Salt Lake City is a great place to live and visit, but sometimes you just need a change of scenery. If you’re looking for some fun and exciting day trips, you’re in luck. Here are the best day trips from Salt Lake City that are all within a reasonable drive of the city.
However, finding a fun and affordable day trip can be tough, especially if you’re on a budget. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best day trips from Salt Lake City that are both fun and affordable.
Many individuals have difficulty selecting a day trip that is both enjoyable and inexpensive. There’s something for everyone on this list, whether you’re searching for a beautiful hike or a charming little town.
Table of Contents
- Best Day Trips from Salt Lake City, Utah
- 1. Great Salt Lake
- 2. Bear Lake
- 3. Solitude Mountain Resort
- 4. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
- 5. Ogden Valley
- 6. Bonneville Salt Flats
- 7. Cove Fort
- 8. The Natural History Museum of Utah
- 9. The Heber Valley Railroad
- 10. Cedar City
- 11. Park City
- 12. Crystal Hot Springs
- 13. Antelope Island
- 14. Logan
- 15. Fishlake National Forest
- 16. St. George
- 17. Provo
- 18. Midway
- 19. Mount Timpanogos
- 20. Eden
- 21. Dinosaur National Monument
- 22. Gobblers Knob
- 23. Mirror Lake Scenic Highway
- 24. Goblin Valley State Park
- Final Thoughts
- What National Park is closest to Salt Lake City?
- How close is Zion to Salt Lake City?
- What are the best day trips from Salt Lake City?
Best Day Trips from Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is a sprawling metro that has plenty of offer but so does Utah. This southwestern state features a plethora of scenic landscapes and outdoor adventures.
1. Great Salt Lake
If you’re looking for a day trip that’s a bit typical and an obvious selection, consider visiting the Great Salt Lake. This massive saltwater lake is one of the most unique places in Utah, and it’s only a short drive from Salt Lake City.
There are plenty of things to do at the Great Salt Lake, including swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and more.
However, one of the best things to do at the Great Salt Lake is to simply enjoy the stunning views. The lake is surrounded by beautiful mountains, and the sunset over the water is truly breathtaking.
If you’re interested in visiting the Great Salt Lake, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, the water is very salty, so be sure to bring some fresh water to drink.
Second, the lake can get quite hot during the summer months, so be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat. Third, there are no lifeguards on duty, so swimming comes at your own risk.
With that being said, a visit to the Great Salt Lake is a great way to spend a day, and it’s an affordable trip for families or groups of friends.
2. Bear Lake
Bear Lake is a truly stunning freshwater lake that sits on the Idaho-Utah border, and it’s known affectionately as the Caribbean of the Rockies because of its bright turquoise waters. The water gets its unique color from the limestone deposits that melted down when the lake was formed.
Bear Lake is a renowned destination for outdoor activities, and it draws visitors from nearby towns like Laketown and Garden City.
Bear Lake State Park is definitely worth a visit – it has 3,000 square feet of rendezvous beach, as well as a three-mile Cisco Beach. Both of these spots have boat ramps and marinas, so you can really make a day of it.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some of the unique native wildlife that calls Bear Lake home – including sculpins, cutthroat trout, and bear lake chub. Whatever your reason for visiting Bear Lake, you’re sure to fall in love with this breathtaking piece of nature.
3. Solitude Mountain Resort
Solitude Mountain Resort is Utah’s most popular skiing destination and is available throughout the summer months for skiers and snowboarders of every skill level. You could rock up and rent the gear for the day and get off the lift or book in to learn a lesson or two.
Solitude Mountain Resort takes great care of every skill level. Solitude Mountain Resort attracts many visitors because it has such an intimate feel that it’s a true community feel.
When you’re planning a trip to Solitude Mountain Resort, it’s important to choose a place to stay that’s close by and convenient. There are a few great places to stay near the resort, and each one offers its own unique set of amenities and features.
The Inn at Solitude is a great option for those who want to be close to the action. The Inn is just a short walk from the resort, and it offers ski-in/ski-out access. It also has a heated outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a fitness center.
For those who want a more luxurious experience, the Stonebridge Condominiums offer upscale accommodations just steps from the resort. The condos have full kitchens, fireplaces, and private balconies. They also have access to an outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a fitness center.
No matter where you stay, Solitude Mountain Resort is sure to provide you with a memorable experience.
See Related: 28 Things to do in Park City, Utah
4. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is a spectacular 724,000 acres National Wildlife Refuge situated along The Bear River Delta and flows through Box Elder County in Box Elder County. The refuge, founded in 1928, is a major habitat for many migratory birds including eagles and tundra swans.
You can learn about bird species and wetlands at James V. Hansen’s Wildlife Education Center, where you can walk and recreate the wetlands.
The 12-mile auto-tour loop opens daily between sunrise and sunset, as well as an audio-guide tour that explores the wild places of the area. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is definitely worth a visit next time you’re in the area.
5. Ogden Valley
Ogden Valley is a great place to visit no matter what you’re looking for. Ogden Valley Canyon provides a fantastic base to begin learning climbing and two other challenging rock faces to climb.
Ogden Valley is home to sparkling lakes and sputtering rivers, making it the perfect place to spend a day fishing or swimming. There are also horse rides and bike rides available for those looking to explore the area.
When you’re planning a trip to Ogden Valley, it’s important to choose a place to stay that’s close by and convenient. There are a few great places to stay near the valley, and each one offers its own unique set of amenities and features.
6. Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats is one of Utah’s most distinct geographical regions, located within Tooele County. These salt flats are from the Pleistocene-era lake Bonneville that covered most of the Grand basin in ancient times.
After water evaporated and disappeared the salt flat remained to create a unique environment that mimics frozen tundra lands. Visitors may view the salt flat panorama through I-80 near Wendover overlooking a spot that allows walking around the flats.
Despite the delicate environment, it’s important to take careful measures to explore the flats. The Bonneville Salt Flats are a fragile ecosystem and are easily damaged by people walking on them.
When visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats, please stay on designated trails and paths to avoid damaging this unique and beautiful landscape.
7. Cove Fort
Cove Fort is a beautiful historic fort in Millard county that was established by Ira Hinckley at the command of Brigham Young in 1867. Cove Fort is an important gateway for early explorers who traveled along the Mormon Highway throughout.
Cove Fort was also an important communication center, home to telecommunication offices, blacksmith shops, and Pony Express stops.
After private use for the first 20th century, Cove Fort was restored to the Church of LDS in 1988 and is available to the public for visitors and historical sites.
Cove Fort is a great place to visit if you’re interested in early American history and is also a great place to visit if you’re looking for a unique travel experience.
8. The Natural History Museum of Utah
The Natural History Museum of Utah is an affordable and accessible museum located within the University Research Center of Utah that shouldn’t be missed if you find yourself in the state.
The museum features over 1.6 million pieces related to the Intermountain west in several interesting and permanent exhibits. The galleries aren’t to be missed, especially if you have an interest in geology, Paleontology, or zoology.
The museum is also great for kids with a few interactive exhibits that are sure to capture their attention. The Natural History Museum of Utah should definitely be on your list of places to see while in the state.
9. The Heber Valley Railroad
The Heber Valley Railroad is a heritage railroad that runs for 15 miles across Utah’s landscape. The train runs along the line of former Colorado and Rio Grande West Railroad lines from 1899 to 1968.
Along the way, visitors will see natural wonders such as the Deer Creek reservoir, Mount Timpanogos, Cascade mountains, and Sundance Mountain Resort.
The railroad provides travelers with a unique opportunity to see Utah’s landscape in a beautiful and historic setting. The Heber Valley Railroad is an essential part of Utah’s heritage and offers a unique experience for visitors to the state.
10. Cedar City
Cedar City is a great destination for those who love nature and culture. The town is Cedar City’s largest settlement and Iron County’s only real town. It is located approximately four hours from Salt Lake City, making it a convenient destination for weekend getaways.
The village also provides a gateway of access to the Grand Canyon North Rim, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. Cedar City is an ideal destination for those who want to experience the best that the area has to offer.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Cedar City, making it a great place to spend a weekend or longer. Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, bike, or simply relax, Cedar City is the perfect place for you.
11. Park City
Park City is an elegant resort city east of Salt Lake City and is best known as the site of Sundance Film Festival celebrations and festivals hosted near the Sundance Mountain Resort. The city also hosted events at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, which were ranked the “most beautiful town” in the US by Forbes Travel Magazine.
Visitors have excellent skiing and snow skiing options at Park City Mountain and Deer Valley ski resorts. Park City is America’s largest ski resort.
During the summer months, award-winning mountain biking routes meander along mountain peaks making Park City a desirable summer as well as a winter destination. Park City has something for everyone that visits making it a perfect travel destination.
12. Crystal Hot Springs
Crystal Hot Springs is one of the largest natural warm springs in the world, and they’re situated within an hour of Salt Lake City. In 1901, the hot springs were incorporated into visitors’ businesses called Madsen Hot Springs.
The spring was an important rehabilitation area for soldiers injured during World War Two, who flocked to the site in droves seeking out medicinal properties.
The city remains an important tourist attraction today, where the pool is warm and cool for swimming, soaking, and rejuvenating.
Crystal Hot Springs offer an excellent opportunity to experience one of the world’s great natural wonders, and the city provides all the amenities you need to make your visit comfortable and enjoyable.
So whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous escape, Crystal Hot Springs should definitely be on your list.
13. Antelope Island
If you love animals, Antelope Island is the perfect destination for a day trip. The island is home to dozens of antelope and bison species, as well as countless bird species.
There are a number of hiking trails that wind through the natural habitat of the island’s resident animals, so you can get up close and personal with some of Utah’s most majestic creatures.
Just remember to respect wildlife and never get too close. Photographers will also love Antelope Island – drones are allowed during the week of December through February, so you can capture some stunning aerial shots of the island’s landscapes.
Logan, Utah has been named by Newsmax Magazine as the most unique town in the USA. The city is famous for hosting the Utah State University, which offers an array of cultural activities throughout the year at its beautiful galleries as well as Logan concerts and Logan theaters.
Visitors are able to enjoy Logan’s cultural performances at the Ute Festival Opera and at the Ellen Eccles Theatre, which presents Logan classic films and Logan ballets as well as Logan concerts by national touring productions of musicals.
Logan provides many opportunities to explore and experience something new. Whether you are here for the arts and entertainment or to experience the great outdoors, Logan is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
15. Fishlake National Forest
Fishlake National Forest is one of the most beautiful places in the USA. It’s known for its towering aspens, encircling mountainous meadows, and lush prairies filled with wildflowers.
Fish Lake is the centerpiece of the park and is the state’s largest saltwater mountain lake. The views are different each season, so whether you come in summer, winter, fall, or spring, you’re sure to discover something new and breathtaking.
Fishlake is a great place to hike, fish, camp, and just enjoy nature. So if you’re looking for an amazing place to explore, Fishlake National Forest should definitely be on your list.
If you’re looking for a place to stay while you’re visiting Fishlake, there are a number of great options in the area.
The Best Western Paradise Inn is located right on the edge of the lake and offers stunning views. For something a bit more rustic, try the Fish Lake Lodge, which is situated right in the heart of the forest.
16. St. George
St. George is a beautiful city located in southern Utah. It’s known for its red sandstone cliffs, golf courses, and hiking trails. The city also houses a number of art galleries, museums, and restaurants.
One of the most popular attractions in St. George is the Snow Canyon State Park. The park is filled with red sandstone cliffs, slot canyons, petrified dunes, and volcanic cinder cones. It’s a popular place for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
Another great attraction in St. George is Zion National Park. The park is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Hiking trails wind through canyons, past waterfalls and rivers, and up to scenic lookout points.
Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, climb, or just relax, St. George is the perfect destination for a day trip from Salt Lake City.
Brigham Young University is located in Provo, Utah, and is one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations. The university campus is home to several attractions, including the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, the BYU Museum of Art, and the Covey Center for the Performing Arts.
BYU also hosts the Provo Utah Temple, which is an important place of worship for members of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Visitors to Provo can enjoy a variety of activities and attractions, making it a great destination for travelers of all ages.
The city of Provo is home to a variety of hotels, motels, and resorts that offer guests a comfortable place to stay while they explore all that the city has to offer. The following are some of the best places to stay in Provo:
Temple Square is a historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Provo. The hotel offers guests a variety of amenities, including an on-site restaurant, coffee shop, and lounge. The Inn at Temple Square also offers guests free WiFi and access to a fitness center.
The Hampton Inn & Suites Provo is a popular choice for visitors to the area. The hotel offers guests free WiFi, breakfast, and parking. The Hampton Inn also features an on-site fitness center and business center.
The Marriott Provo Downtown is another great option for travelers looking for a comfortable place to stay in Provo. The hotel offers guests free WiFi, an on-site restaurant and bar, and a fitness center. The Marriott also features an indoor pool and hot tub.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Provo, Utah
Midway is a lovely town in Wasatch County, which lies within an hour of Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Valley. The charming Heber Valley city was founded in the middle of the 19th century and has now become one of the meccas for outdoor recreation with its stunning Homestead Resort renowned for its ski areas.
Visitors can take advantage of the outdoor activities all the seasons with the best possible cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and skiing in the winter months. Midway offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life with its quaint streets, farmers’ markets, and local restaurants.
With so much to offer, Midway is sure to please any visitor looking to enjoy some time in nature.
19. Mount Timpanogos
Mount Timpanogos is the second highest peak in the Wasatch Mountains, with a height of 11,762 ft above sea level. The Mountain is located within the beautiful National Forest. Mount Timpanogos is a tall mountain that towers on the skylines of the nearby cities.
During winter the mountain is covered with heavy snow which provides a spectacular landscape photo opportunity. Mount Timpanogos has something to offer everyone, whether you are looking for a challenging hike or an easy day trip.
For those who are feeling adventurous, there are several hiking trails that lead to the summit. The most popular route is the Aspen Grove Trail, which is a moderate 5-mile hike.
For those who want to enjoy the views without the strenuous hike, the Mount Timpanogos Scenic Byway offers a winding road that leads to several lookout points. No matter how you choose to experience Mount Timpanogos, it is sure to take your breath away.
Eden is one of Weber County’s most beautiful Census-designated places. The city is situated on the beautiful North Fork of Ogden Creek near Pineview Reservoir.
Guests are welcome to travel the Needles Express Gondola to a height of 8500 feet where they can take in the stunning views of Ogden Valley.
In the winter, Eden is an excellent place to enjoy all that the ski resort has to offer. The ski resort was used during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and it offers a variety of slopes for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Eden is a great place to visit all year round and it offers something for everyone.
21. Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument is a must-visit if you live in Utah or Colorado. The Dinosaur National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located in northeastern Utah near the town of Jensen, Utah.
This monument is famous for containing one of the largest concentrations of dinosaur bones in the world. In Dinosaur National Monument, there is a dinosaur buried beneath a pile of rock.
The Dinosaur National Monument also has many petroglyphs which are carvings or drawings that have been made into stone. These petroglyphs can bring you back in time and help you understand the cultures of the people who once lived here.
Today, it is possible to visit this site and enjoy the stunning desert and untamed river flows through the deep canyons of the region. Dinosaur National Monument is a great place to learn about our natural history and have an adventure.
22. Gobblers Knob
Gobblers Knob is an impressive mountain peak that overlooks Wasatch Mountain and Salt Lake City. The hike was designed for adventurous hiking enthusiasts and follows the Alexander River Trail.
When you get off the wildflower populated meadow it is all a steep climb up to 1026 feet. The breathtaking views from the peak are worth it all.
The peak is visible in the east. You’ll be welcomed with breathtaking panoramic views of Grandeur Peak and Salt Lake City when you turn south. Gobblers Knob is a fantastic trek for people wanting to get up and above Utah’s Wasatch Range.
23. Mirror Lake Scenic Highway
Mirror Lake Scenic Highway is one of the most beautiful and serene drives you will ever experience. The Mirror Lake byway takes you through picturesque mountains and forests, surrounded by many peaceful lakes. The byway even leads into some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Mirror Lake scenic byways take you across forest areas to the ranch land and then into snowcapped mountain peaks – an unforgettable experience for any traveler.
See Related: Best Things to do in Kanab, Utah
24. Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park is a picturesque Utah state park named for its unique Hoodoo rock forms. These strange-looking rock formations, created by the erosion of sandstone and protected by the surrounding rocks, have a reputation for looking like goblins.
Goblin Valley State Park is home to the world’s largest Hoodoo Formation and is a popular destination for travelers who are looking to explore the unique geology of the area.
Whether you’re hiking through the valley or just enjoying the views from the overlook, this Utah state park is sure to be a memorable experience.
You’ll be able to find a place that fits your needs and budget, and you’ll be close to all the excitement of the state park. So don’t hesitate to book your stay today and start planning your adventure.
See Related: Best Hotels in Zion National Park
When it comes to day trips from Salt Lake City, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a challenging mountain hike or a leisurely scenic drive, you’ll find plenty of exciting options within easy reach of the city. Be sure to check out some of these amazing destinations and get ready for a fun-filled day trip.
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What National Park is closest to Salt Lake City?
Arches National Park is the nearest national park to Salt Lake City. The Arches is located in Moab, Utah, and features over 2,000 archaeological sites.
How close is Zion to Salt Lake City?
Zion National Park is roughly 400 kilometers (4.5 hours by car). The majority of the excursions follow Interstate 15, which features stunning views along the route.
What are the best day trips from Salt Lake City?
The best day trips from Salt Lake City include Goblin Valley State Park, Mirror Lake Scenic Highway, and Gobblers Knob. These destinations offer a variety of activities and attractions for travelers to enjoy.
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