31 BEST Things To Do In Utah in 2024

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
January 3, 2024
Looking for the ultimate guide on the BEST things to do in Utah? After road tripping the state for over 1 month, we've rounded up the best spots!
things to do in utah

Utah is one of the best states to visit in America! 

It’s home to 5 national parks, and full of incredible scenery that ranges from alpine forests and salt flats, to red rock canyons and deserts. 

There are also lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and unique cities to explore in Utah! 

With acres and acres of open land for exploring, this is also a great place for outdoor enthusiasts- you can hike, bike, swim, rock-climb, camp, and backpack at your leisure. 

In the winter, Utah is also home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding mountains in the United States. 

There truly is a lot to see and do here, and we’re going to walk you through it all with the best things to do in Utah! 

Starting with…

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How to get to Utah

How to get to Utah

Depending on where you’re visiting from, the two main ways to get to Utah are to fly and to drive. 

Getting to Utah by flying

Utah has 7 airports, however, the main airport used to fly into Utah is the Salt Lake City Airport (SLC). 

Salt Lake City is also the only international airport in Utah, and you can easily fly there from most major airports. 

To find the best deals on flights, I recommend using Skyscanner

They’ll show you the lowest prices, as well as the cheapest dates to fly, so you can get the best flight options. 

Getting to Utah by driving

If you already have a car rental or campervan, you can easily drive to Utah. 

In fact, if you’re doing a cross-country United States road trip, Utah is one of the best stops you can make! 

Getting around Utah

While the larger cities in Utah like Salt Lake have excellent public transportation, the best way to get around in Utah is by driving. 

Especially if you want to visit national parks and get a little off the beaten path- you’re going to want to be able to drive around. 

Our top recommendation for getting around Utah is to rent a campervan! There is so much nature in Utah, and tons of incredible camping and wildlife to experience, and the easiest way to do so is in a campervan. 

Plus, renting a campervan and traveling throughout Utah is already pretty popular, so there is plenty of infrastructure available to seamlessly get around in your van. 

If you opt to rent a campervan in Utah, we recommend using Motorhome Republic

Motorhome Republic is the world’s largest campervan price comparison site, and will show you all the best campervan rental options in Utah for your chosen trip dates. 

Here are some other reasons we love using Motorhome Republic: 

  • Lowest prices guaranteed: Motorhome Republic always has the lowest prices available for campervan rentals. They even offer a price match! 
  • 5-star customer service: Motorhome Republic’s customer support team is incredible. They’re friendly and knowledgeable, and have a 24/7 support line to answer any and all of your booking questions. 
  • Vehicle guarantee: In the unlikely event that the rental firm lets you down and can’t deliver your chosen camper, Motorhome Republic will step in and find you another comparable vehicle- at no extra cost

Other options for getting around Utah

  • Renting a car:

If you'd rather not rent a campervan in Utah, you can just as easily get around by rental car. All of Utah is incredibly driver-friendly! For the best deals, check out Rental Cars!

  • Public transportation:

If you’re not able to or would prefer to not rent a car, there are limited options for public transportation in Utah. 

Greyhound and UTA buses can get you from town to town, but you’ll have to explore other options to get to more remote locations. 

  • Private shuttles:

Another option to get around Utah is to book private shuttles. You can base yourself somewhere central like Salt Lake City or St. George, and book shuttle tours to/from National Parks. 

Where to stay in Utah

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah and is one of the most popular places to visit in the state. Known for its breathtaking mountain backdrop, it's Mormon history, and variety of things to do, it's the perfect place to base yourself.

Here are some of the top accommodation options in Salt Lake City:

Budget: Motel 6 - Salt Lake City

Boasting plenty of facilities including a seasonal outdoor pool, free WiFi, and a laundrette, Motel 6 offers fantastic value for money. It's also pet-friendly and there are lots of rooms to choose from.

Mid-range: Little America Hotel

This hotel is just a 5-minute drive from Temple Square and it's known for its great location, spacious rooms, and incredible facilities. With two swimming pools, on-site boutique shops, spa facilities, and a restaurant, you won't be short of amenities.

Luxury: Grand America Hotel

Grand America Hotel is one of the most luxurious options in Salt Lake City and it's a great base for exploring the city and surrounding area. This hotel has a lot of facilities to offer including two swimming pools, a tour desk, a fitness center, and a business center.


Moab, Utah

If you're looking to explore some of Utah's national parks then Moab is the place you should choose to stay! It's the gateway to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks so is the place to be if you're up for an adventure.

Here are some of the top accommodation options in Moab: 

Budget: Big Horn Lodge

Big Horn Lodge is one of the most budget-friendly properties in Moab and it's set in a scenic location. The rooms are spacious with plenty of amenities, and there's a heated outdoor pool that guests can use!

Mid-range: Hotel Moab Downtown

This hotel is situated in the heart of Moab and it's just 5.7 miles away from the entrance of Arches National Park! Not only is it the largest full service hotel in the area, but it's close to a variety of restaurants, shops, galleries, and museums.

Luxury: SpringHill Suites by Marriott

SpringHill Suites by Marriott is one of the best luxury options in Moab. The rooms are beautiful and a buffet breakfast is included with your stay. You'll also have access to plenty of great facilities including an outdoor swimming pool and fitness center.

31 best things to do in Utah

1. Zion National Park

 Zion National Park

Visiting Zion National Park is without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Utah. It’s a deep canyon formed by the Virgin River, full of bright red rock. 

The park is beautiful, and some of the best things to do include hiking, backpacking, exploring slot canyons, camping, and even horseback riding! 

Some of the natural features you can explore in Zion include incredible arches, clear blue waters, and remarkable vistas. 

One of the best ways to see Zion is to hike- and there is tons of hiking in the park! Some of the most popular hikes include the Narrows, Angel’s Landing, and Observation Point.

The best times of year to visit Zion are Spring and Fall as this is when temperatures are the best, and the crowds are minimal. 

Summer is another great time to visit Zion, although the desert heat in the middle of the day can sometimes be unbearable- and so can the crowds. 

Winter is the least popular time to visit Zion, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to visit. Winter here is cold but still surprisingly pleasant, and often boasts sunny skies and a peaceful park. 

If you want to really explore the beautiful crimson slot canyons in Zion, you can easily do so with a guided tour

During the tour you’ll hike through slot canyons and take an exhilarating off-roading UTV ride to reach them. 

Since the road to these canyons is private, you’ll be entering an uncrowded area of the park- a rarity in the summer months especially! 

The tour lasts about 2 hours and sells out far in advance, so if you’re considering it, you can book it on Get Your Guide.

2. Angel’s Landing

Angels Landing Trail
The view from the top of Angel's Landing!

Angel’s Landing is one of the most famous hikes in Zion National Park, and one of the most popular things to do in Utah. 

This hike is no joke. While it’s only 5.4 miles long, it's incredibly steep, can get very very hot midday, and features some very exposed points, making it not suitable for young children, or anyone with a fear of heights. 

The worst and most infamous part of the hike is at the Angel’s Landing Chains. In this part, you're essentially hiking along the edge of a cliff, with only a metal chain to hold onto. 

The view at the end of the trail is worth it, with an incredible view into the canyon below. 

Due to concerns with over congestion on the hike, you now need a permit to hike Angel’s Landing. You can either apply for one months in advance, or try to get a permit the day before. 

If you go for a day-before permit, it’s a good idea to have a backup hike in case you don’t get it. And with so many awesome hikes in Zion National Park, it shouldn’t be an issue to find an awesome backup hike. 

Here's some more information about hiking Angel's Landing...

3. Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is stunning. It’s truly a wonderland of picturesque landscapes, majestic sunsets, and most famously: a massive collection of sandstone arch formations! 

For this reason, visiting the park is easily one of the best things to do in Utah. 

Arches National Park has something on offer for hikers and non hikers alike. 

Hikers can take in the scenery by either completing shorter family friendly hikes like Windows Primitive Loop and Double Arch, or complete a longer, more strenuous hike like Double O Arch or the Devils Garden Primitive Loop. 

Another great way to experience this park is to do the 22 mile long Arches scenic drive, which goes through all the main parts of the park. 

You can drive at your leisure, and make several stops along the way at famous landmarks like the Windows, and Delicate Arch Viewpoint. These spots make this road a must for any Utah national parks road trip!

If you’re looking to get more adventurous in Arches National Park, you might be interested in taking a 4x4 adventure tour, where you can off-road and explore the park with a guide. 

4. Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is another of Utah's National Parks and it's located about 39 miles outside of Moab

It’s best known for its beautiful mesas, arches, winding canyons, and magnificent rivers. 

Technically, Canyonlands National Park is made up of 5 different areas- and they’re pretty spread out.

So if you’re visiting Utah with limited time, it’s best to choose one area and explore it more in-depth.

arch in canyonlands national park

The five areas of the park are: 

  • Island in the Sky: The most popular area of the park, known for its hikes, and beautiful vistas overlooking the park.
  • Horseshoe Canyon: The smallest section of the park. Features rock art from the Ancient Puebloans, and it is a great place for history and architecture buffs to explore. 
  • The Maze: The Maze is only accessible by 4x4, and is the most remote area of the park. It’s great for backcountry explorers.
  • The Needles: Known for its hikes, views, and interesting rock formations. A less crowded area of the park.
  • Colorado and Green Rivers: Great for kayaking and canoeing, you can also go white water rafting here! 

If you’re interested in rafting along the Colorado River, this fantastic tour will take you along mild class 1 and 2 rapids with excellent views of Fisher Towers and Professor Valley. It’s led by a professional guide, and has the option of including lunch! 

5. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the best places to visit in Utah. 

It’s also known for its rock formations, but it’s unique in that there are so many of them in one place. Bryce Canyon also offers one of the most incredible vistas in Utah.

Bryce Canyon National Park is full of hoodoos. “Hoodoo” means to bewitch, but the hoodoos in the park are tall, skinny rock formations that emerge abruptly from the canyon floor. 

One of the best ways to explore this place is to either hike or simply walk along their scenic trails. 

hoodoos in byrce canyon

Walking the Rim Trail offers some of the best views of the park, and the Queens Garden Trail hike is a fun and slightly more vigorous way to see the scenery.

Here's some more information on the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park...

6. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Run, Forest, Run!

Monument Valley is located right on the Utah/Arizona border and is a beautiful park with massive sandstone buttes and breathtaking views. 

Because Monument Valley is located on the Navajo Nation Preservation- it's not technically a national park, which is why it’s referred to as the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

This landscape is even featured in several films and TV shows, including Forrest Gump, Westworld, and more. 

One of the best ways to experience the park is to drive the 17 mile Tribal Park Loop, also known as the Valley Drive. There are tons of great viewpoints along Valley Drive, and the loop is a great way to see the best of the park. 

You can also hike around the park, but keep in mind that most of the hikes must be done with a guide.

If you wish to hike without a guide, you can do the 3.9 mile Wildcat Trail.

With that said, one of the best ways to explore Monument Valley is with a guided tour.

This is because the guide will be able to give you more information about the park, help you spot wildlife, and you’ll be supporting a local Navajo guide! 

With a tour of Lower Monument Valley, a local Navajo guide will take you in an open air vehicle through sites like Mitten Buttes, John Ford’s Point, Yeibichai, Three Sisters Spires, and Elephant Butte. 

The tour will also include a traditional hogan visit, and native Navajo musical performance. 

This tour lasts for approximately 3.5 hours, and you can book your tickets on Viator!

7. Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Visiting the Grand Staircase in Escalante National Monument is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Utah. 

It’s also less touristy than some of the more famous national parks in Utah, making it a great option if you love exploring off the beaten path. 

This national monument is full of amazing hikes, slot canyons, and some overall beautiful views. 

The Escalante Canyons area of the park has waterfalls, canyoneering, and hikes. However, this area is only to be driven with 4WD due to poor road conditions. 

The Grand Staircase area is even more remote, with access to slot canyon trails. 

There are endless things to do in Escalante National Monument so what are you waiting for?

8. Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley is a state park located in southeast Utah with loads of fun hikes, hoodoos, and “goblins” to explore. Goblins are the local name for the rock formations in the park which resemble strange creatures, or goblins!

The park is fairly small, so you can see most of it in a few hours. 

One of the best views of the park is at Observation Point, and there are also various short hiking trails you can take to explore, with the most popular being The Goblin’s Lair, an easy, fun 2.3 mile hike.

Here's some more information on the best things to do in Goblin Valley State Park...

9. Moab Jeep Safari

Moab jeep safari

If you love adventure, and really want to get a feel for the awesome red mountains in Utah, then you should consider embarking on a Moab Jeep Safari tour

During this 2.5 hour tour, you’ll follow a knowledgeable and experienced guide across sandstone domes and red rock in Hell’s Revenge Utah. 

The terrain will be fun and exhilarating to drive across, with a mix of deep descents and steep climbs up the rock.

You’ll also get to see incredible views of the Colorado River, La Sal Mountains, and Grandstaff Canyon. 

This is the perfect activity for the daredevils out there so what are you waiting for?

10. Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon is another beautiful State Park in Utah. It’s known for its beautiful Navajo sandstone, and interesting history. 

The area of Snow Canyon State Park used to be home to the ancient Puebloan people, over 1000 years ago. 

Today, you can even see the ancient petroglyphs left behind, carved into the red rock. 

This is also where you can see remnants of lava flows and tubes!

You can explore the park either on foot, or by driving through Snow Canyon Drive, which passes through various trailheads, vistas, and cliffs. 

One of the most popular hikes in the area is the 2.3 mile Lava Tube trail, where you can explore some of the lava tubes. 

11. Temple Square

Temple Square is a historical site located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake CityThe site is huge, and encompasses 10,000 acres of land! 

It includes some of the most beautiful and important churches in Utah; the most impressive of which is Salt Lake Temple, which stands a whopping 222 feet (68 meters) above the ground.

If you've got the time then you'll also want to take a tour of the Salt Lake Tabernacle and Salt Lake Assembly Hall.

The site is free to visit, and aside from modest attire being preferred there is no dress code- except if you’re visiting on a Sunday, when it’s recommended to dress a little nicer. 

Here are some more places to see in Temple Square...

12. Dixie National Forest

Dixie National Forest is a lovely park nestled between the Great Basin and Colorado River in southern Utah. 

It has a wider variety of landscapes than other parks in Utah- with a mix of classic, red rock canyons, as well as alpine forests, scenic plateaus, and lakes. 

Dixie National Forest has a wide variety of activities available- it’s great for hiking, camping, and enjoying the lakes.

Visiting Navajo Lake is a highlight of any trip to Dixie National Forest. Its deep blue, almost purple hues are a beautiful sight, and the water is a great way to cool off, especially in the heat of summer. 

Another fun thing to do in Dixie National Forest is to go spelunking in Mammoth Cave- you can explore old lava tubes- just be sure to bring a flashlight! 

Dixie is the biggest national forest in the state, so as you can imagine there's a lot to do! 

13. Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park is located about 32 miles from Moab, and is one of the most beautiful parks in Utah. 

The park has miles of trails, plenty of campgrounds with amenities, and is also well known for being one of the best places in Utah to stargaze! 

What this park is most well known for however, is its overlook. Dead Horse Point has a dramatic vista that overlooks the Colorado River- it’s one of the most photographed views in Utah, and it’s a must see. 

This park also has miles of pet friendly trails, so it’s a great place to visit in Utah if you’re traveling with pets! 

If you're looking to visit, then here are some of the best things to do in Dead Horse Point State Park...

14. Emerald Pools

Emerald Pools, Zion

Emerald Pools is one of the most popular hiking trails in Zion - and with good reason! 

The trailhead is located at the Zion lodge, and it’s a 0.6 mile, relatively easy walk to the Lower Emerald Pool.

If you do the full loop up to the Upper Pools, it’s about 3 miles of hiking in total. 

If you’re visiting in the summer months, these trails do get fairly crowded, but if you go past the Lower Pools there will be fewer people

It’s also recommended to go early in the morning, or in the evening to escape the midday sun as there's not much shade!

15. Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is another of Utah’s mighty 5 national parks, and a visit to this underrated park is definitely one of the best things to do in Utah! 

Capitol Reef is located in the thick of red rock country, and has over 240,000 thousand acres of land available for exploration

Some of the best things to do in Capitol Reef National Park include hiking, wildlife viewing, rock climbing, camping, and exploring the historic fruit orchards.

Another great way to see the park is to drive along the scenic Highway 24! 

driving in capitol reef NP

Highway 24 goes for 16 miles in the park, right along the Fremont River. The views are incredible, and it’s free to drive through.

There are even a few hiking trails located right along Highway 24!

From Highway 24, you can also take a look at some of the petroglyphs etched into the red rock by Native Americans. 

Here are some more things to do in Capitol Reef National Park if you're looking for a bit more information! 

16. Sand Hollow State Park

Sand Hollow State Park

Sand Hollow State Park is a beautiful State Park near St. George Utah. With its warm blue waters, it’s one of the best parks in Utah for water recreation! 

The beaches have bright red sands, which make a stark yet beautiful contrast with the crystal blue water. 

Some of the best things to do at Sand Hollow State Park include swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking. For an adrenaline rush, you can also ride ATVs on Sand Mountain. 

There are plenty of hiking trails to if you're a keen walker! 

If you're looking to stay overnight in this area then there are two campgrounds here; Sandpit Campground and Westside Campground.

17. Cedar Breaks National Monument

ceader breaks national momumen

Cedar Breaks National Monument is a massive natural amphitheater that stretches 3 miles long and over 2000 feet deep just outside of Cedar City, Utah. 

The amphitheater was formed from over a million years of natural erosion, and is full of incredible red spires, arches, and pinnacles. 

The monument is only open from late May to early October due to the heavy winter snowfalls that make it otherwise inaccessible.

The views overlooking the amphitheater are incredible, and a visit to this national monument is a must on your trip to Utah. 

It's not a place that you want to forget your camera either! 

18. Mountain Town of Ogden

Ogden, Utah

Ogden is a remarkable mountain town about 35 miles north of Salt Lake City. 

This lovely town has a lively downtown, and is surrounded by mountains. 

The main road of Ogden is the historic 25th street. It’s lined with coffee shops, restaurants, craft breweries, and more! It’s a great place for a stroll, and to get a feel for the town. 

Another great place to visit in Ogden is the Union Train Station. It’s a collection of 4 museums, and talks about the important railroad history of the 1900s. 

In winter, Ogden is an excellent little ski town, as it’s surrounded by 3 epic ski mountains: Snow Basin, Powder Mountain, and Nordic Valley. 

You'll find plenty of fantastic things to do in Ogden so don't leave this place off your list if you're heading to Utah! 

19. Natural History Museum of Utah

Natural History Museum of Utah

The Natural History Museum of Utah is an incredible museum located in Salt Lake City. 

There are over 5000 artifacts on display, and the museum emphasizes Utah and the west. 

It has lots of interactive exhibits, as well as TONS of dinosaur fossils. Utah has some of the best dinosaur fossils in the world, and the history museum here is a great place to take them in and learn more about them. 

If you plan to visit the museum, you should designate at least 2-3 hours to check out all the exhibits. 

You'll find plenty of fascinating permanent exhibitions to wander through, but make sure you check out the website too for any special exhibits! 

20. Bonneville Salt Flats

Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats are located about 110 miles from Salt Lake City, and are one of the absolute best things to see in Utah. 

The salt flats are a 5 inch thick salt crust that was created by the evaporation of Lake Bonneville. 

Today, the salt flats are a popular natural destination that are free to both drive on and visit! 

The best time to drive on the salt flats is in the summer, as it gets too muddy in the winter with the rain.

Due to the unique surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats, speed racers from all over flock here to see how fast they can drive on the flats. Speeds of up to 600 miles per hour have been achieved which is crazy! 

21. Utah State Capitol

The Utah State Capitol is located in Salt Lake City, and is one of Utah’s most important landmarks. 

The building was constructed in 1912 and it's been home to the state government since 1916! 

Admission to the building is free, and you can take guided tours Monday-Friday from 10:00-3:00. This is the best way to learn about the building, and admire it in all it's glory!

Besides the grandeur of the building itself, you can marvel at beautiful ceiling art, a copy of the Liberty Bell, and the many paintings and statues depicting Utah’s history. 

Visiting this building is one of the top things to do in Salt Lake City so don't leave it off your list! 

22. Red Fleet State Park

Dinosaur footprint at Red Fleet State Park
Source: Phil Konstantin via Wikipedia

Red Fleet State Park is an incredible Utah park best known for its lake, and dinosaur footprints! 

The Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway is home to dinosaur footprints etched into the sandstone that are over 2 million years old. 

You can visit the dinosaur trackway by completing the 3 mile Dinosaur Trackway Loop Trail. 

The best time to do the trail and see the dinosaur tracks is in the early morning and late afternoon, because the strong midday sun makes it more difficult to see the tracks. 

The other main draw to Red Fleet State Park is the lake. Known as “Little Lake Powell”, the lake here is great for swimming, kayaking, and there is even a sandy beach to hang out on. 

23. Visit Kolob Canyons

Kolob Canyons

The Kolob Canyons are one of the most underrated yet incredible parts of Zion National Park. 

These crimson canyons were cut abruptly into the Colorado Plateau, and are a remarkable sight with their 2000 foot cliff walls. 

This area of the park is quite remote, and groups larger than 12 have to stick to one specific part of the canyons- making this a great place to find some solitude in an otherwise very busy national park. 

Some of the best things to do in the Kolob Canyons include backcountry hikes and canyoneering- there are tons of trails here ranging from easy short trails to strenuous multi-day backpacking adventures. 

There are also many beautiful waterfalls and creeks to explore deep in the canyons!

24. Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Timpanogos Cave National Monument
The views are pretty incredible! 

A visit to the Timpanogos Cave National Monument is one of the coolest, and most unique things you can do in Utah! 

Located in the Wasatch Mountains, the Timpanogos Cave provides visitor access to a series of caves located deep in the American Fork Canyon. 

To get to the cave, you'll need to first hike a steep, strenuous 1.5 mile trail. The trail itself offers some incredible views of the canyon. 

Then, you can descend down into the cave, where you can marvel at incredible stalagmites, stalactites, and helictites. 

To visit the caves, you'll need to book a guided tour. Reservations fill up a few days in advance too, so it’s good to book one in advance!

Due to snow and icy conditions in the winter, you can only visit the caves in the summertime. 

Here's some more information on visiting Timpanogos Cave National Monument...

25. Drive the Valley of the Gods

valley of the gods utah

This is probably one of the coolest places in all of Utah!

The Valley of the Gods is basically a "scenic" drive down a valley on a dirt road. It's actually BLM land, so you can camp overnight for free (but there will be no facilities!).

However, it's a great place to go stargazing.

The drive itself isn't too long but it will take you a while because you'll need to go super slow. Especially if you don't have an off-road van (we didn't and we were fine!)

Just be careful if it's been raining as there are a couple of dips to navigate.

But the views here are EPIC on every turn, and it's a great place to fly a drone.

It's around 20 miles from Monument Valley, so worth stopping at either before or after (or to spend the night!)

Here's a more in-depth guide to visiting Valley of the Gods!

26. ATV Tours in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

coral pink sand dunes NP

Another of the most fun things to do in Utah is to take an ATV tour in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

The tours generally run for 1-2 hours, and you get to ride a quad all around the sand dunes, and explore the different sand formations. 

There are a wide variety of tours you can take, from longer, shorter, and sunset tours. 

On some of the ATV tours, you can even explore the incredible slot canyons in the park. 

If you love adventure, taking an ATV tour through the sand dunes is a super fun thing to do in Utah. 

27. Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon is a 15 mile long canyon located in the Wasatch Mountain Range. 

It’s only 12 miles from Salt Lake City, so it’s not far to get right out into nature. 

The Cottonwood Canyon offers plenty of hiking, biking, rock-climbing, fishing, and picnicking. 

The scenery is also quite the change from the classic red rock of many other nature areas in Utah. In Big Cottonwood you can find more alpine scenery. 

In the wintertime, skiers and snowboarders flock to the two big ski resorts in the area: Brighton and Solitude

Another cool feature is the remnants of magma- at the beginning of the canyon, you can spot 35 million year old + hardened bodies of magma. 

28. Dinosaur National Monument

Fossil at Dinosaur National Monument

Paying a visit to the Dinosaur National Monument is another of the best things to do in Utah. 

This monument is located in the Uinta Mountains, and is a fantastic spot for fossil findings, wildlife, and river canyons. 

Dinosaur National Monument is home to the best assortment of late-Jurassic period fossils in the entire world. 

To see over 1500 preserved dinosaur fossils in one piece of rock, you should absolutely head over to the Quarry Exhibit Hall while you’re there. 

A great way to explore the area is to do the Tour of Tilted Rocks scenic drive. Along the way, you can spot wildlife, petroglyphs, and peculiar rock formations. 

There are plenty of places along the way to park, get out, and explore. 

29. Visit Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park is located 20 miles southeast of Bryce Canyon National Park, and is one of the most beautiful and photogenic places in Utah. 

Between the park’s bright blue skies, and rainbow sandstone spires, the park is incredibly colorful, and truly lives up to the Kodachrome name. 

There are tons of fun outdoor activities in the park, including hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. 

For a fun short hike that provides incredible views, you can do the Angel’s Palace trail. It’s only 1.5 miles long, and provides incredible views of Kodachrome Basin! 

Here's some more information on the best things to do in Kodachrome Basin State Park...

30. Red Butte Garden

Red Butte Garden
Source: Scott Catron via Wikipedia

Red Butte Garden is a lovely botanical garden in Salt Lake City. It’s not your average garden though… The Red Butte Garden is a whopping 22 acres in size, and takes about 3-4 hours to walk through it all! 

Once inside, you can marvel at the massive plant collection, themed gardens, and if you’re fortunate enough to be there in the springtime, you can see the thousands of springtime bulbs blooming! 

One of the best things to do at Red Butte Garden after walking around and exploring, is to bring food and have a nice picnic inside the gardens. It's the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of Salt Lake City! 

31. Goosenecks State Park

Goosenecks State Park

This is another really cool state park in Utah that offers scenic views without any hiking or hassle.

This is another spot you can camp overnight (They have tables and some shaded areas) for around $5 and why would you want to camp overnight here? Well, Goosenecks state park is one of the BEST places for stargazing in all of Utah.

It's an International Dark Sky Park as of March 2021.

But in the day time it's still a great place to visit and a cool picnic spot, as you'll get to gaze down at the San Juan river and see the results of 300 million years of erosion.

Entrance is $5 and when we visited in 2022, it was cash only as the machine that takes cards was broken.

Utah travel tips and FAQs

utah travel tips

Should I get an annual national parks pass while visiting Utah?

When visiting national parks in the United States, you always have to pay an entry fee of either $25 or $30 per car.

The annual national parks pass costs $80. 

So, if you plan to visit 3 or more national parks in a year, it’s definitely worth it to buy the annual pass

When is the best time to visit Utah?

For the majority of hikes and outdoor exploring, the best times to visit Utah are typically the spring and fall. This is when the weather is mild, but it’s not snowy or icy out. 

The summer is another popular time to visit Utah, but you have to be careful to stay hydrated and protected, especially midday when it can reach a scorching 120 degrees+. 

How much time should I spend in Utah?

With so much to see, you could easily spend months exploring all the cities, national parks, state parks, and recreational spaces in Utah.

However, we know not everyone has months to spend in Utah, and so we recommend having at least 2 weeks here.

The best tours in Utah

Bryce Canyon

Taking a guided tour in Utah is a fantastic way to visit some of the national parks and safely embark in some more adventurous activities, like canyoneering and white water rafting! 

Tours will also handle transportation, which is great if you’re traveling on a budget, or don’t feel comfortable making a particular drive.

The best places to look for a tour in Utah are Viator and Get Your Guide- not only do they have the best tours (with the best prices), they’re also reputable companies that only work with reputable groups- so you can safely and confidently book with them! 

Here are some of the most popular tours in Utah:

The best way to explore Stone Hollow’s slot canyons is to repel down them with the help and lead of a professional guide! 

This full day tour takes you into the backcountry of Zion National Park, and it even includes lunch.

A friendly and informative guide will take you all over Bryce Canyon National Park, showing you the best sights from both a minivan and short hikes in the park. 

This 5.5 hour river rafting tour launches at Onion Creek, and will take you through some of the most stunning scenery in Moab. 

It’s led by a professional guide, comes with all necessary equipment, and is one of the most exciting ways to explore Moab and see Fisher Towers.

For 2 hours, you can transport back in time to the Wild Wild West and horseback ride through the Red Canyon during this fun tour. 

This 3 hour tour (that includes snacks) will take you in a 4WD vehicle through the Peekaboo and Antelope Slot Canyons without any crowds

Where to go after Utah

That’s a wrap on the best things to do in Utah!

There is truly so much to see and do in this incredible state, and I hope this post has given you some inspiration. 

If you have any more questions about the best things to do in Utah, feel free to drop a comment below! 

Now over to you….

What national parks will you visit in Utah? Is there anything else to do in Utah that you recommend?

After exploring Utah, you have a few options of where to go next...

If you’re on a great United States road trip, you can head to any of Utah’s neighbors, including Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, or Nevada. Here, you'll find a variety of awesome places to visit including Denver, Colorado Springs, and Las Vegas!

To the East, you can go on the ultimate Colorado road trip or you can continue on towards the West coast of the United States

Here are some other U.S travel guides that you might find helpful:

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