If you’re looking for a quick, rustic getaway, packaged for the whole family and wrapped up in one mountain-town bow, then head up to Logan, Utah, where the rugged olden days never quite ended.
A true Americana dream, Cache County offers it all: In a two-day weekend, you might find yourself drinking in dramatic views of lush, green canyon; floating down a babbling river; wading in a cool-blue lake; diving down rocky mountain trails; and sipping on raspberry shakes long into the night. Logan is nestled in the middle of all that, a destination that will keep you and your family moving, smiling, soaking up every moment of the weekend. But where do you begin? So glad you asked…
Lunch: 1 hour
Arrive in Logan and grab lunch here. Tandoori Oven is a longstanding Logan favorite, but you won’t see it on many travel brochures. Nicely protected from outsiders (except for you!) inside a gas station (I know, but trust me on this one), it’s run by some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and serves some of the best Indian food you can find in this hemisphere. Pro tip: Pick up some authentic Indian spices on the racks inside the gas station portion of the building to take home.
Canyon Drive: 1 hour
Give yourself about an hour for lunch and then drive a short 2.5 miles to the base of Logan Canyon for the scenic drive of your life. If you’re lucky enough to do this during the fall (late September–early October), you’ll experience rich, vibrant autumn colors that only Mother Nature herself could dream up. Pair them with the babbling brook running alongside the highway and sharp, marbled rock faces and you’ll be wondering what your screen saver is doing outside your car window.
Bear Lake: 4 hours
It takes about an hour to go all the way up the canyon, and the drive drops you off at your next stop. Sometimes called the Caribbean of the Rockies, Bear Lake is a stunning, 20-mile turquoise-blue lake, couched in the middle of a charming small town. Spend the day boating on the water, playing on the beach, and definitely grabbing a raspberry shake from Home Town. You’re going to see a lot of places touting the world’s best raspberry shake, but Home Town is where you want to go.
Dinner and Glamping: The rest of the evening
Close out day 1 with a campfire dinner and rustic s’mores at Campfire Grill Restaurant, then head up to Conestoga Ranch to “camp” like a pioneer rock star. Charming covered wagons and large, heated tents dot the valley of this plug-n-play campsite. It’s all the outdoors goodness with none of the work. You can choose from grand, traditional, royal tents; or go full-blast-pioneer in a Conestoga wagon. All choices come with plush beds and running water, so you can get the sand out of the hard-to-reach spots before you dive into your fresh sheets.
Arise from your pilgrim paradise, make the kids brush their teeth and set off for Day Two and the return home.
Drive and Lunch: 2 hours
Depending on your route home, you may choose your own adventure by opting for a picnic at Willard Bay State Park or Hyrum State Park. Both are beautiful. Both offer the fresh air your carload will need. And both give your kids — and you — the chance to stretch those legs.
At Willard Bay, you can expect to picnic bayside beneath tall cottonwood trees and maybe a soaring bald eagle or two. Definitely pack the binoculars for this one, because Willard Bay is a wildlife-watching goldmine.
Should you select Hyrum State Park for your picnicking pleasure, you’ll find yourselves lunching under shady oak trees bursting with color, listening to the soft serenade of a nearby stream.
Historic sites: 2 hours
Drive about 50 minutes from your lunch spot to the Historical 25th Street in Ogden. Fill your senses with art museums, local cafes and shopping, sneaking a few quick snacks while you’re taking it all in.
Before you head out, swing by Golden Spike National Historic Site to celebrate and learn about the first transcontinental railroad that ran right through Ogden, Utah. Rumor has it that Al Capone stopped briefly in Ogden and declared it “too wild” for him. The town has calmed down since then, but if you look closely enough you can still see traces of the old West in its streets.
Wherever you came from, you won’t soon forget the beauty of two days well spent in northern Utah. Head home. Unless you’d rather stay and start job- and apartment-hunting…