When it comes to natural beauty, few states in the US are as awe-inspiring as Utah. Though often considered a flyover state, this is home to some of the top bucket list activities for good reason. From winter activities to archeological digs, you can see the highest mountains and the deepest canyons all in one state.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Utah Bucket List Destinations
- Outdoor Activity, Hike, and Park Bucket List Ideas for Utah
- Fall and Winter Bucket List Ideas for Utah
- Spring and Summer Bucket List Ideas for Utah
- Bucket List Foods and Restaurants in Utah
- Salt Lake City Bucket List Ideas
Home to rich history, faith, and natural beauty, the state was founded in the 1840s as a place to escape religious persecution. Despite the harsh climate of the desert and mountains, early Utah settlers persisted to create a bustling space for visitors and locals alike.
If you’re planning your trip to Utah, make sure you don’t skip these travel bucket list ideas. Known as the beehive state, Utah is a place that focuses on working hard and playing even harder amongst the most beautiful backdrop.
Utah Bucket List Destinations
An outdoor lover’s dream, Utah has some of the most beautiful parks and small towns around the globe. If you want to reconnect with nature, you must add these destinations to your bucket list.
1. Visit the canyon gateway in Moab, Utah
Moab is known as the gateway to the best national parks in Utah. Located between Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park, this is the perfect place to make your basecamp during a trip to Utah.
2. Hike the Fossil Discovery Trail
Did you know Utah is home to more fossil discoveries than anywhere else in the USA? It’s true, and the best place to see this in action is at the Fossil Discovery Trail by Dinosaur National Monument. From there, spot many of the fossils on display at the Quarry Exhibit Hall.
3. Explore beautiful Provo, Utah
One of Utah’s largest cities, Provo is home to the stunning Brigham Young University campus. Aside from outdoor activities, this is a great place to find art galleries, museums, and local shops.
4. Stop at Hole N’ the Rock
Though this is one of the more touristy activities on the list, it’s still worth the trip. Hole N’ the Rock is a large home carved into a rock along the way to Moab on Highway 91. With a gift store and exotic zoo, this is a roadside attraction you can’t miss.
5. Go inside the Moqui Cave
Lastly, experience Native American artifacts at this natural history museum carved into a natural cave. The Moqui Cave is just north of Kanab, and you’ll find artifacts from the early Anasazi and Navajo people.
Outdoor Activity, Hike, and Park Bucket List Ideas for Utah
Home to crazy natural wonders and year-round activities, this is the perfect place to discover your new favorite sport. Experience the best of Utah’s beauty with these outdoor activity bucket list ideas.
6. See the natural amphitheaters at Bryce Canyon National Park
Described as otherworldly, Bryce Canyon National Park is the top destination in Utah for good reason. The sunset-covered natural amphitheaters look like they belong on another planet. With hiking during the summer and skiing during the winter, this is the place to be.
7. Explore natural arches at Arches National Park
Another must-see in Utah is Arches National Park. Home to 2,000+ natural red rock arches, this is a scenic wonderland. If you’re an experienced adventurer, this is the place to hike, rock climb, or go canyoneering.
8. Backpack through Zion National Park
Previously under the radar, Zion National Park is slowly but surely becoming a national favorite. Home to the infamous The Narrows, this is the perfect place to go backpacking for untamed wilderness.
9. Horseback ride through Monument Valley
Located in both Utah and Arizona, Monument Valley is a view you’ll recognize from big-screen favorites like Stagecoach and Forrest Gump. The best way to see this red landscape is by horseback.
10. Challenge yourself to the Maze in Canyonland National Park
Lastly, if you’re an experienced hiker and outdoors person, you must tackle the Maze within Canyonland National Park. Home to remote roads and hiking trails, the untapped beauty of this region is unmatched.
Fall and Winter Bucket List Ideas for Utah
One of the best times to visit Utah is in the wintertime. Home to some of the most widely recognized winter sports areas in the country, this is the place to experience a snowy wonderland.
11. Ski in Park City
One of the most famous destinations in Utah is Park City. This is where many of the 2002 Winter Olympics events took place, and you can still visit the town’s world-renowned ski slopes.
12. Spot wildlife on Antelope Island
If you want to see some of the region's wildlife, head to Antelope Island. This is the largest of the 10 islands within the Great Salt Lake. Here, you’ll find free-ranging bison, sheep, and antelope.
13. Attend the Sundance Film Festival
Speaking of Park City, visit in January for the Sundance Film Festival. This is the largest independent film festival in the USA, and Park City absolutely comes alive for nightly screenings and fun.
14. Soak in Homestead Crater
Located at Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah, you’ll find the Homestead Crater. This wonder is a geothermal spring hidden inside a limestone rock. Formed over 10,000 years ago, the water is naturally heated from the earth’s interior.
15. Bobsled at Olympic Park
If you’ve ever wanted to experience the speed of the bobsled, luge, and skeleton events in the 2002 Winter Olympics, now’s your chance. The bobsled track at the Olympic Park is open to all, even those who aren’t professional athletes. You can join a professional for a fast trip around the track.
Spring and Summer Bucket List Ideas for Utah
Though Utah is mostly known for its winter sports, there’s still just as much fun to be had in the spring and summer. Here’s how to enjoy the best of the desert and mountains in the warmer months.
16. Take a scenic drive through Capitol Reef National Park
The least visited of Utah’s parks is Capitol Reef National Park. With a 100-mile long Waterpocket Fold, this is definitely worth the trip. Though you can hike or take a backcountry route, it’s also recommended to take a scenic drive through the park.
17. Hike through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
This national wonder took millions of years to form, now occupying over one million acres. The best part to visit is the Escalante Canyon section, completely with backcountry trails and waterfalls.
18. See a race at the Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats is nature like you’ve never seen it before. With 30,000 acres of hard, white salt, you’re actually allowed to drive along approved areas. The best time to visit is in the summer when you can watch racing teams compete to set new records.
19. Float in the Great Salt Lake
After shrinking, the salt content of the lake rose to 27%. Like the Dead Sea in Israel, bathers can easily float without sinking along the bathing beaches and recreation parks.
20. Sandboard at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Snowboarding isn’t the only way to shred in Utah. At Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, you can climb the soft sand mountains and even sandboard through the slopes.
Bucket List Foods and Restaurants in Utah
No food bucket list would be complete without local favorites. Influenced by Utah’s vast history and culture, these food and restaurant must-trys will have your taste buds going on their own adventure.
21. Eat at Crown Burger
This iconic Utah fast food train was established in the 1970s, and it’s still one of the best places to grab a burger. If you only get one thing, try the famous Crown Burger. This quarter-pound patty is topped with dressing, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and cured pastrami.
22. Experience Navajo tacos
Thanks to the Navajo influence in Southeastern Utah, you can find quite a few places to try Navajo tacos yourself. This dish uses fry bread rather than a tortilla, and it’s just as delicious.
23. Try a post-funeral side dish
While you might not think to try a dish made famous from funerals, don’t knock it till you try it. Most famously, funeral potatoes are a storied part of Utah’s culture. This post-funeral side dish is hearty and tasty.
24. Get a milkshake at Iceberg Drive Inn
This iconic Salt Lake City sweet spot is now located throughout Utah, as well as other states along the west coast. With the so-called thickest milkshake around, there’s a reason this is a local favorite.
25. Dip something in fry sauce
In Utah, you have to experience food like the locals. This means dipping french fries in fry sauce. Made with ketchup, lemon juice, eggs, and secret ingredients, you’ll find multiple versions of this across the state.
Salt Lake City Bucket List Ideas
Finally, visit the capitol, Salt Lake City, to see a different side of Utah. Framed by stunning mountains, Salt Lake City has all of the advantages of the big city without compromising on natural beauty.
26. View the Mormon Temple
Located in Temple Square, you’ll find the late 19th-century Mormon Temple. This is the largest Latter-day Saints temple in the world, and it’s quite inspiring to see up close. However, only Mormons can enter the temple.
27. Listen to a live organ recital
No trip to Salt Lake City would be complete without listening to an organ recital. These recitals are given daily by world-class organists at the Tabernacle, located across from the Salt Lake Temple.
28. Step back in time at the Pioneer Memorial Museum
The pioneer people of this region traveled over 2,000 miles west across the plains to find refuge in this valley. Today, you can see pioneer portraits, guns, furniture, and luxury items left behind from this era.
29. Explore your family history
In the LDS church, it’s important to stay connected to your family history and genealogy. Salt Lake City has the largest on-site collection of genealogical data in the world. Operated by FamilySearch, anyone can use the genealogical resources at Family History Library for free.
30. Hike to the top of Grandeur Peak
For the best view of Salt Lake Valley, hike to the top of Grandeur Peak. It’s just around six miles to the summit round trip, and you’ll fall in love with the view along the way.
Experience the Best of Utah
Ultimately, there are so many reasons to visit Utah. Whether you’re interested in learning about the early settlers, experiencing Native American culture, or soaking up the natural beauty, this state is waiting for you. There’s a reason so many people flock to Utah year-round to take part in the endless list of activities.
Knowing how to make a travel bucket list is a great way to connect with your passions, interests, and goals. When it comes to building memories with those you love, travel uncovers new things beyond your backyard.