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Ted Hesser

7 Days   •   1055 Miles

Red Rock Romance

The desert is intensely romantic. Beyond the sunsets and starlight, you’ll find relaxing spas and wine tasting, inspiring hikes and views, and so much divine dining.
SALT LAKE CITY

If you’ve ever seen the last few rosy rays of sunshine that give way to unfettered starlight, you’ll understand why the Utah desert is the perfect place for romance. If you haven’t, just trust us. The vast expanses of Bryce Canyon National Park, the epic canyons of Zion National Park, and the quaint stops in between can make you feel like you are the only two people in the world. This itinerary is perfect for honeymooners or anyone looking for a romantic retreat.
 
Around Zion, you can be whisked away by speedboat to admire the canyon cliffs of Lake Powell at sunset, share a moment of elation and accomplishment as you take in the vertigo-inducing view from Angel’s Landing, or unwind at a renowned desert spa retreat.
 
In Bryce Canyon, you’ll be transported to another world as you gaze at the impossibly bright Milky Way. Snuggle up for a drive-in movie surrounded by juniper-dusted mesas or catch an award-winning Shakespearean play.
 
Cross to the eastern part of the state and Moab, where you can watch the sun rise together through the window of a natural arch. Then sample the sunshine’s desert spoils at a vineyard set among the red cliffs of Moab.
 
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.

Read these resources to learn how to travel thoughtfully and experience Utah most fully.

Day 1

Lake Powell to St. George

175 Miles

Choose from a couple hours, a half-day, or a full-day tour (like the one that visits Rainbow Bridge) of Lake Powell. With the time remaining, browse regional art at Kayenta's Art Market then head to St. George for a scenic and romantic evening at Cliffside Restaurant, the Painted Pony, or one of the growing city’s many other great dining destinations. Overnight in St. George or Springdale.

Day 2

Zion to Bryce Canyon

250 Miles

Outdoor adventure can play a central role in your red rock romance, uniting you in a common and attainable goal. Today, it’s Zion’s iconic Angels Landing. Next, relaxation awaits at one of Southwestern Utah’s top rated spas. Of course, some may understandably opt for a longer day at the spa. It is your honeymoon, after all. Drive to Bryce Canyon and settle in at the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge inside the park (see Day 3) where the canyon rim and its gloriously romantic starry skies are within walking distance.

Day 3

Bryce Canyon to Escalante or Torrey

115 Miles

After a day exploring Bryce Canyon, it’s time to return to the All-American Road, Scenic Byway 12. Grab a coffee at Kiva Koffeehouse, then backtrack to take in an evening movie the old-fashioned way at the Shooting Star Drive-in just steps from your overnight accommodation in one of their beautiful Airstreams. There are also dining and overnight options in nearby Escalante. If it’s too early for a show, foodie honeymooners might opt to make a reservation at Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder and overnight there or in Torrey.

Day 4

Capitol Reef to Moab

160 Miles

Spending the morning in Capitol Reef Country combines time in the eclectic town of Torrey with options to enjoy short hikes to panoramas and impressive sandstone formations in the national park. You might also stop at the U-Pick Orchard when fruit is in season or Gifford Homestead for a slice of pie. Regardless, you get to drive the scenic S.R. 24 on the way to Moab, where you can sit down for an excellent meal then head up the road for a sunset cruise down the Colorado River. Overnight in Moab.

Day 5

Moab Area

30 Miles

Today, plan some time in Arches National Park if you’ve never been. Otherwise, head for the hills on a Hummer tour across the sandstone plateau. Choose from one of several Moab outfitters to ride to places only a Hummer should go. Spend the afternoon browsing the best local artists in Moab or head to Red Cliffs Lodge to sample some of the local blends and varietals at Castle Creek Winery. Your evening could be spent listening to the soothing current of the Colorado River at Red Cliffs or peering deep into the universe at Red Rock Astronomy in Moab.

Day 6

Moab to Mystic Hot Springs

250 Miles

Maybe getting up early to hit Mesa Arch for its iconic sunrise isn’t your ideal honeymoon. You could certainly wait until after breakfast. Either way, as you begin to make your way back across the state, you’ll want to hit the lovely Tamarisk Restaurant on the banks of the mighty Green River. Cruise I-70 to Monroe’s weird and wonderful Mystic Hot Springs for a rejuvenating soak in the mineral-rich waters. Overnight in Richfield or Panguitch.

Day 7

Cedar Breaks to Cedar City

75 Miles

There’s a sunrise option at Cedar Breaks if you’re feeling ambitious and want to grab a few hikes on the rim of the stunning amphitheater or the Alpine Loop. Otherwise, you can stop by, soak up the views and continue to Cedar City for a touch of high culture at the Shakespeare Fest. Finish the trip with a great meal in this vibrant college town and reflect on the miles behind you and the journey still ahead.

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