Utah vacations that won’t break the bank

Jun 16, 2022, 11:00 AM

Arches National Park is pictured on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Annie Barker /Deseret News)...

Arches National Park is pictured on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Annie Barker /Deseret News)

(Annie Barker /Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY —  With escalating prices on everything from gas to plane tickets, summer vacations and long road trips might be off the table. But, there are plenty of options not far from home for your weekend getaway.

Currently, average gas prices sit at more than $5 dollars a gallon. Traveling to far-off destinations may not be the best option for your wallet.

Now that summer is here, there are plenty of alternatives to explore in your backyard.

Utah boasts five national parks and more than 40 state parks. Additionally, the state has a number of historical sites and museums all within a short drive and easier on your gas budget.

Hikes through Big and Little Cottonwood, Provo or Millcreek canyons are another great option, all located along the Wasatch Front.

Utah’s ‘Mighty Five’

The state’s national parks saw over 11 million visitors in 2021. Located throughout southern Utah, the parks contain rugged landscapes from red rocks and arches to alpine forests. Monikered the “Mighty Five,” here are the parks located in Utah.

  • Arches National Park — Moab, UT
  • Bryce Canyon National Park — Bryce, UT
  • Canyonlands National Park — Moab, UT
  • Capitol Reef National Park — Torrey, UT
  • Zion National Park — Springdale, UT

Unlike the national parks that are concentrated in southern Utah, there are dozens of state parks located throughout the state. A wide variety of locations from rugged canyons to resorts and museums give options for day trips or longer stays.


You don’t have to look far to find a place to camp in Utah. With so many choices you are bound to be a happy camper. 

Glamping is a great option for those who desire to be one with nature and pampered at the same time. Glamping resorts offer plush accommodations that include beds, hot water, heat and private campfire services while still having access to beautiful landscapes and starry skies. Many offer excursions for hiking, fishing and cycling. 

If you prefer a more bare-bones approach to camping, the state has over 300 campgrounds. The Wasatch Front is comprised of seven canyons and won’t require a lot of driving. Camping options for tents and RVs are plentiful but it is wise to make a reservation.

Also be sure to know before you go: camping fees, check-in/check-out times and whether your spot is pet-friendly. 

Hiking, fishing and rock climbing are just some of the activities to be found. Go in late spring or early summer and you’ll be treated to an abundance of wildflowers.

Avoiding peak times including weekends is recommended.

Day trips

For a quick getaway, Silver Lake up Big Cottonwood Canyon is a popular choice. Silver Lake includes a boardwalk trail accessible to people of all ages and abilities. The lake includes a small dock to pause and take in the view,

Looking to take in some culture? Utah has a robust selection of arts and cultural museums.

One of note is the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. The museum has one of the world’s largest displays of mounted dinosaurs. The price of admission is $24 for an adult but will give you a full day of activities.

Other options include Clark Planetarium, Living Planet Aquarium and The Utah Museum of Fine Arts. For a more complete list click here

For more information about places to check out, go to


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