Utah is a favorite US travel destination for exploring the natural scenery. Many of the top tourist attractions in Utah feature the national and state parks, giving visitors a chance to see the unique landscape.
There are also plenty of activities for those who are less adventurous or prefer to be somewhere with comforts.
The most popular attractions in Utah, however, remain those that involve outdoor activities, whether they are hiking or seeing natural beauty. Here are the must-see Utah attractions that you don't want to miss on your next trip to the Beehive State.
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Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its hoodoos, which are rock pillars in odd-shapes that are the result of erosion over time. It is possible to spend as much or as little time as you want in the park.
There are numerous hiking trails in the park, each of which is divided into one of three levels: easy, moderate, or strenuous so you can select appropriately.
You can also go horseback riding on certain trails depending on the time of the year or spend the night camping with your family. There are guided moonlight hikes and telescope stargazing as well as other ranger programs to enjoy.
Address: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural arches made of stone, in addition to large balanced rocks, massive fins, and huge pinnacles. No matter where you look in this park, you will see unique textures, landforms, and colors that almost make it seem like another planet.
If you plan on visiting between March and October, be prepared for crowds. Depending on the time of the year, you can drive along the 18-mile road with scenic views, go backpacking, biking, canyoneering, horseback riding, hiking, or rock climbing.
There are trails of all lengths and you can also spend the night camping or attend a ranger-led program.
Address: Arches National Park, Moab, UT 84532
This was the first national park in Utah, making it one of the top attractions for those who enjoy the outdoors and history. There are gorgeous cliffs made of sandstone spanning red, pink, and cream as well as a narrow slot canyon.
Zion National Park also has unique plants and animals. Those who want to get some exercise during their visit can backpack, bike, canyoneer, climb, hike, horseback ride, or go boating. For a more relaxing trip, go bird watching or attend a ranger-led activity like a walk or talk.
Address: Springdale, UT 84767
This is another of the best National Parks in Utah to visit, with numerous canyons as well as buttes that the Colorado River has carved throughout the years. There are four districts to explore: the rivers, the Maze, the Needles, and the Island in the Sky.
The last of these is the most accessible with a scenic drive, a route for four-wheeling, and multiple hikes. To explore the park's backcountry, hike through the Needles or if you want to prove your skills, head to the Maze.
You can also find panels of Native American rock art in the Horseshoe Canyon Unit or take a flatwater or whitewater trip.
Address: Moab, UT 84532
Also Read: Top 10 Things To Do in Moab, Utah
This National Monument covers 1.7 million acres of land and was the first monument that the Bureau of Land Management administered instead of the National Park Service. Throughout the monument, you will find an incredible range of geological formations and features as well as world-class paleontological sites.
There are three main sections of the park, including the Canyons of the Escalante, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Grand Staircase.
All have difficult terrain and a feeling of remoteness. Some key features worth visiting throughout this park include the White, Gray, and Pink Cliffs within the Grand Staircase, Buckskin Gulch (the longest of all slot canyons around the world), and Boulder Mountain, which is 11,000 feet tall.
Address: 669 South Highway 89A, Kanab, UT 84741
When you need a break from outdoor adventure, Park City is one of the top attractions to enjoy. This resort area is known for skiing and snowboarding with its snow-covered slopes, but it is popular year-round.
There are more than 400 miles worth of trails through the woods to bike or hike as well as concerts and plays to enjoy. You can also walk around the Historic Main Street for a bite to eat or to go shopping.
As with the rest of Utah, there are also numerous outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, fly fishing, river rafting, horseback riding, and a zip line.
Address: Park City, UT
Temple Square is an iconic site within Salt Lake City and it covers 10 acres of beautifully landscaped land, where you can go on tours. This attraction is part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the South Visitors' Center has numerous exhibits that discuss the importance of families as well as the temple itself.
Just some of the buildings within Temple Square include the Beehive House, Church History Museum, Family History Library, Salt Lake Temple, and Tabernacle.
Address: 50 W North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150
Also Read: Salt Lake City, Utah Top 10 Attractions
Dinosaur National Monument shows clear evidence that the dinosaurs once lived in this area, with fossils still in the rocks. The land also has petroglyphs to give you a glimpse into earlier cultures and a rich history of being home to outlaws and homesteaders.
While at this attraction, visit Carnegie Quarry, a world-famous site with almost 1,500 visible dinosaur fossils. If you want more adventure, try river rafting, hiking, or camping.
As with the other Utah National Parks, this one also has multiple ranger-led programs, such as guided tours for the whole family.
Address: 11625 E 1500 S, Jensen, UT 84035
Capitol Reef National Park is in the middle of red rock country in south-central Utah. It hosts the Waterpocket Fold, which is a geological monocline or wrinkle along the earth which spans nearly 100 miles.
Ranger programs take place throughout the spring, summer, and fall and there is even a Junior Ranger Program. You can also visit the Gifford House Store and Museum, have a picnic, go fishing, hiking, or biking.
Address: HC 70 Box 15, Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey, UT 84775
Lake Powell has almost 2,000 miles along the shore, giving you plenty of chances to enjoy the water or beach. This is a popular location to rent a houseboat or you can just visit for a day.
You can go fishing, kayaking, skiing, or boating, or hike or boat your way to Rainbow Bridge. You can also rent one of the idyllic villas at the resort, lounge by the shoreline with your family to soak up the warm Utah sun or go on a guided boat expedition with one of the resort's tour experts.
Address: Lake Powell, UT 86040
Also Read: 25 Most Beautiful Lakes in the US
There are myths about where the name Dead Horse Point came from, but one thing for sure is that it’s a popular destination for incredible canyon views.
Dead Horse Point State Park is a state park near Moab. It’s most known for the high desert environment and landscape carved out by the Colorado River. The area features towering vertical cliffs with elevations over 2,000-feet above the river.
The geological history within the park is most impressive, providing visitors with beautiful, colorful Utah scenery.
Dead Horse Point State Park established in 1959, now developed to support tourism – over half a million people come to the park annually.
One of the biggest attractions of the park is the panoramic views of the rock formations and canyons. Visitors can take hiking trails around the rim to reach the top viewpoints – it’s a popular destination for watching the sunset.
Address: UT-313, Moab, UT 84532
Cedar Breaks National Monument is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Utah. The site is a massive amphitheater formed from natural rock formations – it gives visitors colorful red rock and limestone scenery.
Cedar Breaks is approximately 3-miles long and more than 2,000-feet deep, formed from years of erosion.
There are a few points on interest at the site, including Point Supreme, for the best views, and the Hoodoos rock formations.
Cedar Breaks became a national monument in 1933. Today, it receives nearly one million visitors every year. The visitor center is open from June to October, and other parts of the site are restricted to visitors during particular months due to weather conditions.
Popular activities at the Cedar Breaks National Monument are hiking, camping, picnic, and the dark sky experience.
Two prominent hiking trails run along the rim of the amphitheater, providing great sightseeing of the views, flora, and fauna.
Address: UT-143, Brian Head, UT 84719
Great Salt Lake is nearby Salt Lake City, a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the capital. It’s a saltwater lake, the largest in the Western Hemisphere – it’s a remaining section of a larger prehistoric lake.
Great Salt Lake has distinct characteristics – it’s very salty and has a lot of mineral deposits. The lake is also shallow, and the surface area varies significantly throughout the year. Some features are only visible during certain lake conditions.
The lake provides a diverse ecosystem for animals, ranging from birds to bison.
Visitors enjoy spending time at the lake as it’s a popular place for recreation. There are several hiking trails established around the lake. Many people also go biking, sightseeing, sailing, or hanging at the beach.
A state park was set up to include the lake. A visitor center opened, providing tourists with more information and a lake viewing platform.
Address: Salt Lake City, UT 84116
Great Salt Lake includes ten islands, with Antelope Island being the largest and most popular - the island is part of a protected area thanks to its designation as Antelope Island State Park. It’s a fun place for recreation of sightseeing the abundant wildlife.
Antelope Island features a dry grassland landscape. The water levels in the Great Salt Lake vary often, so at times, the island becomes a peninsula connected to the mainland.
One of the biggest attractions to the island is the wildlife. The name derives from the pronghorn antelope, still populated on the island. Other wildlife includes bison, sheep, coyotes, and lots of birds.
Visitors enjoy going to Antelope Island for activities such as hiking, cycling, birdwatching, or visiting the beach.
Antelope Island has incredible scenery of Great Salt Lake – Buffalo Point and White Rock Bay are two of the best viewpoints.
Address: 4528 W 1700 S, Syracuse, UT 84075
Natural Bridges National Monument is an impressive natural landmark attraction of multiple rock bridges formed from historic erosion from the Colorado River. The river dried up in the region, leaving towering natural bridges.
Natural Bridges National Monument features three primary bridges – Sipapu, one of the world’s largest natural bridges, Kachina, and Owachomo. Visitors can also see collapsed bridges in the park, an ongoing concern for preserving the beautiful structures.
The bridges have a unique color, made from white Permian sandstone found throughout the rest of the White Canyon.
Visitors can get two perspectives of the bridge – from the canyon rim or descend to the ground floor to look up at the bridges.
More than 100,000 people visit the Natural Bridges National Monument. In addition to seeing the bridges, it’s a popular destination for hiking and camping. The Bridge View Drive is a driving route that passes each of the bridges.
Address: Lake Powell, UT 84533
The Bonneville Salt Flats are an expansive flatland field in the northwest region of Utah covered with salt. It’s a popular tourist destination for great views, racing, and pop culture.
The salt flats are one of the largest in Utah, extending approximately 40 square miles. The vast landscape features mountains in the backdrop and surreal picturesque views. One of the best times to see the salt flats is after a light rainfall when the ground becomes highly reflective – it’s makes for a great photo opportunity to see the flection of the mountains and the sky.
One of the biggest attractions to the region is racing – the Bonneville Speedway racetrack has hosted races since the early 1900s. It holds the land speed record.
Bonneville Salt Flats is open to the public for sightseeing and attending events at the racetrack.
Address: Interstate 80, Wendover, UT 84083
Golden Spike National Historic Site is where the First Transcontinental Railroad in the US was established – the site marks the joining of two major railroads, created in the mid-1800s. Today, the site is a destination for understanding the historical significance and seeing a live reenactment of the ceremony.
The name of the site derives from the golden spike used to join the two railroads. The spike is currently on display at Stanford University.
Tens of thousands of visitors come to Golden Spike National Historic Site, many arriving during the ceremony reenact. Live performers showcase the driving of the stake into the railroads. The site features two replica vintage locomotives - the functional trains sound whistles and ride along the tracks.
Address: 6200 N 22300 W, Promontory, UT 84307
Mirror Lake is among the top scenic destinations in Utah. The large lake is surrounded by beautiful scenery – forested areas and mountains – the best part is the lake properties.
Mirror Lake gives viewers a perfect reflection of the natural scenery thanks to the still waters. The name derives from its mirror-like characteristics.
The lake is located at Uinta Mountains. It’s a popular site for recreation and other outdoor activities. Some of the favorite things to do at Mirror Lake include camping, fishing, picnics, and boating.
There are nearly 100 campsites near the lake, perfect for staying overnight to watch the reflective sunrise and sunset. To preserve the calm water conditions, only non-motorized boats are permitted in the lake.
Mirror Lake is a habitat for various species of trout.
Address: Utah State Route 150, Kamas, UT
Utah has plenty of national and state park attractions, one of the most popular being the Goblin Valley State Park. The park features unique rock formations said to look like goblins, hence the name.
Goblin Valley State Park was established in 1964, designating a region of the San Rafael Desert. The valley features hoodoos, thin rock spires, and mushroom-shaped rock formations. The local hoodoos are ranked among the world’s largest.
The valley was initially inhabited by Native American’s with evidence via petroglyphs and excavated artifacts. Today, the valley is a well-known tourist destination for sightseeing and picnics.
More than a quarter-million people visit the park every year to be amazed by the beautiful red rock color of the formations. Visitors can walk the valley floor or relax at the park picnic areas.
Address: Goblin Valley Rd, Green River, UT 84525
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is one of the many natural landmarks promoted for recreation and preservation. It was created in 1972, including Lake Powell, Cataract Canyon, and surrounding areas.
Tourism is highly promoted at the park, attracting millions of visitors every year. The highlight of the park is Lake Powell – it features lots of visitor-friendly activities for enjoying the lake and the outdoors.
Some of the favorite activities to do in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area include boating, fishing, jet skiing, kayaking, powerboating, or renting houseboats. Lake Powell has multiple marinas for entering the water and finding onsite boat rentals. The park also includes campgrounds for overnight stays.
One of the unique things about the lake is the water restaurants established around it.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is highly accessible via several major highways.
Address: 4304 Bullfrog, Lake Powell, UT 84533