Utah is a hidden gem of the tourist world and has got some of the best National Parks and outdoor activities, especially for campers and RVers who are looking for fun, adventure, and excitement. It is an ideal destination for a spring, summer, or fall camping road trip.
National Park Capital of America
Home to five national parks, Utah is considered America's national parks capital. Each park provides visitors a unique glimpse into the natural treasures found in this state.
Arches National Park
The first of these is Arches National Park located near the town of Moab on the southeastern side of the state. It is home to the largest concentration of natural stone arches in the world with over 2,000 different natural rock formations - fins, pinnacles, arches, balanced rocks, and spires - distributed in an area spanning 73,000 acres (about 115 square miles). Because of its arid desert landscape, it is best visited during the months of April, May, September and October since it is neither too hot during the daytime nor too cold during the nighttime.
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Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is another national park to visit. Located in the southwestern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park straddles the counties of Garfield and Kane. It was named after Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer who settled in this area in the year 1874.
Atypical of canyons, Bryce Canyon National Park is actually a giant natural amphitheater that was created by erosion brought about by melting ice, not a flowing river. Another thing that makes this national park unique is the vast number of hoodoos you can find all throughout the park. Commonly called tent rocks, fairy chimneys, and earth pyramids, hoodoos are different from pinnacles and spires because of the variable thickness of these rock formations, making them appear more like natural totem poles.
Read our What to see and do at Bryce Canyon National Park article for more details on the park including 1, 2 and 3 day itineraries.
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Canyonlands National Park
Located south of the town of Moab, two mighty rivers that cut through Utah, the Colorado River and the Green River, carved Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands divides the park into three distinct districts; i) Island in the Sky, the easiest district to visit in a short period of time, offering many pullouts with spectacular views over multiple canyons, ii) The Needles characterized by the many red-and-white colored pinnacles found in this part of the park, iii) The Maze considered as one of the most remote and inaccessible areas in the entire United States, and a separate detached Horseshoe Canyon unit that contains some of the most significant rock art in North America. The park also preserves one of the last relatively undisturbed regions of the Colorado Plateau. Author Edward Abbey described the park as the "weirdest, wonderful and most magical place on earth."
The presence of the Colorado and Green Rivers make this national park a favorite destination for whitewater rafting.
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Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park is near the city of Torrey in the south-central part of Utah. This relatively long but narrow park was established back in 1971 and covers a total land area of just under 380 square miles. It gets its name from the various white dome and cliff formations that resemble the Capitol building in Washington, DC.
Apart from the many sandstone formations, cliffs and canyons, one of the highlights of the Capitol Reef National Park is the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long bulge along the earth's crust that extends from Thousand Lake Mountain to Lake Powell.
In addition to the many sights and hikes that campers and their families can enjoy throughout the park, the Capitol Reef National Park has an on-site museum that gives visitors a peek into the history of the park and those that once lived here.
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Zion National Park
Of the five national parks in the state of Utah, Zion National Park is the oldest. Established when President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional bill on November 20, 1919, its unique location along the junction of the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert makes the park home to four different life zones: desert, riparian (a natural habitat found along the banks of a river or stream), woodland, and coniferous forest, resulting in a diverse range of wildlife and various scenic spots and natural wonders.
There are nine different formations that can be found throughout the park, giving campers and RVers not only the opportunity to marvel at Mother Nature's beauty, but also a fun and exciting way for children to learn to appreciate their natural surroundings and learn more about the great outdoors.
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With so many parks, there is no limit to the different kinds of outdoor activities that you can do while staying in the state of Utah, such as mountain biking, horseback riding, and even going up in a hot air balloon.
For thrill-seekers, make sure that you do not miss out going whitewater rafting during your stay. The Colorado and Green Rivers provide some of the best rapids for white water rafting with different levels of difficulty. There are a number of different professional guides that you can contact to schedule your whitewater rafting session with.
If you would rather travel down the river without the adrenaline rush, don't worry. There are a number of different river trips offered by many tour agencies for you to book. Apart from enjoying the view, some of these would even give you the chance to explore a number of different historic and archaeological sites such as the Anasazi ruins, which date back 1,000 years.
Another reason to head over to Utah during the summertime is the number of festivals and events that are held all year round. One festival music loving visitors should not miss is the Groovefest in Cedar City where the highlight is a 2-day music and live entertainment that is free to the public. You can find a full list of festivals at Utah Valley Festivals.
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As you can see, Utah has got everything to make your next family camping trip memorable and enjoyable. From getting up-and-close with natural wonders dating back millions of years old to taking a stroll in the city to listen to some of today's rising stars, Utah is truly a remarkable state for you and your family to visit. Book your adventure today!
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