Angie Treasure, File

5 local vacation ideas before school starts

By Spencer Durrant, Contributor | Posted - Aug 8th, 2018 @ 12:52pm

THE GREAT OUTDOORS — School is poised to start soon across Utah, and with that comes the end-of-the-summer vacation season.

If you and your family need one last getaway before the school year begins, you should consider checking out these five local spots.

Little Hollywood

From the most recent remake of "The Lone Ranger" to being featured in Paramount Network's "Yellowstone," Utah's scenery deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

While that's doubtful to happen, you can still get a glimpse of the showbiz life by visiting Little Hollywood. Located in Kanab, this free museum offers visitors the chance to see memorabilia and movie sets that involved stars like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne.

The museum is currently open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., (but sometimes later,) according to the website. It is closed from the end of December to March.

Panguitch Lake

While the hot temperatures and smoky air are making life a bit miserable in the valleys along the Wasatch Front, you can escape it if you're willing to head to the mountains.

Panguitch Lake isn't far from Bryce Canyon National Park and it's only a 20-minute drive from the town of Panguitch. The area offers a wide variety of different activities. From boating to hiking and mountain biking, you'll enjoy gorgeous views and a smoke-free sky down at this secluded mountain gem.

And, should you feel the need to see some of the world's most stunning vistas, Bryce Canyon and Kodachrome Basin State Park are just a short drive away.

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

South-central Utah is famous for its quick-changing topography, and the Escalante Petrified Forest just adds to the magic of this state's landscape.

Located northeast of Bryce Canyon along Highway 12, the Escalante Petrified Forest is just outside the city of Escalante. The trip from red rock to thick forests takes just an hour.

At Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, you'll have the chance to see petrified wood and dinosaur bones. This is a little-known spot in an area of the state that gets more attention for its fishing and hunting opportunities than its sightseeing. For families with younger kids, the chance to see dinosaur bones can help ease the long drive from the Wasatch Front.

Floating the Green River

The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam is often crowded with fishermen. But if you're up for the 3 1/2 hour drive from Salt Lake City, you can rent rafts and float the first 7 miles of this gorgeous river.

Floating the Green River is a cheap, fun way to get out of the heat and enjoy one last hurrah before school starts. Plus, you have the chance to hike and bike around Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge

For the more adventurous, a trip out to Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge is an absolute must. This out-of-the-way spot is a true oasis in the desert. According to the National Wildlife Refuge System's website, this collection of water and marshes has supported humans and wildlife for at least the past 10,000 years.

Getting there is a trip all by itself. You can start at the small town of Faust, Tooele County, which is west of Eagle Mountain. Once in Faust, the Pony Express Road will take you directly to the Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge.

Have you been to any of the places on this list? If so, let us know in the comments.

Spencer Durrant

About the Author: Spencer Durrant

Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, outdoors columnist, and novelist from Utah. His work has appeared in Field & Stream, TROUT Magazine, Hatch Magazine, and other national publications. He's also the Managing Editor of The Modern Trout Bum. Connect with him on Twitter/Instagram, @Spencer_Durrant.

Spencer Durrant

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