Rugged red rocks, homely retreats in the snow and several prehistoric sites make Utah the ideal destination for domestic tourists and adventurous international travelers alike. Stargazing in Helper, the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks – there’s so much to see and do in this mountainous state, you’ll need help picking out exactly where to go on your next trip, and that’s probably why you find yourself reading this handy guide!
The Utah state capital draws visitors from all over the world, thanks to all its city amenities – and it’s also a leading winter-sports destination. There are several resorts within an hour’s drive, including Park City and Deer Valley – two of the best known in America. Most trips to Utah will begin here, and it’s a great place to base yourself if you want an easy stay with incredible terrain within easy reach.
Dubbed Utah’s Little Hollywood, Kanab has a great movie heritage – it’s been seen on screen for close to 100 years and there are parts of the town that still look like they belong in the Old West, but there are other attractions, too. The Wave, a unique rock formation just across the border in Arizona, is as well known as any movie shot in Utah; but there are also the likes of Peek-a-Boo slot canyon, Buckskin Gulch, White Pocket and Coral Pink Sand Dunes. If you’re an adventure tourist, you’ll find plenty to see and do here.
Panguitch is an important base camp for many of southern Utah’s top natural wonders, including Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks, but you might find it hard to explore beyond the town itself if you harbor any dreams of a cowboy/girl lifestyle. The main drag in Panguitch sits on the National Register of Historic Places and offers quaint, western-themed local shopping and dining options. This isn’t a fake experience, though – the town really does have an authentic Old West charm.
Once a mining town, Helper has reinvented itself as a modern artsy paradise full of coffee shops, galleries and laid-back cool. Take a walking tour of the town to fully understand the history of the place – and also see how the past has helped influence the art of today. Helper is also recognized as part of the official Dark Sky Community, which means that, on a clear night, all you have to do is look up to enjoy a spectacular light show in the sky.
Tucked away on a quiet corner of Highway 12, close to Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon national parks, Boulder is a tiny town perfect for inquisitive foodies. Highlights here include Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Magnolia’s Street Food and Burr Trail Grill. Further north, don’t miss Garden City for the legendary raspberry shakes that can be enjoyed on the shores of Bear Lake, which playfully calls itself the Caribbean of the Rockies.
If you were to pick one destination for families to visit while in Utah, it would have to be Vernal. Dinosaur National Monument is essentially an outdoor museum where kids (and grown-ups) can discover prehistoric treasures imbedded in the rocks of quarries that were dug out years ago. It’s a fascinating place which gets you as close to the past as any Jurassic Park movie. If you want to see the area from a different perspective, you can also try rafting along the Green River.
Check out the historic Heber Valley railroad for a beautiful way to see the surrounding landscapes, and while you’re here don’t miss Ogden – a town that was once home to a variety of Native American tribes before becoming a Mormon settlement. Historic 25th Street was a rebellious and often raucous gathering place for railroad workers and those passing through. Now, it’s a gentrified and beautiful historic downtown, but a good time is never far away.
If you’re after a dose of wellness with a difference, then head to Midway’s Homestead Crater. You can scuba-dive in this natural geothermal hot spring and even paddleboard across it. If you’re feeling flexible, then posing in downward-facing dog in the cavernous limestone rock is also an option – providing you can also balance on the board at the same time.
Logan is a great base for nature lovers in the northern part of Utah. The burst of fall colors is up there with the best in the country, and you get the added bonus of great outdoor recreation such as fishing, camping, mountain biking, hiking and boating. Bear Lake isn’t far from the center of town; and if you really want to do something out of the ordinary, check out the Utah Opera and Musical Theatre festival, which takes place every summer. An all-year round dream destination.
If you want to really get to know Utah, you’ll need some great places to stay. See the best cabins and lodges in Utah and book through Culture Trip now.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.