We get it, summer vacation can be a colossal dichotomy for families. Some days your heart aches as you realize how quickly summer vacation is slipping through your fingers, and other days you’re counting down the days until school starts again (and your sanity returns). This summer we’ve put together the Ultimate Utah Family Bucket List for your family to start powering through.
1. Experience an All-Time Picnic at Snowbird
We know your older kids roll their eyes whenever you bring up the words “family picnic”. We’re betting that nobody is going to complain when you roll up to Snowbird with your picnic basket to ride the tram to the top of Hidden Peak. Forgot the chips? No problem! Head into The Summit for a basket of hot fries!
2. Float the Provo River
When August rolls around, and you swear you can’t bear to go on one more hike in the heat, take the family to float the Provo River. The brisk water temps will be a welcome break on those +95F days. Already ventured down the Provo? Head to the Weber River! Trust us, stop by Taggarts Grill and get their carrot cake after.
The weekly Sunday blues concerts at Snowbasin have something for everybody. A selection of brews from local breweries for Mom and Dad, hiking, biking, and gondola rides for the kids and delicious BBQ that the whole family will love. Oh, and did we mention the killer lineup of blues music? If mountainside live music is your thing, you’ll also want to check out the Deer Valley Concert Series, the Saturday Series at Alta, and Sunday afternoon concerts at Solitude or the Sounds of Summer concerts at Sundance. Here is a link to our full guide!
4. Explore the Timpanogos Caves National Monument
You’ve been escaping to cool movie theaters all summer. If you want to give the kids a true visual treat, take them on one of the guided tours of the Timpanogos Caves
. You might even be grateful to wear your jackets in the chilly caves. This impressive cave system is guaranteed to leave everybody speechless… at least for a few (peaceful) moments.
5. Alpine Slide, Mini Golf, Zip Line, Climbing Wall and MORE at Park City Mountain
If the chores have been completed and the piano has been practiced, spoil your kids with an Adventure Pass at Park City Mountain.
Your kiddo will be bouncing back and forth between the zip line, alpine coaster, panning for gems, climbing the rock wall, bouncing on the legacy launcher (and SO MUCH MORE). Let the whole gang run wild on the mountain!
6. Spend the day at Bear Lake State Park
There’s a reason why Bear Lake is called the Caribbean of the Rockies. The turquoise blue water almost seems unreal. Rent some SUPs or a kayak, and spend a day playing in the refreshingly brisk lake. Pro Tip: the famous raspberry shakes live up to all the hype.
7. Hike Lakes Mary, Catherine and Martha at Brighton
It’s hard to find more beautiful scenery than an alpine lake… but how about THREE alpine lakes
. Head up to Brighton to hike this perfect loop that hits three beautiful lakes in just over three miles. Work up an appetite? Head to Milly Chalet
8. Camp in the Uintas
There’s a reason why so many Utah families love to visit the Uintas
. Pack the dog, your fishing poles, and your camping gear (and marshmallows!) and plan a family weekend under the stars. Are your kids old enough to pack in their own gear? Consider a short backpacking trip to one of the beautiful lakes!
Look, even if mountain biking isn’t your thing (yet), after an afternoon of instruction at Deer Valley, the whole family will be hooked! With on-site rentals, and classes for kiddos as young as 9
(or even women specific classes if mom would like), everybody is going to feel right at home cruising through the alpine trails together. Whether you prefer to ride the lift, or earn your turns by pedaling up the mountain, plan to grab lunch at any of the delicious restaurants at Deer Valley (Deer Valley Grocery Café
is one of our favorites). Check out our full guide
of where else to bike this summer as a family!
10. Explore the Downtown Farmers Market
One of our favorite ways to kick off the weekend is to visit the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmers’ Market.
Whether you’ve come with a mission to find local produce for the week or are browsing for the perfect houseplant and pastry, you are bound to find some of Utah’s BEST offerings at the market each Saturday.
As parents, we’re willing to bet that at some point or another your children have begged you to take them horseback riding. This summer, make their dreams come true! Head up to Cherry Peak for an afternoon of affordable guided trail riding and come home with the “Coolest Mom Award”.
12. Experience the Wildflower Festival at Alta Ski Area
Each July the wildflowers put on a fantastic show in the Cottonwood Canyons. Head up to Alta
to hike to Cecret Lake to see some of the finest flowers in all of Utah. This year, the Sunnyside lift will be running on the weekends to help with accessibility. Pro tip: skip the crowds all together by playing hooky from work and take the family for a morning or afternoon hike during the week.
13. Watch a Sunset at Antelope Island
is one of the best places to catch the sunset in Utah. Stop at Iceberg and grab some milkshakes and drive to Buffalo Point for sunset. Need to get some wiggles out? Spend the evening running around on Bridger Bay Beach, hike to the tip of Buffalo Point (1 mile) or ride bikes out to Garr Ranch.
Bring the whole family for free yoga sessions
every Saturday at Solitude. Maybe it’s because their limbs are so limber, (or maybe it’s also because they have a sanctioned reason to roll around on the ground and stretch), but kids LOVE yoga. If mom or dad are wanting more of a burn, one of you can ride your bike up the canyon to yoga while the other one carpools with the kiddos.
15. Family Night at the Bees Game
There’s just something about baseball that signals that summer is in full swing. If you haven’t taken your family to one of Salt Lake City’s minor league baseball games before, going to a Bees Game is an experience your children will love. Monday nights are “Family Night” at the stadium- stop by and pick up a voucher for discounted family tickets at Harmon’s Market.
16. Star Party at Cedar Breaks National Monument
Each Saturday night Cedar Breaks National Monument holds astronomist hosted star parties
where your little ones can view the craters of the moon, the rings of Saturn and far off Nebula through large telescopes. Pack your bikes and hiking shoes, and explore the trails at Brian Head Ski Resort
in the morning.
17. Cool off at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
School might be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean that your children’s curiosity slows down. Whether your kiddos want to spend the afternoon at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
feeding stingrays, gazing at the 300,000 gallon shark tank, or watching penguins play, everybody will spend the afternoon in pure wonder.
If you ask any of your foodie friends, they'll tell you that one of the best brunches in Utah can be devoured at The Foundry Grill
at Sundance. We’re guessing that the kids are going to be on their best behavior while they anticipate the epic zip tour
across the mountain. Considering that the zip line cruises up to over 65MPH (and drops 2,100ft), you might want to walk around the base of the beautiful mountain for a few minutes after brunch to prepare for the epic ride.
19. Explore Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons
Just before school starts, take your kids down to Escalante to explore Peekaboo and Spooky Canyons
. Climbing over rocks, squeezing through tight slots, and playing in the silky desert sand puts even the most elaborate playground to shame. Desert temperatures can be brutal during the day, so be sure to start your hike EARLY.
While your children will certainly enjoy learning about the 2002 Olympics in the Olympic Park Museum, we’re willing to bet they are going to LOVE “recess” outside. From extreme tubing
to summer bobsledding, the whole family will have a gold medal experience. Pro Tip: This year the Olympic Park has opened SEVEN new zip lines
Is there something that is on your family summer bucket list that we've missed? Let us know in the comments!