10 Best Places to Visit in Utah in Summer

sunset at zion national park in utah

Ready to discover the best places to visit in Utah in the Summer?

From towering rock formations to vibrant cities, Utah is a goldmine of unforgettable experiences.

So, pack your bags, put on your shades, and get ready to embark on a sun-soaked journey. Let’s dive into Utah’s summer wonders together!

1. Zion National Park

Zion National Park

When it comes to summer exploration, Zion National Park is Utah’s crowning jewel. Imagine vast canyons with deep red cliffs, intersected by sparkling rivers. Yes, that’s Zion for you. Now, think of summer activities. Hiking? Check. Rock climbing? Check. Bird watching? Double-check.

One of Zion’s biggest summer draws is its hiking trails, and the Narrows are the cream of the crop. Picture this: wading through the Virgin River as it carves its way through a canyon with walls a thousand feet tall.

On the other hand, if you’re seeking a bird’s eye view of the park, look no further than Angel’s Landing. Warning, though, this hike isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s a challenging climb to the top, but the stunning view of Zion Canyon is an unmatched reward.

2. Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Think Utah, think Arches. Known for its natural sandstone arches, this park is a postcard-perfect representation of Utah. The Delicate Arch, standing like a lonely sentinel against the desert backdrop, is the most iconic of them all. Trust me, the sun setting behind the Delicate Arch is a sight to behold.

But that’s not all. When night falls, a different kind of beauty comes alive. Far from city lights, stargazing in Arches National Park is an experience of its own. With guided night tours, you might even see the Milky Way stretched across the sky like a diamond-studded blanket.

3. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City downtown view with mountains in the background

Don’t let the word ‘city’ fool you. Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital, is a blend of bustling city life and thrilling outdoor adventures. There’s no shortage of summer activities to immerse yourself in. The city’s festivals, such as the Utah Arts Festival and the Twilight Concert Series, make summers lively and colorful.

No visit to Salt Lake City is complete without a trip to Temple Square. It’s the city’s heart, both geographically and historically. And if you’re an animal lover, the Hogle Zoo awaits with its exciting exhibits. Fancy a quick escape from city life? Antelope Island State Park, just an hour’s drive from the city, offers stunning scenery and a peaceful refuge.

4. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

If you think you’ve seen enough rock formations, Bryce Canyon National Park will make you think again. The park’s most stunning features are its hoodoos – irregular columns of rock shaped by millions of years of erosion.

The most spectacular place to view these natural wonders? The Amphitheater. And if you’re up for it, the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop trails weave through these dramatic formations, offering intimate views.

Beyond its rock formations, Bryce Canyon also hosts one of the best astronomy programs in the US. With some of the darkest skies in North America, stargazing here is simply mesmerizing.

5. Park City

Park City Utah at night

Nestled in the Wasatch Mountains, Park City is Utah’s premier winter resort town. But don’t dismiss it in the summer. The same slopes that offer thrilling ski runs in the winter transform into a haven for mountain biking and hiking during the summer.

The Park City Mountain Resort even has a zip line, offering aerial views of the surrounding mountains. Yet, it’s not just about outdoor pursuits.

Park City’s cultural side shines just as bright, particularly during the Sundance Film Festival, which attracts filmmakers from around the globe. The town’s Main Street, lined with galleries and boutiques, is a testament to its vibrant local art scene.

6. Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park sunset

Utah’s dramatic desert landscape reaches its zenith in Canyonlands National Park. The park is a rugged wonderland of deep canyons, towering mesas, and stunning rock formations carved by the Colorado River.

The White Rim Road, a 100-mile loop, offers a panoramic view of the park’s mesmerizing landscape. Just picture driving with this sprawling desert vista unfolding around you. Unforgettable.

But if you’re yearning for an adrenaline rush, try white-water rafting on the Colorado River. It’s a wild, splashy, heart-pounding adventure through the park’s deep canyons – truly an experience of a lifetime.

7. Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park may be a bit off the beaten path, but trust me, it’s worth the detour. The park’s main attraction is the Waterpocket Fold, a jaw-dropping wrinkle in the earth’s crust that stretches for nearly a hundred miles.

What sets Capitol Reef apart, though, are its historic orchards. In the heart of the park, you can pick fresh fruit, from cherries in early summer to apples and pears in the late season.

How often can you pluck a juicy apple straight from the tree in the middle of a desert? Plus, don’t miss the petroglyphs etched by ancient native peoples, offering a glimpse into the park’s rich history.

8. Moab

Moab Utah

Moab, the adventure capital of Utah, is an adrenaline junkie’s dream come true. Known for its extreme sports, Moab offers some of the best off-roading and mountain biking trails in the country.

The Slickrock Bike Trail is a world-renowned classic, while the Hell’s Revenge 4×4 Trail offers thrills for off-roaders. But it’s not all high-octane adventure.

Moab is flanked by two national parks, Arches and Canyonlands, offering easy access to some of Utah’s most iconic landscapes. And let’s not forget the Colorado River, which adds a touch of cool refreshment to the desert heat, offering rafting, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

9. Bear Lake

Bear Lake Utah

Imagine a stunning azure lake shimmering under the summer sun, encircled by mountains. That’s Bear Lake for you, fondly referred to as the “Caribbean of the Rockies”. This turquoise blue lake straddling the Utah-Idaho border is a top pick for water sports enthusiasts.

Whether it’s boating, jet-skiing, or simply lounging on the beach, Bear Lake offers a slice of coastal fun right here in landlocked Utah.

And if you’re visiting in early August, you’re in for a treat! The annual Raspberry Days festival celebrates the region’s rich harvest of raspberries with a parade, rodeo, and, of course, delicious raspberry shakes. It’s a local tradition you wouldn’t want to miss.

10. St. George

St George Utah skyline

Nestled in the southwest corner of Utah, St. George is a harmonious blend of adventure and relaxation. A hub for outdoor activities, it boasts several golf courses, numerous hiking and biking trails, and proximity to three state parks and a national park. And if you’re into paleontology, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site will leave you spellbound with its well-preserved dinosaur tracks.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Red Hills Desert Garden. This vibrant 5-acre garden is home to over 5,000 water-efficient plants and offers a stunning view of the surrounding red rock landscape. Truly a delight for the eyes!

Conclusion

Well, there you have it – some of the best places to visit in Utah in summer. Each with its unique appeal, these destinations capture the diverse beauty of Utah, from the rugged, wind-sculpted landscapes of its national parks to the cultural vibrancy of its cities.

So, ready to answer the call of the wild this summer? Utah is waiting to unveil its summer gems to you. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature lover, or a city explorer, the Beehive State promises an unforgettable summer adventure. Pack your bags and let the exploration begin!

FAQs about Summer Travel in Utah

What is the best time to visit Utah in the summer?

While Utah’s summer season officially spans from June to August, the best time to visit for milder temperatures is early summer (June) or late summer (early September). During these periods, you can enjoy outdoor activities without the intense heat of peak summer.

Is Utah crowded during the summer?

Some popular destinations like national parks can get crowded, particularly on weekends and holidays. However, Utah’s vast landscape offers numerous alternatives and lesser-known spots where you can enjoy the beauty of the state away from the crowds.

What should I pack for a summer trip to Utah?

Comfortable, breathable clothing is essential for Utah’s summer heat. Pack lightweight shirts, shorts, and a good pair of hiking shoes. Don’t forget essentials like a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water for hydration during outdoor activities.

Are there any summer festivals in Utah?

Yes, Utah hosts a number of summer festivals. These include the Utah Arts Festival in Salt Lake City, the Sundance Summer Film Series in Park City, and the Raspberry Days Festival at Bear Lake, among others.

Is it safe to hike in Utah’s national parks during the summer?

Yes, but it’s crucial to be prepared. Start hikes early to avoid the afternoon heat, stay hydrated, and stick to marked trails. Also, check the park’s information centers for any safety alerts or guidelines.


If you’re keen on expanding your travel itinerary beyond Utah, check out our comprehensive guide on the best places to visit in the US for more breathtaking destinations:

About Ronaldo Stewart

Wantigo was born out of a deep passion for exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. With a keen sense of adventure and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I’ve traveled far and wide, immersing myself in the beauty and wonder of the world.

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