Top 15 Things to Do in Moab: From Romantic to Family Friendly

Tucked on the southern fringes of Arches National Park, Moab is Utah’s recreation and adventure capital. It’s famously said that an individual’s adventurous tastes are as diverse and manifold as the town’s ability to fulfill them. There’s so much to see and to do in Moab, from thrill-seeking activities like ziplining, hiking, rock climbing, off-roading, and whitewater rafting to enjoying art galleries, spas, and scenic drives. Plus, the fact that it has winding rivers, panoramic views, and is close to not one but two National Parks truly make it an incredible all-round destination. So, whether you want to spend your time being rugged or civilized, you’re spoilt for choice in this exhilarating town, and it’s only a matter of how much you can fit into your itinerary!

Here’s a detailed guide to all the best things to indulge in and try out during your visit to this small-town desert launchpad for big adventures across the Utah countryside.

Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center


If you’re in town with the kids, then a great way to spend an entire day right in the town is at the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center. It’s also a fantastic way to take a break from all the activities and have a fun-filled day with the kiddos before heading back out. The massive 24,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility has an indoor 6-lane competition pool with diving boards and a slide and shallow-water area for the kiddos. What’s more, there are two more pools — an outdoor lap pool and an outdoor leisure pool with slides and play structures. Aside from a fitness area, there are men’s and women’s locker rooms, childcare centers, family changing rooms, multi-purpose areas, and grass outdoor lounge areas for impromptu picnics.

Matrimony Springs


If you’re wondering what to do in Moab in June for romance, why not toast to your love at Matrimony Springs? According to a local legend that’s been going around for a long time, Matrimony Springs has healing springs that are said to bring about everlasting love to those who drink from the spring. While it was initially known as River Spring, the name changed to Matrimony Spring as stories of its “magical properties” began to spread. A newer version of the folklore even says that those who drink from the spring will fall in love with the town so much that they’ll keep returning to the region – and people swear that it’s true!

Besides its supposedly magical relationship and healing powers, the springs are also an excellent spot for adventurous couples to hike and re-fill their water bottles during their adventures together. The springs lie right outside the town, just after the right on Highway 128. 

Entrajo Canyon


If you enjoy rappelling, then this Half-day Entrajo Canyon Canyoneering Adventure is just the thing for you. Cluster Canyon, or Entrajo Canyon, sits in the rugged terrain of the desert southeast of the town. Even better, this tour is beginner-friendly, so you don’t need to be an expert in canyoneering to enjoy it. As you’re driven out to the desert, the private and experienced guide tells you everything you need to know to safely navigate the obstacles in the canton. Moreover, this 3-mi (4.8 km) loop hike begins at the canyon’s bottom, after which you hike and climb up to the top. The views of the La Sal Mountains and the Red Rock Canyon are mesmerizing at the summit.

The real adventure begins here! From here, you will enjoy learning many canyoneering techniques that you’ll then use to make your way down via rappelling, shimmying, downclimbing, and chimneying (where your back is on one wall and your feet are on another). Since there are pools of water sometimes, it’s a welcome respite from the desert heat. Do wear proper closed-toe shoes and comfortable sweat-wicking clothes for the adventure.

Entrajo canyon adventure - by Get Your Guide
Entrajo canyon adventure – by Get Your Guide

Colorado River Dinner Cruise


The Colorado River is the center stage of all activities in the Utah region, but there’s more to enjoying river rafting and other thrilling water adventures. So, how about a cowboy-style dinner on a slow-moving evening boat under the gorgeous Utah night sky? This Colorado River Dinner Cruise with Music and Light Show is the perfect activity to start exploring the region. That’s because it describes the creation of the canyon projected on a rock face above the river!

Your evening begins with a delicious cowboy-style Dutch oven dinner on the banks of the Colorado River, after which you’ll hop aboard a flat-bottomed boat. As the entertaining and knowledgeable guide explains the story and points out things of interest, you can enjoy the gorgeous nighttime views of the canyon and the water. The real fun begins when 40,000 watts of natural light light up the canyon wall, with music, lights, and shadows bringing history to life on the rock walls over the river.

Colorado River Dinner Cruise - by Get Your Guide
Colorado River Dinner Cruise – by Get Your Guide

Hot Air Balloon Rides


It’s one thing to admire a landscape from the ground level, and it’s another thing to enjoy a bird’s eye view. We’re talking about soaring high above the red rock landscape and scenery of Southern Utah in a pretty, vibrant hot air balloon. Offered by many companies, including Red Rock Ballooning, these hot air balloon rides take you high over the Utah landscape, offering spectacular views of landmarks like Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, Dead Horse Point, and many canyons. What’s more, these tours happen at sunrise or sunset so that you can take splendid photographs of the rays of the rising and setting sun against an equally dramatic landscape. You’ll also see the La Sal Mountains in the distance and watch the Colorado River curving below.

Hot air balloons over the Utah landscape - by joelheaps, Flickr
Hot air balloons over the Utah landscape – by joelheaps, Flickr

Moab Giants Dinosaur Park


It’s no secret that dinosaurs roamed the region in prehistoric times. However, did you know that it’s still home to dinosaurs? Not real ones, of course! We’re talking about the fantastic Moab Giants Dinosaur Park, a worthwhile place to visit if you’re traveling with kids.

Travel back in time and take a trip through the town’s prehistoric past at this enthralling dinosaur park. Here, you get to learn about and even walk among more than 100 life-sized dinosaur replicas outdoors. After listening to the docent dish out fascinating facts about these giants, everyone, including the kids, can walk around the interactive exhibits, such as life-sized dinosaur models, fossilized dinosaur tracks, a 5D prehistoric aquarium, and more. Since the museum lies around 10 minutes outside of downtown, you can easily fit a visit here in your itinerary.

Sand Flats Recreation Area


The Sand Flats Recreation Area offers a stunningly scenic drive through the red desert landscape right into the foothills of the La Sal Mountains. Lying northeast of the town, the region is a breathtaking desert landscape and boasts a well-maintained 17-mi (27 km) long road, making it a fabulous drive for most vehicles. Before proceeding on your sandy adventures, you need to pay an entrance fee at the entrance booth. Moreover, there are many mountain biking and trails off Sand Flats Road. The 1.8-mi (2.9 km) Juniper Loop is a great hike if you want to stretch your legs, especially since it’s not that hard.

Are you into mountain biking? Grab your backcountry mountain bike helmet and enjoy the fun, intermediate-friendly Falcon Flow ride. Finally, the recreation area is home to the famous Slickrock Bike Trail, a 10.5-mile (17 km) loop trail set across a rugged and scenic expanse of rolling Navajo Sandstone, one of the planet’s most challenging dirt bike paths!

Sand Flats Recreation Area - by Wikimedia Commons
Sand Flats Recreation Area – by Wikimedia Commons

Biking the Moab Canyon Pathway


This Utah region is the original mecca for mountain riding and biking, and riders travel from all over the world, even now, to experience the town and the region’s famed slick rock trails. That said, you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy biking here, and the Moab Canyon Pathway is where you can do so. This 9-mi (14.5 km) paved recreation path begins right in the heart of the town and heads out north, parallel to Highway 191. It ultimately joins the Brand Trails network and is a fantastic way to get out and enjoy the red rock landscape by bike.

At the same time, you don’t need to be an expert, as you don’t have to tackle any challenging mountain biking trails. If you don’t mind taking a longer route to enjoy more scenic views, you could add some 4-odd mi (6.4 km) by detouring the Colorado River Bike Path.

Biking across the Utah landscape - by Scott Lenger, Flickr
Biking across the Utah landscape – by Scott Lenger, Flickr

The Grandstaff Canyon Trail


Hikers who love everything outdoors will love hiking the Grandstaff Canyon Trail, a stunning 5.7-mi (9.1 km) out-and-back hike. The hike leads to the impressively gorgeous Morning Glory Natural Bridge, which is fun-filled and engaging. Moreover, it has impressive views and towering sandstone canyon walls, caves, some light scrambling sections, creek crossings, and more. This trail tops at a thin, sliced arch between two towering canyon walls. It’s a great idea to carry family picnic baskets with some camping snacks so you can relax and enjoy the beautiful views before going back down the way you arrived. When we were hiking the Grandstaff Canyon, we even saw several people rappelling down from the top of the arch, which can be booked at the Moab Adventure Center.

Morning Glory Natural Bridge - by Steven Damron, Flickr
Morning Glory Natural Bridge – by Steven Damron, Flickr

Dead Horse Point State Park 


It’s hard to imagine a state park called Dead Horse Point to be even remotely romantic, but some people might love it. This is especially true when we talk about staying in a quiet, serene, and romantic setting at Moenkopi Yurts! While Wingate Yurts are closer to the campground, visitor center, and trails, couples who are seeking seclusion and privacy will love Moenkopi. Moreover, they have electric heat, meaning you don’t have to freeze in the cold but can get cozy and snuggly with your partner.

The rest of Dead Horse Point State Park is equally captivating; people say it’s more captivating than the Grand Canyon! Many overlooks open up to Utah’s vast canyon country, including the Gooseneck of the Colorado River and the Island in the Sky District. If you stay in the park, you can even go for sunrise and sunset hikes, so you’ll get fewer crowds. We recommend the 5-mi (8 km) Dead Horse Rim Loop Trail, a relatively easy and pet-friendly trail with the best views.

Dead Horse Point State Park - by Lauri Sten, Flickr
Dead Horse Point State Park – by Lauri Sten, Flickr

Mesa Arch and Grandview Point in Canyonlands National Park


Another famous image of this gorgeous Utah landscape is the Mesa Arch. Perched on the edge of a cliff in the Island in the Sky area, it’s one of the most popular attractions in Canyonlands National Park. This picturesque arch offers jaw-dropping sweeping views of the vast canyons and the mesas in the distance. Sunrise is one of the most popular times to hike up to the arch, as the rays hit the underside just as the sun rises. The fiery orange and amber glow against the red rocks landscape makes for an ethereal and otherworldly landscape. Tip: Since this is a very popular sunrise spot, don’t expect to be alone. However, the hike to Mesa Arch is a relatively easy 0.7-mi (1.6 km) loop. The trailhead is an hour’s drive from the town, so many people camp at the nearby Island in the Sky campground.

Mesa Arch at sunrise - by Dean Souglass, Flickr
Mesa Arch at sunrise – by Dean Souglass, Flickr

Another easy-to-do hike with breathtaking scenery at the end of it is the Grand View Point Trail, right at the southernmost end of the Island on the Sky scenic drive. Once you reach the end of the 1.8 mi (2.9 km) trail, you can see distant mountains, miles and miles of corrugated canyons, and even the White Rim four-wheel-drive road. Hike onward along the short, paved sidewalk to come to not one but two spectacular viewpoints. You’ll even see rangers frequently presenting geology talks at Grand View Point from spring through fall.

If you love driving and exploring on your own, we recommend this fabulous Self-Driving Tour of Canyonlands National Park. Drive south along Grandview Point Road to the end of the road to hit the namesake point.

Grand View Point Overlook, Canyonlands National Park - by Diana Robinson, Flickr
Grand View Point Overlook, Canyonlands National Park – by Diana Robinson, Flickr



Imagine flying over red rock sandstone cliffs, domes, and canyons across a wide-open desert with snow-capped mountains in the distance; that’s ziplining in this town for you! While zipline tours are always fun no matter where you’re, ziplining here is extra special. Even better, this activity is easily accessible, sitting at the northern end of Main Street. From there, a rowdy 4×4 ride takes you up the mountains over the entire town and along the rim of an entirely different landscape.

So, how exciting is the actual ziplining? Very! The 350-acre zipline course features 6 exciting lines and a jaw-dropping 100-ft suspension bridge. What’s more, every zipline allows you to soar over canyons and the gaps between ancient sandstone fins of the landscape. One of the most popular ones is the “Holy Zip,” which is almost 1300 ft long! You’ll spy views of La Sal Mountains, the Valley, and even Arches National Park in the distance. The best thing is that these tours happen almost all day long, so one can plan it around the other things to do in the town.

Downtown Moab


If you need a break from all the activities, one of the most romantic things to do in Moab is to explore its charming Downtown together. This is especially great if you both like kicking back and enjoying a destination at a slow pace.

Main Street and its bustle will draw you in, and you’ll surely find memorable souvenirs at one of the many shops. Locally-owned restaurants and shops dominate the scene here so that you can dive into a distinctly local flair for practically everything. Start your day with breakfast at the Love Muffin or a heavy breakfast at local coffee shops like Doughbird. You’ll also find hikers fueling up for a long day of exploring the outdoors. After grabbing donuts-to-go, saunter by Desert Wild, where local pride is on display. Here, you can pick up everything from decor and art prints to hipster outdoor gear made by local Utah artisans.

We’d suggest heading to food trucks such as Quesadilla Mobilla for lunch. But if you want multiple grab-and-go options, Moab Food Truck Park is a great choice. You’ll find everything from handmade gelato to authentic tacos. Finally, end your day with a sit-down dinner at Miguel’s Baja Grill or Zak’s Pizza, but not before grabbing a beer at the brewery.

Downtown Moab - by Ken Lund
Downtown Moab – by Ken Lund

River rafting


Are you visiting this Utah town during the summer with your family, and that too, along with the kids? You guys are in for a real treat, so get to cool off in the water! It might be confusing talking about water recreation when it comes to the town’s red rock desert landscape, but it’s home to the gushing waters of the Colorado and Green Rivers. The Fisher Towers and Labyrinth Canyon sections have calmer waters, while the Cataract and Westwater Canyons are home to thrilling, faster-moving rapids.

Families with smaller children will love grabbing their inflatable family kayaks and travel sun hats and heading down to the Green River, a scenic waterway carving a path through the stunning, dramatic canyonlands. Labyrinth Canyon has nearly 45-70 mi (72-112 km) of flat water stretches of the Green River, complete with spectacular scenery. It’s fun and relaxing to spend a day or two here.

For those seeking the ultimate thrill, there’s nothing better than river rafting along the Cataract Canyon, a veritable whitewater rollercoaster that boasts the biggest whitewater in the spring season in the whole of North America! Be warned: There are 14 mi (22 km) of intense rapids with scary names like Satan’s Gut, Little Niagara, and Big Drop. So, the Cataract Canyon Whitewater Rafting Experience is one wild, wet journey. It’s no surprise that Cataract Canyon is considered the granddaddy of all Colorado River trips, with the fun beginning at “The Confluence,” where the Green River empties into the Colorado River just south of the town.

River rafting in Utah - by Bureau of Land Management - Utah, Flickr
River rafting in Utah – by Bureau of Land Management – Utah, Flickr

Arches National Park


No matter whether you’re an adventurer, a culture vulture, or a laidback traveler, there’s no way you’d want to miss out on visiting Arches National Park. Chances are you’ve already seen glimpses of it on your laptop wallpaper — remember an iconic photograph of sandstone arches with gorgeous landscapes and the sun shining in the backdrop? That’s Turret Arch, one of its most photographed arches. This fantastic Half-Day Arches National Park 4×4 Driving Tour explores the less-populated off-road 4×4 trails inside the park. Soak in the scenic views as a knowledgeable guide explains the park’s geology and even points out dinosaur tracks to you. Of course, there are stops at the impressive Tower Arch and the even more imposing Eye of the Whale Arch.

Arches National Park - by Lee Coursey, Flickr
Arches National Park – by Lee Coursey, Flickr

Did you know that Arches National Park boasts some of the darkest skies in the Southwestern US? Yes! A moonless night at the Arches will surprise you as you’ll see a sky full of stars. That’s why stargazing is a very popular activity here. Do you love driving and exploring on your own? We’d highly recommend this Arches National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour.

Stargazing at Arches National Park - by Bernd Thaller, Flickr
Stargazing at Arches National Park – by Bernd Thaller, Flickr

Cool Facts About Moab, Utah

  • Native people lived in the canyonlands in the region as far back as 10,000 BC. The first European settlers arrived only around the late 1800s.
  • Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches, the world’s largest concentration.
  • The desert around the town is rich in animal species. Some indigenous animals include bighorn sheep, mountain lions, black bears, mule deer, and more, which you can see during rafting trips. 

Where to Stay in Moab, Utah

Can I see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in a car?

Both national parks have paved scenic drives that go to all major viewpoints. Except for the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park, which has a short scenic drive, the others have 4-wheel drives and backcountry hiking trails.

How much time do I need to explore the region?

That depends on what you’re interested in doing. Generally, 4-5 days is a good amount of time to see and do most of the top things around the region.

What’s so special about Moab?

There are countless things to do in the town. It’s home to some of the largest undisturbed backcountry regions in the American West, and you can do everything from hiking and biking to camping here.

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