Utah Spring Break Destinations
March is just around the corner which means that Spring Break is coming! The kids will be out of school for a whole week! What are you going to do? Where can you go? We've got a few ideas to keep it local and full of adventure!
Canyonlands National Park
This park, to us, is the classic Spring Break location. More than once, maybe even more than three times we've camped in the Needles District of Canyonland National Park over Easter. As kids, our parents brought hard boiled eggs with us which we colored in our pop-up tent trailer. We'd wake up Easter morning to find them. We have so many great memories of how things went ary with this scenario. Ravens carried them off, coyotes ate them and left smashed bits all over camp (so close to our tent! eek!), windstorms... It's what camping with your kids is all about. Great family memories and tales to tell years later. Anyway, we digress... Most of our Spring Break suggestions will involve southern Utah. It's lower elevation and the desert warms up sooner than up north. We are red rock addicted and get a hankering every spring to go thaw in some of the heat the slick rock absorbs and then radiates when hit by the sun. For an over night stay, we suggest the Needles District of Canyonlands. There's hiking (including this hike we posted about before) and maybe a little off-roading if you're up for it. If you're really into the OHV thing, we'd also recommend the Maze District. It's remote and beautiful but pretty extreme to get to! Off road on the scenic drives and then maybe hike around the chocolate drops.
There's another district to Canyonlands, the Island In The Sky (Ashley recently visited in a snow storm). It could probably be done in a day. It has many short hikes great for kids with amazing AMAZING vistas. Don't miss Mesa Arch. Island in the Sky would be great to combine if you're headed to our next destination: Moab. This place is HOPPIN' over Easter. It's the Easter Jeep Safari, so be prepared to oggle at some serious rock climbing machines. It's a busy week in Moab, so keep that in mind. If your kids are older, then we'd suggest some Mountain Biking. The Slickrock Trail gets into your blood. It's not easy! You'll surely get your trash kicked--we always do. But if you want to try some world class Mountain Biking, Moab is amazing! It's also another great OHV area. Smaller kids can join you in the jeep. But be prepared for crowds if you're headed over Easter!
To get out of the rock crawling crazies crowd not too far away is some superb hiking trails for families in... Arches National Park. Arches is one of our favorites with kids! The hiking is right in their range. The scenery is amazing and it doesn't take a lot to get to it. Some favorites: Delicate Arch (A Utah icon), Sand Dune Arch (this is barely a walk to get to, but with mountains of sand the kids will love to stay and fill their shorts with it), Double Arch and the Windows area. Oh there's so much more!
If you've got teens, we've done some Canyoneering down Dragonfly Canyon too. That's a big adventure, but we don't recommend it unless you have experience Canyoneering. It is a technical trail involving multiple rappels. If you're late getting your plans together and can't find a campsite to reserve anywhere, may we suggest the San Rafael Swell. We have been there all times of the year and seldomly have trouble finding somewhere to camp. It's BLM land, so you can wild camp if the campground is somehow miraculously full. Print off their little guide and find yourself some dinosaur tracks, old mines, and more!
Goblin Valley State Park
Not far from San Rafael is Goblin Valley State Park. We've often combined the two areas in one trip. Goblin Valley is so fun with school aged kids. Not that it isn't with smaller kids, but bigger kids can play awesome games like Marco Polo among the hoodoo rock formations. Better yet, make it bigger and everyone bring whistles. "It" whistles and everyone else must whistle in return until they are found. We only had one whistle one year when we were teens and instead, upon the whistle, you had to climb up on top of the nearest hoodoo you can and therefor reveal yourself to "it". Aw... the good old days when we had endless energy.
There are also many non-technical slots in Goblin Valley and nearby. They're a great intro to one of our favorite things to do EVER (We can't wait until our kids are big and we can do the hardcore stuff again).
Want to get started canyoneering? Here are a few books we like:
Capitol Reef National Park
Another less busy area is Capitol Reef. Our best tip: Bring a car that can traverse the river and take the amazing drive out and around the park. It's like another world out there. Capitol Reef also has some great non-technical slots your little hikers can enjoy.
If it's been a good snow year, staying in Salt Lake and taking day trips up to the ski resorts is easy peasy. One of our favorites is Brighton. Kids ski free! Brighton is where Andrew proposed so it's near and dear to our hearts.
Zion National Park
is a great place for families and Spring is one of the best times to visit. You avoid all the crowds of the summer months. Some great hikes to take your kids on there are Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, and The River Walk Trail. It's best to check and see if the shuttle is running so you know how to pack your things for the day.
Snow Canyon State Park
You could totally stay in St. George and combine this one with Zion's if you're there for a while. Kids love the sand dunes and will play for hours in it. Snow Canyon also has a ton of great small hikes for even your littlest kids. Jenny's Canyon is very short and has a short but fun canyon to explore at the end. If you've got some older kids who aren't scared of the dark then you'll want to check out the lava tubes. Be sure to bring a headlamp for that.
Check out our post about St George for more things to do around Snow Canyon.
We hope we've inspired you to take your Spring Break in our lovely state of Utah!
Use this to Pin to your board to remember for your next family vacation!