Skull Arch Arches National Park   |  National Park Service

First-Time Visitors

Utah is a big place. Road trips travel great distances through scenic regions creating cinematic mental pictures of landscapes in motion. Base camps establish deeper relationships with a place and enduring memories. First-time visitors can see it all in sweeping and adventurous vacations through Utah's most popular places or by taking time in and around any of the top parks in Southern Utah — each of The Mighty 5® national parks and its surrounding lands offer abundant options to stop and stay awhile. And Northern Utah offers a whole other level of outdoor recreation and urban experience.

Here's a quick snapshot:

  • Down south: Soaring sandstone arches and trails carving through canyons and up canyon walls. Awesome monoliths and fragile pillars of red rock. Blue water among rolling slickrock. Profound indigenous heritage. Moab, Boulder, St. George. The All-American Road Scenic Byway 12.
  • In the north: Towering mountain peaks with deep powder in winter and backyard adventure all summer. Ogden, Salt Lake City, the Great Salt Lake. In the east: the ancient bones of Dinosaur National Monument and the pursuit of trophies in Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River.

To start planning your first trip to Utah, read about our most-visited parks, then see how they fit together in itineraries on Utah's Road to Mighty for an unforgettable Utah family vacation trip. To combine the urban lifestyle of Utah's cities with adventures in the Wasatch Mountains and beyond, look around Mountain and Metro. If you're still looking for ideas and maybe a good story, why not start in our Inspiration section? Here, regional authors and local experts share travel narratives sure to get you excited about your Utah adventure vacation.

Road to Mighty

Southern Utah. Home to Utah’s Mighty Five® national parks and connected by some of the most scenic byways and backways in the country. Start with some of our most popular itineraries to see them all (Ultimate Journey, Best Week of Your Life) or spend 3 or 4 days getting to know just one or two parks. See all Road to Mighty itineraries.

Mountain and Metro

The Wasatch Mountain Range is the defining characteristic of Northern Utah. Its rugged peaks are the epicenter of outdoor recreation; its canyons are an important watershed to the population center of Utah, the vibrant Wasatch Front. At the heart of the Wasatch Front is Utah's capital, Salt Lake City, which headlines an 80-mile-long urban corridor of incredible art, culture, performing arts and live music paired with a thriving farm-to-table dining scene, craft brews and intelligent mixology.

Whether you tour a national park with or without a hiking guide or experience the thrill of a river rafting group activity – boundless adventures await as you travel to Utah for your next family vacation!

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