11 must-visit places for a family vacation in Utah

Blessed with a wonderful capital city, ski resorts, spacious parks, natural beauty, and lovely lakes, the state of Utah is a great place to have a memorable family vacation. It's easy to find things to do on a family vacation in Utah that even the adults can enjoy, such as going out for long drives, trekking through beautiful national parks, skiing and other snow sports, and enjoying water-based activities. Rest assured, a family vacation in Utah is exactly the kind of outdoor adventure your family needs.

1. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is Utah's capital city and an excellent place to begin your excursion into this beautiful state. You'll find a variety of activities for the family to enjoy together, including expansive amusement parks and zoos. Make sure you have your ski gear with you too, as the city is famous for its Utah family resorts and adrenaline-pumping ski experiences.

Salt Lake City is rich in culture and is home to some amazing restaurants and fine dining establishments that your family can enjoy. Filled with pristine beauty, the area presents as a perfect amalgamation of natural magnificence and excellent infrastructure.

2. Antelope Island

If you’re looking for a serene and peaceful experience with a fair bit of adventure and excitement, then Antelope Island is the place to be. It is a relatively small island that lies in the middle of Salt Lake itself and isn’t too far from Salt Lake City and Ogden. The island is a popular camping spot for families who are looking to spend some quality time away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

The island is home to some interesting flora and fauna, and there are signs that tell you about the exotic plants that are found here. Moreover, there are several pathways perfect for a leisurely walk or for leading you to a great swimming spot. Looking for peace and quiet? Antelope Island is the perfect destination for it.

3. Ogden

Ogden, a hidden gem just 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, is known for its diverse ski resorts and historic sites and is a great place for a family vacation in Utah. Ogden is home to Snowbasin, a world-class resort with great restaurants, and Powder Mountain, which offers a rough terrain for the most daring skiers. It's easy to visit both and take in scenic views along the way, as there's a bus that runs between Snowbasin and Powder Mountain.

4. Church History Museum

Utah has a rich Mormon history and a large population of people of the Mormon faith. To learn more about the people here, what they believe, and why they believe it, you can explore the roots of Utah’s Mormon heritage at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.

Mormonism has maintained strong roots in Utah’s history since 1867. The museum gives you a lot of information and insight into how Mormonism had such a huge impact on the state’s culture and history. You could also visit Temple Square for a tour of the lovely historic buildings that are found in this vicinity.

5. Arches National Park

Arches National Park is located in eastern Utah, just 4 miles north of Moab and adjacent to the Colorado River. The park gets its name from the 2,000 natural sandstone arches that are located within. All of the arches are beautiful in their own right, but the most well-known among the lot is the Delicate Arch.

If you're visiting Utah with kids, Arches National Park is a must-visit site, especially in the right season. During certain times of the year, the park is full of seasonal flowers that fill the air with their fragrances. The park camping spots are also highly praised, as they give the perfect opportunity to lie under the starry skies.

6. Scenic Byway 12

If your family enjoys soaking in natural views and taking long drives, then a cruise along Scenic Byway 12 should be on your itinerary. The byway will take you to picturesque locations, beautiful land formations, and breathtaking views. Visitors are left in awe as they soak in the artistic and inspiring views.

The byway gets particularly fascinating in the autumn season when the local flora changes color and adds an exotic feel to the already majestic natural marvels that visitors enjoy along the route.

7. Park City

Located in Summit County is Park City, just 32 miles southeast Salt Lake City. Park City became popular after hosting the Olympics and is also known for its film history. All of that is just the tip of the iceberg, though. If you're looking for Utah family resorts, you'll come across various skiing resorts in Park City. The mountains surrounding the ski areas make for a gorgeous view. Other highlights here include the alpine coaster and the nature preserves. Park City is a great destination for a Utah family vacation at any time of year.

8. Dude ranches

Dude ranches provide some of the best Utah kid activities in the region, and if you want the kids to see what life is like on the range, then a dude ranch is the place to be.

On a dude ranch, you can stay in proper wooden cabins, learn about the daily tasks that take place on a ranch, and also ride horses. People at the ranches try to stick to the old ways as closely as possible, and they even provide home-cooked meals to the residents. Some of the main ranches included on the range are Defa’s Dude Ranch, Rockin’ R Ranch, and Tavaputs Ranch. With loads of outdoor activities on offer, a dude ranch visit can make for an unforgettable trip for the kids.

9. Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah near the town of Springdale and is one of the most-visited national parks in the United States. The park consists of diverse ecology and loads of cliffs carved by the Virgin River. Experienced climbers can find tougher terrains in the national park, but there are also easier trails for casual hikers.

10. Lake Powell

The dry, hot weather at Lake Powell makes it an ideal destination for watersports, and this combined with the breathtaking scenery attracts over 3 million visitors a year. Along with the water activities, you can also enjoy family time exploring the narrow canyons, golden cliffs, and hanging gardens. A popular way to make the most of Lake Powell is through a houseboat stay, and you can easily find a private cove to have the perfect Utah family vacation.

11. Sundance

Sundance is mainly known for the Sundance Film Festival that brings celebrities from around the world to the city. The festival is only part of the city’s attractions, and when the festival isn't in full swing, Sundance can be a great place to relax and spend time with the kids.

The best Utah kid activities around Sundance will depend on what time of year you actually visit. During the winter, Mount Timpanogos is a popular attraction, as it offers many different levels of skiing. In the summer, skilling is replaced by hiking and mountain biking. Riding the chair lifts, especially at night, can be a noteworthy experience.