Springale, Utah. Editorial credit: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

8 Delightful Towns To Visit In Utah

Home to five national parks, nine national monuments, 40-plus state parks, and the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, Utah delights from all angles. The trick is to find a focal point for the state's delightful sites: a fun and filling basecamp from which you can set off in any direction and find something worth seeing. We picked eight communities where you can accomplish just that during your next trip to Utah.


The charming town of Springdale, Utah
The charming town of Springdale, Utah. Editorial credit: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Utah is basically one giant nature preserve with sprinkles of Mormon settlements. Springdale began as a Mormon town and is now a tourist center for the tremendous Zion National Park. This 500ish-person town contains the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, Zion Human History Museum, Zion Brewery, Zion Canyon Lodge, and several art galleries depicting the nearby natural wonderland. Of course, you can explore that wonderland for yourself via car, bike, foot, horse, raft, and/or rope. Zion's top attractions include The Narrows, which is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon; Angels Landing, a heavenly 1,488-foot rock formation; and the Temple of Sinawava, a natural amphitheater immaculately conceived by the Virgin River.

Park City

Aerial view of Park City, Utah
Aerial view of Park City, Utah.

Considered the Utah ski town, Park City sits in the Wasatch Back and claims to be the biggest ski resort in North America. The Park City Mountain Resort has a base elevation of 6,800 feet, a peak elevation of 10,026 feet, three villages, 40 lifts, over 300 trails, 7,300 acres of skiable terrain, an average annual snowfall of 355 inches, and even a mountain coaster. Believe it or not, that is not the only ski area in Park City. Deer Valley is a 2,000-plus-acre resort just southeast of the PCMR. Beyond those astounding ski sites, Park City has The Caledonian, Park City Museum, High West Saloon, Sundance Film Festival, and the Utah Olympic Park, built for the 2002 Winter Olympics. All that for a community of about 8,400 people.


Aerial view of Torrey, Utah
Aerial view of Torrey, Utah.

Torrey is the gateway to Capitol Reef National Park, a quarter-million-acre preserve of a geologic wonder called the Waterpocket Fold. This "fold" is a rock stratum that bent (or folded) and thus created a 100-mile range of cliffs, canyons, domes, and natural bridges. Some of the park's best-known formations are the Cassidy Arch, Capitol Dome, and Hickman Natural Bridge. After snorkeling in the sandstone at Capitol Reef, surface in Torrey for bites at the Wild Rabbit Cafe, sights at the Torrey Pioneer Schoolhouse, and nights at the Torrey Schoolhouse Bed & Breakfast Inn.


The charming town of Kanab, Utah
The charming town of Kanab, Utah. Editorial credit: Christophe KLEBERT / Shutterstock.com.

Kanab is a small border "city" that neighbors, not one, not two, but six national parks and monuments. Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are on the Utah side. The Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Pipe Spring National Monument, and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park are on the Arizona side. Not only that, Kanab sits near Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and the privately owned Moqui Cave. Although you can have your wildest wilderness desires met on the outskirts of town, Kanab can ground you with the Rocking V Cafe, Kanab Heritage House Museum, and the Frontier Movie Town and Little Hollywood Movie Museum. The Outlaw Josey Wales, Planet of the Apes, The Flintstones, and many other movies were filmed in the Kanab region.


A small yellow hut in Helper, Utah, with the mountains as backdrop
A small yellow hut in Helper, Utah, with the mountains as the backdrop.

True to its name, Helper can help you find serenity in Utah. This town has just over 2,000 residents and adds flavor to the mouth of Price Canyon. Residents and tourists alike enjoy Helper's views while dining at Angel’s Craving, Helper Beer, and the Balance Rock Eatery & Pub. Sufficiently gorged, they can enter the famous gorge for hiking, climbing, bouldering, camping, horseback riding, and more sightseeing. For even better vibes, they can attend Helper Saturday Vibes, a historic Main Street festival that runs on the second and fourth Saturdays of May, June, July, August, and September.


The thriving downtown of Moab, Utah
The thriving downtown of Moab, Utah. Editorial credit: Ilhamchewadventures / Shutterstock.com.

Another gateway to multiple preserves, Moab is mashed between Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Naturally, it is a hub for outdoor activities - so much so that it hosts an array of annual challenges. These include the Canyonlands Half Marathon and 5 mile, Skinny Tire Festival, Easter Jeep Safari, and Desert RATS 150. But Moab is not just about extreme sports. It has a lesser-known identity as an arts mecca. Moab boasts several galleries and welcomes the Moab Arts Festival, Moab Folk Festival, Red Rock Arts Festival, Moab Music Festival, Trashion Show, and ArtWalk each year.


Sign for Vernal Utah, with its famous pink dinosaur statue
Sign for Vernal, Utah, with its famous pink dinosaur statue. Editorial credit: melissamn / Shutterstock.com.

An often overlooked oasis, Vernal sits in semi-arid northeastern Utah but is flanked by greenery. North of town is the million-plus-acre Ashley National Forest, which crosses into Wyoming and contains the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. East of town on the Colorado border is the Dinosaur National Monument, a 210,000ish-acre cache of prehistoric fossils and artifacts. Vernal itself contains verdant preserves like Ashley Nature Park and Steinaker State Park and more dino-focused attractions like the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum and the Dine-A-Ville Dinosaur statue. You can eat like a T-Rex at the Dinosaur Brew Haus.


Mantua Reservoir Utah
The Mantua Reservoir Utah.

Infamously a speed trap until Utah banned police ticket quotas, Mantua is now a scenic trap for tourists not expecting to find paradise east of Brigham City. This town of just over 1,000 people straddles a spring-fed reservoir surrounded by mountains and colorful meadows. Held captive by the scenery, tourists can fish, kayak, and motorboat on the Mantua Reservoir; sunbathe, beachcomb, and hike around the shoreline; climb into the valley and over the mountains; and camp at the Mantua Waterfront RV Resort, Box Elder Campground, or Maple Hill Campground. Following their foray into Mantua (pronounced "Man-a-way"), they can stop for grub in Brigham City before making their way to Utah's number one natural attraction: the Great Salt Lake. You can cross off both an expected and unexpected destination from your bucket list in the Mantua area.

We hope you enjoyed our list of eight delightful towns to visit in Utah. We were delighted to describe to you the red rock rangeland of Springdale, the ravishing ski resorts of Park City, the spectacular sandstone reef of Torrey, the cacophony of canyons in Kanab, the helpful historical vibes of Helper, the mad marathons of Moab, the dynamic dinosaurs of Vernal, and the hidden oasis of Mantua. We hope even more that you choose one or all of those places for your next vacation.

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