyons, the La Sal Mountains, Monster Tower and Washer Woman arch.
You can easily access Mesa Arch via an easy, 0.6 mile hiking trail, and the views are thought to be some of the best in Utah’s National Parks.
And the sunrise makes these views even more mesmerising!
If you head to Mesa Arch first thing, you’ll be able to beat the crowds to all the other great attractions in Canyonlands.
The Needles form part of Canyonlands National Park.
The southeast corner of the park gets its name from the spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area.
Sometimes The Needles can be an overlooked area of Canyonlands, or the 75 mile, hour and a half drive from Moab to The Needles can put visitors off.
But it certainly isn’t to be missed - there really isn’t anywhere else like it!
And this only means that there aren’t as many crowds flocking to The Needles.
There’s lots of hiking and driving experiences to enjoy here, as well as incredible views of Canyonlands.
Hiking trails in The Needles offer short loops, or long day hikes, as well as overnight trips.
If you’re planning on staying here, The Needles campground is open all year round.
There are also some amazing driving routes in this part of Moab!
Some popular 4x4 trails lead visitors to attractions such as Elephant Hill, Tower Ruin, Confluence Overlook, and Chesler Park.
The Needles Visitor Centre offers a picnic area, exhibits, maps, books, on duty park rangers, and backcountry permits.
It’s open daily from spring through to autumn, though the hours vary seasonally.
The 9000 acre Sand Flats is located just a few miles from Moab.
The area is perhaps best known for its Slickrock and Porcupine Rim bike trails, which are both well renowned for being challenging but also offering amazing scenery.
30 miles of 4x4 trails are found in Sand Flats Recreation Area, which means it's a top spot for adventure drives! Two of the most popular driving trails are Fins and Things and Hells Revenge.
There are fees to enter the recreation area, with various different day passes available so make sure you do your research to see which is the best option for you!
If you’re looking to spend an overnight stay here, there’s 140 individual campsites within the Sand Flats area.
Moab Giants Dinosaur Park offers a one-of-a-kind experience, nestled in Moab’s incredible landscape just 9 miles north of the town.
With both indoor and outdoor experiences, there are so many attractions to fit into your day out.
So give yourself around 2-3 hours to really make the most of Moab Giants!
First of all, there’s a dinosaur track which is home to over 100 life-size dinosaurs. Then there’s the virtual 5D PaleoAquarium which takes you underwater to see some prehistoric sea creatures.
A lot of these species are some of the most unique, and most dangerous in the world!
And if that wasn’t enough the 3D theatre takes you back to the Mesozoic Era, and teaches you all about fossils, dinosaurs, and the impact they had on our world.
Moab Giants dinosaur park is open 6 days a week, excluding Wednesdays.
Other great activities here include the Giants Cafe, Tracks Museum, Paleo Camp and Dig-it-Out Sites.
You can book your tickets in advance and these tickets cover the outdoor exhibits. Everything else is extra so just keep that in mind!
Or you can get a pass which combines all the attractions in one!
Island in the Sky is the easiest area to visit in Canyonlands, especially for short periods of time.
There are lots of pull outs along the paved driving roads which offer incredible views.
This is perhaps why it’s the most popular area of Canyonlands for visitors.
Island in the Sky is around 10 miles north of Moab, and it takes around 10 minutes to drive from Moab to the Island in the Sky visitor centre.
It’s recommended to use a map to get to Island in the Sky, as sometimes sat-navs can send you the wrong way.
It’s good to start at the visitor centre as you can get any extra maps from here, and ask park rangers for advice and recommendations.
There’s water here for you to stock up on, which is important as there’s no water available in the park.
And of course the visitor centre is a great place to grab any souvenirs, but the opening hours vary by season.
Hiking Trails and four-wheel-drive roads in Island in the Sky can take you into the backcountry where you can stay for anything from a few hours, up to a few days.
The Shafer Trail is a popular, but challenging, backcountry driving route or you can spend 2-3 days completing a trip round the 100-mile White Rim Road.
You might want to join a tour to experience these challenging 4x4 routes.
Popular hiking trails in Island in the Sky include Mesa Arch Trail, White Rim Overlook Trail, Aztec Butte Trail and Grand View Point Overlook.
A totally remote, but totally unique spot, Goblin Valley State Park is well worth a visit.
It’s around 100 miles from Moab to Goblin Valley, and the journey takes around 90 minutes.
It might seem a long way to go just to spend a couple of hours, but trust me this isn't a place you want to miss!
This ‘otherworldly’ and rugged landscape is deemed one of the coolest places to visit in Utah state, and one of the best things to do near Moab.
Goblin Valley gets its name from the thousands of hoodoos which are formations of mushroom-shapes rock pinnacles.
Some are as much as several metres tall, and these have become known locally as ‘goblins'.
The browns and oranges across the valley make the landscape look as though it’s filled with orange and chocolate covered creatures!
Goblin Valley State Park is the perfect stop on the way if you’re heading from Moab, out to Capitol Reef National Park.
There are fees to enter this state park, and you also need a permit if you wish to use a drone.
Here's some more information on the best things to do in Goblin Valley State Park...
We’re finishing this list of things to do in Moab as we started it - something for the adrenaline junkies!
There’s arguably no better way to enjoy Moab’s fascinating landscape than by a zipline, and Moab Adventure Center provides the only Zipline tour in Moab.
Raven’s Rim Moab Zip Line Tour begins with a 4x4 ride to the top of the cliff faces. Then you’ve got six ziplines to enjoy!
You’ll really see Moab from a bird's eye view as you skim over sandstone cliffs and whiz between natural fins and over canyons and gaps in the landscape.
And as if this wasn’t enough there’s incredible views over to the La Sal Mountains in the distance.
You can book the Moab Zipline tour in advance on the website!
At least 2 full days are needed to make the most of the Moab area.
You’d probably want to allow a day to explore Arches National Park, and half a day to a full day for Canyonlands National Park.
If you have more time to spare, and want a more relaxing visit, allow 3-4 days in Moab.
You'll be able to see a lot more and won’t feel as though you are rushing to cram everything in.
Early spring or late autumn are the best times to visit Moab.
April and May are great months to visit as the weather is nice - temperatures are around 26-32C (80-90F).
It isn’t peak season so it isn’t so busy, but the main attractions and activities in Moab are still open, so you’re able to see and do everything you want.
Rain is a rare risk factor when visiting Moab.
In fact, Arches National Park has an average of less than 250mm (10 inches) of rain annually.
Based on the average accommodation price and spend of tourists, the average price for a 7 day trip to Moab is: $2,047 for a solo traveller, $3676 for a couple, and $6892 for a family of 4.
Now this might sound quite pricey, but there are ways you can visit Moab on a budget.
City Market is the grocery store in Moab so you can grab something here instead of eating out.
Whilst you can find budget campsites and hostels in the city centre, hotels can be more expensive.
Staying outside of Moab city itself will of course be cheaper.
You can even find free camping grounds in the Moab region if you’re really looking to go off grid and save a few $$.
Hopefully this guide of things to do in Moab has inspired you to visit this amazing part of the world.
This part of Utah is extremely popular (which is not a surprise really), but for this reason, you'll want to book your tours in advance, like this private canyoneering tour!
Or maybe you’ve already been to Moab! Do you agree with our recommendations?
What was your favourite thing to do in Moab?
Utah is an incredible state with so much to offer any visitor, and there are plenty of other fascinating places to visit.
If you'd prefer to drive out of state, then why not head over to Colorado and relax in Colorado Springs. There are so many incredible spots you can include on a Colorado road trip so what are you waiting for?
Or you can travel to Nevada and live it up in Las Vegas!
Here are some other travel guides that you may find helpful if you're planning a trip around the United States:
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