Travel to utah internationally

International Travel to Utah: Book It

By Kathleen Clove
January 11, 2024

Welcome to the land of sun, snow, rocks and rills … and a whole bunch of other stuff.

What do you want out of your vacation? To see sites you won’t find anywhere else? That’s Utah, with our red rock mountains, twisting rivers, narrow slot canyons and a salt water lake — just to name a few. Seeking warmth, or cold? Also Utah, with pink sand dunes baked in the summer sun and the finest powder in our snow-covered mountains. How about learning some ancient history? Utah’s first inhabitants go way back. As in, before humankind back. Find what you want to experience at the panoply of vacation spots in Utah — and be surprised by how much more you find.

Fill Every Minute

Some people take vacationing more seriously than their jobs. They want to know what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. Makes sense to us — you don’t want to miss out on the good stuff. If you’d rather do the enjoying than the planning, don’t give it another thought — we already did the work for you.

Experience Utah

Part of the fun of a vacation is absorbing new experiences — and having bragging rights when you get back to work on Monday. The only question is, which way are you gonna go? Nail-biting, relaxing, invigorating? 

Thrill Riding

Adrenaline junkies, unite.


You say you’re here to unwind — you’ll get no arguments from us.


Mother Nature took Utah and ran with it. 

  • Rocks: Ever wonder what it would look like if a rock melted? Step inside Timpanogos Cave to get an idea
  • Minerals: Salt of the earth isn’t just a compliment — see it coming out of the walls at the Redmond Real Salt Mine or visit the Great Salt Lake
  • Metals: Kennecott Copper Mine is a hole big enough to see from space
  • Gas: Utah has 24 parks certified international dark sky parks — stargazing at its finest
  • Water: Glen Canyon and Flaming Gorge dams are amazing human-made structures sitting in the midst of incredible nature-made ones. Take a look around, then head to the beach to dip your toes in the water, take out a paddleboard or fish while you’re there.


Like to go home a little smarter than when you arrived? Utah has a museum for that.

It’s All Downhill From Here

Let’s just say this: Utah knows how to do winter sports. Think we’re exaggerating? Ask the Olympians who train here — or any of the locals; they’ll agree, it doesn’t get better than this.

  • Skiing: oodles of slopes for both beginners and advanced skiers
  • Snowboarding: we like being called names — “snowboarding mecca,” “capital of snowboarding”
  • Cross-country skiing: take a walk in our woods, but on skis 
  • Heli skiing: start your ski run at the literal tippy top
  • Kite skiing: shredding in a whole different universe
  • Snowmobiling: literally dashing through the snow
  • Snowshoeing: walking in the winter wonderland
  • Tubing: soar (and scream) down a mountain with only a tube to hold on to
  • Curling: take a lesson at the 2002 Winter Olympics Oval
  • Ice skating: skate on the “Fastest Ice on Earth”

Frolicking in the mountains does take a bit of stamina — there’s less air up there — so allow yourself a few days to settle in. 

Getting There

Utah’s public transportation service can get you to many of the slopes, or you can hire one of the popular ride services. There are several outfitters and guides that can take you on your winter adventure, too. If you’ll be renting a car and going it alone, make yourself familiar with driving in the snow. Main roads and freeways are generally plowed quickly following a storm, but a little extra precaution is always a good idea.

Concrete Attractions

Even if you’re not that into nature — at least not for the entire vacation — there’s still plenty to do. There are several major shopping centers spread across the Salt Lake Valley, including two in downtown Salt Lake City: City Creek and The Gateway. Head a few miles south to Gardner Village, in West Jordan, for specialty shops and restaurants in a historic flour mill. 

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Utah, United States, may be Temple Square, with its towering, neo-Gothic temple and 21,000-seat conference center. Guides can tell you a bit of history about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and how the structures came to be. You may even catch the world-renowned Tabernacle Choir while you’re there. 

Fun Day

Need to give the kids a break? OK, maybe it’s the adults. Either way, amusement parks in Utah offer a family friendly diversion. In Provo, just 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of Salt Lake, you can soar down waterslides at Splash Summit, the largest water park in the state. Or head north to Farmington (about 16 miles, or 25 km) to Lagoon, home of colossal roller coasters, kiddie rides, a merry-go-round and all the carnival food you can eat.


If your taste is a bit more refined, no worries. We have plenty of fancy arts all around the state, too. Attend an art festival, or see pieces at the Southern Utah Museum of Art, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Prefer performing arts? Attend a ballet, a symphony or an opera. We have several professional live theaters, too. There’s Broadway in the desert and a festival devoted to Shakespeare in southern Utah; a stage dedicated to musicals in Logan; and several other genres in between. 

Prone to Wander

Sounds nice, Utah, but what else do you have? We’re so glad you asked. How about goofy hoodoos, bison and wild horses and coral-colored sand dunes? We have dozens of state parks, with creatures and characteristics you don’t see every day — unless you stay over for a few nights. 

Do I Need a Car?

Utah has public transit around the Salt Lake Valley, but if you’d like to see more of the state, consider renting a car or RV. We’re home to eight national and 18 state scenic byways — roads that were made for gawking. 

Take, for instance, Highway 12 in southern Utah, designated an All-American Road and one of the most scenic in the entire country. Not only is the landscape unparalleled — it takes in two national parks and a palette of pretty views in between — you’ll go under two arches that span the road. Take a quick picture to prove you know how to drive through a wall of rock.

Land of Sweets

Is it wrong to plan your vacation around dessert? We don’t think so. In fact, we highly encourage it; if you want to live like the locals, you should definitely eat like one. Utahns love their ice cream — per capita, we devour more than most other states — and once you try some from the hand-churned, small batches made at local shops, you’ll understand why. 

In Bountiful, Blacksmith’s Ice Cream uses local ingredients to make flavors such as Fresh Raspberry and Chewy Gooey Buttercake. Just a few blocks away, Nielsen’s Frozen Custard makes the creamiest, most ethereal treat you ever laid your tongue on. It’s like ice cream, only richer, creamier and smoother … Uh, we’ll be right back.

While there’s no Little Italy in Salt Lake City, the gelato at Capo Gelateria Italiana and Sweetaly Gelato would be the stars there. Fresh flavors made daily in little shops — bene!

Fizzy Eyed

Another favorite? Utahns have a thing for effervescent beverages, aka soda pop, soft drinks, the bubbly. Well, our version of bubbly. We have pop shops named Fizz, Swig, Soda Crazy, Sugar Rush, Sodalicious — you get the idea. Stop by one for a mystical concoction of sugary syrup and carbonation.

Travel Tips

When is the best time to travel to Utah? 

There are activities to do in Utah year-round, so deciding when to visit depends on what you’re up for — and whether you mind crowds. For skiing and other winter sports, there’s usually plenty of fresh powder from mid-December to late March. Slopes are most congested on weekends and holidays, but weekdays are typically wide open.

For visiting the national parks, summer is the busiest — and hottest — time of year in Utah. You may prefer vacationing in the spring or fall, when crowds are fewer and temperatures are milder.

What airports serve Utah?

Depending on where you plan to visit, there are two international airports to choose from. If you’re heading to the northern portion of the state, we suggest Salt Lake International in Salt Lake City. If you’re going to the national parks in southernmost Utah, Harry Reid International in Las Vegas is closer. Several regional airports also dot the state, which may put you nearer your final destination.

What clothes to pack for Utah?

Southern Utah has mild winters but extremely hot (100+ degrees Fahrenheit) summers, so pack light clothing and plenty of sunscreen along with your hiking shoes.

In northern Utah, early spring (March) and late fall (October) can feel cool, with highs only reaching 50 degrees Fahrenheit. But by May, the temps jump to near 70 degrees. Bring a light jacket or sweater to keep you comfortable for an outdoor concert or walk to a restaurant during the evening. By mid-July, temperatures are in the upper 90s.

Winter weather can feel frigid, with lows near freezing and several inches of snow. You’ll need a warm coat if you’ll be visiting from December to March. Pack winter boots, too, if you’ll be walking anywhere beyond city sidewalks.

What’s the time zone for Salt Lake City?

Utah is in the Mountain Time Zone, one hour later than Los Angeles, two hours earlier than New York City.

Can you drink alcohol in Utah?

Although the state may have a reputation as a teetotaler, you can still get a drink around here. Many restaurants offer a bar service, and there are numerous pubs, as well. Wine and other spirits may also be purchased at official State Liquor Stores located across much of the state. The law does require you to be at least 21 years old to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages in Utah — and you’ll need a government-issued photo ID to prove it.

Start Your Itinerary

Whether you believe a trip should have a detailed agenda or you’re more inclined to take it one day at a time, we’ll help you find the best vacation spots in Utah. But we’re leaving the tough part up to you — deciding what to do first. Get out your planner, or a napkin, and mastermind a trip. Whichever way you want it.