We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

family vacation to south Utah in June

Edison, New Jersey
Level Contributor
16 posts
13 reviews
Save Topic
family vacation to south Utah in June

Hello! I am new to this forum and hope to get some help in planning our family vacation. There are 4 of us: both I and my husband are 51 years old (active), and our children are 26 and 18 years old. We'll have about 9-10 days at the end of May-beginning of June for our dream vacation to south of Utah. What could be recommended for that number of days? We want to see beautiful parks, enjoy easy hiking, maybe spend half /full day for water rafting (just for fun) and we are trying to find where to stay without moving each day or so to a new place. Usually we are looking for some vacation homes where we can stay for several days to enjoy the beauty outside and nice pleasant home away from home for the evenings. We'll be flying from New York. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much. Ella

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
Level Contributor
7,652 posts
446 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

Welcome to the forum, Ella.

With 10 days or so you can see a lot in southern Ut and northern AZ (have you been to the Grand Canyon?). However, there will be driving involved and you will have to move to a new "camp" a few times (the distances are too great to make a single base a practical option).

Here are a few resources to get you started with your planning:

Frist check out the Top Questions in the Utah forum (look over in the right-hand calumn of the page). The first item is "How can I see all the parks in southern Utah?" and it contains links to several standard route maps as well as sample itineraries. Driving times and distances are provided with the maps.

The second resource is the Trip Report Archives at the top of the Utah forum. This contains links to many excellent Trip Reports that have been posted by previous travellers and the TRs have a LOT of great info on places to go, where to stay and eat, things to do, etc. Very valuable info.

You will need to determine your entry point. Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Phoenex and Grand Junction are common options for airports providing access to southernn UT.

For a day or less of white water rafting, then I reckon you will want to go to Moab. You could spend several days in Moab with all there is to see and do in the area. Perhaps one of the loop routes from SLC would be a good fit.

There are lots of options, but you will have to make some choices on what to see with the time that you have available. For example, the "Large Loop" from Las Vegas from a greaet route to see a lot of the parks, but with 10 days you will be moving probably every night and will not have the time to really explore each park. So, the small loops (from LV or SLC) may be your better options.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
15,906 posts
146 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

Ohio has given you some great advice. Lots of resources here on TA to help get you started.

You can find a vacation home in Moab for a few days that will allow you to enjoy some of what that has to offer. Plenty to keep you busy there for 3-5 days if you wanted. Though that wouldn't give you much time for some of the other fantastic areas to visit.

The only other place where a vacation home might be possible is Kanab. From there you could explore Zion/ Bryce and Page area. However it is not a great idea for someone new to the area as the drive times to the parks and back make the time you have in the parks much less, and on a short trip like this you want to maximize your time where it is best rather than traveling to and fro.

So it is actually better to change lodging so you can be by the parks. Springdale is good for Zion and either the park lodge or the Ruby's complex for Bryce. Page is a good stop as well, plenty to do there for a day or two.

When you have little better feel for what you want we'd be glad to help you fine tune it.

Edison, New Jersey
Level Contributor
16 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

Thank you very much for your advice. I'll definitely follow and then post our thoughts / itinerary for everyone's review. Thanks again!

Edison, New Jersey
Level Contributor
16 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

How about a trip from Salt Lake City to Moab (to stay there for 4 days /4 nights), then to to Grand Canyon Village with stopping in Monument Valley for several hours on the way to the North Rim ( to stay for 1 day / 2 nights), then to Springdale (2.5 days / 3 nights for Zion and Bryce Canyon Parks) and back to Salt Lake City for the trip home?

Looks like we will be facing 4-6 hours drives at a max from one place to another and we can stay in 3 different places. Probably too much is packed in that idea of a trip but we can see so much.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
15,906 posts
146 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

Starting in SLC and heading to Moab is good.

From Moab to North rim will be about an 8 hr drive. That is one reason people tend to stop somewhere along the way. There is plenty to see. If you want a quick visit to MV then head to Page for an overnighter that would be better than trying to get all the way to the North Rim.

If you head to Springdale for Zion that would be good. I would recommend however that instead of trying to see Bryce from Zion that instead the last day you leave in the morning and head to Bryce for a visit and then drive to SLC.

It is a 2 hr drive from Zion to Bryce. And from Bryce to SLC is about 4-5 hrs. So you could spend 2-3 hrs at Bryce- not the best way to see it, but possible.

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
Level Contributor
7,652 posts
446 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

I concur with Kbec. Split the drive from Moab to GC (Page is a good place to overnight...even better place to spend a few days....maybe next trip). Bryce Canyon as a day trip from Zion is not the best of ideas. Spend a night a BC so that you see the morning and evening sun on the hoodoos...and to experience the amazing sky at night.

Edison, New Jersey
Level Contributor
16 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

Thank you so much for your advice! We are continuing to discuss our options and what we don't want to miss and it's not that easy, too much beauty in that area.

This is our latest idea and I'd really love to have your comments:

Day 1 - Arrival at SLC and drive to Moab

Day 2 - Day 5 - Moab (Arches, Canyonlands, rafting)

Day 6 - drive to GC Village with several hours stay at MV

I think we could be ok with even 8 hours drive from Moab to GC if we stay for several hours in MV and arrive in GC village late at night. That break in the middle of the day will let us switch to a different mood and actually enjoy the day anyway.

Day 7 - North Rim of Grand Canyon.

Day 8 - drive from GC Village to Springdale with several hours spent at Lake Powell. This was our new addition to previous itinerary :)

Day 9 - Zion

Day 10 - Zion? Do we need the second day at Zion or we can be ok with spending just one day there? Drive in the afternoon to Bryce Canyon.

Day 11 - the day at Bryce Canyon per Kbecjeans and OhioHick advice (thanks again!)

Day 12 - drive from Bryce to SLC for the trip home.

We'll arrange 4 different hotels for Moab (5 nights), GC Village (2 nights), Springdale (2 nights)and Bryce (2 nights).

Please tell me what do you think about this one?

Edited: 25 February 2012, 04:31
Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
Level Contributor
7,652 posts
446 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

Not bad. I'm concerned with "arrive in GC village late at night" as it is not a good idea to drive at night due to the possiblity of animal encounters (hitting a mule deer or worse an elk will ruin everyone's evening). Be careful on the roads. The good news is that the days will be longer, so there will be more daylight to use, but still caution on the roads is needed at all times, but particularly in the early morning, dusk and at night.

I would say two full days at Zion. Plenty of things to do there to keep you busy (lots of great hikes of all lengths and various "degrees of difficulty").

If you want to break up the drive from Moab to GC, then, take a night from BC and use it at say Monument Valley (I probably already said that). Just trying to avoid the really loooong drive and give you a little time at MV and more time toenjoy the other sites between Moab and MV and MV to GC.

BTW, check out Antelope Canyon; you might want to visit here during your few hours in Page.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
15,906 posts
146 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

On my phone so just as short note to say that lake powell is not on the way between north rim and zion. you would be better off stopping there on the way to north rim.

Edison, New Jersey
Level Contributor
16 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: family vacation to south Utah in June

Awesome! Thank you very much again. Wild animals are a very serious concern and hopefully we'll not arrive really late,at least we'll try not to spend too long in MV.

I didn't have a real chance yet to check out Page area, don't know yet if we can plan the visit to Antelope Canyon in addition to just a brief visit (2-3 hours) to Lake Powell.

I thought that Zion requires at least 2 full days, glad that you confirmed it. That will probably mean one more evening drive, this time - to Bryce area.

Definitely I need to continue to work on our plans, I am just glad that you think it's not bad.

Do you have any recommendations for the places to stay? We need to find something nice for Moab, GC Village, Springdale and Bryce. The problem is that our kids are not kids anymore, they are 26 and 18 years old adults. That's why vacation homes worked pretty nicely for our previous vacations. However, with staying for just a couple of nights here and there, that option is not really possible. Again, thank you very much for all your comments, looking forward to more :)