Come experience the sweeping scenic landscapes of Utah for an adventure-filled vacation. Visit one of “The Mighty 5 National Parks” to see soaring sandstone arches and trails, or head to Northern Utah for towering mountain peaks. With a combination of some of the best parks in the United States and Utah’s vibrant cities, you and your family will have outstanding memories of your Fourth of July vacation for years to come. Whether your family is looking for rugged landscapes or groomed botanical gardens, luxurious hotels or a cozy house, Utah is sure to please. Book a stay at one of many vacation rentals in Utah today. Check out the most exciting places in Utah to visit on Independence Day.
1. Arches National Park
It is no surprise that Arches National Park is one of the top national parks in America. Start with the 18-mile scenic drive and climb your way across the vast, glorious landscape. Be sure to get there by sunset when the red rock lights up with the sun. This park protects the largest proliferation of arches in the world. With over 2,000 arches and 73,234 acres, Arches National Park will be a sight you and your family will never forget. While some trails wind you among some of the most spectacular arches, there are also many hikes that are relatively easy, making this one of the top hikes for families with children.
2. Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, lovingly known as the Crossroads of the West, it still serves as a gateway for travelers with its location near Utah’s ski resorts, red rock country, and great national parks. This vibrant city also provides amenities and entertainment that’s convenient and affordable. Downtown is small enough for walking, and it’s full of restaurants, shops, and other attractions. Visit the historical heart of Utah, Temple /Square, shop at City Creek Center or hope over to the 9th and 9th District neighborhoods for quaint bakeries and espresso bars. TRAX, Salt Lake City’s rail system, makes navigating the city a breeze. Travel to The Leonardo science museum, Red Butte Garden, and Arboretum, and the National History Museum of Utah. Just to the south, you’ll find world-renowned ski areas of Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude. Even though there won’t be snow on the mountain, during the summer, these ski resorts turn into huge outdoor playgrounds with mountain biking and hiking paths, zip lines, and even rollercoasters!
3. Park City
Another great Utah mountain town, Park City actually calls itself the “perfect mountain town.” With a combination of its silver mining heritage and a love for the great outdoors, Park City presents you with a balance of luxury and comfort, athletics and arts. Take a leisurely walk down Historic Main Street past old mining cabins and Victorian architecture while you shop for souvenirs and sip on a cup of coffee. Grab your hiking boots or mountain bike and head down Rail Trail or Mid-Mountain Trail. If you don’t have your own mountain bike, there are plenty of places in town to rent bikes for the whole family, and you can store it in the garage of your vacation rental on days you’d rather explore by foot.
4. Bryce Canyon
Bryce National Canyon will awe you with its spectacular geological formations and brilliant colors. The surreal landscape is full of distinctive red rock pillars, called hoodoos, creating a series of natural amphitheaters. Explore the overlooks in the comfort of your own car, or hit the ground with your own two feet. Day hikes range from easy 1-mile loops to more challenging 11-mile round-trip adventures to accommodate everyone in the family. Stay overnight to see Bryce Canyon at it’s most beautiful. Early morning and late evening, you’ll see the colors of the pink-orange sandstone transform, and if you’re lucky enough to visit during a full moon, Bryce is one of the best places in the nation for stargazing.
Ogden has a rich history of the First Transcontinental Railroad, prohibition smuggling tunnels, and notorious gangsters. Today, the city has become an outdoor recreation mecca. With mountain biking, skiing, and hiking trails only minutes from downtown, many athletic companies have flocked to the area for outdoor industry product testing. Many visitors have caught on to everything that Ogden has to offer as well. Stroll through the charming and vibrant downtown with restores historic architecture and buildings, or visit the Ogden River Parkway which offers fishing, kayaking, floating, and running trails. There’s no better place to celebrate the Fourth than in Ogden, with a day full of parades, picnics, barbecues, a demolition derby, and elaborate fireworks.
6. Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is home to one of the West’s most photographed landforms. Mesa Arch. It also boasts many different types of travel experiences like hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, and more. If that doesn’t float your boat, just imagine surrounding yourself with 527 acres of deep canyons, towering mesas, pinnacles, cliffs, and spires. Located just west of Moab and a short distance of Arches National Park, Canyonlands has four separate “districts,” including three land districts and the rivers themselves. Stay overnight at some of the most peaceful campgrounds you’ll ever find to spend even more time exploring breathtaking deep canyons and winding spires and cliffs.
7. Bonneville Salt Flats
This 30,000-acre expanse of hard, white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin in Utah is 12 miles long and 5 miles wide with an estimated 147 million tons or 99 million cubic yards of salt! If 46 square miles of salt crust almost 5 thick wide in places doesn’t get you excited, how about annual events such as Speedweek where professional and amateur teams from around the world compete for land speed records in different vehicle classes each summer. Racetracks are created with heavy drag sleds that smooth out the surface of the salt. The Utah Rocket Club and the National Archery Association also hold events here every year along with major motion pictures, fashion layouts, and automobile commercials. It’s a cool place, but don’t let your kids go exploring on their own. Getting stuck on the flats can be dangerous.
8. Capitol Reef National Park
Don’t underestimate Capitol Reef National Park. It may be less visited than Bryce or Zion, but here, you’ll be transported to another planet. It’s hard to describe Capitol Reef National Parks sense of expansiveness, sweeping vistas; of a tortured, seemingly endless landscape, or limitless sky and desert rock, so you’ll just have to experience it for yourself. See spectacular colored cliffs, hidden arches, massive domes, and deep canyons at this park which preserves the 100-mile Waterpocket Fold. This mammoth buckling of the earth’s surface refers to a series of potholes in the sandstone that fill with rainwater. Really, you have to see it to believe it.
Provo was started by settlers by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it’s also made a name for itself as a haven for outdoor adventure. The Provo River creates Provo Canyon and serves as the perfect setting for scenic fly-fishing, kayaking, and floating. The surrounding mountains provide an extensive network of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and mountaineering. After you’ve worked up an appetite, taste some flavors of the southwest with Native American cooking traditions, scarf down some pizza or visit the Provo Farmers Market downtown. If that’s not enough to convince you to visit Provo, the city frequently ranks in the top five places for well-being and quality of life thanks to safe, family-friendly communities, an active and young demographic, and a surging technology sector.
10. Zion National Park
It’s believed that the first people to explore the area that is now Zion National Park entered the canyon looking for food. Now, more than 4 million people come from around the world to feed their souls. Take your time to explore the many trails that Zion has to offer, and find which ones will be best for the skill levels of your family members. Trails range from short paved walking paths to the most difficult cliff-side climbs. Take the incredible trail to observation point or just soak in the sites along the free Zion Canyon Shuttle makes frequent stops in the town of Springdale and nine locations in the park. Be sure to plan your Zion vacation before you arrive, and don’t let a sunburn or lack of water ruin your adventure.