Destination fresh fruit: Four road trips in search of Utah's best produce

By Allison Laypath

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

Capitol Reef National Park maintains and protects the remains of the town of Fruita, Wayne County, and its historic orchards. Visitors to the park are welcome to harvest their own cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, pears, apples, almonds and walnuts in season. The harvest season runs from early June through mid-October each year. Visitors can consume ripe fruit for free inside unlocked orchards and purchase any fruit they would like to take home.

Capitol Reef's entrance fee is $5 per vehicle for seven days, making this trip one of the best bargain vacations in Utah. In addition to historic orchards, Capitol Reef has beautiful scenery, great hiking, unique geology, petroglyphs and dinosaur fossils. The town of Torrey is situated near the park's entrance and it offers a nice selection of well-known hotels and good local restaurants. Goblin Valley State Park is about an hour drive from Capitol Reef and should not be missed. The knobby sandstone "goblins" that stretch for miles in this park make it a wonderland for imaginative children and adults.

Green River watermelons

There is something special about the city Green River, in Emery County, that provides sweet watermelons. It probably has something to do with the combination of hot days, cool nights and plenty of river water. You could wait for these watermelons to appear at local grocery stores and farmers markets, or you could go to the source and find adventure in the process. Melons of all varieties can be found at Melon Days, Sept. 14-15, or stock up on your favorites at a roadside stand.

Green River is centrally located for some of Utah's best outdoor adventures. Book a whitewater rafting trip, ride world-class mountain biking and off-road vehicle trails, or hike through Arches and Canyonlands National Park. Two top-notch state parks are located less than an hour from Green River: Goblin Valley to the west and Dead Horse Point to the south.

Dinosaur fanatics will find a lot to love about Green River. The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is a few miles to the north, and several other cool dinosaur sites — such as the Mill Canyon Trail near Arches National Park — are scattered throughout the area.

Allison Laypath is an expert on family travel and author of the family travel blog tipsforfamilytrips.com. With her family, Allison especially enjoys road trips, national parks and local field trips. Email Allison at allison@tipsforfamilytrips.com.