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SALT LAKE CITY — Fall break is here for most Utah schools and if you are wanting to get away, but don't have the time or money to leave the state, here are five local staycation destinations.
The cozy town near the Utah-Idaho border is a charming spot for a weekend getaway. Garden City is home to the crystal blue waters of Bear Lake. With the last few weeks before winter hits, you can go boating or fish on the lake. Fans of wildlife can birdwatch at the nearby Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge, where you may see sandhill cranes, herons, snowy egrets and white pelicans.
At night, Garden City has a variety of activities for everyone in the family. You can take the kids to race go-karts at Bear Lake Renegade Raceway or go golfing at the Bear Lake Golf Course. If you want to visit the area later in December, you can go see one of the Christmas plays at Pickleville Playhouse.
If you visit Garden City, you can stay in a hotel, rent a cabin, stay at an RV park or camp (although it may be a tad cold right now). Nearby Bear Lake State Park offers several primitive campgrounds that are open year-round. Some resorts also offer “glamping” (glamorous camping) in giant tents and covered wagons with luxury amenities.
Currently, prices for camping at Bear Lake State Park range from $10-$15. Check out the state park's website for more info.
Located in Lehi, Thanksgiving Point offers activities for every member of the family and for every time of year. The area is home to two interactive museums, a beautiful garden, a movie theater, golf course and more. Check out a list of all the activities offered here.
If you’re looking to get into the Halloween spirit, visit Cornbelly’s at Thanksgiving Point. The festival offers a giant corn maze, a pumpkin patch, and during fall break, a stunt show and fireworks to end the day. At night, Cornbelly’s turns into haunted house attraction Insanity Point. The festival will close on Nov. 3. Visit the Cornbelly’s website for more information and pricing.
Another draw for the Thanksgiving Point area is the nearby shopping. The Outlets at Traverse Mountain are just a few minutes away and offer popular stores like Levi's Outlet Store, J. Crew Factory and the Nike Factory Store. A full directory can be found here.
Thanksgiving Point offers two Marriott hotels for guests wanting to stay longer than an afternoon. The rates are typically around $90 a night.
You’ll find beautiful canyons and a vibrant theater scene in this southern Utah town. It’s a perfect spot for a getaway because it’s near popular tourist spots like Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Brian Head Resort.
Even though the temperatures are cooling, you’ll still find Cedar City is a perfect getaway for outdoor activities. The town is just about an hour drive from Kolob Canyons if you’re looking for some more challenging hiking trails. The beautiful views of Cedar Breaks National Monument also lie in the canyons of Cedar City.
If you decide to take your staycation during the summer months, make sure to check out the renowned Utah Shakespeare Festival. The festival features indoor and outdoors productions of classic William Shakespeare plays by members of the Southern Utah University theatre program. The festival offers activities and productions for all ages and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Staying at a hotel in Cedar City is ranges from about $60-$90 a night.
Downtown Salt Lake
If you’re looking for a staycation that's more city than country, look no further than Downtown Salt Lake. For fans of shopping, you can stay downtown near City Creek Mall. The mall offers popular shopping destinations such as Nordstrom, Lululemon, Macy’s and Apple. A complete directory of stores at City Creek Mall can be found here. There are beautiful hotels surrounding the mall that average between about $120 to $190 a night.
Just down the street from City Creek is the Vivint Smart Home Arena, where you can catch a Utah Jazz game, a concert or other show. Upcoming performances include country star Thomas Rhett, Josh Groban with Idina Menzel, and Twenty One Pilots. In November, Disney on Ice will be performing at the arena. Event info and ticket prices can be found on the Vivint Smart Home Arena website.
Another popular attraction in downtown Salt Lake is Temple Square. The square is home to beautiful trees and flowers, accompanied by the towering temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can also often see performances of world-renowned Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. There is also a visitor’s center for those wanting to learn about the history of the church. Check the Temple Square website for information about additional activities.
One of Utah’s warmer vacation destinations is the St. George area. From golf courses to state parks and beautiful hiking trails, St. George has something to offer for everyone.
Snow Canyon State Park is located nearby and has over 38 miles of hiking trails, according to the state park's website. The website says the park is famous for its bright red sandstone rock and diverse wildlife like coyotes and canyon tree frogs.
Kanarraville Falls is another famous outdoor attraction near St. George. The water hike is about 5 miles and requires you to walk through a few inches of water to see the falls. It’s a moderately difficult hike.
Young children and dinosaur enthusiasts will also enjoy the Dinosaur Track Museum at Johnson Farm. The museum is home to thousands of fossilized dinosaur footprints and bones. There are also hands-on activities and rotating exhibits, according to the museum website. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 4-11.
St. George is also home to historical sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Driving into the valley, you’ll notice the temple in the center of town, in contrast to the surrounding red rocks. You can visit the temple grounds and visitor center year-round. The home of church pioneer Jacob Hamblin is also an interesting place to visit, with tours offered daily. You can find more info here.
What’s your favorite place to take a staycation in Utah? Let us know below in the comments.