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Whew, it’s hot! The thermometer has hit a cool hunnerd and you have hit the basement to hunker down till fall. Instead of coming out only to roast hot-dogs on the blacktop, try stepping away from the fruit cellar and experiencing the best summer of your life. We’ve compiled a list of (way more than seven) activities, both indoors and out, to help you survive, and possibly forget, that it is very, very warm outside.
Utah is home to scores of incredible lakes and reservoirs and it’s hard to know where to go sometimes. Luckily for you, we’ve narrowed it down a bit.
1. Bear Lake: Bear Lake and its picturesque turquoise-blue water is anything but bare. The lake is perfect for boating, swimming, and waterskiing and is well worth the two-hour drive from Salt Lake. Don’t forget to grab a raspberry shake while you’re there.
2. Jordanelle: Just east of Park City, Jordanelle State Park offers two recreation areas: Hailstone and Rock Cliff. Hailstone is a large developed campground and is a favorite location of boaters and RV campers, whereas Rock Cliff offers a quieter experience, with camping and a boardwalk.
3. Willard Bay: A freshwater reservoir on the edge of the Great Salt Lake, Willard Bay has on-site rentals available at the north marina, courtesy of Club Rec — including boats, PWCs, paddleboards, kayaks and canoes. Willard Bay is also home to a full inflatable waterpark (also run by Club Rec), including ten large obstacles, three big slides, jungle gyms, a large swing, trampolines, and challenging runways. (Club Rec offers rentals at East Canyon, Starvation and Pineview Reservoir if you can’t make it to Willard Bay.)
4. Deer Creek: Located in Heber Valley, Deer Creek is a scenic, medium-sized reservoir that offers excellent conditions for boating, fishing and other water sports. The breathtaking views of Mount Timpanogos are not to be missed.
5. Mirror Lake: Situated just off of the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway and at the base of Bald Mountain, the lake allows for terrific kayaking and canoeing (non-motorized watercraft only). Hiking, biking and horse trails can also be found nearby.
To take full advantage of those bodies of water, you’re going to need some toys. we highly recommend AJ Motion Sports in Sandy (and so does nearly everyone — AJ has a 4.9/5 rating from 254 Google reviews). AJ Motion has the largest selection of rental stand-up paddleboards in Utah, plus kayaks and sit-down paddle boards if you want to mix it up. Plus they’ll come help you host larger/corporate events.
Lagoon is a local institution — because it’s what fun is™. Thrill-seekers will enjoy screaming their lungs out on Cannibal, Wicked or the pragmatically named Roller Coaster, which might be the most thrilling of them all because it feels so unsafe — don’t worry; it’s thoroughly inspected every day. More prudent visitors will enjoy tamer rides like Tidal Wave (giant swinging boat), Dinosaur Drop (40-foot tower fall), the aquatic playground Lagoon-A-Beach or the dozens of carnival games offered throughout the park.
If you want to show off your new swimsuit and still be within a ten-mile radius of a Café Rio, the Wasatch Front is loaded with formidable municipal pools. Here are some of our favorites:
1. North Shore Aquatics Center (N. Ogden): Outdoor pool, gorgeous mountain views and grass galore.
2. Lindon Aquatics Center: Lap pool, lazy river, pirate-themed kiddie pool and FlowRider.
3. Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center: Indoor & outdoor pools, splash zone, slides and high dives.
4. Orem Scera Park Pools: Deep-drop and serpentine slides, diving boards, splash pad, lazy river, shade, grass and concessions.
5. Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center: Three outdoor pool areas and three more inside. Retractable roof, indoor and outdoor water slides, 1000-gallon dumping bucket and three diving platforms in the dive tower pool.
Once the kids are comfortable at the pool, take swimming up a notch and spend the day at one of these waterparks.
1. Cherry Hill: Pirate’s Cove is a perfect place for kids to explore all day! Add water slides, pools, a lazy river and the Pie Pantry and you’ll find a little heaven on earth.
2. Seven Peaks Water Park: Purchase a Pass of All Passes for $24.99 and enjoy a summer of water park fun in Provo. Included in the pass is admission to The Lehi Fun Center, plus 100 attractions at 15 venues year-round.
3. Cowabunga Bay: With brightly-colored slides, lazy river, and kid's cove, this place is fun and crazy enough to keep everyone entertained all day long.
And if your plans don’t allow for all-day waterparking, splash pads are found virtually everywhere and many of them are free. View the ultimate list of Utah splash pads here.
The great outdoors are, well, great, but in this sweltering weather you sometimes just want to bask in the comfort of man-made air-conditioning. Might as well learn stuff while you’re at it.
1. Hill Aerospace Museum: Explore aircraft, missiles and military vehicles inside and out at this free museum.
2. Hogle Zoo: Keep the kids entertained all day long between the animals, rides and recent playground and splash pad additions.
3. Natural History Museum of Utah: Indoors and cool during hot summer days, NHMU has four levels of exhibits, interactive areas and hands-on exploration for kids and adults alike.
4. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium: Find Dory, Nemo, sharks, rays and more. It’s not cheap so go before your kids turn three and/or be glad you don’t have to pay Monterey Bay Aquarium (the one from Finding Dory) prices.
5. Clark Planetarium: Explore three floors of free interactive exhibits, plus catch spectacular (and informative) shows in the 3D IMAX theater or the dome theater.
A southern Utah / St. George vacation
Yes, it’s hot down there too. But we’ll argue that being hot atop Angels Landing is way better than being cool, in your living room, watching reruns of "The Office." Here’s what you should do in/near St. George:
1. Zion: Nuff said. Go on a weekday if you can.
2. Sand Hollow: This 20,000-acre playground has it all, from horseback riding to boating to off-roading. Recline on the sandy beaches and cultivate that famous St. George sunburn. Camping is available at Westside or Sandpit campground.
3. Snow Canyon: If not for the misfortune of being right next to Zion, Snow Canyon would be a national park. Enjoy the beautiful and diverse landscape, whether you’re running down a sand dune at full speed or wandering a cave formed by ancient lava flows.
4. St. George Children’s Museum: Let your kids man-handle every exhibit at the St. George Children’s Museum. Each room of the historic Dixie Academy has been converted into a place where kids can pretend to be adults by delivering imaginary mail, buying imaginary groceries, or paying imaginary bills. Thanks for the imaginary help, kids!
5. Tuacahn Center for the Arts: Have you ever wanted to see award-winning musicals while sitting under the stars at the mouth of Padre Canyon? You can at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts, which is the home of “Broadway in the Desert,” an arts organization that has performances of Disney musicals, touring bands and family-friendly comedians at their outdoor amphitheater.
Need a place to stay in St. George? Try Freedom Village, conveniently located near the St. George airport in the Washington Fields area. The village offers brand-new facilities and homes available for rent now — choose from two, three, or four-bedroom homes. Amenities in the village include a 2000 sq. ft pool, large spa, pickleball court, playground, exercise room and more. We’re not the only ones extolling the virtues of Freedom Village either — judging from its perfect five-star rating on 62 Google reviews. Book your trip today and use the code KSL10 at check out for a ten percent discount!
Summer is all about vacation, relaxation and self-care, but sometimes it’s about stressful trips with family members that have been cooped up in the basement together for too long. An alternative: Take a mini-vacation at a spa (or in a spa) and get the R&R you really need. Here are five of the best local spas:
1. True REST (Provo): Overstimulated? Try floating in a saline pool for 60 minutes. Float therapy is designed to release tension in every part of the body and mind.
2. Sego Lily (Bountiful, Layton, Midvale): Get a relaxing facial, stone massage, pedicure and more in a calming and soothing environment. Three locations along the Wasatch Front.
3. New Image Day Spa (Washington Terrace): Try their six-hour Spa Sampler and be pampered within an inch of your life. Treatments include exfoliation, massage, manicure and many other delightful therapies.
4. Therapeutix (Ogden): Release tension and find relief from chronic pain at Therapeutix. They provide treatments from deep tissue massage to foot scrubs.
5. Buying your own spa: We are now taking the “buy versus rent” debate to the world of hot tubs. Going to the spa is great, but doesn’t owning your own spa (or hot tub) sound grand? Active summer days at the reservoir or waterpark are hard on your body, and hot tubs can increase circulation and blood flow, relax muscles, and ease pain.
Take a Break, a leading spa distributor in Utah (4.9/5 rating on 99 Google reviews), can cater to any budget and need — they carry everything from entry-level used hot tubs to premium Jacuzzi brand hot tubs. Locations in American Fork, Springville, West Jordan and Spanish Fork (full-service center).
Well, that’s it folks. And you’re welcome. Hope we’ve provided you with enough options to protect you from boredom — and this blistering heat. Happy last days of summer! You can do it!