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Visit Utah – Things to Do, Attractions and Safety

Fun Things to Do in Utah

Utah is best known for ski resorts and national parks, making it one of the most popular destinations for couples, families, solo travelers, and friends to enjoy some of the best that nature has to offer. Utah is super road-trip friendly and receives about 21 million visitors each year.

 

If you’re planning on a trip to or through Utah, then this is the travel guide for you. You’ll get tips and statistics on safety, places to stay, areas to avoid, the best national and state parks to visit, a comprehensive list about all Utah’s ski resorts, the best time to visit Utah, climate and weather, the top attractions, and things to do, the best places to eat, and loads of discounts and deals, all to make sure you get the most out of your trip.

best places to visit in utah

Things to Know About Utah

 

Utah was nicknamed the “Beehive State,” for its focus on industry and hard work, and of course, its diligence in the protection of bees.  The “Ute” tribe of Native Americans gave Utah its name.

 

This is home to about 3.2 million people. 80% of Utah’s population live along what is known as the Wasatch Front. Cities are smashed together North to South in a long line with Brigham City at the top and Provo at the bottom. It takes about two hours to drive the Wasatch Front in normal traffic.

 

90% of Utah is urban, including the cities. Salt Lake has a couple high-rises but no skyscrapers (the tallest building is 26 floors). Utah’s oldest building is from 1850. While Utah’s cities have plenty to do, the cities themselves are relatively small and calm. Resort towns like Park City are awesome, but there isn’t much as far as downtown areas go (if that’s what you’re looking for, consider New York, Chicago, Houston, or Los Angeles). Most people visit Utah for the national and state parks. What Utah is good at is blowing your mind with outdoor beauty.

 

Utah is also one of the best places in the U.S. for finding dinosaur fossils. Utah also has the highest number of certified Dark Sky Places in the world–places without light pollution that let you see the stars with astounding clarity.

 

 

Sundance Film Festival, one of the world’s largest independent film festivals, usually takes place in Park City or Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

Utah is a popular place for “fry sauce” (a dipping sauce that is equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup) which is available at nearly every restaurant.

 

Best Time to Visit Utah

 

The best time to visit Utah is September through November. Temperatures have cooled down a lot, and you’ll avoid the bulk of crowds. You won’t get spring water runoff from melting snow. This is also the cheapest time to visit, which will save you tons of money on flights, booking, and tickets to events and attractions. The cheapest month to fly to Utah is in October.

 

For skiing: The best time for skiing in Utah is February and March. (Got to have snow)

For national/state parks: April & May, September & October (miserably hot mid-summer)

 

 

 

Weather In Utah

 

Northern Utah (along the Wasatch Front) is hottest in July, with highs around 91F and lows around 63F. The coldest month is January, with highs around 37F and lows around 21F. It rains an average of 5 days a month. Utah is the 9th sunniest state in the U.S., averaging 238 days of sun each year.

 

Southern Utah (Moab, St. George, etc.) is significantly hotter than Northern Utah during the day but cools off quite a bit at night. The hottest month is July, with highs averaging 100F, and lows around 65F. The coldest month is January with highs around 44F and lows around 20F.

 

One thing you should be aware of is the Utah inversion. Due to high mountains and a combination of polluted warm air getting caught under cold air, many of Utah’s winter months are red-air-day dirty to the point where health professionals recommend against even general exercise outdoors. The inversion typically lasts December through February and is only along the Wasatch Front. If you have any health or lung conditions, you may want to avoid staying along the Wasatch Front.

 

Utah Climate

 

Utah is the 2nd driest state in the U.S., after Nevada. The average humidity is 51%, meaning that your skin will always feel dry. You’ll need to bring extra lotion and lip balm and drink more water than usual.

 

Utah has what is called “dry heat,” during the summer which makes the fun feel like it is scorching, but the air itself won’t get too hot so it’s easy to cool off in the shade. Wearing breathable long sleeves can help you stay cool. The dry air also makes the wind feel “sharp” which is easily overcome with a good windbreaker.

 

Most of Utah is over 6,000 feet above sea-level, which can make breathing difficult for those who aren’t used to high elevation. It will seem like your lungs aren’t getting enough air and you may feel dizzy while exercising due to the lack of oxygen. Higher altitude means that you’ll also get sunburned more quickly, so make sure to keep applying sunscreen.

 

 

Utah places to visit

 

Must See Attractions and Things to Do in Utah

 

  • Loveland Aquarium (Draper)

 

Though Utah is a landlocked state, the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium engulfs visitors in an incredible aquatic adventure. You can watch freshwater otters playing the day away, touch live sharks, starfish, and sea anemones, or walk through a man-made jungle filled with tropical animals, fish, birds, and amphibians. The Aquarium houses nearly 5,000 animals of 50 different species. Google reviews put the Loveland Aquarium at 4.6 out of 5 stars, with over 14,000 people contributing the highlights of their experience. One of the most loved attractions is a massive tank with over 300,000 gallons of water which is overflowing with sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, and exotic fish. The exhibit includes a walk-under-the-water tunnel and floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

 

  • Hill Aerospace Museum (Roy)

 

You don’t have to be military to enjoy this historical collection of airplanes, war memorabilia, and more. The museum is located on an active military base, Hill Airforce Base, and contains more than seventy aircraft between its two inside galleries and outdoor park. Thousands of items have been collected and preserved over the years to document the aviation history of the United States. Over five million visitors have toured the 30-acre museum and with free admission, this historical stop is worth putting on your list of attractions to see too.

 

  • Ogden Union Station (Ogden)

 

Historically known as the train station that opened the way to the Intermountain West, the first Union Station was completed in 1869 and was the last crucial stop on the Transcontinental Railroad for travelers going to the West Coast. The Union Station was built in the Spanish revival architecture style and got a renovation in 1923 (with frequent updates to keep it clean and safe). The museum houses historical artifacts like early automobiles, harmonica rifles, and, of course, trains, boxcars, and other railroad icons. Commonly enjoyed exhibits include the Golden Age of Motorcars, Riding in Style, and the Spencer and Hope Eccles Rail Center.

 

  • Hale Center Theater (Sandy & Orem)

 

Unlike traditional forms of theatrical entertainment, the Hale theater seats the audience around the 360-degree stage–hockey arena style–for a marvelous twist in presentation of your favorite plays. Experience classic favorites like Treasure Island, Singin’ in the Rain, Hello Dolly, and Newsies all under the most technologically advanced theater in the world.  Tickets can be bought for individual performances or for the entire season.

 

  • Thanksgiving Point (Lehi)

 

Thanksgiving Point is best known by locals for its 7 main attractions: Ashton Gardens, Farm Country, Museum of Natural Curiosity, Mammoth Movies, Dinosaur Island, Butterfly Biosphere, and Museum of Ancient Life. The park is also known for its traveling attractions that rotate throughout the year. Spring heralds thousands of tulips being flown in from Holland for the Tulip Festival at the Ashton Gardens. Fall is filled with a myriad of cozy autumn activities–hayrides, pumpkin picking, and much more. Tour their website for updated community activities like movie nights, activities for the little ones, and reduced admission.

 

  • Temple Square (Salt Lake City)

 

You don’t have to be a Mormon (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) to visit and check out some of Utah’s most stunning architecture. Temple Square has plenty of things to see (all for free) and is exceptionally maintained year-round. The Conference Center is currently the world’s largest visitor’s center, and the Salt Lake City Temple took 40 years to build. It’s a great area for photos.

 

  • Clark Planetarium (Salt Lake City)

 

Not many free exhibits to the public can boast 4.5-star ratings on Google like the Clark Planetarium. If you have young children, then this stop becomes mandatory because of how good it is; although, adults will also enjoy the interactive and information-based exhibits the Planetarium offers. Save Earth from asteroids and meteoroids in a virtual game by using your hand to shoot laser cannons at the rocky invasions. Kinetic machines, mini remote-controlled Mars rovers driven by visitors, and a science-themed gift shop that has a little bit of everything makes for a fantastic afternoon. Located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, the planetarium places tourists in the perfect spot to grab a nice meal and tour prime attractions like Temple Square or City Creek Mall.

 

  • Tracy Aviary (Salt Lake City)

 

Located in Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, Tracy Aviary inspires visitors with over 135 different species of birds–about 400 animals total–with close encounters with select fowl and bird shows often. Tracy Aviary is open 363 days out of the year which makes it a perfect tourist opportunity for any time of year. A variety of exhibits inhabit the aviary: Pelican Pond, King of the Andes, North American Eagles, Chilean Flamingos, Owl Forest, Macaws and King Vultures, and Treasures of the Rainforest.

 

  • Treehouse Museum (Ogden)

 

The Treehouse Museum is all about recreating childhood stories with your kids starring as the lead roles. Adults in full costume take on familiar creature facades like bunny rabbits, dogs, or cows to pose and interact with the young patrons. The museum advertises for ages 2-10 but parents tend to enjoy the dozens of award-winning programs and exhibits the museum has to offer. The entire museum is themed and has loads of puzzles and other things to do for both families and young couples.

 

  • Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum (Salt Lake City)

 

Perfect for children and parents, the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum focuses on bolstering learning in children through art, science, and literacy-based play. Popular exhibits the museum has include I Dig Dinos, Water Play, Story Factory and Sensory Play, Honey Climber, and Move It! Each attraction features different modes of mindful exploration for your child’s development. The Honey Climber is an expansive jungle gym meant to mimic the process of a bumble bee moving through a hive. The Story Factory and Sensory Play exhibit allows kids to make their own comic strips, produce their own theatrical plays, and wind down with interactive sensory items like a plasma ball or jumbo picture pegs (think massive Lite Brite).

 

  • Fat Cats (Ogden & Provo)

 

Bring back the nostalgia of Friday night bowling matches with arcade fun and pizza on the side. The lively alley is a popular date night location and keeps an energetic atmosphere with the loud pop music and bright neon lights of Thunder Alley–the name of the bowling transformation at nighttime. The facility is completely indoors, so the fun persists through any weather. Games include an arcade for all ages, billiards, air hockey, and virtual reality set ups. For an unforgettable night of fun bring your family, friends, or your sweetheart and play the night away.

 

  • Lagoon (Farmington)

 

This the oldest operating amusement park in the American West and has the 3rd oldest running roller coaster in the United States. There are 55 rides in total, with 10 roller coasters all sitting on just 95 acres. A water park is available (tickets are separate), and the lagoon becomes eerie around Halloween. Everyone will have a fantastic time thanks to the rides, which are suitable for visitors of every age and excitement level.

 

  • Hogle Zoo (Salt Lake City)

 

The Hogle Zoo covers 42 acres and is home to 800 animals (249 species). It’s certainly not the best or biggest zoo, but it is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Kids can enjoy indoor and outdoor activities like the Zoofari Outdoors Train Ride or Lighthouse Point Splash Zone and Creekside Playground. Moreover, the zoo offers appetite pleasers for all pallets–small and large alike–with their dining options: check out the Beastro, Shoreline Grill, Cat Wok Cafe, Oasis Cafe, or the myriad of snack carts and vending machines around the facility.

 

Deals and Discounts for Tickets in Utah

 

MySittiVacations has special discounts and deals for these and other major attractions in Utah. From tickets to entrance fees, as well as tours and other entertainment packages, MySittiVacations can help you stay on budget while getting the most out of your trip. Check deals on attractions and things to do in Utah here.

 

List of All Active Ski Resorts in Utah

 

Aside from the National Parks, Utah has 15 active ski resorts which cater to almost 5 million skiers and snowboarders every year. That’s a full third of people who ski or snowboard each year across the entire United States. When it comes to ski resorts, not all are equal. Each resort benefits different levels of skiers and different budgets. The list below will help you get an idea which ski resorts to visit based on size, location, costs, and hours. Costs are based on adult-ticket prices. Times are Mountain Standard. Most resorts also have half-day reduced-priced tickets available.

 

  1. Alta Ski Area

 

Alta has steep slopes and deep snow which makes it a favorite among expert skiers. This is one of only two resorts in Utah that doesn’t allow snowboarding. Alta has the highest summit of any of Utah’s ski resorts which makes for some incredible views. While it’s around the corner from the Brighton and Solitude resorts, Alta is only accessible through Little Cottonwood Canyon Road while the other two are accessible through Big Cottonwood Canyon Road.

 

Number of lifts: 7

Size: 2,614 skiable acres

Elevation: Summit: 11,068’ Base: 8,530’

Average Cost: $140/day 9:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Night skiing: N/A

Closest Major Cities: Draper/Sandy/Salt Lake City

 

  1. Beaver Mountain

 

While most resorts lie in tandem to each other along the Wasatch Front, Beaver Mountain is nestled in the northern reaches of the front in Cache Valley–a national forest known for its beauty and undisturbed land. This puts it farther away, and it is one of the smaller resorts, but it’s better for those with a tight budget.

 

Number of lifts: 4

Size: 664 skiable acres

Elevation: Base: 7,200’ Summit: 8,800’

Average Cost: $60/day 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Night skiing: N/A

Closest Major Cities: Garden (Bear Lake area) or Logan

 

  1. Brian Head Ski Resort

 

Located near Cedar National Monument, Zion National Park, Panguitch Lake, and Bryce Canyon National Park, it’s hard to beat the location and natural beauty that comes with this ski resort. This is one of the few ski resorts in southern Utah and makes it awesome for winter road trips. It’s budget friendly and is one of the better resorts for beginners.

 

Number of lifts: 8

Size: 665 skiable acres

Elevation: Base: 9,600’ Summit 10,920’

Average Cost: $56/day 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Night skiing: $25 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Closest Major Cities: Cedar City (Southern Utah)

 

  1. Brighton Ski Resort

 

Summer means hiking, disc golf, and fishing; winter means all out skiing and snowboarding their variety of mountain passes. Brighton is unique in the fact that 100% of the mountain is accessible from high-speed lifts, where other mountains may require a snowcat or helicopter to access (at additional costs). Brighton also has excellent lodging and dining.

 

Number of lifts: 7

Size: 1050 skiable acres

Elevation: Summit: 10,750’ Base: 8,755’

Average Cost: $85/day 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Night skiing: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Closest Major Cities: Draper/Sandy/Salt Lake City/Midway

 

*Solitude and Brighton share a mountain and dual passes are available. There is a budget shuttle that runs between resorts.

 

  1. Cherry Peak

 

Cherry Peak boasts as being the most affordable skiing option in Utah. Their prices are hard to beat, and the 400-acre park is loved by families with small children and amateurs looking to practice their hobbies. It is in northern Utah, which puts it far out of the way.

 

Number of lifts: 3

Size: 200 skiable acres

Elevation: Summit: 7,050’ Base: 5,775’

Average Cost: $45/day

Night skiing: $22

Closest Major Cities: Cove or Logan

 

  1. Deer Valley Resort

 

This Resort is Utah’s premier ski resort. Deer Valley, like Alta, does not allow snowboarding. It is best for an all-out resort experience, with incredible dining, high-end hotels, high-end services, and incredible location. The lodge is beautiful and makes for one of the most romantic couples get-aways in Utah.

 

Number of lifts: 21

Size: 2,026 skiable acres

Elevation: Summit: 9,570’ Base: 6,570’

Average Cost: $229/day

Night skiing: N/A

Closest Major Cities: Park City

 

  1. Eagle Point Resort (Formerly Elk Mountain)

 

Eagle Point is kept neatly groomed and is better for a more casual ski experience. It’s not as crowded as other resorts which makes it better for beginners. There are still plenty of trails for the more experienced.

 

Number of lifts: 5

Size: 600 skiable acres

Elevation: Summit: 10,600’ Base: 9,100’

Average Cost: $70/day 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Night skiing: N/A

Closest Major Cities: Beaver or Junction

 

  1. Nordic Valley Ski Resort (Formerly Wolf Creek)

 

Nordic Valley is an awesome budget option ski resort if you’re staying in northern Utah. It’s a little bit smaller and its slopes are better for intermediate and advanced skiers/snowboarders. It’s one of the more family-friendly resorts.

 

Number of lifts: 5

Size: 300 skiable acres

Elevation: Base: 5,500’ Summit: 6,400’

Average cost: $40/day 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Closest Major Cities: Eden/Ogden

 

  1. Park City Mountain Ski Resort

 

Park City Mountain is one of Utah’s luxury ski resorts, with the most runs and lifts of any resort in Utah. It has the greatest number of ski lifts and access to incredible accommodations and dining. During summer there is plenty of hiking, biking, and even a mountain coaster and alpine slide.

 

Number of lifts: 43

Size: 7,300 skiable acres

Elevation: Summit: 10,026’ Bottom: 6,900’

Average Cost: $139/day 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Night skiing: N/A

Closest Major Cities: Park City

 

  1. Powder Mountain

 

By acreage, Powder Mountain is the biggest ski resort in the United States. If you want to ski with nobody around, this is the place you can go to do it. Ski runs are long and gorgeous, and there are trails for athletes of every competence level. There isn’t as much of a resort on the mountain itself, but the atmosphere is much more casual than places like Deer Valley, Park City, or Snowbasin.

 

Number of lifts: 7

Size: 8,484 acres

Elevation: Summit: 9,422’ Base: 6,900’

Average cost: $115/day 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Night skiing: $40, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Closest Major Cities: Eden/Ogden

 

  1. Snowbasin Resort

 

Known as one of the best ski resorts in Utah, Snowbasin Resort was home to the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games. The world-renowned ski slopes offer perfect conditions for any level of athlete, from world-class to amateur. The resort offers summer activities like live music, lake fun at Pineview Reservoir, and the typical activities of mountain biking, hiking, and sightseeing.

 

Number of lifts: 11

Size: 3,000 skiable acres

Elevation: Summit: 9,350’ Base: 6,391

Average cost: $155 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Night skiing: N/A

Closest Major Cities: Eden/Ogden

 

  1. Snowbird

 

Ziplining between mountain peaks, world-class skiing, and activities like Oktoberfest make Snowbird one of the most popular ski resorts in Utah. The fun doesn’t stop there though, Snowbird also has activity passes for summer which allow guest to partake in a variety of fun: ropes courses, the Alpine slide (a 1,300-foot slide you can sled down), bungee trampolines, rock-wall climbing, summer tubing, and even riding a mountain coaster. It also has a unique tunnel cut through the mountain for winter sports. The resort also appeals to adults with its lush spas, live music nights, and seasonal festivals.

 

Number of lifts: 10

Size: 2,500 skiable acres

Elevation: Summit: 11,000’ Base: 8,100’

Average cost: $145/day 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Night Skiing: Wed, Fri, Sat: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Closest Major Cities: Sandy/Draper/Salt Lake City

 

  1. Soldier Hollow Nordic Center

 

Soldier Hollow Nordic Center is located next to Wasatch Mountain State Park and is primarily known for its time as an Olympic Venue; however, it is important to note the resort is focused on cross-country skiing and doesn’t have lifts like the other ski resorts do. During the summer guests can enjoy mountain biking through mountainous trails or renting e-bikes from the resort for leisurely scenic trips.

 

Number of lifts: 1 surface tow for tubing.

Size: 19 miles

Elevation: 5,463’ (Mostly flat)

Average cost: $27/day 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Night skiing: N/A

Closest Major Cities: Midway

 

  1. Solitude Mountain Resort

 

Solitude Mountain Resort is best known for its beautiful scenery as well as posh living accommodations. Aside from world class skiing and snowboarding, the resort offers the Nordic and Snowshoe center which is perfect for cross-country skiing and scenic snow-shoe walks through winter forests. Solitude also attracts visitors in the summer for its incredible hiking, mountain biking, and scenic chairlift rides through the Wasatch Mountains.

 

Number of lifts: 8

Size: 1,200 skiable acres

Elevation: Summit: 10,488’ Base: 7,900’

Average cost: $75/day 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Night skiing: N/A

Closest Major Cities: Draper/Sandy/Salt Lake City/Midway

 

*Solitude and Brighton share a mountain and dual passes are available. There is a budget shuttle that runs between resorts.

 

  1. Woodward Park City

 

Woodward is an action-sports resort that focuses less on skiing and more on all-around fun. They do have ski lessons, as well as a skate-park and trampoline-park.

 

Number of lifts: 1

Size: 60 acres

Elevation: 6,500’

Average cost: $60

Night skiing: N/A

Closest Major Cities: Park City

ski snowboard utah

 

What if I Don’t Know How to Ski/Snowboard?

 

Every ski resort in Utah has private and group lessons available and can help you get skiing quickly and confidently. Lift tickets are usually included in the price of lesson costs.

 

Ski/Snowboard Tickets

 

When it comes to ski resorts, tickets are always cheaper online. Some resorts are also limited to the number of tickets each day, so make sure to buy in advance. Tickets are also date-stamped so you will not be able to use them on any other day except the day they were purchased for. Children (12 & under) usually get their tickets half-price. Most resorts have “beginner” lifts which cost significantly less, but only give you access to a small part of the mountain. If you plan on skiing more than 10 times, consider getting a season pass.

 

When is the Ski Season?

 

Ski season depends entirely on the year’s weather. Typically, resorts are open mid-November through April. Some years, however, you can ski right through May. Ski resorts won’t open until they get a minimum snow-base which is usually about 20 inches. Each resort will have their current snow base/expected opening day listed on their resort page.

 

Peak Periods

 

Ski resorts charge more for tickets during “Peak periods.” Peak periods between Christmas and the New Year, around Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan 15-17), and Presidents Day (Feb 19-27). Expect $20 more per ticket than what we have listed below.

 

Rentals

 

Every resort has a lodge with ski/snowboard rentals available. You can also buy rentals from stores in most cities. In-town rentals are usually about $25-50/a day, while renting from the resort (while much more convenient and giving you more time on the mountain) will cost you $40-80/day.

 

Summer Sports

 

Some ski resorts are open during the summer and allow for awesome mountain-biking, trail-running, and hiking. If you’re taking a road-trip to Utah, consider bringing your bikes along. Rentals are also available, though you will need to get these in-town rather than at the resort.

 

Is it Worth it to Ski?

 

Utah’s dry climate, high elevation, as well as the salt effect make Utah’s snow dry and powdery unlike skiing in places like Oregon where snow feels sticky and wet. Skiing in Utah is like skiing on clouds (it is the “Greatest Snow on Earth”) and is an awesome experience for beginners, advanced, and even Olympic level athletes. Utah’s mountains get an average of 500 inches of snow each year.

 

State and National Parks in Utah

 

After skiing, Utah is best known for its awesome state and national parks. They are some of the most visited destinations in the country and make for an awesome road-trip or daytrip. If you plan on visiting multiple national parks, see about getting yearly national parks pass or America the Beautiful Pass. These let you get into any national park in the U.S without additional fees. The yearly pass is $80. Without the pass, the entrance fee for national parks is about $40 a vehicle. Some parks (like Zions) will have a shuttle option that gets you into the park for free but will have long waiting lines.

 

Utah’s 5 National Parks

 

Utah ranks third on the list for most National Parks after Alaska and California. Utah has five, endearingly called the “big five” which attract 11.3 million visitors each year.

 

  • Zion National Park (Springdale)
  • Arches National Park (Moab)
  • Bryce Canyon National Park (Bryce Canyon)
  • Capitol Reef National Park (Torrey)
  • Canyonlands National Park (Moab)

 

Utah’s 6 National Monuments

 

National Monuments are a bit different from National Parks in the fact that usually a smaller area or specific landmark (natural or manmade) is protected. Utah has 6 national monuments.

 

  • Cedar Breaks National Monument (Cedar City)
  • Dinosaur National Monument (CO, UT)
  • Timpanogos Cave National Monument (American Fork)
  • Rainbow Bridge National Monument (Lake Powell)
  • Natural Bridges National Monument (Blanding)
  • Hovenweep National Monument (CO, UT)
  • Four Corners Monument (UT, AZ, CO, NM)

 

National Recreation Areas in Utah

 

National Recreation areas are protected specifically with visitors in mind. These areas are usually very scenic and have motorsports in mind. Utah has one of these.

 

  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ, UT)

 

Historical Trails and Historic Parks in Utah

 

With a long history of pioneers and frontier explorers, Utah is in the middle of several national historic trails. These trails cover several states but make for a great quick area to check out if you or anyone you travel with enjoys early American history.

 

  • National Historic Trail CA, CO, ID, KS, MO, NE, NV, OR, UT, WY
  • Golden Spike National Historical Park (Brigham City)
  • Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail IL, IA, NE, UT, WY
  • Old Spanish National Historic Trail AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, UT
  • Pony Express National Historic Trail CA, CO, KS, MO, NE, NV, UT, WY

 

Top 6 State Parks in Utah

 

Utah has a total of 43 state parks and recreation areas, which we can’t all list here. State Parks have aspects that make them just as awesome as the national parks, with camping, hiking, mountain biking, boating, and even motorsports available. Check out Stateparks.utah.gov to find out more. The list below is a few of the most popular and most highly recommended state parks to help you get an idea of things to do.

 

  • Lake Powell

 

Many who visit Lake Powell say it was better than a trip to Hawaii. It’s an absolutely stunning state park with red-rock cliffs and calm water. It’s best enjoyed with your own boat (or rental), though sometimes you can sometimes find someone to take you along for a ride.

 

  • Antelope Island

 

Despite the name, Antelope Island is mostly known for its free-roaming buffalo. You can drive through the park, hike, cycle, and even walk right into the Great Salt Lake. There is a fee for each vehicle. Antelope Island is perhaps the best place to swim in the Great Salt Lake.

 

  • Bonneville Salt Flats Recreation Area

 

Known best as the speedway where most land speed records are set, and for its star roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and Independence Day, the Bonneville Salt Flats are 30,000 acres of absolutely nothing (not even a visitor’s center). It’s incredibly flat, and there’s no speed limit which is great if you’re wanting to see how far you can push your car. Other than that, it’s lots of white, flat ground.

 

 

  • Bear Lake (UT, ID)

 

Bear Lake is cold, with gray-sand beaches, but it’s an awesome area for boating, fishing, and camping. Many like to detour through bear lake on the way to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

 

  • Goblin Valley

 

Goblin Valley sits in the same part of southern Utah as Arches and has its own unique rock formations. There are plenty of trails for hiking and biking and it’s worth considering as part of a national park road trip.

 

12 Best Restaurants and Places to Eat/Snack in Utah

 

Utah doesn’t really have its own cuisine, but rather, excels in local and niche chain restaurants. You will be able to find just about any kind of food at affordable prices. Most of Utah’s restaurants are mid-price and casual, making for a perfect family meal or date without wrecking the budget. There are only a couple of high-end options, and plenty of low-end options as well. The top-rated restaurants in Utah are:

 

  • Burger Bar (Roy)

 

Food network special. Massive burgers. Rare, exotic meats are sometimes available.

Burger – Dine-in and takeout – $

 

  • In-and-Out (10 across Utah)

 

California iconic fast-food. Burgers and fries done well.

Burger – Dine-in and Drive-through – $

 

  • Bombay House (Provo)

 

Quality Indian food with kind servers and options for everyone.

Indian – Dine-in, takeout, delivery – $$

 

  • Cafe Zupas (20 across Utah)

 

A tasty soup restaurant with awesome sandwiches. Fast lines. Quality food.

Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches – Dine-in, curbside pickup, delivery – $

 

  • Ruby River (Ogden)

 

Ruby River is both beautiful and delicious, with a variety of meal options and a cozy aesthetic.

Steakhouse (vegetarian options too) – Dine-in and curbside – $$

 

  • Log Haven (Salt Lake City)

 

Log Cabin is a restaurant in a log cabin. It’s popular for weddings. Run by Chef Dave Jones.

New American Restaurant – Dine-in and drive through – $$$$

 

  • Tucanos (Provo and Salt Lake City)

 

Tucanos Brazilian Grill has all-you-can eat churrasco and specialty skewers.

Brazilian steakhouse – Dine-in, drive-through, delivery – $$

 

  • Waffle Love (7 in northern Utah)

 

Another food network special. Anything you can imagine on a waffle–sweet or savory.

Waffles – Drive-in, curbside, delivery – $$

 

  • La Caille (Sandy)

 

A unique restaurant, lodge, vineyard, and winery, La Caille is excellent for that nice date or even as a wedding venue.

Upscale French food – Dine-in only – $$$$ – Reservation Required

 

  • Communal (Provo)

 

Communal focus on ingredient menus for unique flavors and uses farm-tables for cozier dining.

American – Dine-in, takeout, delivery – $$$

 

  • Oquirrh (Salt Lake City)

 

Pronounced Oh-kur, Oquirrh emphasizes local ingredients for a casual fine-dining experience.

American – Dine-in, takeout – $$ – Reservation Required

 

  • HSL

 

Casual and formal fine-dining. Typical American foods made well.

American – Dine-in, curbside – $$$$ – Reservation Required

 

MySittiVacations has a variety of deals to help you save while dining. You can also search other popular restaurants in the area, find pertinent reviews, and check menus. Check out restaurant deals here.

 

Best Shopping Centers and Local Shops in Utah

 

If you’re looking to do a little shopping in Utah or want a great way to spend some time with friends, there’s no better place than Utah. With several up-class malls and commercial districts you’ll see lots of specialty shops and boutiques. Utah is big on local-made high-quality fashion, jewelry, art, and novelty items. We’ve listed the best places to check out below.

 

7 Best Places to Shop in Utah

 

  • City Creek Center (Salt Lake City)

 

City Creek is across the street from Temple Square and is one of the more upscale malls in Utah. There’s plenty to eat, and a heavy emphasis on clothing stores (both boutique and franchise). City Creek Mall gets its name from the creek that runs through the center of the mall.

 

  • Station Park (Farmington)

 

Station Park is small, but it’s one of the most up-scale shopping malls around, with high-end restaurants, clothing stores, beauty, and cosmetics, and of course, uniquely designed franchises. Worth the visit if you’re passing through.

 

  • Gardner Village (West Jordan)

 

Gardner Village is a modern-western twist styled mall with home-style boutique stores. There isn’t a whole lot to buy here, but it’s the most photogenic of Utah’s malls. Its venues are popular for weddings.

 

  • The Gateway (Salt Lake City)

 

The Gateway mall is a couple blocks west of Temple Square and was the go-to before City Creek got all the attention. It’s styled like a boutique mall and while small, it’s more adult-friendly than City Creek.

 

  • Trolley Square (Salt Lake City)

 

Trolley Square is another smaller mall filled entirely with boutique stores. If you’re looking for something nice, local, or unique, you’ll find it here. Not as kid-friendly, but awesome for a date or for finding special gifts.

 

 

Where to Stay in Utah

 

The best place to stay while in Utah is at resorts near the places you wish to visit. This allows you easy access to the attractions and other things to do but is usually a bit pricier and requires you to book your stay several months in advance. Resorts are kept nice and tend to have more amenities. For the best deals you should plan your trip at least 4 months in advance.

 

Another option is to stay at hotels in nearby towns. Hotels along the Wasatch Front are usually available to book as short notice as the night before. Hotels are significantly cheaper than resorts. The most popular cities to stay in while visiting Utah: Ogden, Park City, Provo/Orem, Salt Lake City, and St. George.

 

Ogden

 

Ogden is an old Utah city with a quaint little downtown area. Most people stay in Ogden for its proximity to ski resorts. It’s one of the better areas to stay on a budget.

 

Park City & Heber

 

Both Park City and Heber are wealthy resort cities. There’s lots of high-end shopping as well as some of the best-maintained ski resorts. Expect luxury hotels and condos.

 

Provo & Orem

 

Provo and Orem are college towns with lots of younger residents. It’s budget friendly and puts you on the other side of the mountains from Heber and Park City. These two cities are the highest rated places in Utah for nightlife and budget/casual dates.

 

Salt Lake City

 

Salt Lake City is Utah’s capital and is seated in the center of the Wasatch Front, so staying here gives you the best access to the rest of northern Utah. It’s not nearly as big as other cities in the U.S. but does have Temple Square as well as many shopping malls, high-end restaurants, museums, and nightlife. Salt Lake City is a little more dangerous and has a higher homeless population than other areas. Hotels and b&bs will cost you a bit more than in other areas too.

 

St. George

 

St. George is the best place to stay on a road trip while visiting Utah’s national parks. It’s a small town and is far less busy than northern Utah. Hotel and b&b options are more limited, but you’ll have better access to recreation, parks, and camping.

 

Camping in Utah

 

Camping is very popular, both at formal campgrounds as well as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Campgrounds are kept clean, and usually have fire-pits, tables, and access to water. You can also do “dispersed camping” on most BLM land which allows you to set up a tent just about anywhere (click here for more info – including laws and regulations).

 

 

Gets Deals for Utah Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts

 

Our MySittiVacations hotel finder can help you find affordable, safe hotels and bed and breakfast options for your trip. You can type in specific hotels or search by area and select dates of stay that work best for you. We apply special coupons which save you money and make planning your vacation that much easier. Check it out here.

 

 

Safest Cities in Utah

 

The safest cities in Utah are Lone Peak, Farmington, Syracuse, Herriman, Bountiful, Pleasant Grove, Clinton, North Ogden, Saratoga Springs, and Spanish Fork. You’ll be safe walking around at night and pickpocketing is uncommon. You should still be careful and follow standard safety precautions.

 

Most Dangerous Cities in Utah

 

The most dangerous cities in Utah in descending order are: South Salt Lake (801), Salt Lake City (712), West Valley (699), Murray (439), Ogden (437), Woods Cross (364), Grantsville (301), Cedar City (277), West Jordan (224), Logan (217). The U.S. The National Average for violent crimes in 2020 was 309 per 100,000 people. The number next to each city is its violent crime per capita.

 

Is Utah Safe to Visit?

 

Utah has very low risk for travelers. It is safe to visit whether traveling with a family, as a couple, with friends, or alone. Most of the violent crimes in Utah are property damage, and homicides are incredibly rare. Gangs are almost non-existent, and gun violence is below the national average. None of these cities are high risk for travelers or locals, and each is perfectly safe to drive through, get a bit to eat, or visit attractions in. We do, however, recommend against walking around at night in these areas. With other cities so close by, it’s easy to get hotels/b&bs in other areas.

 

Safety Tips for Visiting Utah

 

On top of the two tips, we’ve already mentioned above, there are a couple other safety tips you should follow for a safe trip to Utah.

 

  • Drink water. Dehydration is riskier than crime. Make sure to have lots of extra water in your car.
  • Always lock doors.
  • Stay alert and know where you are and where you’re going.
  • Keep your eye on your children.
  • Watch your drinks and don’t drink too much.
  • Know how to use and carry pepper-spray.
  • Don’t let people know if you are traveling alone.
  • Check weather before outdoor trips.
  • Bring plenty of calorie-dense snacks.
  • Don’t try to drive on snowy roads. Wait for the plows.
  • Don’t go hiking without telling someone where you are. (Go with a buddy if possible).
  • Don’t overestimate your abilities. People get hurt all the time thinking they can do something they have limited experience in.
  • Learn what to do if your car “fishtails.”
  • Be wary of black ice. It’s an invisible killer.
  • Utah’s freeway speed limit is 70mph, with most people averaging around 80mph. Most people don’t survive crashes over 80mph.

 

Travel Tips for Utah

 

  • Get physical maps, especially at parks. It’ll make things more enjoyable and let you see more.
  • Don’t spend all your time at a single park. There’s a lot to see.
  • Don’t drive during rush hour. It’s not the worst, but it’s still not fun. Accidents along I-15 are common.
  • Bring portable phone chargers and camera batteries.
  • Use the far left “HOV” lane on the freeway if you have more than one person in the car. You’ll cruise through traffic better this way.
  • When camping, remember “leave no trace.” And put out fires.

 

Best Ways to Get Around Utah

 

When visiting Utah, the best mode of transportation is by car. The variety of attractions to see are pretty much inaccessible without a car, even if you stay only in one city (including Salt Lake City). Having a car gives you access to a variety of attractions and lets you explore places you can’t otherwise go. National Park road trips are common, and you’ll see lots of trucks, RVs, and campers. If you can’t afford a car rental, you’ll enjoy a trip to places like New York or San Francisco more.

 

Taxis as well as rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are all popular and reliable in Utah but cost significantly more per trip.

 

You can check out car rental companies and cheap car rentals in Utah through the MySittiVacations Cheap Car Rental Deal Finder.

 

Public Transportation

 

While Utah has reliable public transportation, the reach isn’t nearly as good as places like New York or San Francisco. Utah’s public transportation was designed with work commute in mind and is only convenient if you have someone picking you up from your stop. The three main cities where public transportation is a little better are in Provo, Orem, and Salt Lake City.

 

Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has a variety of light-rails, trolleys, and buses that can take you easily between major cities along the Wasatch Front. Travel fare is affordable, and all public transportation is safe. You can see maps and schedules at rideuta.com.

 

Things to Pack for Utah

 

Utah has a standard packing list, with an emphasis on clothing that is breathable in summer and warm in winter. Unless you plan on snow-sports you won’t need to buy anything special. With that said, make sure to bring:

 

  • Water Bottles
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a sunhat. (Check for SPF in makeup and Lip Balms).
  • Good walking shoes for museums and attractions.
  • Shoes/boots for hiking (tennis shoes are fine for summer)
  • Sweaters and jackets for winter trips.
  • Snow gear for winter. (Waterproof pants/jacket/boots a must for anything outdoors)
  • Motion-sickness medication. Canyons are notorious for giving people carsickness.
  • Bug-spray. Though there are not a lot of insects overall, Utah does have some unique welt-causing mosquitoes.
  • Allergy medication. Utah ranks average for allergies. Pollen season runs February-June.
  • Snowboards/skis for winter, mountain bikes for summer.

 

 

Is Utah Good for Solo Travelers?

 

Utah is a great destination for solo travelers, with incredibly high safety marks and plenty to do without feeling out of place. All of Utah’s parks and attractions have enough people that if something goes wrong, there are people close-by to help.

 

Is Utah Good for Couples?

 

Yes! Utah is a fantastic city to visit as a couple, particularly if you like seeing beautiful national parks, camping, and enjoying the outdoors. Accommodations for couples in Utah are classy and sweet and the cities have plenty to do for fun and romantic dates.

 

Is Utah Good to Visit with Friends?

 

Yes! Taking a trip to Utah with a friend or group of friends is an awesome idea. There are tons of bed and breakfast options in Utah which are perfect for getting lots of space without spending so much like you would in hotels. Utah is average for nightlife but has plenty of adult-oriented attractions perfect for checking out with friends.

 

Is Utah Family Friendly?

 

Utah is a top destination for family-friendly entertainment. Every park and attraction welcomes children without detracting from the experience for adults.There are some trails you might not want to take kids along (think steep cliffs), those are few. Back-pack carriers are common, and you won’t feel out of place using one.

 

Other Places to Visit

 

If you want a music scene, we recommend Austin or Nashville. If you want more of a resort feel, check out Las Vegas. For southern culture New Orleans. If you want a great party/nightlife atmosphere, check out Miami. If you want someplace with more family fun and themed attractions we recommend Orlando. If you enjoy history, consider visiting Boston or Philadelphia.  MySittiVacations can get you awesome travel deals in these places as well.

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