There’s no doubt that Utah is one of the most beautiful states in the US. These fabulous day trips from Salt Lake City are proof of that!
While Utah may be renowned for its five national parks, there are many places beyond them! And, of course, there are many things to do in Salt Lake City, but it is worth taking some day trips if you have extra time!
This Salt Lake City day trips guide will detail some of our top picks for places to visit near Salt Lake City.
We list cities, nature, parks, and more! Please let us know what you think the best day trips from Salt Lake City are so that we can check them out and that others can add them to their Salt Lake City itinerary!
In this post...
Places to Visit Near Salt Lake City Map
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Salt Lake City Day Trips (Within 2 Hours)
Bonneville Salt Flats
Distance from Salt Lake City: 124 miles (1 hour 50 minutes)
West of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, you will find the otherworldly Bonneville Salt Flats. They span over a vast area and are just plain unique (in a good way)!
The flats can easily be seen as you venture from Salt Lake City, Utah to Wendover, Nevada. On very hot days, the heat will rise over this salty Earth and create mirage-like images that will make you feel like you’ve landed on another planet.
The Bureau of Land Management maintains and administers the Bonneville Salt Flats but you can definitely visit them independently and see them with your own eyes. Just be careful to visit them at the right time and not when rain has fallen or it is a mess and they are not able to be driven on.
Summer temperatures are in excess of 100F and winter can be below freezing. The Bonneville Salt Flats are definitely one of the best day trips from Salt Lake City for nature lovers.
Distance from Salt Lake City: 38 miles (37 minutes)
Ogden was the first settlement in Utah and it is located a little over a half-hour north of Salt Lake City. This Utah city is known for skiing, adventure sports, shopping, bustling nightlife, and great dining options. There are also plenty of cultural museums and historical sights in the city.
The Peery Egyptian Theater is considering the only ‘Movie Palace’ in all of Utah and it is located in Ogden. Other popular places to visit on this Salt Lake City day trip are The Treehouse Children’s Museum and George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park, both of which are great for children.
In summer, Ogden turns into a mountain biking and hiking paradise. During the winter, it transforms into a downhill skiing and snowmobiling hub.
Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Wolf Mountain Resorts are all located within the vicinity of Ogden and are worthwhile if you’re into winter sports.
Sundance Mountain Resort
Distance from Salt Lake City: 51 miles (56 minutes)
Located merely 13 miles north of Provo, Sundance Mountain Resort is located very close to Salt Lake City and is a fantastic day trip for those that love nature and adventure.
The area currently known as Sundance Mountain Resort in the North Fork Canyon was initially surveyed in the mid-1800s. Today, it has been transformed into a winter sports paradise but also has a lot of things to do during the summer months.
Sundance Mountain Resort has opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, night skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing during the winter.
During summer, you can go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or world-class fly fishing on the Provo River (you can do this year-round).
While visiting Sundance can be done as a day trip from Salt Lake City, you can certainly opt to make a weekend trip of it! There is plenty of accommodation from cabins to lofts and more.
Crystal Hot Springs
Distance from Salt Lake City: 69 miles (1 hour 3 minutes)
Crystal Hot Springs is located about 12 miles north of Brigham City in the quaint town of Honeyville, Utah. Today, Crystal Hot Springs is a popular destination in Utah for families and travelers alike and you will be greeted by many pools that you can relax in.
The Utah hot springs destination offers a large soaking pool two smaller hot tub type pools with water jets, and more! You will also find a medium-sized swimming pool, water slide, and an Olympic-sized pool that is only open during the summer months.
Crystal Hot Springs is merely an hour away from Salt Lake City, making it an accessible and easy day trip from SLC.
Distance from Salt Lake City: 21 miles (26 minutes)
Hidden Falls is a roadside attraction in Utah and can be seen by anyone cruising Big Cottonwood Canyon on a sunny afternoon!
The Falls are within walking distance of the parking lot and you really only need 15 minutes to visit them, meaning they are a perfect attraction to combine with something else locally!
The path to Hidden Falls is easy and suitable for any skill level. Navigating the route is easy and it is well marked at Big Cottonwood Canyon. No dogs are permitted along the trail and at Big Cottonwood, however.
Distance from Salt Lake City: 51 miles (58 minutes)
Eden is a small resort town in the magnificent Ogden Valley, nestled between Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Wolf Mountain, and the Pineview Reservoir along the Ogden River. Eden is a year-round adventure haven!
You will find world-class skiing from cross-country to downhill as well as snowshoeing and snowboarding opportunities.
During the summer, mountain biking, hiking, paddleboard yoga, and more are activities that make Eden popular amongst visitors.
Eden is the home of Powder Mountain Ski Resort and Wolf Creek Ski Resort (locals still sometimes refer to it as ‘Nordic Valley Ski Resort’).
Another reason to visit Eden on a Salt Lake City day trip is that the historic downtown has charming buildings from the 19th-century that were constructed by the original 15 families to the settlement.
Distance from Salt Lake City: 45 miles (44 minutes)
Provo is located about 45 minutes south of Salt Lake City and within an easy and quick drive from the Utah capital. It is the third-largest city in Utah and the metro area consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the United States.
One of the best reasons to visit Provo is that it acts as a gateway to the rest of Utah’s south and is a great launchpad for visiting many national parks and the canyon country. It is bounded by mountain peaks to the east and the lake to the west.
Provo may not be on the radar of many, but if you’re looking for a change-up from Salt Lake City, definitely head there and check it out on a day trip.
Distance from Salt Lake City: 32 miles (43 minutes)
Park City is one of the most famous places to visit in Utah and it is located in Summit County. The summer offers many mountain adventures from hiking to horseback riding to mountain biking.
However, Park City is known for winter sports and it is one of the winter sports capitals of the United States!
During winter, Park City turns into a mountain skiing hub and you’ll find famed resorts like Deer Valley and Park City Mountain there, both attracting skiers from all over the nation (and world)!
While visiting Park City from Salt Lake City is easy, you may want to opt to stay overnight to enjoy the luxury lodges, cabins, and condos available for rent.
Great Salt Lake
Distance from Salt Lake City: 19 miles (20 minutes)
The Great Salt Lake is located in the northern part of Utah just a stone’s throw away from Salt Lake City. The Great Salt Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi and its name reflects just how salty it is!
The Great Salt Lake is super salty because it doesn’t have an outlet. The lake and its islands offer residents and visitors the opportunity to kayak, float, go birdwatching, hiking, and biking.
The lake is too salty for fish or other aquatic creatures to live in but the lake is such an essential part of the local ecosystem because there are extensive wetlands around it where brine flies and shrimp breed.
Salt Lake City Day Trips (2-3 Hours)
Distance from Salt Lake City: 133 miles (2 hours 9 minutes)
While Kemmerer, Wyoming may not be on the Western and Wyoming bucket list for many, it definitely is a worthwhile SLC day trip if you’re into history.
John C. Fremont discovered coal in the area during his expedition in 1843 and shortly after, the Union Pacific Coal Company opened a mine there right after the construction and opening up the Oregon Short Line Railroad.
The town of Kemmerer is small and cute, but the surrounding area is what really makes it great. The Fossil Butte National Monument is located about 15 miles west of the town and you can also see some remnants and history from the Oregon Trail nearby (the trail passed through this part of southwest Wyoming).
While this may not be the most exciting of day trips, it certainly is a fantastic option for those wanting to get beyond the Utah borders and explore something new… and historical!
Antelope Island State Park
Distance from Salt Lake City: 59 miles (2 hours 2 minutes)
Antelope Island State Park is an area of 42 square miles that is the largest of the ten islands that are located on the Great Salt Lake. It is actually a designated Utah state park and stands protected as such.
Antelope Island State Park is open year-round for visitors and has a marina, beach, campground, and plenty of hiking trails. You can also find a swimming area and picnic facilities near Bridger Bay on the northwestern end of the island.
Some of the other popular things to do in Antelope Island State Park are to visit the historic Fielding Garr Ranch, go horseback riding, and take plenty of photos.
Lava Hot Springs (Idaho)
Distance from Salt Lake City: 148 miles (2 hours 14 minutes)
Lava Hot Springs offers something to guests 365 days per year. This means that in every season, the visitors are able to find interesting and fun things to do!
During the summer months, rental tube shops offer one, two, or four-person tubes for floating. Apart from floating, swimming pools are also popular.
The Olympic-sized swimming pool has water slides, a splash pad, and high diving platforms. There are also indoor and outdoor pools.
Many people visit Lava Hot Springs to go hiking. There are also ziplines and other fantastic things to do there.
Lava Hot Springs is located about 2 hours north of Salt Lake City (and only 3 hours south of Yellowstone National Park)… making it an ideal day trip for families and those wanting an Idaho getaway.
Fishlake National Forest
Distance from Salt Lake City: 167 miles (2 hours 46 minutes)
Fishlake National Forest is a designated national forest in central Utah that offers majestic forests of Aspen and open mountain meadows that offer a variety of grass and flora. Many people consider Fishlake to be the gem of Utah, and rightfully so!
The largest natural mountain lake in Utah is inside of Fishlake National Forest and offers trophy fishing and birdwatching opportunities. The forest and its rivers and sources of water supply the neighboring communities and agricultural valleys of the region.
Some popular things to do in Fishlake National Forest are hiking, mountain biking, and visiting the lake and its marinas. There are also restaurants, developed campgrounds, and plenty of rustic accommodation in the area.
Distance from Salt Lake City: 123 miles (2 hours 16 minutes)
Bear Lake is located on the border of Utah and Idaho, just north of the town of Logan, Utah, and a couple of hours north of Salt Lake City.
This is one of the most underrated day trips from Salt Lake City, in our opinion as it definitely doesn’t receive the number of visitors that it should!
This gorgeous lake has a beautiful marina with paved boat ramps and slips. Bear Lake is ideal for swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, water skiing, and more!
You will also find plenty of accommodation in the area if you choose to make this a weekend trip from Salt Lake City instead of just a day trip.
Weekend Getaways from Salt Lake City (Over 3 Hours)
For me, a day trip is a long drive because I’m American and everything is so spread out! However, living in Germany, I would not necessarily consider anything over 3 hours a day trip, but rather a weekend trip.
These places can be visited as a day trip if you don’t mind a lot of driving, or as a wonderful overnighter and weekend getaway from Salt Lake City. They are all extremely worthwhile destinations!
Dinosaur National Monument (Colorado and Utah)
Distance from Salt Lake City: 187 miles (3 hours 13 minutes)
Dinosaur National Monument is a must-visit if you’re in Utah or Colorado and while it is best visited as a weekend trip from Salt Lake City because there are some awesome campgrounds, you can still ‘technically’ visit as a day trip if you wish.
At Dinosaur, you can see dinosaur remains embedded in the rocks. There are also petroglyphs that will take you back to ancient times.
Today, you can visit all of these sights plus enjoy the beautiful desert and untamed rivers that flow through the region’s deep canyons. This is the perfect place to visit with children, especially if they are interested in seeing over 1,500 dinosaur fossils in one place!
Other activities you can do at Dinosaur National Monument are river rafting, camping, hiking, and more. The national area covers over 210,000 acres. It is also a great stop on a road trip from Colorado to California and many other states!
There are so many fun and fantastic day trips from Salt Lake City and we hope we showcased some of the best. If you have any suggestions of the best Salt Lake City day trips (and Salt Lake City weekend getaways!), please leave a comment below.
Best Places to Stay in Salt Lake City
If you are looking for the best accommodation in Salt Lake City, the following hotels are highly recommended and great options!
- Hyatt Place Salt Lake City Downtown
- Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City (design hotel)
- Little America Hotel Salt Lake City
- Grand America Hotel (5-star luxury)
Additional Utah Travel Resources
you might be interested in our other Utah national parks and attraction guides below:
- Bonneville Salt Flats travel guide
- Things to do in Capitol Reef National Park
- One day in Salt Lake City
- Best Airbnbs and Cabins near Capitol Reef
- Arches National Park in winter
- Bryce Canyon NP during winter
- One day in Bryce Canyon itinerary
- Zion National Park in winter
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