Utah's Top Family Activities
Keep the Kids Entertained in Utah: Our Fall, Spring & Summer Family-Fun Guide
While most folks know Utah for its world-class winter sports and show-stopping national parks, the great beehive state should also feature at the top of your list when it’s time to book your next family vacation.
Hiking Timpanogos & Arches
Is your family the adventurous sort? If the kids are up for a hike, book a tour of Timpanogos Cave National Monument in the Wasatch Mountains. Open from May to October, reserve your spot up to 30 days in advance to avoid disappointment.
Southern Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks are no slouch either when it comes to #nofilter Instagram-worthy rock formations. Hike trails that cater to all ages and fitness levels, with Arches National Park a firm favourite for family fun times.
Natural History Museum of Utah
Explore the great indoors at the Natural History Museum of Utah, a scientific research institution that highlights humans’ place within the natural world.
Permanent exhibitions include Sky, Native Voices, Life, Land, Past Worlds and Great Salt Lake. Until January 2018 you and the family can also take a nosey at the Vikings: Beyond the Legend special exhibition, which looks at the seafarers, traders, farmers and plunderers who explored Europe more than 1,000 years ago.
Lagoon Amusement Park
Nothing says ‘family fun’ quite like roller coasters and waterslides. As luck would have it, Utah is home to one of the largest amusement parks in the West.
Lagoon Amusement Park – located 17 miles from downtown Salt Lake City – includes top attractions the Cannibal Rollercoaster, with 4.2 G-force and 70MPH speeds, and the more sedate Tipsey Tea Cups, which puts a ‘spin’ on the classic Tea Cup ride.
Park City Zip Tours
As the weather heats up in Utah, give your children a birds-eye view of Canyons Resort mid-mountain. The Red Pine Zip Tour, open to kids aged seven and older, takes visitors on an 800-feet tree top ride through the Red Pine Lodge area. Nearby Lookout Zip Tour, open to children ten and over, takes things up a notch with a 2,111-feet journey.
Offers include buy one zip tour, get the second 50% off, or receive 50% off a zip tour when you purchase an Alpine Day Pass.
Horse Riding in Zion National Park
Offered from March through to October, horseback rides through Utah’s Zion National Park include a 1-hour trip to Virgin River and a 3-hour horse trek along the Sand Bench Trail.
Zion National Park’s varied terrain features alpine forest, canyons and desert. Soak up natural wonders like the Three Patriarchs and the Beehives.
Dinosaur National Monument features family-friendly hikes taking in incredible geology, fossils and rock art. Whether you plan to dedicate a day or several days to the varied hikes on offer, step back 80 million years in time as you stroll through unique formations.
Dinosaur National Monument’s flagship hike, the Fossil Discovery Trail, is a 1.2 mile walk one-way that ends at Douglass Dinosaur Quarry. Ahead of your trip, speak to the local rangers for advice on the best areas for your family, and any free camping permits you may need.
Rafting, Kayaking & Boating
Utah delivers up some of the best rafting, kayaking and boating in North America. For reals.
If your heart’s set on whitewater adventuring, point your raft towards Colorado River’s Westwater and Cataract Canyons, Green River’s Gates of Lodore and Desolation Canyon, or the San Juan River’s Upper and Lower stretches. Take in the wonders of nature from the water, with desert cliffs dwarfing some stretches, or elk and bighorn sheep getting their gallop on in picturesque mountain meadows.
If flat water’s more your thing, head to peaceful picks Canyonlands National Park’s Labyrinth, Colorado River’s Ruby & Horse Thief Canyon, or San Rafael’s Little Grand Canyon in East Utah.
Find it too hard to choose between whitewater and flat water? If you have a couple of days up your sleeve, do both! Professional guides can steer you towards the best of Utah’s sandy beaches, stargazing spots, hikes and more. Plus, learn about the state’s river lore and the ancient cultures that once called the area home.
Many river guides will even prepare chef-quality meals for the whole family – perhaps we should have led with that…