Utah Weekend Winter Getaways

Best Utah Getaways to Avoid Cabin Fever

By Kathleen Clove
December 11, 2023

Feeling trapped? Climbing the walls? Puzzled out? We have the cure.

There are only so many indoor activities you can do with your kids. Once you’ve made dozens of popsicle stick cabins, cut 200 snowflakes, woven enough friendship bracelets for the entire neighborhood and painted the equivalent of the Sistine Chapel, you need to get out. What did sunshine feel like, anyway? “Help, Utah.com!” you cry. “What are the best winter getaways near me?” We hear you, parents, we hear you.


If it takes a village to give a child a memorable winter weekend getaway in Utah, Springdale is it. It is literally the gateway to Zion National Park, so there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to keep them running wild — or at least, in the wild.

What to Do

While winter means slushy streets and snow-covered (or soggy) lawns in northern Utah, the southernmost part of the state stays relatively dry. That means you can do all the things you love to do in the summer around Springdale, Utah, without the intense heat.

  • Go for an easy mountain bike ride on Jem Trail in nearby Hurricane
  • Try horseback riding — without the flies! 
  • Take in a concert featuring local bands at the Bumbleberry Inn
  • Stargaze in Zion — a certified International Dark Sky Place — on your own or with a guide

Don’t forget to make time for trinket shopping to prove they had the Best. Weekend. Ever. It’s a tourist town, so there are more souvenir shops than you can shake a dollar at. Pick up something different for everyone on your stroll down the main thoroughfare: T-shirts, keychains, stickers, baked goods, lawn art, crystals and candy.

Where to Stay

There are several family friendly Springdale, Utah, hotels, with whatever amenities you fancy. Cable Mountain Lodge, for instance, has suites large enough for your clan to spread out, as well as kitchenettes for prepping small meals and late-night snacks. All of the local hotel swimming pools are closed from November through March, but most have hot tubs that may satisfy little dippers.

Where to Eat

If your kids are unwilling to be adventurous with their meals, try the Whiptail Grill for some familiar Mexican food. They can have a quesadilla while you dig into the Famous Goat Cheese Chili Relleno, Sweet Pork Tacos or Spaghetti Squash Enchiladas. It’s housed in a converted garage, although the only grease stains you’ll find are on your shirt.


Just over three hours from Salt Lake City (about five from Las Vegas), the tiny town of Torrey, Utah, sits just outside Capitol Reef National Park. The rocks may have a dusting of snow, but the air is clear. Expect temperatures to be in the 40-degree Fahrenheit range, which sounds pretty good compared to a hazy 25 in the city. The park is open year-round, and during the winter, you’ll have more of the picturesque landscape to yourself.

What to Do

Get outside and see some nature, on foot or from the comfort of your vehicle.

  • Hike Hickman Bridge and Capitol Gorge, both easy-to-moderate climbs for the entire family; try the Cassidy Arch Trail with older kids
  • Visit The Torrey Gallery to see works created by Utah artists: sculptures, photography, paintings and intricate Navajo rugs, all housed in a pioneer-era house
  • Go horseback riding: Live like a cowboy — at least for a couple of hours
  • Drive part of Scenic Highway 12 (or follow it all the way to Bryce Canyon National Park)

Where to Stay

Comfortable accommodations can make or break your weekend trip. If your kids need to eschew the indoors altogether (or you’re on a tight budget), bring your camper and stay at the Wonderland RV Park, the closest you can get to Capitol Reef. 

If that’s a little too much nature, head over to Cougar Ridge Lodge. You’ll appreciate the large suites, and the kids can burn off their second wind at the bowling alley, driving simulator room or shooting gallery.

Where to Eat

Fewer visitors means many of the restaurants are closed for the season, but there are still a couple of not-too-shabby options. Rock Garden Eatery, in the Red Sands Hotel, has a breakfast and dinner menu. The latter includes savory options: Philly cheesesteak and burgers. The Pioneer Kitchen, at the Capitol Reef Resort, leans toward comfort foods such as pot pie, pork chops and grilled trout.


Just a scenic highway away from Torrey is the hamlet of Escalante, nestled outside the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. That’s a backyard of 1.7 million acres of desert scenery and a few arches, waterfalls and hoodoos. The temps are a bit milder here than the similar Bryce Canyon, but you may still see a sprinkling of snow. Like a gently dusted powdered donut, not the lungful that causes hacking after a single bite. But we heartily recommend 4WD, as the roads can be extremely muddy — and possibly impassable — when wet.

What to Do

See what all the hype (and ongoing conversation) is all about at the newest monument in Utah.

  • Explore Grand Staircase: See hoodoos in Devils Garden or a waterfall at Lower Calf Creek Falls
  • Act like a tree and stand perfectly still at the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park for a really long time. Or since you only have a weekend, yell, “Hey, look at this!” when you see the most amazing petrified wood in the world
  • Learn about early settlers at the Heritage Center

Where to Stay

You could stay in a hotel or cabin and be perfectly comfortable. But the chance to stay in a yurt? C’mon, do you even need to ask? Escalante Yurts has king-size beds, pull-out couches, kitchenettes and grills. Yeah, the kids are gonna need to step up their pillow fort game once they get home.

Where to Eat

Escalante Outfitters serves gourmet pizzas and ginormous sandwiches if you’re looking for fancy-ish. Try Nemo’s Drive Thru for diner fare: burgers, English fish and chips, thick shakes and golden onion rings.

Green River

What’s not to see near Green River, Utah? The city is a perfect base camp, as it’s pretty close to just about all of Utah’s natural wonders. But you’ll find plenty of things to do with kids right there, too. And at an elevation of 4,000 feet, winter daytime high temps are usually in the low to upper 40s in January and February, making it a nice place to hang out.

What to Do

What’s not to do in Green River? See it, play it, feel it.

  • Play a round of disc golf at the Green River Golf Course: 18 holes that are challenging for pros, but still fun for novices
  • See dinosaurs that once trounced and boats that once bounced along the river (sadly, not at the same time) at the John Wesley Powell Museum
  • Have a beach day. Maybe not the swimsuit kind, but you can still squish your toes into the white sand at Swasey’s Beach
  • Try to see one of the world’s few cold water geysers. We say try because it’s not exactly predictable, but Crystal Geyser is impressive when it does blow. Eruptions range from 2 to 80 feet in height and happen 17 to 27 hours apart. If you have some time, it’s worth a shot.
  • Explore the geological marvel known as the San Rafael Swell. Home to arches, cliffs, slot canyons and rock art, it’s way better than swell. San Rafael Majestic, perhaps?

Where to Stay

There are a few campgrounds around town if you want to rough it. Green River State Park has full hookups for RVs, as well as cabins, with lots of grass for running around. There are some national chain and local hotels in town, as well.

Where to Eat

Gaze out huge picture windows as you crunch Coconut Crusted Tilapia and contemplate the day’s adventures at Tamarisk. The family restaurant has been around for close to 50 years, right on the banks of the Green River. For a quick meal, try Tacos La Pasadita. Order grilled burritos, tacos and other specialties at the food truck, then head inside the adjacent colorful building to eat it.

Walkin’ in a Winter Weekend Land

Goodbye atrophied muscles and deep sighs. So long pasty skin and malaise. A winter weekend getaway in Utah is sure to cure your cabin fever and revive your will to live until spring break. Now get out there. Unless you want to build another paper mache snowman.