Summer invokes visions of vacations full of idle days and memory-making excursions and adventures. For some, that means touring the sights and culinary delights of a new city. For others, it means afternoons spent sunbathing on the beach, and for many, it’s picturing a long week or weekend at their favorite amusement park with family and friends. While the world is filled with seemingly endless destinations that fit one of these descriptions, the great state of Utah can cover them all! When you’re planning your summer vacation, resist the immediate urge to skip town and consider a staycation this year. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite staycation destinations for Park City residents, in no particular order, to help inspire you to stay in this year – in Utah, that is!
Salt Lake City
Utah’s capital makes for a great staycation destination. Couples will enjoy strolling through the Red Butte Gardens, finding a new favorite drink at a microbrewery or shopping the day way. There are a number of unique restaurants featuring local ingredients to tempt any foodie. Traveling with kids? Check out the Beehive State’s only zoo, the Hogle Zoo, which features more than 1,100 animals from all over the world. While you’re at it, purchase a Visit Salt Lake Connect Pass and save 50-80% on admission to many key attractions, including the zoo, Clark Planetarium, Discovery Gateway, multiple museums and more!
For those who seek a more outdoorsy staycation, try Bear Lake. This lake offers a wealth of activities, including hiking, biking, boating, riding ATVs or our personal favorite, simply enjoying time on the beach. Looking for something off the beaten path? Check out the Paris Ice Cave while you’re there. The ice never melts, even in the dead of summer! Make a weekend of Bear Lake, or make it one of many destinations in your staycation – just make sure you add this scenic, Utah classic to your list.
Much like Salt Lake City, Ogden is the place to go for non-stop activities and entertainment. Check out the museums at Union Station, which cover various topics including model trains, firearms, classic cars and cowboys! While you’re there, take a peek at the rotating local artist exhibit at the Gallery at the Station. For the braver members of the group, try indoor skydiving and even indoor surfing while in town, or stare down a dinosaur at Ogden’s George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park. Travelers of all ages and interests will find something to do in Ogden.
No trip to St. George would be complete without catching a live show at Tuacahn Theatre. From Broadway productions to rocking concerts, taking in a show while tucked neatly between the beautiful rock formations and under the stars. Adjacent to Tuacahn Theatre is Snow Canyon National Park, the perfect place for a hike. This canyon, carved into the red and white Navajo limestone, just might be the backdrop of your new favorite selfie. During your hike, explore the park’s lava tubes for a one-of-a-kind experience!
Another awe-inspiring and classic Utah park is Zion. With activities tailored to every age and level of experience, the entire family can cross this natural wonder off their bucket list and make a host of memories to boot. Explore the beautiful Emerald Pools, destination of the Virgin River and home to a number of waterfalls and a hanging garden. Feeling daring? Take in the postcard-worthy sights of Angel’s Landing. From every angle, Zion is sure to capture the feeling of wanderlust and recharge any weary traveler.
Can’t get enough of Utah’s national parks? Moab is a must-see, as it is home to two of the Mighty 5: Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The city offers a host of activities, including river rafting tours, hiking, biking, rock climbing, scenic bus tours and even glamping! Fans of dinosaurs will also love their time spent in Moab. Dinosaur tracks can be found at multiple sites, including Copper Ridge and Bull Canyon Overlook. The Museum of Moab also is home to dinosaur bones and archaeological artifacts. From stopping beneath the shade of Delicate Arch to taking in the site of an ancient footprint, Moab is a great reminder of Utah’s prehistoric past.
Famous for the Homestead Crater, consider Midway as your next staycation destination. Inside the crater, travelers can swim, scuba, snorkel or soak in the geothermic spring. Looking for adventure above ground? Check out Cascade Springs, a short hike perfect for all skill levels that even includes a waterfall! Wasatch Mountain State Park is another great attraction to see while in Midway. Reserve a tee time at one of four 18-hole golf courses, hike, bike, camp or go horseback riding. Visiting in the winter? No problem! Wasatch Mountain State Park is just as beautiful by snowmobile, snowshoe or ski!
Lake Powell is perfect for aquamanics of all ages. Water activities and watercraft abound on this beautiful lake. Rent some jet skis or a paddleboard and cool off on a hot summer day. For those who prefer to take it all in from the shore, Lake Powell has plenty of sandy beaches to sink your toes into. Make the lake one of many destinations in your itinerary or spend your staycation on a houseboat to really get away from it all! Stop by the marina for the opportunity to rent one of these floating hotels and get cozy with your loved one or your family members as you coast around Powell’s coasts.
A trip to Honeyville isn’t complete without visiting Crystal Hot Springs. For hundreds of generations, Native Americans called the Springs home, and would travel there once a year to congregate and share stories of their ancestors. Today, Crystal Hot Springs welcome travelers from all around the globe to experience its therapeutic properties. The natural hot spring ranges in temperature from 120-134 degrees Fahrenheit and contains the highest mineral content of any known hot spring in the world! Crystal Hot Springs also features a cold mineral spring and two 365 feet hydro-tube water slides. This classic Utah attraction is a must-see for tourists and native Utahans alike.
Lots of Utah families love to load up the car and head over to a certain mouse house for summer vacations, but Lagoon offers plenty of family fun at a fraction of the price (and close to home). The adventurous members of the family will love the roller coasters. Parents looking to destress will enjoy lazy summer days at Lagoon’s beach or coasting down the lazy river. Looking to extend your stay? Consider Lagoon’s campgrounds as your lodging of choice. Generations of Utahans have memories of summers spent at Lagoon. Why not make a few of your own?
At GCD Communities, we’re as proud of our home state as we are our homes. No matter what summer vacation you take this year, rest easy knowing at the end of it all, you’re coming home to a beautiful and finely-crafted GCD home. Still considering the move to Utah? Visit gcdcommunities.com and check out our Shoreline community, nestled in the heart of Hideout Canyon just minutes from Park City. One look and you’ll be ready to make “vacation” permanent!