Utah is home to some of the most incredible landscapes in the country, in our opinion. From epic mountains to incredible canyons, Utah has all of it. Utah is also home to one of the largest ski resorts in the world, Park City, as well as Bryce and Zion canyon. To say Utah is an adventurer’s dream would be an understatement.
The Ski Resorts offer luxury accommodations, often, right at the mountain’s edge. Park City/Deer Valley area is home to a number of luxury hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria, St. Regis Deer Valley and Montage Deer Valley. For a ski-in-ski-out experience in Park City, we’d recommend the Hyatt Centric Park City.
In the national parks, like Zion, you won’t find much by way of luxury accommodations. However, we highly recommend the Under Canvas experience, located just outside the park. Splurge on the Stargazer Tent for optimal views once the sun sets.
We highly recommend renting a car, regardless of where you plan to explore in Utah. You can get away with no car in Park City if you plan to stay only at the resort. However, if you plan on exploring the canyons, other mountains or other cities, we recommend a vehicle.
Park City is very well known for its foodie scene. Restaurants like Riverhorse on Main are institutions in the town, catering to the luxury travelers who have come from near and far to experience the mountains. In the last ten years, incredible restaurant have entered the space, but be warned, they will cost you.
Our favorite Park City restaurants include:
Salt Lake and Park City both offer great shopping. We found Park City (Main Street) to offer a huge selection of activewear brands, clothing and accessories for a very reasonable price. We compared to internet prices and everything was in line with what we found online. This affords a great chance to explore the shops and actually spend a few dollars. There are numerous clothing shops and hipster retailers with excellent local brands. Park City is fun town to shop in for this reason.
Utah is very connected to the Mormon religion, which influences most of the state’s taxation, society and politics. Most of the hotspots to visit are more relaxed than somewhere like Provo, however, there are interesting distinctions to make. In Park City, for example, there are signs at every dining outlet that announce “this is a restaurant, not a bar” or “this is a bar, not a restaurant”. Similarly, children dining with family are not allowed to be seated facing a bar. Alcoholic beverages are often poured to a very specific amount, often making the glass of wine or the cocktail a little bit less …alcoholic than other resort towns with a heavy pour. There are interesting nuances that you may notice as you visit the area.
In the areas like Zion, one can often find inexpensive lodging- but don’t expect it to be luxurious. Think more…basic accommodations near the national parks.
Park City on the other hand, is typically referred to as the West’s most bougie ski town and everything will cost money: transportation, lodging, meals, etc. When booking hotels, the majority of the rates do not include breakfast. Rates during high season can sore about $800 for a standard room at a five star hotel. If you plan far enough in advance, you may be able to secure a property at a decent points value (i.e a year in advance).
Dining in Park City is also on the upper end of the scale. Beverages range from $15 USD per glass of wine up to $45 USD. Appetizers at a high-end restaurant are in the $20 range and entrees will start around $30.
Typical food & beverage costs range depending on how high-end the hotel brand is, but we typically budget $350 per day for food & alcohol. Transfers to & from the hotel to the airport (SLC) range as well, but we typically budget $100-150. Ski Passes can be purchased online prior to your visit at a discounted rate.
When to visit Utah depends on your activities. If you're a ski bum, February-March are the best months. If you're looking to explore the national parks, spring and fall are the optimal time with the best weather. Given the diversity of offerings, there's no real shoulder season or low season. Expect summers to be very hot in the parks, but cool in the mountains.
Check out some of our favorite Utah hotels and what we like and don’t like about each of them.
Did you know that over 5 million people a year visit Zion National Park?
Max and I absolutely love Park City. It’s become a frequent winter adventure for us, thanks to our little camper. We were ecstatic to experience the newly renovated Grand Summit on this trip.
Utah has so much to offer and we typically wish we had more time to explore! Here are our recommendations for a successful trip.
Ski trip only: