In Utah, spring break isn’t just about the pleasant weather — it’s about history, snow, and national parks. When you stay at one of many Utah vacation rentals in the southern region of the state, you can enjoy nature’s brilliant red rocks and blue sky firsthand. Accommodations situated further north in Utah offer easy access to snow sports and shopping. Whether you want to hike through the rugged rubble of Goblin Valley or explore an ice castle, there’s something for everyone in Utah. Here are the best spring break destinations in the state.
1. St. George
Located in the southwestern corner of Utah, St. George is fairly warm and sunny during spring break with temperatures that range from 54 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit during March and April. In fact, with soaring temperatures that often reach into the triple digits during the summer, spring break is the best time to visit this scenic city. While there are no beaches and waves, there is the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center with indoor pools (for those days in the low 50s). Then there’s Quail Lake, fed by the Harrisburg Creek, a little-known St. George gem that abuts the canyons of the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. You can paddleboat around it and up the creek to the canyons, something that you can only do during the spring before the water levels drop during the summer months. Those same hot summer months also make horseback riding a great spring activity. Snow Canyon Trail Rides, Canyon Trail Rides, and Jacobs Ranch all offer rides through the stark beauty and rugged red rocks of Snow Canyon State Park. If you’d rather exercise your own two legs, opt for hiking or biking. You can strike out on your own, or join one of the many guided hiking groups such as Southern Utah Guiding and Red Desert Adventure.
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If you head over to the southeastern corner of Utah, you run into Moab, a town of around 5,000 that’s nestled right between Arches National Park to the north and Canyonlands National Park to the west. Temperatures are a little cooler than at St. George during March and April, but you’ll need those cool temperatures to do some serious hiking at the parks. If you’ve never been to Moab, then add the Corona Arch hike to your must-do list. It’s a fairly easy 1.5-mile trek with a 400-foot elevation gain. It’s also located within the Moab city limits, so it’s easy to reach. Another must-do hike is a child-friendly jaunt of a few hundred feet to Delicate Arch. This arch is the most famous in Arches National Park, the one you see in all the guidebooks. Complete your spring break adventure with some climbing. With the help of Desert Highlights, a canyoneering guide service, climbing isn’t just for adults, but children as well with easy climbs and fun rappels.
Get a vacation rental at Springdale, which lies at the entrance of Zion National Park. In fact, several rentals lie inside the park itself, surrounding you with nature and easy-access hikes such as the famous Canyon Overlook Trail where you can admire the sage-carpeted red rock mountains. The easy 1-mile hike is perfect for both little and big kids. If you have older children, try a more strenuous Emerald Pools Trail, a 3-mile hike that culminates in an oasis of green and water. Probably the most popular hike at Zion’s is Angels Landing. Though not suitable for young children, it’s the perfect way to get into the beauty of nature with your older kids. One thing you must do while in town is stop at Oscar’s Cafe. They have a garlic burger and fries famous throughout the state.
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If you want to get out of the city, then Boulder with its population of only a few hundred people gives you both solitude and small-town charm. The town itself is surrounded by the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The national monument isn’t just about the wild beauty of the canyons; it’s also about millions of years of fossil records embedded in the stone, a dinosaur adventure for all ages. Head down to Big Water for some more dinosaur fun at the Interpretive Center. While Boulder might be small, it boasts the award-winning Hell’s Backbone Grill on a 6-acre organic farm for fresh produce.
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Hanksville lies about 30 minutes from Goblin Valley State Park to the north and Capitol Reef National Park to the west. Goblin Valley is a bizarre, other-worldly collection of hoodoos, rock pillars that look misshapen, bulbous, and alien due to wind and water erosion of thousands of years. These hoodoos are also known as goblins, and people are encouraged to explore them up close without fences or ropes to hold you back. You can go both hiking and mountain biking. Some of the popular trails include The Goblin’s Lair, Curtis Bench Trail, and Three Sisters, the longest of which is 1.5 miles, great for children.
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6. Salt Lake City
If you head to Salt Lake City in the north of the state, you might hit snow in March and April (and even May), but that’s okay because Salt Lake’s Wasatch Mountains, Temple Square, and downtown area make it one of the top vacation destinations during spring break. Downtown Salt Lake City boasts historic Temple Square with buildings dating back to more than 100 years, a testament to Mormon history in the valley. However, there are also new installations such as the City Creek Mall, a shopping center with an actual creek running through the center. If it’s chilly out, hit a movie at the Gateway Mall or stop inside the Temple Square Visitor’s Center. Food is a big thing in Salt Lake City, and the downtown area boasts some top restaurants, including From Scratch and Spitz.
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7. Heber Valley
Heber Valley, known as Little Switzerland, lies on the east side of the Wasatch Mountains. True to its name, it offers snow-dusted slopes perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Head to Soldier Hollow in Wasatch Mountain State Park for snow tubing. This family-friendly activity offers 1,200-foot long tubing lanes, great snow fun for all ages. In fact, if it’s cold enough, you can visit the Ice Castles of Midway (until they melt). Heber Valley isn’t all snow and ice, though; it’s also sultry warmth thanks to the geothermal springs. The Homestead Crater is hidden with a limestone rock cave where you can bask in the 90-degree mineral water and relax. Strap on some fins and go scuba diving or snorkeling. Paddleboard yoga is a thing, and you can do it here as well.
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8. Park City
Park City is associated with the Sundance Film Festival, but it offers so much more. For instance, skiing and snowboarding are a huge draw with over 9,000 acres of slopes available. Deer Valley, The Canyons, and Park City Mountain are some of the top choices. If your interests run to music, Park City puts on a Free Spring Apres Concert Series. After hitting the slopes, stop at Tangers with its name-brand outlet stores from the Nike Factory Store to Under Armour.
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