Ditch the compass — this flowchart maps out 40 ideas to get your summer started off with a bang.
Adventure is out there, and your presence is requested. Pack up for a day or weekend trip for these four high adventure experiences.
- Breathe in the open desert air at Arches National Park in Moab. Check out the Sand Dune Arch for a low key stroll, or level up with a hike to the Double O Arch. New profile pic, anyone?
- Explore, hike, rappel, wade, scramble and splash the day away with a canyoneering trip through Zion National Park. Take a 12-hour adventure through The Narrows or keep it simple on a hike down a red rock trail.
- Fairy chimneys, earth pyramids, hoodoos — no matter what you call them, they sprawl as far as the eye can see in Bryce Canyon. Explore the rock formations up close with a hike along a canyon trail or take a day trip on horseback with a local guide.
- Don’t just get out, get up, up, up with the ride of a lifetime in a hang glider. The Birdman Academy teaches high risk adventurers how to rise above it all with hang gliding lessons at the Point of the Mountain.
Time to Train
Get your heart racing and feet pounding at one of these local half marathons.
- Utah Valley Marathon, June 11
- AF Canyon Run Against Cancer,June 25
- Hobbler Half, July 9
- Timpanogos Half Marathon, July 30
Shoes, watch, water bottle? Check, check and check. Lace up those kicks and set the pace at a local race.
- Bippity boppity boo — this fairy tale race is for you. Dress up as your favorite magical character for the family-friendly Thanksgiving Point Fairy Tale 5K. Whether you’re running, jogging or walking the course, it’s sure to have a fairy tale ending. Race day is June 25.
- Ever wanted to customize your triathlete course? Wish granted. The Shark Attack Triathlon in Springville covers a 250-yard swim, a 5-mile bike ride and a 1.5 mile run that can be repeated up to four times. Kids can also get their feet wet in the triathlon world with a shortened course. Race day is August 27.
- Push your mental and physical limits by taking on the Kat’cina Mosa 100K Mountain Run that winds through the Wasatch Mountains above Provo. Race day is August 6.
Summer in Utah County sounds like crickets, tastes like popsicles and looks like a block party all summer long. Browse these city events and start planning a summer you’ll never forget.
- Nothing can rain on this parade. The Utah Valley Parade of Homes features dozens of homes open for wandering and wondering. Fair warning — you’ll be dreaming of kitchen hardware and paint shades long after the wows come home.
- The dog days of summer are back with an adorably furry vengeance. Provo is hosting its second annual Puppy Paddle Pool Party at the Provo Recreation Center on September 3, where dogs of all sizes can enjoy taking a dip with their owners.
- Tall tales, fairy tales, likely and unlikely stories. Listen to professional storytellers cover it all at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, Sept. 1-3.
- Drip, drip, drop by the Central Utah Gardens Water Festival on May 21. While parents learn ways to conserve water in the summer, kids can play with the one and only H2-Joe and explore the gardens for the day.
- Kick it in high gear and speed over to the Wasatch Classic Car Show at The Shops at Riverwoods July 16. With rows of colorful and classic Volkswagens to admire, don’t be surprised if you leave with an itch for a good old-fashioned summer cruise downtown.
Pick a day, any day — chances are, there’s a festival underway right next door. Check out each city’s website for event details.
- Alpine City Days August 6 – 13
- American Fork Steel Days July 5 – 9
- Cedar Hills Family Festival May 31 – June 4
- Eagle Mountain Pony Express Days June 1 – 4
- Highland Fling August 5 – 6
- Lehi Round-Up June 19 – 25
- Lindon Days August 1 – 6
- Mapleton Pioneer Day Festival July 23
- Orem Summerfest June 7 – 11
- Payson Golden Onion Days September 2 – 5
- Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days June 15 – 19
- Provo Freedom Days July 1 – 4
- Salem Days August 6 – 13
- Santaquin Orchard Days July 30 – August 6
- Saratoga Splash June 6 – 11
- Spanish Fork Fiesta Days July 16 – 25
- Springville Art City Days June 4 – 11
In the heart of the concrete jungle is an indoor jungle (or three) waiting to be explored. For the animal lovers and eternal learners of all ages — the savannas, rainforests and deep oceans are calling.
- Travel from the glaciers to the rainforest in one afternoon with a trip to The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. Between the penguin, otter and seahorse exhibits, you’ll feel like a fish under water in no time.
- Lions and tigers and bears, oh yes! The Hogle Zoo is home to animals from the Asian highlands, the rocky western shores of North America and the African savanna — and recently welcomed three lion cubs and a baby giraffe. #yesplease
- A little bird called to say he and his friends are strutting their stuff at the Tracy Aviary. Fly over to the home of more than 400 birds and get beak-to-beak with these feathered friends.
Learn Something New
Soak up some knowledge along with that sunshine this summer.
- Journey through the jungle, sea and forest at the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum on BYU campus. Take a self-guided tour through the exhibits and activity centers, or plan your safari around the daily live animal showings.
- Have the first and last laugh at an improv class with Comedy Sportz in Provo. Option B? Check out one of their shows to learn what it takes to shine onstage.
- Birds, flowers, yin-yangs, Star Wars characters — it all bubbles up into soap at The Soap Factory in Provo. After a step by step tutorial, soap makers can customize their creations with colorful swatches of paint.
Looking for a day of outdoor family fun close to home? We’ve got you covered.
- Kick your fun level up a notch with mini golfing, bumper boating, go-karting, laser tagging and more at the Boondocks Food and Fun Center in Draper.
- Make it a family-friendly outing at the Seven Peaks water park in Provo. Older kids can glide down 11 slides and the littles can brave the swaying waves with mom and dad in the shallow end of the pool.
- You don’t have to ride up steep winding roads for a spin in the sun. The Murdock Canal Trail offers 17 miles of an evenly paved trail from Orem to Highland and back, open to bikers, runners, toddlers and all-around explorers.
- Get the big kids together for a tennis tournament in Orem to benefit the Dyslexia Center of Utah. Register at dcutennis.org.
They play, you chill
Let the kids explore these water worlds while you relax by the waterside.
- Dig your toes in the sand at the Wayne Bartholomew Park in Springville. Cast a line on the other end of the pond and cross your fins that a rainbow trout will take a bite.
- Let the little ones splish splash the afternoon away at a local (and free!) splash pad. Who says you can’t join in?
- Alpine Creekside Park
- Eagle Mountain Nolan Park
- Highland Highland Town Center
- Provo Pioneer Park, The Shops at Riverwoods
- Spanish Fork North Park
- Springville Civic Center
- Santaquin Sunset Trails Park
- Utah Lake offers more than water activities. Trails — both paved and unpaved — circle the outdoor attraction, giving energized kiddos a place to run free.
Take a Hike
Breathe in that crisp mountain air and let the birds be your guide on an outdoor adventure through the mountains and canyons of Utah Valley.
- Lace up your boots and head to the hills for a day hike through the Utah County wilderness.
- Easy: Battle Creek Falls (Pleasant Grove), Grotto Falls (Santaquin), Bridal Veil Falls (Provo)
- Moderate: “Y” Mountain (Provo), Silver Lake (Alpine), Dry Canyon (Lindon)
- Hard: Timpanogos (American Fork), Mount Nebo (Santaquin), Spanish Fork Peak (Mapleton)
- Baby, it’s (finally!) warm outside — so take your sun-seeking self to Sundance where you can hike, bike, ride the lift, zip line through the trees and roam free. Visit sundanceresort.com for a (bucket) list of possibilities.
- Gear up and climb up one of the hundreds of rock climbing routes in Maple Canyon. New to the sport? Boulder on over to The Quarry or Mountainworks in Provo for sage advice.
- Get a new view of the Timpanogos Cave with a four-hour “Introduction to Caving” tour. Crawling, climbing and a thirst for adventure required.
- Get off the beaten path in style on a trip with High Country Adventure. Shut down your phone and gear up for horseback riding, fishing, river rafting, and tubing all along the Wasatch mountain range.
Music & Arts
Witness the fine arts on center stage at these classy venues.
- Listen to freedom ringing out over the mountain tops and beneath a starry sky at Utah Symphony’s Patriotic Celebration at Sundance on June 25.
- Fall in love with the “Glimpses of Springville” exhibit at the Springville Museum of Art, or get inspired by “Capturing the Canyons: Artists in the National Parks” exhibit at BYU’s Museum of Art.
- Appreciate the arts en plein air with the SCERA’s outdoor theater summer lineup. David Archuleta will light up the stage on June 20, and “Footloose” will groove the night away from July 1-16. Visit scera.org for the full schedule.
- This summer the Hale Center Theater-Orem is sailing to the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning. Fly away with the cast of “Peter Pan” from June 16 – August 6 on the Hale stage.
Kids pitter-pattering and stamp-stomping around the house with oodles of energy bouncing off the walls means it’s time to let them run free at one of these indoor and outdoor activity centers.
- Load up the car and head to a local recreation center, where kids can swim, play ball and run free. Mom and dad can play along or escape to the gym to work out — whatever gets the heart pumpin’.
- When the rain, rain won’t go away, Provo Beach Resort is here to stay. Test your sea legs on the Flowrider, duck and cover in laser tag and ring around the rosy golden carousel. Visit provobeach.com for a list of attractions.
- Inside or outside? High energy or low key? For adults or for the kids? Choose D — all of the above! — with summer activities at Thanksgiving Point. Visit thanksgivingpoint.org for a complete calendar.
- Inside: Tales for Tots, Melody Makers, Family Game Nights, Monday Night Activities
- Outside: Independence Day Celebration, July 4; Jigglefest Jell-O Fight, July 23; Bacon Bash, August 13