Utah is known for its many natural wonders, like the stunning rock formations of Monument Valley or the majestic arches of Arches National Park. There is much to explore for the outdoorsy type, whether it’s hiking through world famous National Parks like Zion National Park or hitting the slopes of world-renowned ski resorts like Deer Valley.
But Utah also has a lot to offer the culture-seeker. Most notable is the Sundance Film Festival held each year in Park City. Other notable places to visit include the Bonneville Salt Flats, Salt Lake City, Moab, Lake Powell, and the city of St. George.
Best Places to Visit in Utah
Salt Lake City
Known as the “Crossroads of the West,” Salt Lake City is a well-traveled and popular destination in Utah for its accessibility to the ski resorts in the north and “red rock country” of the south.
State Capitol: The 40-acre complex features stunning views of the Wasatch Mountains.
Temple Square: As the global headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this 35-acre area contains 15 Mormon related attractions.
Sugar House: As one of Salt Lake City’s oldest neighborhoods, this historic area is now bustling with nightlife, shopping, trendy cafes, bars and restaurants.
Cities in Utah
St. George: With milder weather than the rest of the state, this fast-growing town is popular amongst families and warm-weather seekers looking for fun things to do like golfing, hiking Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, and St. George Children’s Museum.
Park City: Home of the annual Sundance Film Festival, this popular city also has skiing, snowboarding, cycling and mountain biking, and a historic main street.
Ogden: This once lawless frontier town attracts visitors year round for its less-populated ski resorts, its walkable downtown, and kid friendly attractions like the Treehouse Museum.
Moab: Located in eastern Utah, this city serves as the gateway to massive red rock formations in Arches National Park, and offers plenty to do including hiking, river rafting, biking and ATV riding.
Utah State and National Parks
Arches National Park: Just North of Moab and bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast, this otherworldly park features over 2,000 natural sandstone arches.
Bryce Canyon National Park: Located in the southern part of the state, this national park is most famous for the Bryce Amphitheater, a natural depression filled with hoodoos (irregular columns of rock).
Canyonlands National Park: The Colorado River and its tributaries divide this park into four sections-- Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves.
Capitol Reef National Park: Located in the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef is full of cliffs, canyons, sandstone domes and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold, a geological wrinkle in the earth.
Zion National Park: Officially Utah’s first National Park and possibly the most popular, Zion features an expansive 2,000 foot canyon with hiking trails along the canyon floor through an area called The Narrows.
Grand Staircase-Escalante: The Grand Staircase is a remote area containing an extensive network of slot canyons, while the Escalante section is a well-trafficked area full of waterfalls, arches, and narrow canyons.
Goblin Valley State Park: This state park is covered in hoodoos, mushroom shaped columns of rock, which locals say look like goblins.
Dead Horse Point State Park: With a dramatic overlook of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point provides plenty of breathtaking photo opps.
Natural Bridges National Monument: This site features three natural bridges, including one of the largest natural bridges in the world, Sipapu Bridge.
Popular Tourist Attractions
International Dark Sky Parks: Utah is home to the highest concentration of certified Dark Sky Places, which offer plenty of opportunities to stargaze and see the Milky Way amongst other astronomical sights.
The Great Salt Lake: The largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere provides plenty of recreational opportunities from swimming and sailing in the saline waters to mountain biking and hiking on Antelope Island.
Lake Powell: Technically a reservoir, which straddles the Utah-Arizona border, this popular vacation destination offers hiking, camping, waterskiing, and boating.
Ski Towns/Resorts: Utah is known for some of the top skiing in North America let alone the world. Among the most popular ski towns are Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird and Alta.