Southwest USA Road Trip: Adventuring in and Around Salt Lake City

salt lake city outdoor recreation

Antelope Island — Davis County, Utah

Utah is a beautiful place with so much variation in its natural geography — so much that it’s hard to believe every state and national park here belong to one state. From the snow-capped peaks of Park City to the burnt orange canyons of Zion National park, life in Utah always has a beautiful backdrop.

With so many interesting outdoor attractions to see and explore, my road trip to Utah seemed to be the obvious option for my next adventure. The state isn’t home to any infamous cities that never sleep, but there are plenty of places to kick back and hang out in Utah. Salt Lake City is one of my favorites, here’s why.

Big city with a relaxed feel
Salt Lake City is a great place for big city lovers who are looking to experience a more laid-back feel without losing metropolitan amenities. Salt Lake City has all you need from a city (sports teams, malls, public transportation, performing arts), with nearly year-round sunshine, and quick getaway access to the waters of the Great Salt Lake, or to the mountains of the Wasatch Range. It’s like if Boston and Seattle merged, but with better weather. Salt Lake City’s nightlife scene is also worth noting, as the city center is extremely walkable and home to many bars, pubs, nightclubs, shopping malls, and a variety of highly rated restaurants of all sorts cuisines.

Perfect for outdoor excursions
As mentioned, Utah is your ideal place if you want to be a stone’s throw from dozens of different outdoor recreational opportunities. If you’re into off-roading and have a 4WD, there are several noteworthy destinations right near Salt Lake City. Some popular examples include Squaw Peak Road, Mahogany Mountain, and Israel Canyon. If you’re into fishing, rafting, or boating, Utah Lake is a great place to visit.

The best part is, if you’re staying in the city you can do plenty of outdoorsy things within day-trip driving distance. You and your group can choose from a variety of nature preserves, recreation areas, and state parks that are less than an hour away. Two of my favorites include the Great Salt Lake State Park and Antelope Island State Park. These places won’t be as popular as the iconic parks like Arches and Zion.

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In Utah, you’ll find the perfect fusion of outdoor recreation and city life. Which is perfect for an adventure lover like me who enjoys the nightlife of a city. Plus, there’s no better way to end a long day of climbing, biking, or hiking somewhere close to town than with a full body massage at one of Salt Lake City’s massage studios. I booked a discounted 90-minute massage through this local travel resource and was able to get in for an appointment next-day. No matter where your next outdoor trip takes you, this trick is worth trying.

When it comes to Utah, it doesn’t matter where you visit. There will be an abundance of outdoor activity and tourist attractions worth exploring. There are more warm-weather hiking spots than one knows what to do with and if you’re more into the winter sports, there’s plenty of that too. From hiking, fishing, skiing, and camping to rafting, zip-lining, and off-road trailblazing — you will never run out of space or things to do in Utah’s natural playground.


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