10 Utah Summer Vacation Ideas

We’ve got an amazing list of places to visit in Utah, 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. 

Utah is a beautiful state full of natural wonders and outdoor activities. From the majestic mountains to the vast deserts, Utah has something for everyone.

10 Utah Vacation Ideas in the summer

Utah is one of the best places to spend a summer vacation, especially if you enjoy the outdoors: hikes, scenic drives, boating, fishing and exploring the stunning state and national parks in the state!

Use our Utah Packing Lists to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in the summer (UV protection clothing, sunscreen, lotion)! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Utah packing lists for spring summer fall and winter
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Visiting Utah in the Summer

Utah’s summer weather and temperatures will vary between Northern and Southern Utah. Also the higher elevation temperatures will be cooler than the lower elevations by 10 to 20 degrees.

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.

The weather and temperatures in Utah during the summer vary depending on the month and location.

10 Utah Summer Vacation Ideas

From hiking the trails in Zion National Park to visiting some of the most iconic landmarks in the country like Arches National Park and Bryce Canyon, there are so many Utah destinations for summer to add to your bucket list!

If you’re wondering what it’s like to visit Utah other times of the year, check out our resource: Best time to visit Utah! It details what it’s like in northern and southern Utah in the spring, summer, fall, and winter!

milky-way-fins-Arches-national-park-utah-photo-jeepers (4)
Milky way over fins in Arches in the summer

1. Visit Utah National Parks in the Summer

Be prepared for the summer heat you’ll experience at all of the Utah National Parks in the summer. It’s also a busy time of year so expect crowds!

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:

Dead Horse Point state park in Utah
Dead Horse Point State Park

2. Visit Utah State Parks in the Summer

The Utah State Parks 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 Utah State Parks we recommend for a summer trip that have stunning landscapes to photograph and things to do like hiking, camping, and boating!

Jeep in Moab
Jeep in Moab

3. Experience Moab Adventures in the Summer

Moab, Utah is considered one of the best outdoor adventure towns in America. You’ll find a ton of things to do in Moab include mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, river rafting, paddleboarding, off roading in Jeeps and ATVs and more!

Check out these kid-friendly things to do in Moab, Utah as well.

During the summer temperatures can average 105 degrees!! We recommend heading out early to enjoy Moab summer hikes. 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!

One of the best Moab tours in the summer is river rafting! Rafting, kayaking, or paddleboarding on the Colorado River through Moab is a fun way to see the area from a different perspective!

Cascade Springs
Cascade Springs

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!

Bear Lake, Utah
Bear Lake

5. Explore the Bear Lake Area in the Summer

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:

Dinosaur Fossil
Dinosaur Fossil

6. See Prehistoric Bones at Dinosaur National Monument in the Summer

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!

House on Fire Ruin
House on Fire Ruin

7. Explore Bears Ears National Monument in the Summer

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. 

feeding penguins at Loveland Living Aquarium
Feeding penguins at Living Planet Aquarium

8. Visit Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in the Summer

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!

Albion Basin in the summer
Albion Basin in the summer

9. Hike or Bike at Albion Basin in the Summer

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!

boy riding the Alpine Slide
Alpine Slide

10. Family Summer 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!!

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Where to Stay in Utah

Utah Bucket List

To help make your trip planning easier, we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of must-do activities that belong on every Utah Bucket List: things to see, do and taste all around the state! Grab the free download by clicking the graphic below!

utah bucket list - grab the free packet

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