10 Utah Summer Vacation Ideas

Utah is one of the best places to spend a summer vacation, especially if you enjoy the outdoors.

You can enjoy amazing hikes, scenic drives, boating, fishing and exploring the stunning state and national parks in the state!

We’ve got an amazing list of Utah vacation ideas, but if you’re specifically looking for things to do in the summer…

Check out our ten Utah summer vacation ideas and how to make the most out of them. 

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WHAT TO PACK FOR A NATIONAL PARK VACATION IN THE SUMMER

DOWNLOAD our US National Park checklists to make it easy to pack what you need for your next trip!

1. US National Parks Pass

You can order passes online or get them at any of these Federal Recreation Areas.

BUY THE PASS AT REI and they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation.

2.  Hiking Gear

3. Clothing – Layers

4. Daypack

5. Other

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in the summer

10 Utah Summer Vacation Ideas

1. Visit Utah National Parks

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.

And don’t forget to stargaze at night! Utah has the most amazing dark skies close to all 5 national parks!

Here is a list of the national parks located in Utah:

2. Visit Utah State Parks

The State Parks in Utah are just as spectacular as the national parks.

Each park has its distinct highlight or feature that visitors cannot find in other destinations. 

Here is a list of our favorite state parks with stunning landscape to photograph and things to do:

Dead Horse Point state park in Utah

3. Experience Moab Adventures

Moab, Utah is considered one of the best outdoor adventure towns in America.

Outdoor Moab adventures include mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, river rafting, paddleboarding, off roading in Jeeps and ATVs and more!

During the summer temperatures can average 105 degrees!!

We recommend heading out early to enjoy the outdoor activities. Take a break midday to relax in you Moab hotel room with the AC running or take a swim at the pool. Then go back out in the late afternoon or early evening to do more fun outdoor stuff!

4. Spend Cooler Summer Days in Heber Valley

Heber Valley offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation.

You can enjoy golfing, fishing, boating, hiking, ATV or off road trails and more!

Here’s a fun list of attractions in Heber Valley:

Heber Valley Railroad – A popular attraction that includes 16 miles of track between Heber Valley and Vivian Park in Provo Canyon where you can see some of the most spectacular scenery in the state.

Homestead Crater – Looking for a once-in-a-lifetime activity? Swim in The Crater – a geothermal spring hidden within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock.

Cascade Springs – Seven million gallons of water a day flow down a series of limestone terraces and pools among lush vegetation. Walk the half-mile nature trail around the natural springs and streams with bridges, boardwalks, and paved pathways. Crystal clear waters make it easy to spot trout that inhabit the pools. 

Check out all the neighboring Park City summer attractions too!

5. Explore the Bear Lake Area

Bear Lake is one of the most famous destinations in Utah during summer. The entire place is an incredible recreational paradise.

One of its most unique features is the turquoise blue water which is why it’s also known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies.” 

At the like you can enjoy activities like sailing, jet skiing, boating, fishing, and lounging on beautiful sandy beaches. 

There are some fun attractions in the area to see:

6. See Prehistoric Bones at Dinosaur National Monument

Did you know dinosaurs once roamed in Utah?

You can see remains still visible in embedded rocks at Dinosaur National Monument.

Here you’ll see the largest quarry of prehistoric evidence of the creature’s existence thousands of years ago.

There are other activities to do in the area near Vernal, Utah as well: river rafting, hiking, see petroglyphs, and more!

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7. Explore Bears Ears National Monument

Located in Utah’s San Juan County, the Bears Ears Monument covers a large geographic area home to many unique sightings.

There are so many ways to explore the area: hike, visit cultural sites, backpack, mountain bike, float the San Juan River, and ride OHVs.

Other activities include scenic driving, photography, rock climbing, camping, paleontological exploration, and wildlife viewing.

Some of our favorite locations include Natural Bridges National Monument, Cedar Mesa and Grand Gulch, Edge of the Cedars State Park, and Mule Canyon.

Permits/Passes are required to visit many areas in the Cedar Mesa and Bears Ears region. These permits and their associated fees help protect and manage this sensitive landscape. 

8. Visit Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

Home to more than 4,000 animals representing 650 species, the Living Planet Aquarium showcases ecosystems from around the planet including kelp forests, coral reefs, the deep ocean, Antarctic waters, Asian cloud forests, South American rain forests, and the waterways of Utah.

One fun thing about the aquarium are the various stations that let you have a hands-on experience. And there’s an animal meet and greet where you can touch/pet various reptiles.

And then there are the two Animal Encounters where you can get up close with and feed penguins and stingrays! It’s so much fun!

feeding penguins at Loveland Living Aquarium

9. Hike or Bike at Albion Basin

The Albion Basin is a popular scenic hiking and biking area, especially in the summer when the trails are lined with wildflowers!

You’ll find the Albion Basin up Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Alta Ski Resort area. The best hiking trail starts near Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge. It’s 3.6 miles roundtrip with an elevation change of 800 feet. Cecret Lake is a wonderful reward at the end!

If you’re a first time mountain biker, or more experienced, you’ll enjoy the Albion Basin biking trail. The mountain valleys, lakes and wildflower can’t be beat!

10. Family Fun at Park City and Snowbird Resorts 

During the summer, the winter ski mountains in Utah offer fun things to do!

The Park City Adventure Park activities that include: alpine slide, mountain coaster, mini golf, gem panning and more. On-mountain activities include scenic lift rides, bike haul, hiking and disc golf. 

Snowbird Summer Activities include: alpine slide, mountain coaster, ninja obstacle course, summer tubing, ropes course, bungee trampoline, climbing wall, vertical drop, scenic tram rides, Peruvian chairlift ride and more!!

national park packing lists

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