Summer is upon us, and it's time to start planning that big family vacation. We're big road trip people. Sometimes it can be really fun to grab some tasty snacks, load up the car, and get away for a little while. Whether it's for a quick weekend trip or a full fledged vacation, road trips can be a very economical way to provide a fun adventure for your family. Below are a few of our favorite road trip destinations, in order from shortest to longest drive from Salt Lake.
1. Bear Lake - 2 hours 23 minutes - 123 miles
I went to Bear Lake for the first time last summer and I was completely blown away by the blue, blue water. It is seriously stunning! Just a little over 2 hours from Salt Lake, it definitely qualifies for the quick weekend trip. And for sure while you're there, stop and get a delicious raspberry shake from one of the many restaurants, along Bear Lake Boulevard in Garden City. You will not regret it.
2. Moab - 3 hours and 54 minutes - 234 miles
We love Moab and try to go there as often as we can (Jordan has even been known to drive there and back in one day with some biking in between). Moab is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing or even jeeping. Try to stop at Milt's for lunch while you're there, on your way to Arches National Park. Both are Moab essentials in my mind.
3. Zion National Park - 4 hours 24 minutes - 308 miles
Utah has 5 breathtaking National Parks. They are all awesome and worth a trip, but I thought I would highlight Zion National Park specifically. It's only 4 and a half hours from Salt Lake and makes another great weekend getaway. We really enjoyed hiking the Narrows.
4. St. George - 4 hours and 25 minutes - 302 miles
Very close to Zion Nat'l Park, is St. George, in southern Utah. I personally think St. George is great in the early spring when you just need to get away from the cold and snow and grab a little sunshine.
5. Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho - 5 hours and 23 minutes - 331 miles
We usually go camping here for Jordan's family reunion every summer. It is seriously one of the prettiest places. Bring your tent and swimming suit and if you're brave enough, you can take a dip in the coldest water on earth.
6. Thermopolis, Wyoming - 5 hours and 49 minutes - 362 miles
Not your typical road trip destination, but it is relatively close, and has some fantastic hot springs. When we go, we like to spend our time here. The drive up to Thermopolis, along the Bighorn River is also very pretty.
7. Las Vegas, Nevada - 6 hours and 5 minutes - 420 miles
I think everyone in Utah should take at least one weekend trip to Las Vegas. There is so much to do, and activities for every age and interest. There are absolutely delicious restaurants, fun shows, and great shopping (I personally don't gamble or drink alcohol and I still have a great time there and find lots of things to keep me occupied).
8. Denver, Colorado - 7 hours and 53 minutes - 536 miles
Of course Colorado had to be on this list, seeing as that's my home! I love Colorado. There are lots of fun things to do there, but if I had to compile a quick list, here are a few of my recommendations: White Fence Farm, Kokoro, Casa Bonita, catch a Rockies game, Tattered Cover bookstore, or climb the Castle Rock.
9. The Grand Canyon, Arizona - 8 hours and 15 minutes - 523
Please go to the Grand Canyon! There is definitely a reason why it is called "Grand." It is grand, and I might even say spectacular. It's a bit of a drive but it's definitely Bucket List worthy.
BONUS ROAD TRIPS (drives longer than 9 hours):
10. Albuquerque, New Mexico - 9 hours 58 minutes - 599 miles
A few Octobers ago we drove down to New Mexico for the International Hot Air Balloon Festival. It was fantastic. I really want to go again someday (especially since I actually know how to use my camera now).
11. Phoenix, Arizona - 10 hours and 25 minutes - 662 miles
We like to go to Phoenix in the Spring to watch some Spring Training Baseball. It is a loooong drive, but we always have a really great time while we're there. (Last time we went, we stopped by the Grand Canyon on our way.)
12. San Francisco, California - 10 hours and 43 minutes - 736 miles
I am shocked that San Francisco and Phoenix are about the same length drive. I'm dying to go back to San Francisco. I loved our trip there a few years ago, and have so many more restaurants and other attractions on my list for next time. Hopefully we can make it back there soon!