Summer is just around the corner and planning a vacation or getaway doesn't necessarily need to expensive or far away. Salt Lake City was fourth on WalletHub's survey of best cities for a staycation in 2016, ranking second overall in the recreation category, which looked at the number of different sports and outdoors opportunities in the area.
With a little creativity, it’s not hard to put together a fun and affordable vacation right here in the state of Utah.
The staycation: A staycation is taking a vacation at home or nearby. Taking it literally, you don’t even need to leave the house. Take vacation time, clear your schedule for a few days and stock up on your favorite comfort foods. Then do whatever it is you enjoy most: read a book, do a puzzle, play board games, build a blanket fort. Just make sure you order some delivery or take-out so the regular chef of the household can have a vacation as well. By the end of the vacation, you’ll be much more rejuvenated than your jetlagged neighbors who trekked around Europe for a week.
Become a tourist in your own city: Marcel Proust once said that "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." A lot of people can live in the same place for years without ever experiencing some of its most popular tourist attractions. If that describes you, then it’s time to see your city in a whole new way: as a tourist. Whether staying at home or in a local hotel, fill each day exploring all the things that you’ve regularly driven past and thought, “I should really check that out someday.” There are museums, historic sites, guided tours or sporting events.
See visitutah.com for information about local attractions. Also, saltlakecitytours.org has information about guided tours in Salt Lake City. For self-guided tours in Ogden, see visitogden.com/things-to-do/walkingtour/.
Take over a stranger’s house: If you’re a busy-body who can’t manage to spend time in your own house without getting distracted by cleaning and home repairs, then your staycation might work better in someone else’s house. Websites such as VRBO.com and Airbnb.com make it easy to find a place to rent locally to meet your needs. Consider renting a larger luxury house with a pool and theater room and splitting the cost with family and/or friends who you would want to join your vacation experience.
Do the National Parks of Utah tour: Utah has five national parks — Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Capitol Reef and Zion national parks, which in 2016 received over 10 million visitors, according to the National Parks Service visitor use statistics at irma.nps.gov/Stats. For the more adventurous, trying to hit all five parks within one vacation can be a rewarding, albeit exhausting, trip.
According to Google Maps, you can drive through all five national parks within six hours, so you could theoretically hike Delicate Arch and Angel’s Landing in one day, but you’re going to want to slow down and enjoy at least a little time in each park.
Spread them out over a three-day weekend or do one park per day if you have a whole week. Consider renting a recreational vehicle, which for four days is cheaper than roundtrip airfare for a family of four to Los Angeles, according to prices listed on Cruise America and Travelocity.
Retreat to the mountains: Utah's ski resorts gets a lot of love for their winter sports offerings, but they can also be great summer vacation destinations. Resorts suchs Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird and Sundance offer a variety of summer activities like alpine slides, zip lines, climbing, frisbee-golf, mountain biking and more.
Summer camp, for families: If you want a summer camp-type experience for your whole family, then you’ll want to check out Aspen Grove (see aspengrove.byu.edu). The camp, which is affiliated with Brigham Young University, offers week-long packages for families that includes lodging, food and a whole lot of activities for those of all ages ranging from arts and craft for the kids to paintball for teens and adults. The camp has an impressive 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor. Availability fills up quickly, so be sure to book a spot early.