Are you planning your next road trip adventure? You’ll want to include a stop in the beautiful state of Utah, which is chock full of exciting things to see and do! With its diverse landscape, vibrant cities, and many recreational activities, here are 29 things to do in Utah on your travels that you may need to familiarize yourself with.
From exploring awe-inspiring National Parks like Bryce Canyon and Zion to experiencing local culture through unique attractions like Salt Lake City’s Temple Square or eating Pinkbox Doughnuts in St. George, you will find countless opportunities for an exciting vacation experience.
Here, we have compiled a list of our favorite things that should be at the top of your travel bucket list when visiting Utah. So grab some snacks and hit the open road…because this journey awaits you!
Things to Do in Utah Table of Contents
1. See What the Fuss is About at Ruby’s
The 100+-year-old Best Western Inn, more commonly known as Ruby’s Inn, is your one-stop shop for lodging during a Bryce Canyon National Park visit. Ruby’s has a variety of lodging choices (hotel rooms, campground, RV park), along with a laundromat, three restaurants, a general store, and a great souvenir shop.
Reenergize at the breakfast, lunch, or dinner buffet at Cowboy’s Buffet and Steak Room after a long day or before exploring the parks. You can even use services like an auto care center, Bryce Canyon NP shuttle, and rent mountain bikes. The Bryce Canyon City’s surrounding area has plenty of activities to keep you busy, like horseback riding and rock climbing!
Ruby’s is a whopping three minutes from the park.
2. Go on an Adventure at Bryce Canyon National Park
One of Utah’s Mighty 5, Bryce Canyon National Park, situated atop a stunning high plateau, is an absolute must-see. The park boasts world-renowned hoodoos—uniquely shaped rock spires that naturally form along the sides of canyons due to erosion and freezes.
While exploring this rugged landscape, you can observe many breathtaking views and engaging wildlife—from eagles to foxes to mule deer.
The miles and miles of layered colored rock formations that rival the Grand Canyon will thrill your heart, eyes, and soul. You can get swept away by the massive canyons and diverse terrain. Many trails have spectacular overlooks that take even more advantage of this park’s incredible views.
3. Take a Scenic Drive Through Ogden Canyon
For those who prefer their activities a bit more adventurous, try white water rafting or rock climbing at the world-renowned Ogden River Gorge. Weave your way up the majestic Ogden Canyon Scenic Drive, with sweeping views of the mountains and valley, occasional glimpses of wildlife, and endless opportunities for adventure.
Whether you’re on a mission to take photos of the panoramic vistas and mountains or need some fresh air, you’ll have no shortage of incredible sights to admire from these beautiful drives.
4. Visit the Brigham and Amelia Young Winter Home
Utah’s winter landscape is stunningly beautiful, and what better way to experience it than in the Brigham Young Winter Home? Built circa 1855, this historic landmark in St. George stands proudly as a reminder of one of Utah’s most influential leaders. Young ran the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from this stately two-story home.
Today, tourists can visit this piece of history, boasting interpretive exhibits, outdoor play areas, and period living-history demonstrations. The home is open daily but closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
While you are there, check out these best eats in St. George.
5. Enjoy a Delicious Breakfast from Jailhouse Cafe (Moab)
Several friends who had visited Moab told me that breakfast from Jailhouse Cafe was a must. I’m so glad I listened. Even though it is highly popular, if you arrive early, you shouldn’t have to wait, or at least a long one.
My friend and I chowed down on the Eggs Benedict with a velvety hollandaise and perfectly poached eggs. Remember, this seasonal restaurant closes in early November and reopens in early March. It is delicious!
6. Explore Provo’s Universities
Bucket list things to do in Provo, Utah, are endless for families and road trippers. Start by exploring some of the city’s top attractions, including Brigham Young University, the home of the Cougars, or visit Utah Valley University, the state’s second-largest university.
7. Stay in a Swiss-Inspired Inn
I overnighted at the Swiss Alps Inn in Heber City by sheer luck. What a fun roadside motel property with affordable rates, functional and comfortable rooms, and excellent customer service! These darling accommodations are family-friendly and in a great part of town for sightseeing and dining.
It doesn’t get much cuter than this.
8. Learn About Utah’s Pioneers
From visiting the Browning Firearms Museum to touring Fort Buenaventura Park—both founded by early pioneers, Ogden can teach you about Utah’s pioneer life. Experience Utah’s pioneering spirit like never before when you visit one of the state’s fascinating exploration and pioneer history museums!
Whether you learn about the mountain men and their trials on the frontier, Native American lifestyles, or the hardworking miners, these museums offer unique insight into what it meant to be an early settler. Get ready to be engrossed in a world of facts and information as you view photographs, artifacts, artwork, and more on this incredible journey back in time.
9. Explore Arches National Park
Arches National Park is one of Utah’s Mighty 5 and should be on every outdoor enthusiast’s bucket list. This Moab gem has awe-inspiring arches (Delicate Arch is a fave!), towering Balanced Rock formations, and countless mesmerizing sights.
Arches’ landscape consists of more than 2000 naturally sculpted rock arches surrounded by narrow canyons and breathtakingly beautiful red rocks that stretch as far as the eye can see. You can step inside these sandstone arches or climb up steep slickrock trails to an incredible view of the entire park – it promises to be an experience like no other!
Visitors can also see quite a bit of epic scenery from the car windows, making this a park suitable for those with mobility issues and avid hikers.
10. Go Skiing at Snowbasin
Skiing in Snowbasin, Utah, is an unforgettable experience. Nestled in the Wasatch Mountains, Snowbasin offers stunning views of rolling hills blanketed with pristine snow. Its slopes are some of the most renowned terrains in the United States of America; it’s no wonder why Snowbasin attracts people from all over to get a piece of this wintery paradise.
Skiing Snowbasin allows you to explore your inner adrenaline junky as you take on its most challenging runs, such as alternating between gliding on wide smooth open trails and riding through gnarly wooded routes. Enjoy the thrill of skiing down long advanced runs and perfect your skills so you can hit the top-notch terrain like a pro!
11. Try Some Tasty Mexican Eats at Gustavo’s
Monticello is a small Utah town, tiny almost, but a great stopping and staying point for those doing the National Parks, hiking, cycling, or any other avid sports activity. Gustavo’s is a tasty Mexican eatery with really good food and attentive service. I liked the restaurant’s hominess and the delicious food quality.
You can’t go wrong with the Pollo Asada accompanied by rice and beans. Nom!
12. Take a Selfie with the Utah: Life Elevated Welcome Sign
If you need the perfect travel souvenir, you must stop by the state welcome signs and grab a selfie to capture the memory for a lifetime. Grab a few on your own, trying out both sides of the sign if they are marked, and if you have a friend with you, perhaps have them take a more posed shot.
Remember, when you are in Utah, this is “Life Elevated”.
13. Wander the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum
Frontier Homestead State Park in Utah is a mesmerizing destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list! Located in Cedar City, this park will take you back in time to the pioneering days of the Old West and offers exciting opportunities for exploration.
Visitors can explore wagon routes and original cabins, a gristmill and forge, and experience demonstrations from a blacksmith and tinsmith. Panoramic views of the red rock formations and access to hiking trails make Frontier Homestead State Park Museum a prime outdoor destination.
14. Stay at the Exclusive Sorrel Ranch
The drive to Sorrel River Ranch is exceptional. Still, even that doesn’t prepare you for the outstanding 240 acres of scenery inside the gates. What looks like a movie set can be a dream getaway to indulge yourself in the luxury and rustic setting of Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa.
Pet-friendly custom-built cabins, guest rooms, and suites with high-end furnishings and deep soaking tubs are available. Some lodging even features a kitchenette with a mini-fridge. My private veranda overlooked the river and provided a tranquil spot for soaking up the landscape.
Check out the fitness center and spa, visit the stables and petting zoo, help feed the horses, or even go horseback riding. Other amenities include guided hikes, tennis, basketball, lawn games, bike rentals, and nightly S’mores making at the campfire, weather permitting. And don’t miss JJ’s Mercantile, an on-site curated country store inspired by the Wild West.
Dining on property at River Grill is also suggested, and the menu packs a powerful punch. Fancy a stiff drink? Try the seasonal Maple Cinnamon Hot Toddy.
My favorite part of Sorrel River Ranch was the refreshing outdoor pool with a Hollywood movie-like setting.
15. Enjoy Thunder Junction
Located in St. George, Utah, Thunder Junction All Abilities Park is a playground designed to provide an exciting experience for all children and adults, no matter their ability level. Constructed with natural materials such as rock, sand, trees, and plants, it includes playground equipment that encourages exploration and creativity while providing a safe atmosphere.
Plenty of pathways are available to make the park accessible to visitors with varying mobility levels and sensory activities like water play areas and musical instruments to stimulate other senses.
16. See the Great Salt Lake
Ogden, Utah, has many bucket list activities suitable for families or road trippers. For starters, the nearby Great Salt Lake is a must-see. Whether you’re looking to boat, fish, or take in the stunning views of snow-capped mountains and golden fields of wildflowers surrounding the lake, it’s an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
17. Be Amazed at Kayenta Art Village
A place I often take guests visiting me in nearby Mesquite, Nevada, is the dreamy Kayenta Art Village in the town of Ivins. Just a hop, skip, and jump from St. George, you’ll have a blast shopping, dining, and sightseeing in this very picturesque area.
With its vibrant red canyons and rock formations that span several acres, it’s no wonder why people flock here. Be sure not to miss the pottery studio, art galleries (Datura Gallery, Gallery 873, Juniper Sky Gallery, etc.), gift shops, and arboretum, where you can also buy plants.
Kayenta is open seven days a week, though the Xetava Gardens Cafe often has seasonal hours and days. Stop here for a delicious meal in an upscale setting. I recommend the simple but tasty Chicken Quesadilla.
18. Enjoy a World-Class Show in Sandy
Visiting Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy, Utah, is a theater-lover’s dream. With their gorgeous grand lobby and transforming auditoriums, you can get lost in the beauty of entertainment as soon as you enter!
Featuring beloved musicals, comedies, dramas, and numerous awards from around the nation, it’s easy to understand why this theatre is one of the best-kept secrets West of the Rockies. Enjoy the stunning visuals of this incredible venue coupled with expertly delivered acting and dialogue for a fun outing.
The 2024 season includes Fiddler on the Roof, The Addams Family, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
19. Be In Awe at Zion National Park
Zion National Park is easily one of the top destinations and outdoor attractions in Utah. The powerhouse park features towering sandstone cliffs, narrow winding canyons, and a variety of hiking trails that truly showcase the property’s beauty.
Whether you want to take a family stroll on the Weeping Rock or Canyon Overlook Trails or have a taxing hike through the slot canyons, Zion National Park will definitely wow.
The Narrows hike, 16 miles total, is a popular one that takes you through the towering canyon walls of the Colorado Plateau while wading through the Virgin River. We recommend taking a guide, as it is not for the faint of heart. Stay well informed of the weather to ensure precipitation does not threaten your way out of the Narrows.
20. Visit Temple Square
Visiting the renowned Temple Square, a National Historic Landmark in Salt Lake City is a must for visitors and locals. Here, you can marvel at the gorgeous architecture of the Temple and historic Tabernacle building, plus wander over two dozen captivating visitor attractions.
Temple Square is a 10-acre complex owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
21. Don’t Miss Exploring Capitol Reef!
Capitol Reef is probably the most underrated of Utah’s Mighty 5, but it is an amazing park. Please don’t skip it; I promise it is well worth your time. Capitol Reef National Park boasts stunning geological formations, including the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile-long wrinkle in the earth’s crust, which makes for some truly breathtaking scenery.
While exploring the park, you might also come across some of the park’s many petroglyphs left by the Fremont people who inhabited the region over a thousand years ago. Capitol Reef is excellent for stargazing, too.
22. Learn About a New Religion in Spanish Fork
If you’re looking for a unique experience, drop by the Shri Shri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah. This temple is unique as it’s founded on the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
The jaw-dropping beauty offers visitors a chance to learn about the Hare Krishna religion and the principles of Bhakti Yoga in a serene and peaceful setting. A gift shop also features handmade items, and an eatery shares a home-cooked vegetarian Indian buffet.
Hours are 10 AM to 8 PM daily. This attraction is 10 minutes from Provo.
23. Drink Deliciousness from River Rock Roasting Company
After a long day of hiking or exploring the outdoors, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee to recharge. River Rock Roasting Company, in the small town of La Verkin, serves up some of the best coffee in the state. Their coffee is roasted on-site, so the menu includes freshly brewed drinks, such as lattes and espressos, plus other drink favorites, like matcha, smoothies, and Italian sodas.
River Rock also has an extensive selection of pastries and breakfast items that pair perfectly with your coffee. Their muffins, orange rolls, and cookies are some of the best I’ve ever had. The quiche is quite magnificent, too.
River Rock is a welcome oasis that cannot be missed when driving through Southern Utah.
24. Attend the Saturday Farmers’ Market in Ogden
Join the hoards of locals at the Farmers’ Market Ogden on Saturday mornings from 8 AM until 1 PM in the Historic 25th Street area. Shop for local produce, handmade crafts, fresh baked goods, and artisan food while enjoying live music and a variety of entertainment.
It’s a great way to support local vendors and farmers while enjoying the beautiful Utah weather. The market is open from June until September, and the assortment of booths and vendors is impressive.
25. Attend a Hot Air Balloon Festival
The annual Bluff Balloon Festival is an exciting event over Martin Luther King weekend in January that brings people from around the world to the thrilling sky show. Dozens of hot air balloons are launched in various sizes, shapes, and vibrant color combinations, allowing these giant beauties to be seen for miles and miles.
You’ll feel a sense of wonder when you look up at them floating majestically or experience the thrill of balloon rides! With wonderful vendors, food, and activities for adults and children, this 25-year festival is guaranteed to be a cherished memory.
26. Go Zipling at Deer Creek State Park
Deer Creek State Park in Utah is the perfect destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty of nature. Its location in the mountains of central Utah provides picturesque scenery, with seemingly endless alpine forests and streams full of trout. Adventurers can take a zip-line tour at Deer Creek State Park or ascend the peaks of Mount Timpanogos.
The park features many recreational activities, such as swimming, boating, kayaking, and fishing. Visitors can also take part in wildlife viewing or hike nearby trails that offer thrilling vistas of the Wasatch mountains.
27. Drive a Fantastic Scenic Road
The connector between Beaver Dam, Arizona, and Kayenta, Utah, is spectacular in every way. It takes 45 minutes, but W Old Highway 91 is worth the extra time it takes to get to this artsy region or neighboring St. George.
This historic road has been a fixture of Utah for decades, offering breathtaking views of the Wasatch Mountains to the west and Pine Valley Mountains to the east. On this road, you will glimpse the state’s pioneer history and stunning mountain landscapes. Other points of interest are the Joshua Tree National Natural Landmark and the Paiute Reservation.
28. Eat Pinkbox Doughnuts in St. George
I’m a sucker for a good doughnut, and there are great locally-owned shops across the country. But Pinkbox is not only the purveyor of dozens of different doughnuts (including seasonal, themed, and vegan) but is also open 24/7, allowing us to get our sugar fix anytime.
The variety of doughnuts ranges from the OG classics to Fancy Pancy, Show Offs, and DoughCro. My favorites are the Maple Ol’ Fashioned, Cherry Bomb, Baby Got Razz, and Blue Face DoughCro, if you need suggestions. Truly, Pinkbox is a game changer and the Official Doughnut Partner of the Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Raiders.
29. Explore 300 Kinds of Wildlife in St. George
A visit to the Rosenbruch World Wildlife Museum brings guests up close and personal with over 300 taxidermy animals that are both educational and interesting. My granddaughter loved our visit, which takes about 60 to 90 minutes to get through the exhibits.
Rosenbruch has animal species from around the world, offering a chance to see the different types of animals through dioramas based on their geography. There is also a well-appointed gift shop. Admission is $8 per adult and $4 for children ages 3 to 12. You can listen to a guided presentation on your phone as you go through the attraction.
Rosenbruch World Wildlife Museum is closed on Sundays.