Utah is a beautiful state to visit in the summertime. With its stunning mountain ranges, vibrant national parks, and diverse outdoor activities, there are plenty of places to visit in Utah in the summer!
When you’re looking for US travel ideas, you can’t beat the stunning landscape and variety of things to do in Utah. From hiking in Zion National Park to rafting on the Green River, Utah has something for everyone in the summer.
Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or just want to take in some breathtaking scenery, you’ll find places to visit in Utah in the summer that will provide you with an unforgettable experience.
Use our Utah Packing Lists to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for your summer vacation! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Read the full Disclosure Policy.
A Photo Tour of Utah National Parks
Take a visual tour through all five Utah National Parks to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!
Visiting Utah in the Summer
There are a lot of Utah destinations for summer vacations like exploring the National and State Parks. In the summer many visitors opt to enjoy outdoor activities in the mountains where the temperatures aren’t as hot.
Visiting Utah National Parks in the summer is a popular time for most people. Be prepared for the summer heat you’ll experience at all of the Utah national parks.
Our best tip for a summer trip would be: get up early and stay out late so you can avoid the midday heat and sun.
Utah weather in the summer will vary between Northern and Southern Utah. The temperatures in the higher elevations will be cooler than the lower elevations by 10 to 20 degrees.
Utah weather in June:
- Northern Utah (Salt Lake City): highs 84 / lows 59 degrees F
- Southern Utah (St. George): highs 96 / lows 65 degrees F
Utah weather in July:
- Northern Utah (Salt Lake City): highs 94 / lows 68 degrees F
- Southern Utah (St. George): highs 102 / lows 72 degrees F
Utah weather in August:
- Northern Utah (Salt Lake City): highs 92 / lows 67 degrees F
- Southern Utah (St. George): highs 100 / lows 70 degrees F
Utah NP Mighty 5 AUDIO TOUR
“It’s just like having a tour guide along for the ride. You’ll hear stories, local tips & navigation play automatically, all based on your location. Best of all it doesn’t need cell signal, the tour works offline with GPS.”
Places to Visit in Utah in the Summer
We’ve asked our travel friends to help us put together a list of Utah summer vacation ideas that include National and State Parks, hiking, scenic drives, and more!
Antelope Island in the Summer
With a unique landscape that stands out from Utah’s most popular desertscapes, Antelope Island State Park has its own enchantments that are worthy of visiting. In addition to the beautiful scenery, this island hosts a large population of Bison, making an encounter with these amazing animals one of most sought after experiences from the park’s millions of visitors. Additionally, the views of the Great Salt Lake are simply mesmerizing!
Some of the most popular activities around the island during the summer are camping and swimming in the lake. Because of the easy access to the shorelines that you can find on Antelope Island, this is actually the best place to go if you want to spend a relaxing time floating in the Great Salt Lake. Due to its high salt content, it’s super easy to float in the lake and it makes it a very unique experience!
The island also has over 12 hiking trails and 3 campgrounds, and it’s also a designated International Dark Sky park making stargazing one of the most incredible adventures to experience on the island. Sunscreen, bug repellant, and lightweight clothing are highly recommended when visiting Antelope Island in the summer. There is no shuttle on the island. There’s a fee to drive across the causeway and a fee to enter the park.
Recommended by Yanitza, Next Stop Adventures
Arches National Park in the Summer
Arches National Park is an amazing place to visit, known for its red rock and larger-than-life sandstone arches. Located near Moab, Utah, it’s a backcountry paradise, just waiting to be explored!
There are a few things to be aware of before visiting Arches. A timed entry reservation as well as an entry fee, are required to gain entrance into the park. Reservations can be made up to three months in advance at recreation.gov.
There are no public transportation options inside Arches, so the best way to get around is in a personal vehicle. Keep in mind the Arches National Park weather and temperatures are very hot during the summer, so plan to visit early in the day to take advantage of cooler morning temperatures. And drink plenty of water!
With over 2,000 arches to see and explore, there are so many ways to explore Arches. This park is known for The Windows Trail but offers so much more. Aside from hiking, rock climbing, and off-roading are other must-do activities when visiting this national park.
There are so many places to visit during the beautiful summer months, but Arches won’t disappoint. The sun, arches, and adventure await!
Recommended by Candice, GS Ginger
Bryce Canyon in the Summer
Bryce Canyon National Park may arguably be the most enjoyable of all of Utah’s Mighty Five to visit in the summertime, due to its high elevation and thus, slightly cooler days.
You can take advantage of the pleasant Bryce Canyon National Park weather (with highs usually in the low 80s) to explore its unique amphitheater of hoodoos, which are pink and orange rock spires carved over millennia from wind and ice erosion. Visiting in the summer has some other advantages—unlike the snowy winter in Bryce, all of the park’s roads and facilities are open and its shuttle is in operation. And bonus—unlike some of Utah’s national parks, you don’t need a reservation to visit or to hike on any of its trails.
Some of the best hikes in the park to explore include the Navajo Loop Trail, which descends down from the rim of the canyon along the famed Wall Street section, or the Fairyland Loop trail, which takes you over a series of rolling hills down into the canyon and past a whimsical maze of hoodoos, towering overhead.
Recommended by Jessica, Uprooted Traveler
Buckskin Gulch in the Summer
Are you looking for shade during the hot Utah summer? Find shelter in a slot canyon. One of the most beautiful and probably longest slot canyons in the world is Buckskin Gulch on the Utah-Arizona border, between Kanab and Page.
Buckskin Gulch runs through about 16 miles of unique formations and rolling sandstone walls in the northern part of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. It’s a fantastic slot canyon you can hike through for hours or even take a multi-day backpacking trip.
But most importantly, a day hike is affordable, with a fee of $6.00 per person and $6.00 per dog. This can be a great alternative to expensive trips to Antelope Canyon near Page. If you’re doing a day hike, you can buy a Buckskin Gulch Day Use permit in advance or pay at the trailhead.
The length of the walk is entirely up to you. Even if you only go 3-5 miles one way, you’ll have breathtaking views and plenty of shade. Wear comfortable shoes and take a supply of water and snacks. The canyon is quite shady, so a light sweatshirt is helpful if you get cold. Always check the weather before hiking in a slot canyon, as summer thunderstorms can be dangerous, and flash floods are possible.
Recommended by Agnes, The Van Escape
Canyonlands in the Summer
Canyonlands National Park, one of the Utah “Mighty 5”, is often overlooked in the shadow of Bryce, Zion, and Arches. However, Canyonlands is absolutely gorgeous and is a National Park you don’t want to miss!
Canyonlands is broken up into districts and is actually the largest National Park in Utah. Some of the districts are really hard to reach unless you’re an avid backpacker, so most one-day visitors just check out the Island in the Sky district.
The Island in the Sky visitor center is only 35 minutes from Moab. No shuttles are available so you need a car. Canyonlands is located in the high desert so in the summertime, it can get super hot. But don’t fear! The best time to visit Canyonlands National Park is in the early morning when the temperature is much milder.
Start your journey at Mesa Arch. Plan to arrive there 30 minutes before the posted sunrise time. This is the place to be in Canyonlands at this time, so showing up even earlier than that will ensure you get a good parking spot.
Once you’ve enjoyed the view, continue adventuring on. There are hikes ranging from easy to challenging if you’re up for it and viewpoints if you just want to drive. You can easily leave the park before noon with this itinerary, helping you beat the scorching summer heat!
Recommended by Gabby, Office Escape Artist
Capitol Reef in the Summer
Located halfway between the other “mighty” Utah National Parks, Capitol Reef is a true oasis in the desert. Although the park is famous for its majestic white sandstone domes, it has a lot more to offer. Its fabulous orchards, most notably, are an incontestable highlight for visitors passing through. This Southwestern natural park assuredly warrants more than a quick stop.
Road tripping on the Scenic Drive is a must, but doesn’t allow for the complete experience. Getting up close to the towering monuments is in fact the best way to appreciate this off-the-beaten-track national park. There are a lot of opportunities for hiking in Capitol Reef, with trails catering to every kind of traveler. Plus, the Colorado Plateau is a great place for canyoneering enthusiasts and thrill seekers. If the heat of the desert becomes too much, pay a visit to the Historic Fruita Orchards; Summertime is after all the middle of the harvest season!
Fees are charged for accessing the Capitol Reef scenic drive. You need your own car to get around Capitol Reef as there is also no shuttle service in the park. Reservation for the Fruita Campground for the summer season can be made up to 6 months in advance.
Recommended by Iphi, Travel Choreography
Hurricane, Utah in the Summer
Hurricane is a charming town located just 30 miles from Zion National Park. This southern Utah destination is an excellent choice for those seeking an exciting and adventurous summer vacation.
If you’re looking for things to do in Hurricane, Utah, exploring the stunning red rock formations, sprawling canyons, and picturesque waterfalls is a must.
One of the top reasons to visit Hurricane is Sand Hollow State Park. The park boasts a beautiful reservoir, sandy beaches, and towering sand dunes that are perfect for off-roading. Whether you want to rent a boat, take a swim, or try your hand at sandboarding, Sand Hollow State Park has something for everyone.
In addition to hiking and water activities, Hurricane is home to the beautiful Toquerville Falls. This hidden gem is tucked away in a canyon and features a 15-foot waterfall that cascades into a refreshing swimming hole.
If you’re visiting Hurricane in the summer, it’s important to take precautions to avoid the heat. Be sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and a hat, and plan your outdoor activities for early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperatures are cooler.
Recommended by Nicoll, Living Tiny With A Wolf
Lower Calf Creek Falls in the Summer
What better way to enjoy Utah in the summer than cooling off at a waterfall? Located in the sandy, red rock desert of Southern Utah’s Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument you’ll find Lower Calf Creek Falls.
The trailhead is 25 minutes down the road from the adventurer’s paradise of Escalante. This dog friendly hike is moderate in difficulty at 5.8 miles roundtrip with 600 ft elevation gain.
You do not need a reservation but you will need to pay a $5 day use fee at the trailhead upon arrival. There are no shuttles so you will need to drive yourself here.
Visiting in the summer, ensure you start early in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds. The trail is easy to follow but there isn’t much shade so wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Also be sure to pack extra water, at least 1-2 L per person during the hot summer months.
You’ll hike through high walls of Navajo sandstone to reach this mesmerizing desert waterfall. Feel free to wear your bathing suit so you can take a dip in the pool under the falls.
Recommended by Kate, Kate Roams the World
Moab, Utah in the Summer
Moab is a town in Southeast Utah known for its close proximity to many national parks and outdoor activities. The main reason to visit Moab is to have access to multiple parks and hikes from one location. Moab has close access to Arches National Park which rests only a few miles away. However, there is much more to do near Moab than Arches!
Another park near Moab is Canyonlands National Park, a lesser-known park that offers countless hikes but with fewer crowds than Arches. The Park is massive so prioritize your hikes- the Island in the Sky area is the closest to Moab.
A must-see, when you go to Moab, is Dead Horse Point State Park. While it doesn’t have the prestige that the national parks do, the sunset views are breathtaking and its within a 30-minute drive.
Lastly, end your Moab trip by rafting on the Colorado River, and make sure you leave using Utah Scenic Byway 128 for an amazing US roadtrip view that the tourist crowds haven’t yet discovered.
Staying in Moab is the best way to see multiple parks in a short amount of time without driving hours each day.
Recommended by Sierra, Your Guide to Wandering
Mystic Hot Springs in the Summer
Mystic Hot Springs is a unique hot springs resort that should be on your Utah summer bucket list! Located in Monroe, Utah, this is a fantastic place to stop for a couple of hours and relax during a road trip through the southern part of the state.
Mystic Hot Springs is known for its bathtubs and giant travertine mounds that create a vibrant orange backdrop. The resort features two pools and several bathtubs, so there are many different bathing sites that you can experience during your visit.
The best time to visit in the summer is during the evening hours once the outside temperatures are cooler. If you visit at night, you’ll also get to experience the incredible night sky while soaking in one of the bathtubs. Not too shabby, right?
During the summer, Mystic Hot Springs hosts many different concerts where you can relax and enjoy music outside with other travelers. You can also spend the night in one of the cabins or buses on site.
To visit the hot springs, you are required to reserve a time slot and book your tickets in advance. The time slot gives you two hours to enjoy the resort. For more information about ticket price, reserving your time slot, accommodation, or the summer concert series, check out the official Mystic Hot Springs website.
Recommended by Jenoa, The Travel Folk
Park City in the Summer
In the summer, Park City is a fabulous Utah vacation spot to enjoy cooler temperatures due to the higher mountain elevation!
Park City Utah summer attractions include visiting the Olympic Legacy Park, enjoying outdoor parties at The Deep Valley Music Festival, fly fishing, playing golf, hot air ballooning high above the mountains, or horseback riding plus many more!
You can spend an entire day at Utah Olympic Park: extreme tubing, zip lines, alpine slide, airbag jumps, and more! You must watch the flying ace freestyle shows where Olympians and National Team skiers and snowboarders perform acrobatic feats as they soar up to 60 feet in the air before landing in the pool. It’s a cool 30 minutes show that’s perfect for the whole family!
Park City has many pristine lakes and rivers that make it ideal for river rafting watersports activities. The summer activities you can enjoy on the water are endless: tubing, paddleboard yoga, river rafting, jet skiing, boating, and more!
Recommended by Dave and Jamie, Photo Jeepers
Peekaboo + Spooky Gulch Hikes in the Summer
Peekaboo and Spooky Gulch slot canyons are one of the most adventurous hikes to do in Utah! Technically two separate canyons, Peekaboo and Spooky are only about 10 minutes apart and are usually combined into one 4 mile round trip hike.
The canyons have orange, undulating walls, and extremely exciting areas where the canyon narrows to only 10 inches wide – you have to turn your body sideways to go through!
Peekaboo and Spooky Gulch are located in the Escalante area, on BLM land. There are no entrance fees or reservations required to visit, nor shuttles – you have to drive yourself to the trailhead on a bumpy, unpaved road.
The narrow canyon actually blocks the sun quite well and stays fairly cool during the day, even as the outside air temperature heats up. Still, you have to hike for 1.5 miles to get to the slot canyons on a completely exposed trail, so it’s a good idea to start very early here.
Also, check the weather and do not go into the slot canyons if there is rain in the forecast, or if there has been rain recently anywhere in the region, as flash floods do occur and are very dangerous.
Recommended by Stephanie, The Unknown Enthusiast
San Rafael Swell in the Summer
Easily one of the best places to visit in Utah in the summer, the San Rafaal Swell is an amazing natural oasis that is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who love canyoneering.
In fact, this hidden gem is just a little over an hour away from the turn-off for Moab and is brimming over with amazing slot canyons that you will love exploring.
In particular, visitors can do a bit of bouldering in Chute Canyon or scramble up high amphitheaters in Crack Canyon.
Next, make your way to Ding and Dang slot canyons and do a bit of scrambling. After all, these slot canyons are moderately difficult and a great stop-up for visitors who want a challenge but don’t want to get too technical.
Finally, no visit to the San Rafael Swell would be complete without stopping at Goblin Valley State Park and exploring Little Wild Horse Canyon. It’s the most popular slot canyon in the area because this hike isn’t technical and is extremely accessible.
So, to bear the crowds and the intense summer heat, get here early. However, many of the other canyons in the area are largely unknown and not often packed with visitors. Therefore, they are the perfect place to visit in the summer when most of Utah’s most famous places are filled with tourists.
Recommended by Meg, Fox in the Forest
Snow Canyon in the Summer
Snow Canyon State Park is a lesser known Utah destination to visit in the summer. The park is a local hidden gem less than 10 miles from St. George, UT and 50 miles from Zion.
For a destination off the beaten path, Snow Canyon has an astonishing variety of sights. It features colorful sandstone formations, lava beds, sand dunes, and slot canyons. Many of the Snow Canyon formations rival those of The Mighty 5 in beauty.
The park experiences high temperatures of over 100°F throughout the summer. With the daily lows of at least 65°F, exploring Snow Canyon in the summer requires some preparation:
- Visit the park in the morning or right before the sunset to avoid afternoon heat
- Save time by prepaying day fees
- Bring plenty of water and UV protection
- Pick viewpoints and short hikes, like Jenny’s Canyon trail to a shaded slot canyon
- Know your limits and turn around if a hike under Utah’s sun becomes too challenging
Follow these tips to make the most of your visit to Snow Canyon in the summer.
Recommended by Anastasia, Travel Realist
St. George in the Summer
St. George is known for its heavy doses of sunshine. If you’re looking for a great place to soak in the sun, then St. George is the perfect destination. With an estimated 300 days of sunshine each year, you could easily find yourself basking in its rays. During the peak summer months temperatures remain moderate compared to other parts of the country.
Just a short day trip from Las Vegas, there is no shortage of things to do in St. George, Utah during the summer months. The kids will enjoy the splash pads or lazy river at Town Square Park and boaters and kayakers will flock to Sand Hollow State Park, the city has something for everyone.
Looking to avoid the crowds at Zion National Park? Snow Canyon State Park, Sand Hollow State Park, or Pioneer Park all provide amazing hiking choices without the crowds.
For families looking for some educational fun, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm is the place to visit. Explore the life-size dinosaurs and explore the interactive exhibits inside this incredible museum. There’s also the Children’s Museum of St. George, housed inside the historic Willard Block Building, where kids can explore and learn in a safe and fun environment.
Take the opportunity to explore the area and immerse yourself in nature, history, and culture. With vibrant colors, diverse wildlife, and plenty of activities, St. George is the perfect destination for a fun and unforgettable Utah summer vacation.
Recommend by Shannon, Three Days in Vegas
Timpanogos Cave in the Summer
It’s no secret that Utah weather in the summer gets hot, which is why visiting Timpanogos Cave National Monument is a great summertime activity. While summer temperatures soar into the 90s, the cave remains a cool 45 F.
Timpanogos Cave is located just a 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City. You must visit the cave via a guided tour. Tours last 55 minutes and only accommodate 16 people, so book in advance online to reserve your spot.
To reach the cave from the visitor center, you’ll take a strenuous 1.5-mile hike. While the trail is paved, it’s a steep uphill climb. Be sure to pack plenty of water, especially since this stretch of the climb is hot in summer!
Your efforts will be rewarded once inside the cave. Not only will you get a reprieve from the summer heat, but you’ll also be treated to a geologic wonderland as you walk past stalactites and stalagmites that have been growing in the depths of this cave for millennia.
If you’re planning to visit Utah this summer, be sure to check out Timpanogos Cave.
Recommended by Tamar, World by Weekend
Zion National Park in the Summer
Zion National Park is open year round but one of the best times to visit is in the summer. You can always count on the weather being nice, although at times it can get a bit hot. Not to worry though, taking dip in the Virgin River or hiking the Narrows is one of the best ways to cool off.
Summer is peak season in Zion NP, which means there are more attractions, activities and tours available for visitors to enjoy. This also means the free shuttle service within the park is running at capacity.
Summertime equals camping season which you wouldn’t be able to do so comfortably if you visited in the winter. Plan on reserving your camp site far in advance if you plan on camping in Zion National Park.
The park is stunningly beautiful full of towering sandstone formations, deep river gorges and wall-like cliffs. If you love a thrill don’t miss out on hiking Angels Landing. This is one of the best hikes in Zion that follows a narrow ridge, with steep drop-offs on either side and requires a series of switchbacks and brief stretches of chain-assisted climbing. You must obtain a permit before attempting the chains section of the hike.
More Places to Visit on a Utah Summer Vacation
Utah is an incredible place to explore during the summer months. Be sure to add Utah State Parks and Scenic Drives to the list to enjoy stunning scenery, wide open spaces, and endless outdoor activities!
Utah State Parks in the Summer
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Goosenecks State Park
- Kodachrome Basin State Park
- Great Salt Lake State Park
- Utah Lake State Park
Utah Scenic Drives in the Summer
- Best Stops Along Scenic Byway 12
- Alpine Loop Scenic Drive
- Needles Overlook Scenic Drive
- Anticline Overlook Scenic Drive
- Mirror Lake Scenic Byway
Utah Bucket List
Check out even more fun Utah Bucket List ideas for your summer vacation. Be sure to download the free printable that includes ideas for things to see, do and taste all around the state! Click the image below!