Southern Dinos and Goblins
From fossils and petroglyphs to slot canyons and goblins, you’ll have four days of “oohs” and “ahhs” for the whole adventuring family.
Start: Salt Lake City
It's typically under 4 hours to the entrance to Arches National Park and the Moab area. By the time you land at Goblin Valley State Park on day 4, you'll be within 4 hours of Salt Lake again. If you can, consider planning a day at the beginning or end of your trip to explore Salt Lake, including a visit to the Natural History Museum of Utah to help you make sense of it all.
You could build a whole trip out of Utah's dinosaur and rock art sites. This time, we're sticking to Southern Utah. If you've spent a day exploring Salt Lake, day two drops you into the epicenter of adventure in Moab. Roar up steep slickrock to rarely seen overlooks on a Hummer tour. Just outside of town, scramble to the base of the behemoth Wilson Arch — the most accessible arch for small kids. Roam the dinosaur trail where life-size statues of massive Mesozoic monsters stand frozen in time for children to ogle.
Day three is for your history hounds. Visit Newspaper Rock in the Indian Creek unit of Bears Ears National Monument where hundreds of well-preserved petroglyphs share the 2,000-year-old news. Explore the artifacts of Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding then live like the pioneers who settled this once-barren area at Bluff Fort. Wander through an eclectic mid-century home carved into the side of a cliff at Hole N” the Rock.
Day four takes you to another easily accessible panel of petroglyphs in Sand Island where you can also play on the sandy beaches of the San Juan River. Next, head for the entertaining Goulding's Lodge and sweeping panorama of Monument Valley. Jump in a Jeep with a Navajo tour guide at Monument Valley and learn about Navajo culture and the area's incredible history.
Your final day takes you to Natural Bridges National Monument, where stone bridges delicately hang between cliffs, or to Goblin Valley State Park, a magical place where kids and kids-at-heart can climb on and around goblin-like pillars of sandstone. Top it off with a scamper through Little Wild Horse Canyon, a playful, but not overly technical, slot canyon that can make everyone in the family feel like a kid again. (Read: Why Your Kids Need a Utah Trip)