As we come close to the middle of the summer travel season, people ask me on occasion for suggestions on where to travel and what to do.

Generally, unless it's a specific activity they're after, I suggest their first stop should be the bookstore in the old Council Hall historic building south of the Capitol.

It is a supermarket for travel ideals and destinations. And, in many cases, the sources are free.

The Utah Travel Guide, for example, is free for the asking and is a whole library of travel information.

The area that always attracts my attention is the one on scenic places, which starts with Utah's national parks and recreation areas.

My personal favorites are Zion, Bryce and Glen canyons or Lake Powell. Information includes some of the scenic wonders, suggested tours, accommodations and phone numbers.

With the exception of Golden Spike and Timpanogos Cave, the remainder are located in the southern half of the state.

The expense for some getting to these parks can be offset a little by camping instead of renting rooms, cooking over a camp stove and limiting souvenir buys for friends.

Another section deals with the 42 state parks. My favorites are Antelope Island, Wasatch, Dead Horse Point, Snow Canyon and the Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal.

The Uinta Basin is an extremely interesting area, and the field house or museum is full of fascinating facts and displays.

Take, for example, the fact that the basin is one of the few places where the world's entire history is exposed, starting with the newest formations and going back to the Precambrian Era, which dates, some believe, to when the world was first formed — 4.5 billion years ago.

The museum is intended to be the educational arm of an historical adventure, and it starts with a 90-foot-tall diplodocus skeleton in the main rotunda.

The guide goes on to give information on designated wilderness areas, scenic drives, places to enjoy water activities, recommended hikes and backcountry adventures, a list of Utah's golf courses and a guide to guides and tour operators who are very familiar with travel opportunities.

Other sources are the one-page — back and front — sheets that are free and spotlight things to do in Utah.

One is a "Must See" list, which includes many of my favorites, some already mentioned, along with This is The Place Heritage Park, north of Hogle Zoo, which delves into Utah's pioneer heritage in both buildings and lifestyle.

Another, called "Cowboy," not only lists dates and places for rodeos, but it gives a list of popular dude ranches scattered around the state.

One called "Kids" lists popular stops for the younger family members. These would include the zoo, a planetarium, museums and fun centers, such as those at Snowbird, Park City Mountain Resort and Lagoon.

Others include "Bike," "Golf," "Destination Spa," "Dinosaur," "Off Road" and "Olympic Legacy," which pinpoints the 2002 Olympic sites that are still open and offering activities,

Even today, I like to tour the Utah Olympic Park and in particular watch the freestyle aerialists twist and turn and flip into the training pool, stand atop the 120-meter jump to experience the view Olympians had of the run down and tour the Olympic and ski museum.

As I said, before making any travel plans over the rest of summer and fall, I suggest stopping by the book store and talking with manager Alana Robison. The address is 300 N. State, and the phone number is 801-538-1398.


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