1. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
More than 250 bird species move through the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge every year. Depending on the season, your guests might see bald eagles, hawks, pelicans, swans and more. You can take the 12 mile auto tour and drive through the refuge, or get some exercise on the 1.5 miles of trails running through. Grab some lunch or dinner in Brigham City, too!
2. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
The dunes are really pretty...but they’re also a blast to play on!
3. Utah Lake
Out-of-towners always want to see the Great Salt Lake, but you might consider adding Utah Lake to your list, too. It’s easy to reach if you live along the Wasatch Front, and you can take your guests sailing, fishing or boating.
4. Goblin Valley State Park
If you really want to show your guests a unique spot in Utah, take them to Goblin Valley. It’s funny little hoodoos and formations make it seem like you’re standing on the surface of Mars.
5. Dead Horse Point State Park
The view from the overlook at Dead Horse Point State Park is simply stunning. I think it’s one of the best vistas in the state.
6. Gilgal Sculpture Garden
During your tour of Salt Lake City, take your out-of-towners to Gilgal Sculpture Garden. It’s free, it’s strange, and it will definitely give you all something to talk about over lunch!
7. Salt Lake City Library Main Branch
Sure, every city and town has a library...but I’m willing to bet that the Salt Lake City Main Branch is unlike anything your guests have ever seen. The building was designed by Moshe Safdie, a world-famous architect. While you’re there, you can browse through the shops, grab a quick bite to eat, check out readings or film viewings and of course, wander through the stacks.
8. Dinosaur National Monument
Did you know that Dinosaur National Monument has more than 1,500 fossils to see at the Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry? You and your guests can even touch several of the fossils, which are 149 million years old! While you’re there, take a hike or enjoy a river rafting trip on the Green River.
9. Cedar City
If you’re visiting the national parks, you’re probably planning a stop in St. George, but don’t miss nearby Cedar City. This cute little college town has plenty to offer, including the famous Utah Shakespeare Festival in the summer and fall.
10. Fishlake National Forest
This beautiful forest includes the world’s heaviest organism on the planet: Pando. The quaking aspen grove weighs 6,600 short tons and is 80,000 years old, making it also one of the world’s oldest living organisms.
11. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
is often overlooked by out-of-towners, but that’s a real shame. The vertical drops (stairs) are truly stunning with their various colors of pink, white, grey and brown. Visit Paria Canyon, Coyote Gulch (pictured here) and Calf Creek Falls for starters...you could spend weeks exploring the entire 1.9 million acres.
12. Hovenweep National Monument
Give your guests a little insight about the people who first inhabited Utah at Hovenweep National Monument. The area was home to more than 2,500 around A.D. 1200, and you can explore many of the structures they built.
13. Mirror Lake Scenic Byway
Grab lunch in Kamas, then head up the byway where your guest will be treated to some beautiful alpine scenery. Mirror Lake is just one of several lakes along this byway. All are great spots for camping, hiking or picnics.
14. Ogden’s 25th Street
25th Street got a major overhaul a few years ago; now it’s a charming street filled with shops, pubs and restaurants. While you’re in Ogden, visit Kiesel Avenue to surf at Flowrider or fly in the wind tunnel at iFly. Check out the Ogden Raptors at Lindquist Field.
15. Ogden Valley
After you visit downtown Ogden, head up Ogden Canyon to show your guests this lush little valley. Play on Pineview Reservoir, ski at Snowbasin and Powder Mountain and visit Utah’s oldest continually operating bar: Shooting Star Saloon.
Park City gets all the attention most of the year, but Sundance has a lot to offer. Of course you can ski during the winter, but in warmer months, there’s plenty of hiking trails, a zipline tour, river rafting, golfing and more.