Park City, Utah, downtown in autumn.

7 Coziest Small Towns in Utah

Utah often gets overlooked by travelers who do not assume a state dominated by rough terrain could give a one-of-a-kind travel experience. Utah actually has some of the most diverse terrain compared to other states, with desert landscapes near the south and wooded mountains dotting its landscape. A couple of large rivers flow through its borders, with the Colorado and Powell Rivers being two of the most prominent. The state's natural beauty helps tourists relax and reconnects them with their roots in the organic world. 

But nothing helps travelers unwind and reconnect better than the charm of the coziest small towns in Utah. These locations provide visitors with homecooked meals, rustic buildings lining the streets, and even a few handcrafted items sold at local shops and markets. Travelers can hike up a mountain, forge a trail through the forest, go white water rafting, or explore any other exciting event in these little towns and replenish their energies at a local pub or restaurant in the company of family or friendly townspeople. 


Downtown Moab, Utah.
Downtown Moab, Utah.

Moab is an eastern town in Utah near the Colorado border. Mormon settlers arrived in the area in the middle of 1855, but conflict with the native tribes caused these settlers to abandon their settlement. However, they later returned in the 1870s, with a permanent settlement popping up in the 1880s. Although the town had a slightly rough beginning, it has since become a quiet community that welcomes tourists and visitors from all over who hope to visit one of the many national parks near its borders. 

The town's tranquility is one of the main aspects that draw travelers to the region, making it a wonderful place to stay while trekking the wilderness. People can go out in the surrounding areas near town to sites like Slickrock Bike Trail, Arches National Park, and Sand Flats Recreational Area and after, chill out in town. Folks can drop by the Moab Coffee Roasters for their organic coffee roasted daily on-site to refresh and socialize with the friendly locals. Or, visit The Moab Brewery, where they can order a homecooked meal designed to accent and compliment the flavors of the restaurant's craft beers and spirits.  

The Gravity Haus near central Moab is the most comfortable hotel for guests to recuperate after a long day out, with their spacious rooms catering to all types of travelers. The Queen and King Suites are the best rooms for visitors hoping for a romantic time in a welcoming environment. The Radcliff Suite is the best choice for larger groups, hosting up to four people comfortably with views of the surrounding desert landscape visible from the balcony. Gravity Haus also has a heated pool and hot tub, which visitors are sure to love, especially after a long day hiking in the desert. 

Garden City

Gorgeous view of Bear Lake in Garden City, Utah.
Gorgeous view of Bear Lake in Garden City, Utah.

Garden City is more than five hours north of Moab, located a few miles from the Utah border and sitting on the banks of Bear Lake. Bear Lake is a famous community site since it showcases the town’s natural charm and houses parks, nature trails, boating excursions, and beachfront cabins. Some of the most popular locations near the lake are resorts like Sun Outdoors, Pickleville Playhouse, and Bear Lake State Park. 

Bear Lake National Park is a sizeable outdoor zone just outside the community’s boundaries located in the north, bordering Bear Lake to the east. The park’s a favorite place for all types of outdoor sports and activities that are ideal for every season, including snowboarding, skiing, boating, hiking, cycling, ice fishing, and golfing. There are three golf courses in Bear Lake National Park, but only Bear Lake Golf Course is within Utah’s borders, while the other two are in Idaho’s portion of the park. The site also hosts four campgrounds in the areas surrounding Garden City, like Birch Campground to the south near Rendevous Beach and Cottonwood Campground nearby. 

However, for anyone hoping to avoid the outdoors and enjoy a more comfortable time indoors, Garden City’s Pickleville Playhouse is a lot of fun. Pickleville Playhouse is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, where talented actors perform fantastic tales like Thick as Thieves, a spectacular musical comedy, and I Believe In Christmas, an incredible journey of holiday magic. The Playhouse is a cute cabin building, making it a comfortable and rustic place to visit and enjoy traditional entertainment with friends. Last, this location isn’t far from the Sun Outdoors, a premier lakeside resort on Bear Lake's shores. It has several different types of cabins that guests can rent that offer luxurious accommodations without depriving people of the stunning natural views of the area. 


Looking east at a short bell tower within a roundabout at the east end of Burge Lane (East 1050 North), at its intersection with River Road, on the eastern border of Midway, Utah
Looking east at a short bell tower within a roundabout at the east end of Burge Lane (East 1050 North), at its intersection with River Road, on the eastern border of Midway, Utah, April 2016. By An Errant Knight - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Midway is a small, centrally located town in Wasatch County, approximately two hours south of Garden City. Midway’s first European settlers arrived in 1824, led by the pioneering expertise of Etienne Provost. The region still honors his memory, with Provo Canyon and Provo River memorializing his name just a few miles from town. The Provo River originates in the Unita Mountains and is one of the area’s most significant bodies of water near town. Legacy Bridge takes travelers over the waters and is a spectacular place to take photos. 

Homestead Crater, also known as the Utah Crater in the western part of town, is an amazing location with snorkeling, diving, and other underwater activities. The thermal waters make the mineral-rich waters enjoyable even in cold weather. The waters reach a depth of 65 feet and maintain a steady temperature of around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it is perfect for experienced divers and new divers hoping to learn. However, guests can swim or float in the waters if they do not like diving. 

The Invited Inn Bed & Breakfast is the loveliest place to stay while visiting Midway, which is not far from Homestead Canyon. Four of their rooms have special accommodations, like saunas, whirlpools, balconies, and more. It’s a gorgeous place to kick back and relax and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding mountains and landscape. The Zermatt Utah Hotel and Spa is another location that specializes in rest and restoration, with their spa and massage treatments helping guests feel infinitely better.

Park City

Downtown street in Park City, Utah
Downtown street in Park City, Utah. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via

Park City is a mountainous town in central Utah, situated just a few miles north of Midway. European settlement began with the arrival of Parley P. Pratt, a Mormon leader who explored the region around the future location of Park City in 1848. Nearly forty years later was the town’s incorporation in 1884, with mining being one of the leading industries in the town in its early years. It's in the heart of the Wasatch Mountains and best known for its many ski resorts and hiking trails, but it is also home to the Sundance Film Festival and the Egyptian Theatre. 

The many nature trails, like Dawn’s Trail, Armstrong Trail, and Gamble Oak Trail Loop, are the main attractions. The Gamble Oak Trail takes trekkers on a 2.8-mile hike, which is a moderately complex trail. Dawn’s Trail is 3.6 miles long, is the best place for birdwatching, and is ideal for April through October hiking. Finally, the Armstrong Trail is slightly more challenging and is a favorite place for jogging. Pets are usually welcome on this trail as long as they are on a leash. 

The Egyptian Theater is the area’s free outdoor theater, meaning it’s the perfect place to visit when on a budget and traveling with kids. It has several welcoming dining spots, with Harvest Cafe as an excellent hangout location serving up handcrafted coffee beverages and locally sourced foods. Tourists can drop by High West Distillery and Saloon and check out the diverse spirits served alongside their delicious dishes. Some of High West’s best drinks are the Campfire, Double Rye, Bourye, and The Prisoner’s Share.

Mount Pleasant

Beautiful homes in Mount Pleasant, Utah.
Beautiful homes in Mount Pleasant, Utah.

Mount Pleasant is a Sanpete County town located approximately two hours south of Park City and Salt Lake City. The town’s official establishment began in 1852, although the settlers needed to relocate for some time after wars broke out between the native tribes and the newcomers. However, settlers returned in 1859, and this time, the town experienced more success, with Ducan McMillian building the area’s first school in 1875. Mount Pleasant is a quiet community of less than 4,000 residents that seek to foster a close-knit township through town activities like the Halloween Pole contest, where people sign up to design a street pole for the holiday. 

Wasatch Academy is an independent educational center specializing in liberal arts and promoting high-quality education for children in grades 8-12. However, it is also an essential part of the town, with the Wasatch Academy Museum preserving aspects of the community’s past and culture. The Liberal Hall Museum Symposium Series is one of the academy’s primary presentations designed to foster an appreciation for the liberal arts by educating visitors through educational lecture series taught by distinguished professors and educators. While the academy is certainly worth visiting, it isn’t the only location with activities tourists will enjoy. 

Several wildlife and nature sites are less than twenty minutes outside the city, including The Spring City Wildlife Management Area, White Hill, and North Tent Mountain. The Spring City Wildlife Management Area sits along Pigeon Hollow Road and is great for birdwatching and spotting local animals. However, one of the town’s most famous places is the Basin Drive-In Theatre, a popular hangout spot just north of the town’s borders. The official website is under construction, but their Facebook page lists upcoming shows and announcements regarding shows, show times, and more.


Balloons and Tunes Festival in Kanab, Utah.
Balloons and Tunes Festival in Kanab, Utah. Image credit Layne V. Naylor via Shutterstock

Kanab is a border town, touching the state lines of Arizona and Utah, approximately three hours and forty minutes south of Mount Pleasant. The name Kanab comes from a Paiute word meaning “place of many willows,” with native history in the area predating the arrival of Europeans. Settlers came to the region in 1864 with the building of Fort Kanab; however, the town was not officially established until 1870 with the arrival of Mormon settlements. The Kanab Heritage House Museum is the perfect place to explore the city’s early years, providing guests with tours of the location where a guide will take visitors from the attic to the basement of the historic home built by early pioneers in 1892. 

Outdoor enthusiasts will also love this township, with local trails like Bunting Trail Trailhead and the nearby Dinosaur Track Trailhead just a few minutes outside town. Bunting Trail Trailhead takes travelers on a four-mile loop through the nearby valleys and up Bunting Point, with an elevation of 860 feet. It’s an idyllic hike, but tourists can also traverse it on horseback. Dinosaur Track Trailhead is a shorter trail but is still considered a relatively steep hike. However, this trail showcases well-preserved dinosaur footprints in the bedrock, which visitors can photograph and enjoy if they want to take the trip.

The more artistically minded may enjoy Little Hollywood Land, which exemplifies Southern Utah's influence on early movies and media. The location's museum displays the area's heritage and influence on films like Dead Wood Coach and the more recent John Carter of Mars. However, the site is also an experience unto itself. The restaurant prides itself on preparing traditional pioneer-style meals and drinks, like homecooked stew and fresh beer on tap. Last but not least, visitors should spend some time at the museum's gift shop for Native-style jewelry, pottery, and other authentically designed souvenirs. 


St. Florence Catholic Church in Huntsville, Utah
St. Florence Catholic Church in Huntsville, Utah

Huntsville is a charming town of under 1,000 people located over five hours north of Kanab along the Pineview Reservoir. The reservoir dates back to 1937 when the community built the earth and stone dam that helped create the modern-day body of water. This large lake helped make Huntsville a lovely resort town along the lake, with windsurfing, boating, and other watersport activities. It is also a popular site for camping, with several campsites available at Anderson Cove Campground, just a few minutes from town. 

The community also has outstanding dining options, like Shooting Star Saloon, where the staff serves delicious malted beverages and hamburgers in a comfortable and welcoming environment. The building emulates the Wild West in its form and design, blending rugged wooden posts and traditional brick construction. The stunning Huntsville Mercantile is not far away, a location designed to give guests memorable life experiences like weddings and family gatherings. The original structure dates back to the early 1890s when it served as a shopping center for goods like dried foods and new devices. Today, the structure is far from its roots as a simple Western shop, allowing visitors to create the perfect special day for those they love. 

In Conclusion

Most people think of sprawling rocky landscapes when they hear the word “Utah.”Utah is an adventure-filled location unlike any other, with desert locations like Coral Pink Sand Dunes contrasted by natural mineral springs at Homestead Crater. But, the state also boasts some relaxing, restful, and cozy sites like Shooting Star Saloon or massage and spa locations at places like The Invited Inn Bed & Breakfast. While Utah allows guests to climb mountains and trek the desert, it also helps them lay back and relax. Anyone hoping for a restful time in the sunny state of Utah will find the location rejuvenating and tranquil. 

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