The Kanab Heritage Museum. Image credit Kit Leong via Shutterstock

7 of the Quirkiest Towns in Utah

Utah, a well-known state in the United States of America, is a beautiful amalgamation of high plateaus, deserts and mountains; its landscape is simply stunning. The capital of Utah is Salt Lake City, which is situated in the state’s north-central region. To the north of the state is Idaho, while the southern end has Arizona. Nevada and Colorado bound Utah from the west and east respectively. Home to five spectacular national parks and a winter wonderland for outdoor adventurers, Utah has many unforgettable experiences to offer to its visitors. Let’s get to know a little more about Utah by discovering seven of its quirkiest towns!


The community of Eden, in Ogden Canyon, Weber County, Utah.
The community of Eden, in Ogden Canyon, Weber County, Utah.

The vast mountain town that Eden is today was a small log cabin in its earliest days. Situated in Ogden Valley, Eden is a town in Utah that promises a host of fun and unique experiences, rustic history and outdoor recreation. Only an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, this offbeat town has something to offer to both summer and winter tourists. For those planning a summer getaway to Eden, there are some amazing outdoor experiences to enjoy. These include hiking the Brim Trail and mountain biking along a gigantic paper airplane! Winter tourists can expect exciting opportunities to ski at the Nordic Valley and Powder Mountain Resort. While there are several lodging options available to tourists visiting Edgen for a holiday, vacation rentals might seem to be a good option for those wanting to experience the town in its true glory. Some of the popular ones include Mountain Luxury Lodging, The District Lofts and Utah Lodging.


Main street in the small rural town of Blanding, Utah, on a sunny spring day.
Main street in the small rural town of Blanding, Utah, on a sunny spring day.

Blanding is a unique town in Utah that brings together four different cultures-Navajo, Spanish, Ute and European pioneers. The town is located on White Mesa, close to Blue Mountain. One of the most special things that tourists will discover about Blanding is how it blends prehistoric and Native American history with cowboy culture. The Edge of the Cedars State Park & Museum is the only authorized repository of the earliest artifacts showcasing Ancestral Puebloan pottery in the Four Corners region. Here’s another exciting fact-besides the permanent collections, the museum also hosts special events, festivals and exhibits all year round! Another key attraction in this offbeat town is The Dinosaur Museum that is known for its extraordinary selection of life-size skeletons, dinosaur models, as well as a giant petrified tree, which is more than 250 million years old. Tourists visiting The Pioneer Museum will find the more contemporary artifacts belonging to the town’s European settlers.


U.S. Route 89 through Kanab, Utah
U.S. Route 89 through Kanab, Utah

The town of Kanab in Utah is quickly getting recognized as an offbeat travel destination across the country. There would hardly be any other destination on earth that has a multitude of national wonders surrounding it! Kanab is often used as a steady base camp by experienced travelers who wish to explore the recreational activities in this area. Some of the most amazing destinations include Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon National Park and the Grand Canyon. For a little more adventure, take a quick drive to see the Vermilion Cliffs National Monuments and Grand Staircase Escalante, both of which are unmissable sights. Also, make sure to cover the lesser-known destinations like Coral Pink Sand Dunes and Pipe Spring National Monument among others. Animal lovers can enjoy a free visit to the Best Friends Animal Society, the country’s biggest no-kill sanctuary. It’s located amidst sprawling grounds and has a cafe that overlooks Angel Canyon.Kanab is truly a hidden gem in southern Utah and a must-visit for an offbeat vacation!


Entrance to the Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah
Entrance to the Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah. Editorial credit: f11photo /

There is something completely unique about Springdale as a town. Located close to the Zion National Park, this town offers great access to adventure and scenery. With a small population of about 500, Springdale gets an influx of visitors from across the world all year round. Located in southwest Utah. While Springdale does have some beautiful photography and art galleries showcasing native jewelry, local gems and art and craft, it is essentially a town that calls for outdoor adventure. The biggest attraction in Springdale is the Zion National Park, a red rock canyon that is almost a thousand feet deep. Some of the most exciting things to do at this national park are climbing up to the Observation Point, hiking trails like Emerald Pools and Angels Landing and camping at Watchman Campground or Lava Point Campground.


Heber City Historical City Center in Utah
Heber City Historical City Center in Utah, via Victoria Ditkovsky /

Located in northern Utah, Heber got its name in 1859 in honor of Mormon leader Heber C. Kimball. In its earliest days, the town had a fort for protecting settlers from potential Indian attacks. Today, the scenario is quite different. Heber offers a beautiful countryside regardless of which road is taken. However, there are a few specific routes that are considered to be the most scenic byways and backways. One of them is The Alpine Loop Scenic Backway, circling Mount Timpanogos from the east. Travelers can access it via Provo Canyon (south) or American Fork Canyon (north). The backway is known for its high skirts and elevations. Another noteworthy route is The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, which runs between Evanston Wyoming and Kamas. This route offers tourists brilliant views of lush forests, streams and lakes. Horses are common in the Heber area and many people use them to ride the trails through the surrounding valley and mountains. Several stables offer rides, with options suitable for advanced riders, novices, families and children.


San Juan County Courthouse, Monticello, Utah.
San Juan County Courthouse, Monticello, Utah.

Monticello is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and those seeking a tranquil retreat. The town, named after Thomas Jefferson's Virginia estate, echoes a sense of historical significance. Monticello is a stone's throw away from the famous Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, offering awe-inspiring vistas and a plethora of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and off-roading. The nearby Abajo Mountains provide a cooler, forested contrast to the desert beauty, ideal for camping and fishing. Monticello also boasts the unique Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, a petroglyph-rich site offering a glimpse into ancient Native American art and culture. The town's charming main street, dotted with local shops and eateries, reflects a welcoming, small-town atmosphere, making Monticello an unmissable stop in Utah's majestic southeast.


Fillmore, Utah: Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum sign
Fillmore, Utah: Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum sign, via Steve Cukrov /

Located in the heart of Utah, Fillmore is a town 162 miles away from St. George and 148 miles away from Salt Lake City. Known to be the foremost territorial capital of Utah, Fillmore got its name from the U.S. President Millard Fillmore. One of the biggest tourist attractions in Fillmore is the Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum- an ideal place for a family-friendly outing. The admission per person is just $2, and for that, one gets to see some of the most fascinating governmental artifacts of Utah and take a walk in the All-American Rose Society Garden (families can also plan picnics on the museum grounds!). Fillmore has a variety of restaurants for tourists to explore. There is the option to enjoy an outdoor meal of burgers at a picnic table at Cluff’s CarHop Cafe. For those who have a palate for Mexican food, Costa Vida Cafe is a must visit. 

Final Notes

Experienced travelers would say that the best approach to experiencing Utah’s diverse landscapes is through hiking its trails. There are a lot of remote areas in Utah that only serious backpackers can access. These include small, offbeat towns, which could be explored by solo travelers and families alike.

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