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Salt Lake City is a great place to be if you want all the city’s best amenities and attractions while still being close to nature and the outdoors. While there are certainly plenty of things to do in Salt Lake City, it’s also fun to take a weekend road trip to explore the broader area for even more adventures. In fact, you can cover a lot of distance from here to some really incredible places in less than six hours. Here are our top picks for weekend getaways from Salt Lake City.
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In just about four hours, you can get to Moab from Salt Lake City and enjoy this adventure lover’s paradise. Moab is a haven for mountain bikers, hikers, and off-road jeeping. The red rock formations here are nothing short of impressive, and both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park are nearby to explore. You can set up camp in the area in a tent or RV, while motel accommodations are available too. Bring your mountain bike or rent one at a local shop to experience the epic slickrock. Popular destinations in the area include the Balanced Rock Trail, Corona Arch, and Dead Horse Point State Park.
The small town of Vernal, Utah is just over three hours from Salt Lake City and gives travelers the opportunities to learn about dinosaurs and some really crazy rock formations. The big attraction here is the Dinosaur National Monument, where you can see hundreds of well-preserved dinosaur fossils and hike among the petroglyphs. But while you’re here for the weekend, also check out the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge and the Utah Fieldhouse of Natural History Museum. Fantasy Canyon, pictured here, is nearby and features otherworldly rock formations that you can wander around and even bring your dog on the hike.
The epic and ultra-popular Yellowstone National Park is less than five hours from Salt Lake City and a perfect weekend trip to get outdoors in a grand landscape. Yellowstone is a popular place for hiking and camping, and it’s also a place to see geysers, bubbling hot springs, and wild animals in nature. Horseback riding and biking in the park are also options. There are over 300 backcountry campsites in Yellowstone if you want to escape the crowds and find some solitude.
You can also make the drive to southwestern Utah to spend your weekend in the beautiful town of St. George. From Salt Lake City, you can get here in about 4.5 hours and enjoy a family-friendly small city with lots of outdoor recreation and world-class golf courses. Popular St. George attractions for a weekend getaway are the Red Hills Desert Garden, Pioneer Park, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, and St. George Temple. Sand Hollow State Park is another popular destination with a beach, off-road driving opportunities in the dunes, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Another option is to head north from Salt Lake City up to Idaho Falls, Idaho, which is a little over three hours away. The Idaho Falls River Walk is a great place to go for a stroll along the Snake River, while Ruff Freeman Park is a fun place to play disc golf. The Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park is a top pick among families here for the weekend, as well as the Museum of Idaho to learn more about the area.
Kanab, Utah is another adventure destination in Utah that belongs on your weekend bucket list from Salt Lake City. It’s about a five-hour drive to get here and well worth the journey. Kanab is a great place to explore slot canyons and hike in narrow spaces that will fill your imagination with awe. It’s also fun to visit the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary just outside Kanab to learn about the organization’s inspiring rescue efforts and take a tour. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is nearby and a great place for off-road driving in an ATV. You can also visit the Little Hollywood Movie Museum on your weekend getaway to learn about the western movies filmed in the area.
Meanwhile, Pocatello, Idaho is an easy weekend road trip from Salt Lake City and only about 2.5 hours away. Pocatello offers fishing, biking, winter recreation, arts and cultural experiences, and family fun for your weekend. Don’t miss the quirky Museum of Clean, Old Town area, and Idaho Museum of Natural History. The Stephens Performing Arts Center is a great place to catch a live show, while the Ross Park Aquatic Complex is a nice place to swim some laps for exercise.
For another quick road trip destination, consider taking a two-hour drive to Garden City, Utah. Garden City is best known for being the gateway to Bear Lake, which is an awesome summer recreation destination. The state park here is a nice place to rent boats or canoes, while fishing opportunities exist year-round. Before heading out for the weekend, check to see what’s playing at the local Pickleville Playhouse. You can play a game of golf on your weekend at the Bear Lake Golf Course, get aerial and play at the BridgerLand Adventure Park, and perhaps check out the Beaver Mountain Ski Area in the winter season.
If you’re up for a more extravagant weekend getaway and don’t mind a bit more driving, why not plan a little Vegas vacation? Las Vegas, Nevada is about six hours from Salt Lake City and totally doable for a three-day weekend to catch a show, try your luck at the casinos, or party the night away. On your weekend trip to Vegas, you can stay in one of the iconic hotels along the Strip within walking distance to all the attractions and really enjoy the bright lights and non-stop entertainment.
If you can’t get enough epic rock formations on your weekends, consider taking a trip in the near future to Goblin Valley State Park. This area is about 3.5 hours southwest of Salt Lake City. It has some unforgettable hiking trails and some formations that really do look like goblins. The unique area is filled with geological history and was opened to the public as a state park in 1964. To make a weekend out of this trip, consider staying in one of the 25 campsites or two yurts. There are campsites for both tents and RVs here. Staying overnight in the park will give you the best opportunity to try a canyoneering adventure with a local guide.
Skiers know the name “Park City” well as an epic destination for winter sports. This area is less than an hour from Salt Lake City but worthy of being a weekend getaway because of all there is to do here. You can treat yourself to a spa weekend in Park City or hit the slopes for a couple of days in a row. It’s also fun to check out the Sundance Film Festival, go for a hot air balloon ride, or do some shopping along Main Street.