Summer in Utah means great weather and more time to soak in the sun. Students look for the perfect weekend getaway to balance out the stress of work and school and to ensure a fun-filled summer.
Here’s a list of five stellar road trips to help make your weekends a little more exciting.
1. Antelope Island
Antelope Island is a state park and is open year round. It is located in the Great Salt Lake, west of Layton and about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City.
BYU student Hunter Bailey, an electrical engineering major from Wintersville, Ohio, has enjoyed a few summer outings to Antelope Island, the only island she can find nearby.
“It’s fun, and there are really good hikes and camping, and they have great views,” Bailey said.
Bailey recommends this road trip and destination as a great place to go with friends or family. She suggests carpooling, which can save money because the entrance fee is $10 per vehicle for day use.
Bailey said there are great three- to four-mile hikes all around the island, with great views.
Individuals can enjoy the scenery and eat at the only place on the entire island: Buffalo Grill.
“They have a great burger called the ‘Buffalo Burger,'” Bailey said.
If driving from Provo, take Interstate 15, and take exit 332. This road trip is approximately three hours round trip — perfect for a day trip or an overnight camping trip.
2. American Fork Canyon
American Fork Canyon is the perfect road trip for many students. Its vast mountain range and scenery make for a great ride. A local hotspot up the canyon is Tibble Fork Reservoir, an easily accessible place to camp nearby, hike or just enjoy the beauty of a reservoir in the heart of the mountains.
Brooke Hiatt, a Music Dance Theatre (MDT) major at BYU, said she loves Tibble Fork. “The mountains grow like beautiful flowers, and there are random ponds and lakes there.”
Hiatt enjoys the beautiful scenery and said it’s accessible for all. She said it is family friendly and thinks spring and summer in Utah are the perfect times to go.
Make this drive a fantastic road trip or turn it into a weekend getaway with all of the surrounding activities the canyon has to offer.
“There are a couple hikes in the area that are fun and super challenging, so it’s a great mix” Hiatt said.
This road trip is approximately an hour and a half, taking the Alpine Loop.
3. Red Rock Wonder
According to the Utah Office of Tourism website, a great road trip is from “Hanksville to Blanding through dramatic and rugged red rock country.”
This 120–135-mile drive on the Bicentennial Highway shows a rougher side to Utah, with attractions like Glen Canyon, Natural Bridges National Monument and surrounding views of the Henry Mountains.
To do this road trip right, start at the intersection of UT-24 and UT-95, which is accessible by taking Exit 149 off of I-70.
This drive goes along Highway 95, where the scenery astounds and there are great places to stop and rest, snap some pictures and stop at some museums along the way.
From Hanksville, this drive will take approximately four and a half hours there and back. Travelers should fill up your gas tank in Hanksville, because prices skyrocket until Blanding, said The Utah Office of Tourism.
This road trip is probably one for an overnight trip or a couple days. It is about six hours of driving time both ways from Provo.
Moab is an amazing location in Southern Utah where travelers can see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park nearby.
While travelers can camp nearby, there are plenty of bed and breakfasts and inexpensive lodging options available.
Travelers can also hike, fish, stargaze and go ATV riding and mountain biking.
Several scenic byways surround Moab. According to discovermoab.com, there are scenic byways on SR-128, SR-279 and SR-313. All are incredible drives that offer views of the Colorado River, incredible red rock, gorgeous scenery and museums and cultured eateries along the way.
Learn more on discovermoab.com.
5. Road trip of all road trips
This road trip is not one for those who don’t want to be adventurous.
According to National Geographic, a great road trip is one to all of the national parks in Utah. But just for a weekend, choose one of these: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef Nation Park. This is a trip one should plan to take an entire weekend or an extended weekend, camping at places along the way.
It’s about three and a half hours of driving from Provo to Zion. The early bird gets the worm in this case, as these national parks get pretty full on the weekends, especially if there is a holiday.
Spending the day enjoying the scenery and going on some amazing hikes, travelers can camp in three different campgrounds: South, Watchman and Lava Point Campgrounds. Utah National Park Services recommends getting there by noon to claim a spot, as the campgrounds get full early on summer weekends.
A detour drive would be the “five-mile volcanic-red Kolab Canyon Road,” says National Geographic, which is nearby the national park.
The next morning, travelers can head to the Bryce Canyon National Park. Take SR-9 East to the SR-12 East, then SR-63 South. It takes just a little over an hour to get there.
National Geographic claims that one doesn’t want to miss the sunrises here. Travelers can camp overnight at Bryce National Park as well and eat at The Lodge there.
From Bryce Canyon, travelers head to Capitol Reef National Park taking SR-63 North to SR-12 East to SR-24 East. It takes a couple hours to get there.
The Rim Rock Restaurant in Torrey serves local trout. Travelers can also visit the 1908 Gifford Homestead, showing a view of Latter-day Saint pioneer living.
While here, the National Park Service said, travelers can tour “The Fruita Rural Historic District” to get a taste of the fruit and nut orchards and the Latter-day Saint settlers’ lives.
Travelers can stay the night or head out the same night back up to Provo, a road trip that takes a little under three hours.
The national parks’ websites, on nps.gov, give information for travelers regarding where to hike, camp, eat and tour.