My Local Utah’s Content Team
Utah Staycation for the Outdoor Enthusiast
As most of the world knows, Utah is a mecca for outdoor recreation opportunities throughout all seasons of the year. According to the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, there are over 34 million acres of public land, five National Parks, 44 State Parks, 15 ski resorts, thousands of miles of world-class mountain bike trails, and much more. These amazing resources provide countless opportunities for bettering your health and connecting with nature. If you’re currently itching for a change of scenery, you might want to take advantage of some of our local hidden gems for an opportunity to rest and reset. Read on to learn about three lesser-known locations that have everything you need for an adventurous weekend getaway!
Pineview Reservoir is located up Ogden Canyon, which is full of unique restaurants and lodges that are neatly tucked away under the abundant greenery that shades the canyon road. This watering hole is well known for its fishing, more specifically its abundance of tiger muskies. These giant fish will be sure to give you a run for your money, as they are incredibly strong! Pineview is surrounded by mountains, which blocks the majority of the wind and creates an ideal setting for waterskiing and wakeboarding. On-site rental companies at the reservoir make it easy and convenient to rent a boat, ATVs, water park inflatables, and countless other fun items for your staycation.
Snowberry Inn Bed & Breakfast is a quaint lodge near the reservoir that provides easy access to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Nordic Valley for anyone who may want to visit during the colder season. During the warmer months, Snowberry offers a lovely patio and stunning views. This cozy inn is owned by Andrea, who capitalizes on her culinary background to provide an unbeatable breakfast for each of her guests. Those who have stayed here rave about their positive experience and often visit regularly.
If you find yourself in the canyon for a special occasion, take a step back in time by visiting Grey Cliff Lodge Restaurant. This eatery has been owned by the Sniggs family since 1965 and showcases its history through vintage decor. Here you will be surrounded by fine china, antique rocking chairs, and even a museum dedicated to the evolution of skiing. It’s best to come hungry, as every meal is served with a fruit cup or tomato juice, green salad or homemade soup, baked potato or rice, fresh dinner rolls, and cinnamon rolls, along with your choice of homemade desserts. Everything is made with love and the staff is always full of familiar faces.
For couples looking to indulge in a romantic getaway, the newly renovated Alaskan Inn & Spa is a must. When you book your stay, you will have the option to choose from one of their private cabins, or a standard room in the main building. Most of their rooms come with a full-sized jacuzzi, which pairs perfectly with the locally made bath bombs and massage oil that can be purchased in the lobby. The attentive staff at Alaskan Inn have curated an inspiring variety of activities that can be incorporated into your time away from home. A winter sleigh ride, a picnic basket thoughtfully packed for two, and a couples massage are just a few of the activities worth mentioning. You will also start off each morning with a customized breakfast brought right to your room. Does it get any better than that?
For those that are seeking a more playful and kid-friendly experience, Ogden’s George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park may be just the ticket. This 6-acre park offers hours of fun and exploration for anyone who claims to be a dinosaur fanatic. Inside you will find an interactive museum with fossils and geodes, a gift shop, and also an outdoor play area that would be a great spot for lunch or getting out those afternoon wiggles.
With such great variety available, Pineview would be a great option for anyone looking to get in touch with nature without sacrificing the comfort of clean hotels, tasty restaurants, and memorable activities!
If you love Moab’s iconic red rock and are in need of some cooling off during the summer, Sand Hollow State Park may be calling your name. With over 15,000 acres of dunes for off-highway vehicles, three campground areas, and vibrantly blue water for boating, this hidden gem is perfect for a weekend getaway.
Sand Hollow features three campground zones nearby that range from developed areas with access to hot showers and modern restrooms, to more primitive campsites with pit toilets and picnic tables. For those who don’t get along well with camping, the nearby Sand Hollow Resort offers clean hotel-style rooms, as well as vacation homes complete with mini-refrigerators and televisions. Some of these vacation homes have up to 5 bedrooms so that they are able to host families and larger groups with ease. This resort is also home to three well-manicured golf courses that are surrounded by breathtaking red rocks, and a few different restaurants with equally stunning views.
A local company, Paragon Adventures, offers guided excursions for anyone that may prefer a more structured approach to adventure. Zip lining, caving, canyoneering, and rock climbing are a few of the services that they specialize in, along with group and solo adventures. With such easy access to endless recreation and the St. George area, Sand Hollow is a destination with much to offer!
Looking for something a little less crowded and more moderate in temperature? The answer to your prayers is Flaming Gorge. This location boasts immense diversity with its landscape and the available activities. Unlike Sand Hollow, Flaming Gorge has massive amounts of vegetation that contrasts beautifully against the red rock, while also providing shade and privacy. Because the area is so vast, 91 miles in length to be exact, it is much less crowded than most water of Utah’s popular watering holes. There are also plenty of places nearby to stay and eat due to its easily accessible location just off the main highway.
If you have a hard time picking just one outdoor activity, Flaming Gorge will be sure to keep you entertained throughout your stay. From fishing to river rafting, to horseback riding, to hiking; there really isn’t much you can’t find in this area. Not far from the main gorge there are countless ATV trails generously sprinkled with shade and cattle so that you can ride all day without the risk of overheating. If hiking is more your speed, or if you’re just getting started with your training to hike the Grand Canyon, you can get a taste of what to expect by tackling the 5-mile rim to rim hike at Flaming Gorge.
For all you history buffs, there are many stops between Flaming Gorge and Vernal where you can view petroglyphs and learn about the Fremont Indians. Two of these are White Mountain Petroglyphs and Dry Fork Petroglyphs. Both are free to the public and open year-round. Another exciting attraction that is less than 90 minutes away is Dinosaur National Monument. At this educational stop, you can see more than 1,500 dinosaur fossils inside the Quarry Exhibit Hall and learn all about the history of the area. Be sure to stay in the town of Dinosaur after dark, as this location is one of the darkest places remaining in the United States. You’ll be able to spot the Milky Way and countless other popular constellations.
When it comes to lodging in Flaming Gorge, you will have plenty of options. Not only are their ample campgrounds nearby, but you can also rent a cabin at the Red Cabin Lodge, stay in one of the neighboring hotels, or even rent a houseboat! With numerous restaurants to choose from, Flaming Gorge is the perfect spot for anyone wanting a relaxing break from their daily grind.