View of the delicate arch during sunrise at Arches National Park, one of the best places to visit in Utah

49 Places to Visit in Utah (in 2023)

👉 Jump to: Best Places to Visit in Utah | Cities | National Monuments | State Parks | Outdoor Activities | FAQ

The best places to visit in Utah tend to be more geared towards sightseeing and the outdoors rather than nightlife or metropolitan activities. However, with so many unique Utah places, including cities, small towns, and wonders of nature, you’re sure to find a place for you no matter your travel style.

As a Southwesterner and enthusiastic outdoorsy gal myself, I’ve explored some of the top destinations in Utah and am excited to fill you in on my ultimate Utah places list.

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Best Places to Visit in Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park

An orange acropolis of unusual desert towers defines the landscape in this southern Utah national park.

View of the starry sky over Bryce Canyon National Park during winter
Bryce comes to life in the winter

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You have to see the hundreds of magical orange-hued hoodoo spires in person to fully take in the magnitude of Utah’s southern desert beauty. Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Utah, and for good reason.

Easily accessible from major Utah highways and only a short drive from Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon bears an image that seems like it’s been directly transported from a fairytale. Hiking among the whimsical geologic formations is my favorite activity in the park, among stargazing and winter photography.

Zion National Park

Utah’s most popular national park has world-famous hiking trails.

The author McKenna's best friend biking at the Pa’rus Trail in Zion National Park
My best friend goes for a ride on the Pa’rus Trail in Zion
The author McKenna Mobley chilling under the shade near the river in Zion National Park
Taking a break from bike riding under a shaded refuge by the river

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When planning a trip to Utah, odds are Zion National Park is high on your list (or should be). The most famous national park in Utah, and arguably one of the tops in the U.S., Zion National Park boasts surreal beauty within its park entrance gates.

Embark on a half-submerged Narrows trail through ever-narrowing canyon walls, straddle a cliff ledge on Angels Landing, or go for a scenic bike ride past desert flora and the occasional mule deer on the park’s only road, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

🚗 Need a Rental? The easiest way to explore Utah is with your own car. Discover Cars has multiple pick-up and drop-off locations in Utah and is my go-to rental car company.


A funky town that borders both desert and high-altitude mountain ecosystems.

The author McKenna Mobley posing at BLM campsite in Moab
Striking a quirky pose at my free BLM campsite in Moab
Overlooking the view of Moab from the trunk of the car
Enjoying a Moab vista from the trunk of my car

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One of my personal favorite places to visit in Utah, Moab is an outdoor enthusiast’s ultimate playground. Moab is the only place in Utah where strikingly bold sandstone mesas contrast adjacent snow-capped high-altitude mountains. Plus, there are so many incredible things to do in Moab.

Hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers, canyoneers, and off-road enthusiasts can be found among Moab’s returning visitors. Travelers be warned: once you visit Moab once, you may just find yourself returning to the funky desert town year after year.

Capitol Reef National Park

A non-crowded national park perfect for hiking off-grid.

View of the podium with an information guide near the petroglyphs in Capitol Reef National Park
Don’t forget to look for the Capitol Reef petroglyphs!
Closeup view of the petroglyph figures in Capitol Reef National Park
A close-up of the petroglyph figures in the center of the photo

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This southeast Utah national park is one of the least visited parks that contains some of the best things to do in Utah. The abundant hiking trails and historical and archaeological sites in the small but mighty park are hard to beat.

I highly encourage visitors to visit the sleepy country town of Torrey just outside of the park’s boundaries. A 21st-century stay in this robust rural town feels anything but modern. Rekindle your wild west spirit with a stroll along the prairie or a horseback ride through the tall grassy foothills at Capitol Reef’s door.

Arches National Park

Thousands of natural arches are densely concentrated in this Moab national park.

View of the landscape in Arches National Park
Landscape Arch blends in perfectly with its surroundings

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“The desert wears a veil of mystery,” quoted famous literary author Edward Abbey, an ex-park ranger in the then-undeveloped Arches National Park. Because the presentation of the national park is so casual, the bold beauty inside comes as almost a surprise as soon as you round the corner.

Hike to Delicate Arch, the trademark Utah natural arch found on the state’s official license plate. An alpine start on the trail allows you to witness soft sunrise hues bringing the towering arch to life.

👉 My Favorite Gear: I’ve hiked most top trails in Arches National Park in my Salomon X Ultra 4 Hiking Shoes. They’re comfortable, waterproof, and easy to slip on in a pinch.

Canyonlands National Park

An eastern Utah national park with out-of-this-world aerial viewpoints.

Aerial view of the rock formations in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park and Colorado River

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The second of Utah’s national parks, Canyonlands National Park almost guarantees a remote experience surrounded by few other tourists and an abundance of vast open geologic features. Canyonlands National Park hosts a scene as breathtaking as the Grand Canyon, one of the top places to go camping in Arizona

A snaked Colorado River has carved its way through the landscape over millions of years and has, in turn, created a dramatic landscape of clustered gorges and steep canyon cliffs. Enjoy the White Rim lookout of these features for the best Canyonlands National Park experience.

Of course, Canyonlands can be a little out of the way from other top places in Utah. For those on a time crunch, check out this Canyonlands National Park half-day tour.

Salt Lake City

A large metropolitan city perfect for exploring Utah’s nightlife scene.

Aerial view of Salt Lake City during autumn

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There’s no better way to get to know a new state than by exploring its major metropolitan cities. Salt Lake City is Utah’s capital city and has something for everyone. 

This is the perfect place to set up base camp for exploring the nearby Wasatch Mountains or going skiing in the winter. There is also a multitude of top Utah hot springs just outside of Salt Lake City, another contending reason the desert state’s largest city is one of the top choices for where to stay in Utah.

Park City

One of the best places to display skiing and snowboarding skills.

View of the ski lifts with the snow covered mountain view in Park City, during winter

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Park City is one of the best places to visit in Utah for avid skiers and snowboarders. Sandwiched between Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort, Park City sits in the perfect location for delving into the area’s winter sports.

The charming town is also incredibly photogenic and, when dusted by light snow, resembles perfectly frosted gingerbread houses. Don’t forget to bring your camera equipment and practice some winter photography shots.

📚 Related Reading: Best Colorado Ski Resorts

St. George

The gateway town to Utah’s southern national parks with a wide range of accommodation options.

View of a white car, camping tent and chair on BLM land outside St. George
I camped on BLM land just outside of St. George

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You will most likely pass through St. George if driving into Utah from California, Arizona, or Nevada. The southern Utah town is the largest major city near Zion National Park, whose tourism comprises the bulk of St. George visitors.

There are some prime free campsites near St. George on BLM land. There are also plenty of nearby hiking areas and big-city entertainment activities.

Monument Valley

Monumental is an understatement when describing the lofty sandstone towers of this incredible desert valley.

View of the empty highway leading to Monument Valley on a sunny day
If timed just right, you can get the perfect photo of the valley without traffic
The author McKenna posing in the middle of the road with the Monument Valley towers in her background
What was supposed to be a jumping photo looks more like a Naruto running pose

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Peak desert beauty resides in Monument Valley. You will find that such a bold accusation is easily proved true the moment your car enters the Monument Valley National Monument outskirts.

Sensational red sandstone towers proudly protrude from vast nothingness and claim attention from the entire landscape. If you want excellent desert photos, Monument Valley is the place in Utah to visit.

Utah Cities to Visit


A southern city known for boisterous hiking trails.

View of The Wave covers in snow
The Wave experiences snow

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Kanab is within close proximity to both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. The town is less jam-packed with tourists than St. George offers its own attractions like abandoned film sets, road biking trails, and Buckskin Gulch, an epic slot canyon.

The downtown desert buildings are backdropped by the most gorgeous Navajo Sandstone geologic masses, one of the biggest draws to Kanab.


A northern Utah city with close access to watering holes to escape the summer heat.

Panoramic view of the beautiful Mt Ogden during autumn
Ogden during autumn

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The historic red brick town of Ogden takes up residence in northern Utah in the belly of the Wasatch Mountains basin. Most of the Ogden activities available are outdoor-centric like hiking, rock climbing, and skiing.

Another fun Ogden activity is swimming. No, there aren’t any famous west coast beaches on this side of town but there are convenient reservoirs like the Pineview and Causey that make excellent summer swimming hideaways.


An easy place to work remotely in northern Utah.

View of the illuminated shops at Center Street in downtown Provo at dusk

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Provo is just south of Salt Lake City and surrounds the banks of Utah Lake. It is also home to Brigham Young University and has a reputation as a college town.

As the third largest city in Utah, this metropolitan area is the best place to visit in Utah for remote workers and digital nomads. It’s a bit more secluded than the populous Salt Lake City and still within reach of the area’s top hiking trails and hot springs.


The base town for exploring top Utah hot springs.

View of the feet soaking in a hot spring in Moab during winter
There’s nothing more relaxing than soaking in a hot spring during a snowstorm

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Monroe does require a minor detour but the hot springs payoff is more than worth it. Monroe is the site of two top Utah hot springs, Mystic Hot Springs and Red Hill springs.

Mystic is the more developed of the two with ticketed entry, live musical performances during the summer, private soaking tubs, and restrooms with showers. The red rock mineral pools are worth every penny at Mystic. Red Hill Hot Springs are free of charge and offer four intimate natural soaking pools.

👉 My Favorite Gear: Dry off from the hot springs in style with the Slowtide Backstage Beach Towel. Not only is this towel efficient, but it’s also imprinted with my favorite band of all time.


A quiet metropolitan city that’s ideal for long-term stays in Utah.

Scenic view from the top of Naomi Peak in Logan
Logan’s Naomi Peak

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The green valleys of low-key Logan are 85 miles north of Salt Lake City. Home to farmland and surrounding mountain scenery, Logan can also be used as an overnight pit stop on a road trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Bear Lake and Beaver Mountain Ski Resort are the most developed outdoorsy activities in Logan, Utah. Get lucky with the catch of the day at Bear Lake or set a new personal record on the ski slopes of Beaver Mountain while passing through Logan.


A ski resort town close to two major Utah ski resorts.

Aerial view of the snow covered Logan Canyon

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Alta, Utah is one of the best places to visit in Utah to explore Utah ski resorts. Get to know the Wasatch Mountains on a personal level via a full day spent tearing down the slopes of either Alta Ski or the nearby Snowbird Resort.

Cecret Lake, American Folk Twin Peaks, and Big Cottonwood Canyon on the outskirts of town are among the top hiking destinations in Alta.

Cedar City

This unusual Utah town hosts an annual Shakespeare festival, to which hundreds of theater fanatics flock.

View of the yellow tree in front of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Parowan

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Be a part of the performing arts pride of Cedar City at the annual Shakespeare Festival. Theater lovers and non-thespians alike enjoy the Tony Award-winning production of the regal performances.

Just outside of St. George along the I-15, Cedar City is the perfect stop along a road trip throughout Utah from south to north. I recommend checking out the nearby national forests and monuments like Dixie National Forest and Cedar Breaks National Monument.


A popular place for fishing and hunting completely surrounded by jagged Utah peaks.

Exterior view of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day in Lehi during winter

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Named after a prophet in the Book of Mormon, Lehi is one of the oldest cities in Utah and bears a rich history of pioneer folk and new beginnings. Lehi is encircled by the Wasatch, White, and Oquirrh Mountains on either side and is the perfect place to stay a while and explore your artistic talents.

Fishing and hunting are popular pastime activities in this ever-developing town and visitors with a more pacifist approach can fill their days with hiking, biking, and camping under the stars.

Saratoga Springs

One of the most relaxing places to soak in northern Utah.

Panoramic view of the houses with the snow covered mountains in the background

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While there’s not too much happening around the municipality of Saratoga Springs, the town is worth checking out for the hot springs alone. Also known as the Inlet Hot Springs, these rejuvenating pools are less visited than other popular Utah springs, giving soakers a primitive experience.

Utah National Monuments

Dinosaur National Monument

A Mesozoic fossil site that riles up the imagination.

Closeup view of the petroglyphs in Dinosaur National Monument
Petroglyphs in the national monument

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View prehistoric fossils visually embedded in rock at Dinosaur National Monument. Families can embark on a fun scavenger hunt throughout the monument on the lookout not only for the fossils but also clumps of Native American petroglyphs.

Dinosaur National Monument also has various scenic campsites and an on-site cafe to get fully fueled before taking off on the monument hiking trails.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

The sensational vistas of this underrated monument certainly give neighboring monuments a run for their money.

Aerial view of the rock formations in Cedar Breaks National Monument

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This huge national monument bears resemblance to Arizona’s Grand Canyon, with thousand-foot gorges and Bryce Canyon-like hoodoo spires. Photograph one of the world’s oldest trees at Cedar Breaks National Monument or get lost on the copious hiking trails that wind throughout the desert scape.

Grand Staircase Escalante

An Ancestral Puebloan site with unlimited space for pitching a tent.

View of the slot canyon in Grand Staircase Escalante National Park
Slots are among the top activities in the area

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Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is one of the most archaeologically-rich monuments in Utah. With more than 1.8 million protected wilderness acres, Grand Staircase Escalante invites travelers to pitch a tent and stay a while for an in-depth exploration of the monument.

Look for Ancestral Puebloan remnants such as rock art panels and habitation sites as you explore the backcountry trails of the monument. I recommend checking out the 6.6-mile Zebra and Tunnel Slot trail, one of the top hiking trails in the area.

Bears Ears National Monument

An expansive desert landscape that’s perfect for discovering ancient Indigenous sites.

View of the cliff dwelling rooms at Bears Ears National Monument
Cliff dwelling rooms at Bears Ears

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Bears Ears neighbors Grand Staircase Escalante with hundreds of archaeological sites and twin buttes that dominate the cultural landscape. Early human evidence is found throughout the site, with dwelling sites and rock art in the bosom of the Bears Ears Valley and along the various hiking trails. 

Visit this famous Utah national monument during the winter for fewer crowds.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument

An underground connection of caves that piques one’s curiosity of the unknown.

View of the stalactites inside Timpanogos Cave National Monument

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Don’t forget a headlamp on your Utah packing list, as you set out to explore the vast connection of subterranean spaces at Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Watch your head as you bend beneath the resident stalactites to explore this hidden underground world.

Visitors hoping to experience the cave must do so with a guided tour, which can be acquired from the visitor center. It’s possible to score tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis but because the caves are so popular, it’s advised to purchase guide tickets ahead of time.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument

A unique monument that holds one of the highest arches in the world, perfect for a boat outing with the family.

View of the scenic Rainbow Bridge National Monument under the clear blue sky in Utah

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One of the highest naturally-forming arches in the world is only accessible via boat. This adds an element of adventure to Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Board a boat on Lake Powell, one of the top lakes in Arizona, for a close encounter of the third kind – not exactly a UFO, but an extraterrestrial-like portal of a bridge.  

Natural Bridges National Monument

A rich wilderness area with whimsical sandstone and dark starry skies.

View of the Natural Bridges National Monument on a sunny day

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Three huge, multi-colored natural bridges are quite the sight in southeastern Utah. Natural Bridges National Monument is also an international dark sky park, meaning the starry night skies aren’t disturbed by bright city lights.

This is one of the best places to visit in Utah for stargazing under an explosively illustrious night sky. There are also Indigenous archaeological sites in the monument area that date back nearly 2,000 years.

Four Corners National Monument

A rare chance to stand in four U.S. states found nowhere else.

View of the names of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah at the Four Corners National Monument
Four Corners is one of the best places to visit in Utah for an exceptionally rare experience

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Only ¼ of this national monument is located in Utah, but that’s sort of the point. Stand in four U.S. states at once at Four Corners National Monument, a rare occurrence found nowhere else in America. 

The remote location of this monument makes it pleasantly remote and not over-touristy. It’s a great pitstop on a road trip between the four monument states of Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona.

Dark Canyon Wilderness

One of the densest places to backcountry camp in Utah.

View of the cliff of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

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A wilderness area inside of Bears Ears National Monument, Dark Canyon Wilderness is one of the top places to visit in Utah for an isolated experience in the middle of the Utah desert.

Enjoy the 360-degree views from the Colorado Plateau of wind-sculpted sandstone walls and Ancestral Puebloan masonry sites. Dark Canyon Wilderness allows backcountry camping almost anywhere in the area with a permit secured from the visitor center.

👉 My Favorite Gear: I never hike in Utah without strong zinc sunscreen. Think Sport Sunscreen is my favorite sunscreen for spending all day actively exploring the great outdoors.

Hovenweep National Monument

An archaeological site rich in expansive landscapes and never-ending night skies.

View of the Hovenweep Castle in Hovenweep National Monument at sunset

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View an ancient Indigenous dwelling site more than 1,000 years old at Hovenweep National Monument. The area was a center for trade in its heyday and still stands proud to serve as a reminder of its ancient success.

Hovenweep National Monument is also an international dark sky zone, so sit back, relax, and bust out the ol’ telescope for an ethereal experience. 

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

A huge recreation area that invites RVers, boaters, and off-roaders to explore its expansive trenches.

Aerial view of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Desert and Lake Powell Landscape

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is one of the best places to visit in Utah with an RV. The vast area encompasses Lake Powell and Cataract Canyon, both ideal places to hunker down in the midst of grand sweeping views.

There are few things that beat being an RV desert rat next to one of the biggest bodies of water in Utah. Keep in mind, however, that the maximum allowed stay in the recreation area is 14 consecutive days. 

Utah State Parks

Dead Horse Point State Park

A Moab state park that offers grand viewpoints so stunning you have to see it to believe it.

Aerial view of the rock formations and Colorado River from Dead Horse Point State Park at dusk

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Enjoy dramatic overviews of Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado and Green Rivers at Dead Horse Point State Park. This Moab state park is the perfect way to escape national park crowds without missing out on some quintessential Moab views.

Experience the feeling of smallness at Dead Horse Point State Park. Canyons carved by rivers, badlands areas, and monumental overviews of miles upon miles of vast desert landscapes leave visitors feeling small yet inspired. 

I recommend camping in the park for a chance to view the desert vista come to life with splashes of color during sunrise and sunset. The Kayenta Campground in Dead Horse Point offers shade structures, picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads. The sites are also equipped with RV electrical hookups.

Snow Canyon State Park

A state park that’s redder than it is white with abundant rock climbing routes and few crowds.

View of the landscape in Snow Canyon State Park

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This misnomer state park resides in red rock country near St. George and is a top area for hiking and rock climbing rather than skiing and snowboarding, which is more abundant up north anyways.

Snow Canyon State Park offers a year-round campground for tent campers and RVs up to 40 feet, complete with showers and an RV dump station. Snow Canyon’s landmark Navajo Sandstone was sculpted by wind, shaped by time, and today takes form as a prime rock climbing destination.

Goblin Valley State Park

A desert playground off the beaten path that’s perfect for eager canyoneers.

View of the bizarre rock formations in the Goblin Valley State Park

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So you’ve finally run out of things to do in Moab? Or perhaps you’re staying in Moab and looking for something to do just outside of town? Goblin Valley State Park is only 2 hours south and waits for eager hikers, canyoneers, and rock climbers like you!

This remote desert state park is also near Capitol Reef National Park and, when combined as a day trip, the two really pack a punch. Because the location of Goblin Valley is so far removed from major Utah towns, you’re likely to encounter very few other visitors, the best way to experience nature in my opinion.

Goblin Valley State Park is perfect for travelers who like to march to the beat of their own drum. This destination is off the beaten path and is ideal for travelers who like to visit not only the most popularized tourist destinations.

Kodachrome Basin State Park

A garden of monolithic spires sets the stage at this southern Utah park.

View of the red sandstone rock formation in Kodachrome Basin State Park

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Only 20 miles outside of Bryce Canyon National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park offers a quite different nature experience. While the orange hues of the desert sandstone bear resemblance to Bryce Canyon, the sedimentary pipe monolithic spires that scatter the park landscape slightly differ from the Bryce hoodoos.

Hike among the unique formations or explore the deep gullies, created by millennia of erosion. If you’re traveling with a 4×4 vehicle, checking out the Grosvenor Arch is a must.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

An ATV rider oasis.

View of the large sand dune in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

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The desert state wouldn’t feel complete without a few expanses of sand dunes. Journey into a Sahara-like landscape for some sand sledding, ATV-ing, or hiking fun.

The shifting sea of red sand found at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park can move as much as 50 feet per year thanks to the strong winds in the area. A trip to Coral Pink Sand Dunes provides literally different experiences every time. 

The top adventurous excursion in Coral Pink Sand Dunes is riding ATVs over the sandy mountains and hills. Pack a tent, some camping food, and plenty of gasoline and stay a while to explore the best the state park has to offer.

Antelope Island State Park

Journey into the unknown at a state park removed from the mainland.

A lone bison standing in the middle of Antelope Island State Park
One of the island’s resident fluffy cows

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A trip to Salt Lake’s Antelope Island is unusual, to say the least. Meet resident bison on the island, hike among the tall sweeping grasses, and at the foot of tall snowy mountains in the magical environment of Antelope Island State Park.

Antelope Island State Park feels like a vacation away from vacation. Take a refreshing dip in the saline waters or visit the historic Fielding Garr Ranch for an activities-filled trip. Wildlife photography is another fun activity on the island, given the abundance of bison, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and antelope among other desert fauna.

Sand Hollow State Park

A desert campground centered around water sports.

Scenic view of the Sand Hollow State Park on a sunny day

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Enjoy the activities around a 1,000+ acre reservoir and miles upon miles of off-roading trails on Sand Mountain in Sand Hollow State Park. The outdoor activities are tenfold in this area where red rock and grasslands meet the warm reservoir water.

Only 45 minutes from Zion National Park, Sand Hollow State Park is the ideal place to camp for travelers with big rigs, ATVs, and full fishing equipment. Most Sand Hollow State Park visitors are families and local weekend warriors. 

This family-friendly state park boasts a comfortable water temperature year-round, although most swimmers prefer to wait until the heat of the summer to go for a dip. You can also rent a boat or jet ski inside the state park, the perfect excursion during an idyl summer afternoon. 

Goosenecks State Park

A landscape defined by the twisting and turning San Juan River with dramatic viewpoints.

Aerial view of the Goosenecks State Park in Utah

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A beautiful ecological landscape has been carved by the snaking San Juan River and millions of years of erosion, leaving behind jaw-dropping vistas in Goosenecks State Park. River rafting at the base of skyscraper canyon walls evokes almost an out-of-body experience outside of time and space.

The stunning vistas of the crooked San Juan River bends are one of my personal favorites in Utah. A rugged route called Honaker Trail will get you to the river shores, but beware that the going may be steep and treacherous. 

Bear Lake State Park

Utah’s northernmost lake is ideal for families who prefer enjoying water sports without crowds.

View of the greenery on the landscape of Bear Lake State Park

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Bordered by Idaho, Bear Lake State Park is on the northeasternmost portion of Utah. The turquoise colors of the water strikingly contrast the barren desert landscape surrounding the lake. This is one of the best destinations in Utah for families who love watersports and scant summer crowds.

Outdoor Places in Utah

Colorado River

The most refreshing destination during a hot summer day spent in Utah.

Overlooking view of the Colorado river and red rocks canyon from the cliff

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Hakuna Matata seems to be the slogan for floating down the Colorado River in Utah. Let all your worries disintegrate into the sacred waters as you take a dive, embark on a paddle board journey, or kayak down the Colorado River. It’s one of the best things to do in Moab.

One of my favorite places to hang out on the Colorado River in Utah is down Potash Road in Moab. The magic of this lesser-known destination can be felt in any season, thanks in part to the scant crowds and sky-scrapper sandstone cliffs.

👉 Pro Tip: Experience the splendor of white water rafting down the Colorado River with a professional tour guide.

Utah Olympic Park

An old Olympic Winter Games park that’s now a stomping ground for winter sports trainees.

View of the skiers on a trail with mountains in the background

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This winter sports park was first constructed for the 2002 Olympic games and is used today as a stomping ground for training winter sports enthusiasts. Located northwest of Park City, Utah, the Utah Olympic Park offers over 400 acres of skiable terrain, making it a top choice for winter sports activities.

Lake Powell

One of the most popular lake destinations for families in the Southwest.

Aerial view of Lake Powell at sunset

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A lake shared by two states, Lake Powell is a major vacation destination for Southwestern residents who need a sweet release from the excruciatingly hot summer desert temperatures. Lake Powell is an artificial reservoir of the Colorado River and is the perfect place to lounge around all day with friends and an ice-cold brew.

Bonneville Salt Flats

An extraterrestrial-like barren landscape that’s ideal for practicing desert photography.

A car parked in the middle of Bonneville Salt Flats

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Utah landscapes are more than just sandstone sanctuaries and snowy mountain municipalities. The milky white, dehydrated-looking Bonneville Salt Flats add prominent variation to the Utah scenery.

This dry lakebed is now the site of top-notch desert photography and is a hub for car racing. I recommend visiting this mars-like landscape right after a rainstorm for a mirrored landscape effect.

Homestead Crater

An enclosed hot spring site that’s also utilized by scuba divers.

View of a cenote with crystal clear water

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Homestead Crater is one of the most unusual hot spring sites in Utah. The swallowed springs lie in the belly of a beehive-shaped geologic formation that formed over the course of millions of years.

Go for a swim or scuba dive in the enclosed, cenote-like warm waters of the spring for a northern Utah experience to remember.


A huge ski resort that transforms into an ideal summer hiking destination.

Panoramic view of the snow covered Little Cottonwood Canyon

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Snowbird is only 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City and hosts over 2,500 acres of snowy mountain peaks, packed bowls, and groomed runs. Visiting Snowbird isn’t limited to just winter exploration either. Summer brings thawed-out hiking trails, scenic tram rides, and outdoor festivals.

Great Salt Lake

Utah’s largest saltwater lake routinely experiences magnificent sunsets.

A man standing in the middle of Bonneville Salt Flats lake

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Take a break from exploring Utah’s capital city with a lazy day on the lake. Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and is one of the best places to catch a sunset in northern Utah.

The white sandy beaches are the best place to sprawl out and work on a summer tan and the siren calls from the turquoise lake waters lure even novice swimmers. Rent a kayak and journey out to the craggy outcroppings around the lake, which is deficient in marine life due to the high salinity.

Moqui Cave

An old cave music venue can still be visited today as a museum and gift shop.

View inside the Moqui Cave

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Moqui Cave is one of the coolest attractions in Kanab, Utah. This landmark also offers a natural history museum with Native American artifacts and famous Utah dinosaur tracks.

The crumbling cave was purchased in the 1950s and restored into a tourist destination, complete with a stage for echoing musical performances and a tavern. Today, the cavern is a gift shop and museum of the old owners’ large collection of fossilized material. Checking out this unusual Utah landmark should be high on the itinerary while in southern Utah.

The Wave

An oceanic feature takes prominence in the Utah desert.

Scenic view at The Wave under the clear blue sky in Utah

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Technically just across the border in Arizona, the Wave is one of the most photographed desert sites in the Southwest and one of the best hikes in Utah. Park at the Utah trailhead to reach the desert maritime feature across the Arizona state line.

Due to the increasingly high popularity of the site, the number of visitors at the Wave is limited per day. Reserve a permit up to 6 months in advance from for your chance to experience the whimsical feature everyone’s talking about. 

Green River

A popular home base for multi-day rafting expeditions on the Colorado River.

View of the red rocks canyon reflecting on the Colorado River

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Just one hour outside of Moab, Green River is a quiet desert destination centered around water-based recreation activities. Once a gathering place for wild west outlaws like Butch Cassidy, Green River is now a top destination for river runners and rafting ravers.

Nearby attractions include Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Goblin Valley State Park, and San Rafael Swell.

FAQs About Where to Travel in Utah

What is the prettiest place in Utah?

Utah’s five national parks are the prettiest places in Utah. These include Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands.

What are 3 things Utah is famous for?

Utah is most famous for Zion National Park, the Delicate Arch landmark in Arches National Park, and the Sundance Film Festival located in Park City.

Is there anything cool to see in Utah?

The sites and attractions are seemingly endless in Utah. There are cool things to see in nearly every Utah city, big or small, like national parks and monuments, historical sites, architecture, great eateries, and more!

What are the most popular places to visit in Utah?

Zion, Arches, and Bryce Canyon National Park are the most popular places to visit in Utah. Salt Lake City, St. George, and Park City are the most frequented metropolitan places to visit in Utah for sightseeing and snowboarding.


Thanks for reading my ultimate guide on the best places to visit in Utah! Be sure to also give our best places in Arizona guide a read for more Southwestern fun.

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