Best Road Trips in Utah

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Utah is one of the under-appreciated gems of the United States, often passed over in favor of its neighbors, like Nevada and Colorado, but there’s so much natural beauty—including tons of fantastic state parks—to experience in the Beehive State!
Utah’s state parks are all worth a visit. They feature surprisingly diverse climates, terrain, and animal life. There are more state parks to see than are discussed in this article, but we’ve put together a list that pays homage to the state’s diversity.
Before you take off on your Utah road trip, make sure to sign-up for a roadside assistance membership with Jerry. At $6.99, Jerry's roadside assistance program offers plenty of services, including towing, flat tire fixes, and winching.
Be sure that you also have the right car insurance coverage, and you’re ready to hit the road!
Read on to learn about all of the best stops on this Utah national parks road trip!
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Snow Canyon State Park

Why go to Snow Canyon State Park

Look no further than Snow Canyon State Park for picturesque desert landscape, soaring sand dunes, vibrant red rock formations, and even an extinct volcano. Snow Canyon’s legendary landscape made it a popular location for several major Hollywood films, such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

What to do at Snow Canyon State Park

Red rock slopes, desert brush, and a gnarled dead tree in Snow Canyon State Park, St. George, Utah.
Snow Canyon State Park
  • Take a hike: If you’re a hiker, you can take your pick of the park’s numerous hiking trails, all of varying difficulty and length. Several trails overlook Santa Clara Volcano’s remaining lava ducts and cooled flows. One of the trails runs through the area’s sand dunes and ends at a large expanse of red sand. The park also permits outdoor recreational activities like biking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing, so there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

Where to eat at Snow Canyon State Park

  • Stop in neighboring St. George: There aren’t any eatery options in the park, so before you head in, grab some lunch in the nearby town of St. George. We recommend Canyon Breeze, an elegant yet casual restaurant serving up a menu of locally sourced, seasonal American cuisine, and the Painted Pony, an eclectic, art-filled eatery serving Southwestern cuisine, cocktails, and fine wine.
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Anasazi State Park

You can learn about the history of the Pueblo Native Americans at Anasazi State Park. This park is an important archaeological excavation site that is located at the base of Boulder Mountain. Stop by this state park to take in the natural beauty and history of the area.

What to do in Anasazi State Park

Light green trees, a lake, and brown hills in Boulder, Utah, in fall.
Boulder, Utah, near Anasazi State Park
  • Coombs Site: History lovers will jump at the chance to explore the Coombs site, which hosts the ruins of one of the largest Anasazi dwellings in the West. Here you can walk through an accurate replica of a six-room dwelling as it would’ve looked nearly a thousand years ago.
  • Anasazi State Park Museum: The nearby Anasazi State Park Museum displays several artifacts from the original site, as well as information on the Pueblo Native Americans’ way of life.

Where to eat in Anasazi State Park

  • Magnolia's Street Food ($$): Before you make your way into the park, fill up down the road at Magnolia’s Street Food.
  • Hell's Backbone Grill ($$$): Hell’s Backbone is another great option. Both of these stops serve classic American menus with a twist, cooked with homegrown produce.

Fishlake National Forest

If you prefer freshwater to saltwater, you’ll want to swap Salt Lake City for Fishlake National Forest. This will offer you the chance to visit the largest freshwater lake in Utah and check out some legendary lifeforms.

What to do in Fishlake National Forest

A woman relaxes in a tub at Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe, Utah.
Mystic Hot Springs, Monroe, Utah
  • Fishlake is a quiet, picturesque retreat out of the desert. Couched in the aspen woods, the park is home to a massive freshwater lake and wildlife like elk, black bears, deer, coyotes, moose, and much more. It’s an ideal spot for camping, fishing, and horseback riding.
  • Fremont River Ranger District: In the Fremont River Ranger District you can visit Pando, a stand of quaking aspen trees that have been determined to be the largest and oldest living organism in the world, clocking in at around 80,000 years old.

Where to eat in What to do in Fishlake National Forest

  • Stop in Monroe: To fuel up before you head into Fishlake, swing by nearby Monroe and pick up some Navajo tacos or pulled pork nachos at Big Daddy’s Deli, or continue on a little further north to Elsinore to grab a no-frills American breakfast at the Cowboy Corral.

Antelope Island State Park

Situated in the middle of the Great Salt Lake is Antelope Island, one of the biggest islands in the lake. Antelope Island State Park is a protected area teeming with natural beauty and historic relics.

What to do in Antelope Island State Park

A lone bison stands in tall grass in Antelope Island State Park in Syracuse, Utah. Snow capped mountains loom in the background.
Antelope Island State Park, Utah
  • Enjoy the stunning views of the Great Salt Lake afforded at every angle on Antelope Island. Whether you decide to go biking or horseback riding along the trails, or for a casual walk along the salty shores, be sure to look for the protected herds of bison, antelope, and bighorn sheep.
  • For a bit of local history, check out the remnants of old mining claims that are still on the island.
  • Fielding Garr Ranch: You can also stop by the Fielding Garr Ranch, the home of one of the earliest Mormon pioneers.

Where to eat in Antelope Island State Park

  • Island Buffalo Grill ($$): You can eat on the island at Island Buffalo Grill (as long as you’re there between March 1 and November 1).
  • Jin's ($$): Otherwise, hit up Jin’s for great Japanese food.
  • The Bird ($): Try The Bird for some American classics before you cross the lake into the park.

Why you need roadside assistance

Utah’s desert climate means two things: scorching temperatures and vast, underpopulated spaces between its metropolitan areas. If you get caught on the side of the road with an overheating engine, it could be hours before you manage to get help.
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