There are many reasons to travel: to live, experience, see, discover, connect. Many travel to expand their horizons or see their own life in a new way. One of the best ways to have a layered travel experience is to travel with your extended family to Utah, enabling not only a bonding experience for the family, but adding generations of perspective on the experience.
Multigenerational travel, or traveling with three or more generations of your family, can bring everyone together by bridging generational gaps in your family's hectic schedule and geography.
Utah prides itself on being a very family-friendly place and this includes extending a warm welcome to visitors of all ages. In addition, many of Utah's best vacation destinations for multigenerational travel are also excellent for senior travel thanks to great lodging, RV accommodations and diverse activities.
Utah's national parks, state parks, mountain resorts and capital city are all great trip destinations for boomer travel or families traveling with three or more generations. Continue reading to explore suggested road trips, national parks in Utah, the best state parks and sample itineraries. Another way to get inspired is to Find Your Utah Park.
- Please note, traveling at high elevation means carrying layers for chilly evenings much of the year and extra water to fend off altitude sickness, no matter the season.
- If anyone in your party feels tired or light-headed, drink some water and take a break — you'll want to slow down to enjoy the scenery, anyway!
- For multigenerational travelers, choose destinations that have a range of activities to keep everyone involved when they want to play, or have options to relax between activities or to split up when more active family members wish to extend the adventure.
Boomer Road Trips on the Road to Mighty
If you haven't heard of Utah's Road to Mighty, you are in for a treat. Utah is home to The Mighty 5® national parks. To get there, you can travel the Great American Road Trip. See scenic byways beyond imagination, destinations that could be national parks and all the gems of culture, art, dining, adventure and relaxation along the way — not to mention the scenic setting. Here are three recommended vacation itineraries to get you started, or see them all by filtering by number of days you want to travel, what you want to see and what you want to do on Utah's Road to Mighty.
Southern Dinos and Goblins: 4 Days
You could build a whole trip out of Utah's dinosaur and rock art sites. Add a little prehistory to your next adventure.
Red Rock Romance: 7 Days
Few things are better than taking in a beautiful place with the one you love — and in this week you’ll take in a lot of them together.
Top National Sites for Boomers and Multigenerational Travelers
National parks, monuments and recreation areas can provide one of the most accessible outdoor vacation experiences around.
Luckily, Utah has five national parks and ten other national sites to help you fill your dance card. In the south, Lake Powell is a popular destination for house and speed boating while anglers will appreciate the trophy trout of Flaming Gorge and the Green River in northeastern Utah. All five national parks have scenic byways and stretches of paved or improved trails for travelers with limited mobility, yet all the parks also have extensive backcountry if your family heeds the call of the wild. In short, Utah's national parks enable families to custom build an itinerary with options for every age and ability.
Utah State Parks Vacations for Boomers and Multigenerational Travelers
Below is a sampling of Utah's 43 state parks. With few exceptions, boomer travelers and those traveling with families will find Utah State Parks are amenity rich and scenic. Active travelers will revel in the diverse outdoor adventure while those looking for a little bit of leisure time can relax at camp — many public state park campgrounds offer full or partial hookups — or explore beautifully curated cultural opportunities at the state park museums. Explore these top state parks or visit our state and federal recreation page to see them all.
Suggested Itinerary 1: Zion to Bryce
Launching Point: St. George, Utah, home of championship golf, Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm and an emerging fine dining culture.
Day 1: Explore Awesome Zion
There's no mistaking it, Zion National Park is a bucket-list destination. For that reason, it welcomes a lot of annual visitors. Weekends are the busiest time, especially late morning to early afternoon. Book early for Springdale hotel accommodations, or consider an earlier departure from a base camp in St. George. No matter how you plan it, you must visit Zion National Park.
You'll find all generations enjoying the Human Past Museum, Emerald Pools and the Riverside Walk and take the scenic drive through the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel.
The Must See
The Riverside Walk is a paved, 1-mile journey from the Temple of Sinawava to the mouth of the Narrows. You will be joined on the journey by travelers from around the world. Canyon walls rise on either side of the river, where kids old and young splash around. Walking sticks line the wall for those prepared for the riverbed hike into the Narrows. Wear hiking boots appropriate for safely navigating rocky riverbed. Though flash floods can occasionally prohibit entry into the canyon, there is nothing like the echo of thunder through Zion Canyon or the cooling afternoon rains of the monsoon season. For fit travelers, Angels Landing is must-hike trail. But its final quarter-mile traverses a narrow ridge — it requires a great amount of caution and care, and is not recommended for small children or people with a fear of heights.
State Park Alternative
Snow Canyon State Park explodes with dramatic geology perfect for your outdoor adventure – and photo opportunities. With much of the look and feel of Zion National Park, you'll enjoy hiking among the sandstone cliffs, petrified sand dunes and broad lava fields.
Day 2: Get Inspired in Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park is also very popular. The moment you first set eyes on its shockingly original and vast amphitheater of orange hoodoos, you'll know why. Accommodations in the park's lodge and nearby Bryce Canyon City can fill up quickly, so book in advance. Nearby towns on the All-American Road Scenic Byway 12 offer alternatives. Believe us when we say you won't mind the drive into the park.
The scenic drive accesses multiple overlooks into the vast amphitheaters of Bryce Canyon, granting bird's-eye views of hoodoos, spires, bridges and beyond into rugged backcountry.
The Must See
The Rim Trail between Sunrise and Sunset Point and Yovimpa Point are short, easy trails with rewarding views. Also check for learning opportunities such as ranger-led full moon hikes or astronomy lessons under Bryce Canyon's pristine night skies. Under clear skies during the full moon, you'll feel like you have night vision as a moon so brilliant illuminates the entire canyon.
Navajo Loop/Queen's Garden is a 3.1 mile loop that takes hikers down to the canyon floor for an all-together different view of the hoodoos. The drop in elevation makes for a heart-pumping hike back up, but very doable for most ages.
Day 3: Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brian Head Resort
Continue the expedition by driving up to 10,000 feet where short hikes access the rim of the astonishing Cedar Breaks National Monument and the quaint mountain town of Brian Head offers access to all manner of mountain adventure for outdoor enthusiasts and the comforts of luxury spas and dining for those in the family ready to relax and unwind.
Suggested Itinerary 2: Salt Lake "City Safari."
As with so many trips to Utah, a successful multigenerational trip can start in Utah's capital, Salt Lake City. Utah's vibrant urban corridor is an intriguing destination for multigenerational travel because it combines the best cultural amenities of a big city with incredible outdoor recreation opportunities.
Best of all, you'll spend much less time driving thanks to the proximity of our mountains and excellent infrastructure.
Brigham City, Ogden and Provo are all major cities along the Wasatch Front, but the cultural heart is Utah's capital, Salt Lake City, just minutes from Salt Lake International Airport and a few minutes more from world-class outdoor recreation.
Day 1: Peak Family-Friendly Culture
Though Utah is widely renowned for its great outdoors, you'll also discover a thriving capital city with a number of cultural attractions to enrich your visit.
Natural History Museum of Utah, Living Planet Aquarium, Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, Tracy Aviary, Family History Library, Discovery Gateway and Clark Planetarium, The Leonardo, Utah's Hogle Zoo. Salt Lake is also home to the Utah Jazz professional basketball team and the Major League Soccer team Real Salt Lake.
On this family trip, seasoned travelers may wish to check out Salt Lake's complete package of professional performing arts, including the Utah Symphony & Opera, Ballet West and multiple theater companies.
Stick together by exploring the art, science and technology exhibits at The Leonardo and walking the Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited Hogle Zoo then let the grandparents research their genealogy at the Family History Museum while the kids hit the nearby planetarium.
Local tour companies like Salt Lake City Tours and City Sites whisk you around the city with narratives of historic sites and top points of interest.
Day 2: Peak Adventure Family Vacations
If you're traveling to Utah, you can't ignore the incredible outdoor recreation. Whether driving or flying into Salt Lake City, you'll be surprised by the proximity and drama of the backyard Wasatch Mountain Range. So while you could easily fill a weekend with culture and dining, active travelers won't want to forgo a trip into the mountains for hiking, mountain biking, fly-fishing, wildflowers in the summer and skiing in the winter, among many other activities.
Adventure-rich canyons and trailheads line the Salt Lake Valley, which means a trip to Salt Lake can also feed the adventurous spirit of your family, whether that means mountain biking the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and renowned Wasatch Crest, hiking among wildflowers in designated wilderness or skiing and riding The Greatest Snow on Earth® in the winter.
Nearby mountain resorts like Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Park City Mountain Resort or Deer Valley Resort in the Park City area (an all-encompassing mountain town just over a half-hour from Salt Lake), Snowbasin Resort near Ogden or Sundance Mountain Resort near Provo all offer a one-size-fits-all vacation retreat for the whole family. Several of Utah's state parks offer a range of activities off the beaten path, and a handful have adaptive traveler accommodations. And remember to take advantage of AARP member discounts for lodging and more.
Salt Lake City
Experience the vibrant urban culture of Utah's international gateway to adventure, then head south toward The Mighty 5® national parks.
Top Hikes Near Salt Lake City
Explore some of Salt Lake — and the Wasatch Front's — best hikes.
Fishing in Utah
Throughout the year anglers gear up in pursuit of experiences on waters that measure up to their passion, from trophy trout to secluded streams. In fact, Utah has more than 1,000 fishable lakes and numerous fishing streams. Here are a few favorites: