Utah’s best family staycations

Check out my Utah staycations segment on Fox 13’s “The Place” here! 

There’s something thrilling about exploring new cities and countries.

But so many of us miss the beauty in our own backyards. I live in Utah, and there are so many spectacular places that people come from all over the world to see. So, I’ve decided to play tourist in my own state.

I packed up my family of five and explored some of the best places Utah has to offer. Here are some of our new favorite places to stay:

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.


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.

For more of my tips on Moab with kids, click here. 

Zermatt, Midway

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.

(Photo courtesy of The Dainty Pear)

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 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.

What Utah destinations should we add to our list?

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