Utah for tourists

What to Do in Utah: The Travel Diary

  • Utah’s diverse landscape, rich history, and culture attract millions of tourists annually.
  • Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks signify the state’s geographically diverse and stunning natural beauty. 
  • The state’s winter resorts receive extensive snowfall, perfect for snow sports enthusiasts of all levels.
  • Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital, blends religious significance, cultural offerings, and modern entertainment options.

Utah distinguishes itself as an exceptional travel hotspot due to its distinctive geographical features and diverse landscapes. It’s a cornucopia of natural beauty, offering contrasting topography from red-rock deserts to snow-capped mountain peaks. Utah also boasts a rich historical tapestry and cultural vibrance, making it appealing to many tourists. According to statistics from the Utah Office of Tourism, the state welcomed 17.8 million visitors last year, an increase of 5.8% over the previous year. These figures attest to Utah’s growing popularity as a must-visit destination in the United States, beckoning travelers with its unique blend of scenic vistas and cultural allure without even delving into specific tourist spots.

If you want to enjoy the best of Utah, it’s essential to come prepared with a plan. Many visitors make the mistake of planning based on the most popular attractions only, which is understandable for travelers who may not have much time in the state. Here are a few tips to ensure you make the most out of your Utah experience:

Consider the Mighty Five

Zion National Park in Utah

The Mighty Five refers to Utah’s five most famous national parks: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion. These parks are known for their majestic rock formations and diverse terrain. It may be tempting to try and cover all five in one trip, but that can be pretty overwhelming – it’s best to pick just two or three of them if you’re pressed for time.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is renowned for its striking red rock formations and over 2,000 natural stone arches. The park’s unique architecture provides a spectacle for visitors, with Delicate Arch being a favorite among photographers, especially at sunset. The park offers several trails suited for all levels of hikers, enabling you to explore and appreciate its beauty.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is a collection of giant natural amphitheaters. The park’s unique geological structures, hoodoos, are tall, thin spires of rock formed by erosion. Hiking through the hoodoo-filled landscape during sunrise or sunset provides an unforgettable experience due to the rock formations’ color changes.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands offer a diverse landscape of canyons, mesas, and buttes shaped by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The park is divided into four districts, with Island in the Sky being the most accessible and popular. This park is a haven for adventurers offering activities such as white water rafting, hiking, and stargazing.

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is best known for the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile-long warp in the earth’s crust. The park offers a mix of cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges. The scenic drives and backcountry roads make it a favorite among off-road enthusiasts and landscape photographers.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park, Utah’s first National Park, has high plateaus, a maze of narrow, deep sandstone canyons, and stunning rock towers and mesas. The park provides awe-inspiring hikes, including the challenging trek to Angel’s Landing. Zion offers climbing, horseback riding, and camping opportunities, making it a versatile destination. Zion might be your best option, especially considering the famous East Zion resorts that provide luxurious lodging options. You can make your experience better by booking accommodation and lodging in those areas.

Getting into Snow Sports

Snow sports in Utah

Utah’s “The Greatest Snow on Earth” tagline is well-earned. The state is globally recognized for its perfect powder and top-quality winter resorts, attracting snow sports enthusiasts worldwide. Utah’s mountains receive an average of 500 inches of snow annually, creating a winter paradise for skiers and snowboarders alike.

Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort is a premier winter destination, boasting over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. It’s not only the largest ski resort in the United States but also easily accessible due to its proximity to Salt Lake City International Airport. With various runs catering to all skill levels and a charming historic downtown area, Park City is a must-visit for any snow sports lover.


Snowbird is known for its long winter seasons, often from November to May. With an impressive 2,500 vertical feet of skiing and boarding available, Snowbird caters to adventurers seeking a challenging experience. The resort also offers mountain school programs for beginners and children.

Alta Ski Area

For a more traditional skiing experience, Alta Ski Area is the ideal destination. The resort is one of the oldest in the country and maintains a skiers-only policy, preserving the classic ski experience. Alta is renowned for its rustic charm and impressive snowfall, making it a favorite among purists.

Visiting the Famous Salt Lake City

Of course, going to Utah will not be complete without a visit to its capital Salt Lake City. This iconic city is the center of Mormon culture and is home to Temple Square, one of the most renowned religious sites in the world.

The 200-acre temple complex is located at the heart of downtown and features beautiful gardens, a cultural celebration center, and several museums showing off Utah’s rich history and culture. Visitors can tour the grounds or take a guided tour of the iconic Salt Lake Temple.

Salt Lake City offers many entertainment options, from art galleries to live music venues. The city is home to some of the state’s best local restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and coffee shops. It’s worth exploring the historic downtown area to discover hidden gems like unique bookstores and one-of-a-kind boutiques.

Final Thoughts

Utah is a state of unparalleled beauty and culture, offering something for everyone. Whether seeking an adventure in The Mighty Five or living it up in Salt Lake City, Utah promises an unforgettable experience. With the tips above and some extra research, you can ensure that your trip to Utah will be one you won’t forget.

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