When summer hits, many Utah families plan to get far away from home and their busy school-time schedules.
But instead of skipping the state, why not stay in Utah? Staycations are easier on your wallet, and Utah has some of the most beautiful, family-friendly destinations in the nation.
We hit the road and checked out a few local resorts in the most impressive parts of Utah’s backyard. Here are some favorite family-friendly spots:
Conestoga Ranch, Bear Lake
This new glamping resort will send you home with a campfire smell, but without the less-desirable parts of camping. The Conestoga wagons and luxury tents are outfitted with heaters, electricity and comfortable, clean beds. For wagon campers, heated bathrooms with showers are just a few steps away, in the lodge. The luxury tents offer bathrooms with toilets and showers, and personal campfires at the front of each tent (staff members will light them for you at your request).
The open-air Campfire Grill restaurant provides a gourmet dining experience. The ranch has a full-sized playground and swing set, lassoing course, games tent and general store. Resort activities include yoga, stargazing and bike riding. Once you experience Conestoga Ranch, it may become your new favorite way to get up-close and personal with nature.
Our favorite nearby family activities: Fresh Bear Lake raspberry shakes at Quick N Tasty, bike rides on Bear Lake’s road bike route, go-kart rides, playing at the lake, hiking on the Wind Cave Trail and exploring the Paris Ice Cave.
Nightly rates start at $115 (for a traditional tent). Click here for more information on Conestoga Ranch.
Red Cliffs Lodge, Moab
Red Cliffs Lodge is situated several miles outside of Moab on it’s own expansive private property. The guest cabins open up to a postcard-worthy view of the Colorado River and 2,000-foot red cliffs. The onsite restaurant, Cowboy Grill, provides a hearty breakfast buffet and meals throughout the day in a large dining room that overlooks the lodge’s best views. The lodge has a pool, hot tub, fitness center, swing set, horseshoe course, walking trail and horseback riding.
Nearby family activities: Red Cliffs Lodge is just minutes away from a great road biking trail, kid-friendly hiking to Morning Glory Bridge, Corona Arch, and Arches National Park, and Moab’s family parks like their popular musical Rotary Park and the new Lion’s Park.
Nightly rates start at $239 for a queen creekside room. Click here for more information on Red Cliffs Lodge.
When you arrive at Zermatt, you’ll feel like you’re entering a quaint Swiss village nestled in the mountains. Kids will love swimming in the indoor-outdoor pool and waterfall, and parents will appreciate the two hot tubs and on-site spa and fitness center. The resort has a carousel, mini golf, tennis courts, Razor rentals, a zip line, goats for guests to feed, a restaurant and cafe with homemade gelato and beautiful walking paths throughout the resort and pond.
Nearby family activities include swimming at The Homestead Crater, hiking at Cascade Springs, and boating at Deer Creek.
Nightly rates start at $189 for a standard queen room. Click here for more information on Zermatt.
Marriott’s Mountainside, Park City
Most people think of Park City as a winter destination, but summer can be just as (if not more) fun for families. Marriott’s Mountainside provides everything a vacationing family could dream of. The resort is famous for it’s huge swimming pool and four whirlpool spas, some designated as not-too-hot, kid-friendly spas.
The resort’s activity center, The Mine, features daily activities and crafts for kids and a place to play with toys and video games. There is also a teen center and movie theater.
Poolside fire pits and grills are available to guests, and the resort offers activities like bratwurst and hot dog roasts, live music, chili cook-offs, cooking competitions, family bingo, chocolate tasting, and more.
The Park City Mountain Resort, just a few steps away from the hotel, is the home of the Alpine Slide, Alpine Coaster, zip line, mini golf, lift rides and hiking.
Other nearby family hot spots are Utah Olympic Park and Main Street. (We recommend Java Cow for ice cream, and Main Street Pizza and Noodle for dinner.)
Nightly rates start at $185 for a one-bedroom villa. Click here for more information on Marriott’s Mountainside.
Sundance Mountain Resort, Provo
Sundance is one of Utah’s most popular tourist attractions for a reason. The mountain retreat is the epitome of rustic luxury. During the summer, Sundance offers scenic 45-minute lift rides. It also has the famous ZipTour (for ages 10 and up), which is the highest zip line in the nation. Sundance also offers hiking (we love Stewart Falls with kids), horseback riding, mountain biking, and an outdoor theater.
The resort offers several dining options: Fine dining at The Tree Room, the more rustic Foundry Grill, or the casual Sundance Deli or Owl Bar.
Sundance offers luxury suites, lofts and private mountain homes to accommodate families.
Nightly rates start at $221. For more information on Sundance Mountain Resort, click here.
The Inn at Entrada, St. George
This beautiful resort is situated inside a gated luxury golf course. It’s a short drive from the famous outdoor Tuacahn Theater and Snow Canyon National Park (with lots of kid-friendly spots like the lava tubes and sand dunes). The Inn at Entrada has an on-site restaurant and grill, and each casita has a kitchenette or full kitchen.
Kids will love hiking through St. George’s famous “Crack,” playing at the new Thunder Junction All Abilities Park and the St. George Children’s Museum and adjacent splash pad and wading river. The Bear Paw diner is famous for its breakfast, but you’ll also find Utah-based chains like Kneaders and Cafe Rio.
Nightly rates start at $179 for a studio casita. For more information on The Inn at Entrada, click here.
Zion Lodge, Zion National Park
The rustic but classy lodging at Zion Lodge is a good choice for families who plan to explore Zion for most of the day.The lodge has large lawns that are perfect for picnics, and an onsite restaurant and snack bar. The lodge offers a free shuttle to get you to your location in Zion National Park. There are also narrated tram rides ($14 for adults, $7 for kids 5-16), and, of course, all that Zion National Park has to offer. The Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, and The Narrows (as long as you’re prepared) are popular hikes for families.
Nightly rates start at $209 for a standard room. For more information on Zion Lodge, click here.
Wolf Creek Resort, Eden
Anyone who has been to Eden talks about its extraordinary beauty. Wolf Creek Resort is a quiet mountain escape with swimming, golf, a full service gym, hiking and biking. There are multiple on-site dining options for guests.
Nightly rates start at $150 for a 2-bedroom suite. For more information on Wolf Creek Resort, click here.
What are your favorite family destinations in Utah? Tell us in the comments!