Salt Lake City is a great place to live and visit, but sometimes you need a change of scenery. You’re in luck if you’re looking for fun and exciting day trips. 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 challenging, 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 fun and affordable.
Many individuals have difficulty selecting a day trip that is both enjoyable and inexpensive. From national parks to small towns, day trips within Utah are some of the best in America.
Best Day Trips from Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is a sprawling metro with plenty to 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 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 enjoy the stunning views. Beautiful mountains surround the lake, and the sunset over the water is breathtaking.
If you’re interested in visiting the Great Salt Lake, you should keep a few things in mind. First, the water is very salty, so be sure to bring some fresh water to drink.
The lake and surrounding area can get quite hot during the summer, so bring sunscreen and a hat. This is a lake where no lifeguards are on duty, so swimming comes at your own risk. That 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 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 worth a visit – it has 3,000 square feet of rendezvous beach and a three-mile Cisco Beach.
Both spots have boat ramps and marinas so that you can make a day of it. If you’re lucky, you might even glimpse some of the unique native wildlife that calls Bear Lake home – including sculpins, cutthroat trout, and bear lake chub.
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, rent the gear for the day, get off the lift, or book in to learn a lesson or two.
Solitude Mountain Resort takes excellent 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 planning a trip to Solitude Mountain Resort, it’s essential 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 unique amenities and features.
The Inn at Solitude is an excellent option for those who want to be close to the action. The Inn is just a short walk from the resort and 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. Solitude Mountain Resort will surely provide a memorable experience no matter where you stay.
See Related: 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 significant 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 area’s wild places. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is worth a visit next time you’re in the area.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Orem, Utah
5. Ogden Valley
Ogden Valley is a great place to visit, no matter what you want. Ogden Valley Canyon provides a fantastic base to begin learning climbing and two other challenging rock faces.
Ogden Valley is home to sparkling lakes and sputtering rivers, making it the perfect place to spend a day fishing or swimming. Horse and bike rides are also available for those looking to explore the area.
When planning a trip to Ogden Valley, it’s essential to choose a place to stay close by and convenient. There are a few great places to stay near the valley, and each one offers unique amenities and features.
6. Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats is one of Utah’s most distinct geographical regions within Tooele County. These salt flats are from the Pleistocene-era lake Bonneville that covered most of the Grand basin in ancient times.
After the water evaporated and disappeared, the salt flat remained, creating a unique environment miming tundra lands. Visitors may view the flat salt panorama through I-80 near Wendover, overlooking a spot that allows walking around the flats.
Despite the peaceful environment, it’s essential to take careful measures to explore the flats. The Bonneville Salt Flats are a fragile ecosystem 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 Ira Hinckley established at the command of Brigham Young in 1867. Cove Fort is an essential gateway for early explorers traveling along the Mormon Highway.
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 a great place to see 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 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 exciting and permanent exhibits. The galleries aren’t to be missed, especially if you are interested in geology, Paleontology, or zoology.
The museum is also great for kids, with a few interactive exhibits that will capture their attention. The Natural History Museum of Utah should be on your list of places to see while in the state.
9. The Heber Valley Railroad
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 an excellent 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 the area offers.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Cedar City, making it a great place to spend a weekend or longer.
See Related: Best Weekend Getaways in Utah
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, ranked the “most beautiful town” in the U.S. by Forbes Travel Magazine.
Visitors have excellent skiing and snow skiing options at Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort. Park City features America’s largest collection of ski resorts. During the summer, award-winning mountain biking routes meander along mountain peaks making Park City a desirable summer and winter destination. Park City has something for everyone visiting, making it a perfect travel destination.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Ogden, Utah
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 a vital rehabilitation area for soldiers injured during World War Two, who flocked to the site in droves seeking medicinal properties. The city remains an important tourist attraction today, where the pool is warm and excellent for swimming, soaking, and rejuvenating.
Crystal Hot Springs offers an excellent opportunity to experience one of the world’s great natural wonders. The city provides all the amenities to make your visit comfortable and enjoyable.
13. Antelope Island
Antelope Island is the perfect destination for a day trip if you love animals. The island is home to dozens of antelope and bison species and countless bird species.
Several hiking trails 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 that you can capture some stunning aerial shots of the island’s landscapes.
Logan, Utah, has been named by Newsmax Magazine as the 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, Logan concerts, and Logan theaters.
Visitors can 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 will surely give you 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 park’s centerpiece and the state’s largest saltwater mountain lake. The views differ each season, so whether you come in summer, winter, fall, or spring, you will discover something new and breathtaking.
Fishlake is a great place to hike, fish, camp, and enjoy nature. So if you’re looking for a fantastic place to explore, Fishlake National Forest should be on your list.
There are several excellent options if you’re looking for a place to stay while visiting Fishlake. The Best Western Paradise Inn is on the lake’s edge and offers stunning views. For something more rustic, try the Fish Lake Lodge, which is 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 several art galleries, museums, and restaurants.
One of the most popular attractions in St. George is the Snow Canyon State Park. The park has 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 looking for a place to hike, climb, or relax, St. George is the perfect destination for a day trip from Salt Lake City.
See Related: Best Hotels Near Zion National Park
Brigham Young University is located in Provo, Utah, and is one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations. The university campus has 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, an important place of worship for members of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Visitors to Provo can enjoy various activities and attractions, making it an excellent destination for travelers of all ages.
Provo is home to various hotels, motels, and resorts that offer guests a comfortable place to stay while they explore all 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. 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 excellent 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.
Midway is a lovely town in Wasatch County, 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 outdoor activities in all 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 will surely please any visitor looking to enjoy some time in nature.
19. Mount Timpanogos
Mount Timpanogos is the second-highest peak in the Wasatch Mountains, 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, providing 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 feeling adventurous, several hiking trails lead to the summit. The most popular route is the Aspen Grove Trail, 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 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 the ski resort offers. The ski resort was used during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and it provides a variety of slopes for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Eden is a great place to visit year-round and 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 world’s largest concentrations of dinosaur bones. In Dinosaur National Monument, a dinosaur is buried beneath a rock pile.
The Dinosaur National Monument also has many petroglyphs, carvings, or drawings made into stone. These petroglyphs can bring you back in time and help you understand the cultures of those 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.
See Related: List of National Monuments in the United States
22. Gobblers Knob
Gobblers Knob is an impressive mountain peak that overlooks Wasatch Mountain and Salt Lake City. The hike was designed for adventurous enthusiasts and followed the Alexander River Trail. When you get off the wildflower-populated meadow, it is a steep climb up to 1026 feet. The breathtaking views from the peak are worth it all.
The peak is visible in the east. When you turn south, you’ll be welcomed with breathtaking panoramic views of Grandeur Peak and Salt Lake City. Gobblers Knob is a fantastic trek for people wanting to get up and above Utah’s Wasatch Range.
See Related: Best Hotels in Zion National Park
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.
Numerous stopover locations along the Mirror Lake scenic highway allow you to spend hours driving, taking photos, or taking short walks.
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 most extensive Hoodoo Formation and is a popular destination for travelers looking to explore the area’s unique geology. There are plenty of options if you’re looking for a place to stay near Goblin Valley State Park. There are campgrounds and R.V. parks in the area, hotels, and motels.
You’ll be able to find a place that fits your needs and budget, and you’ll be close to the state park’s excitement. So don’t hesitate to book your stay today and plan your adventure.
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What is National Park 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). Most 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.