My kids get out of school a week from tomorrow and then it’s officially summer break! I’m (mostly) thrilled about having them home 24/7. I’m definitely looking forward to getting a break from the after school witching hour runaround of homework, scouts, piano, baseball, soccer, chores, dinner prep, etc. I’m excited to fill our days with a mix of hiking and adventures with some lazy days sprinkled in.
I’ve compiled a list of some of the best-of-the-best summer adventures here in Utah.
This bucket list definitely is not all-inclusive, but these are a few of our very favorite adventures. I hope you find it helpful!
SPRING LAKE TROUT FARM is a cute little fishing pond in Payson, Utah. The great thing is they provide the poles, the bait–everything! You don’t even need a fishing license. All you have to do is show up and pay $5 per pound of trout you catch. They even help the kids cast their lines and real in their catch! We caught a bunch and they filleted the fish for us and it was ready for dinner that night.
- CHERRY HILL We absolutely love this quaint waterpark in Kaysville. It’s clean and charming and we all have so much fun here! I could float down that lazy river all the live long day with my girls. It’s so relaxing. There are waterslides and pools and mini golf too. I love that there is a large grassy area with lots of shade trees where you can set up camp. Plus, outside food is allowed which makes for a much more affordable day. If you want to save some money, you can visit after 4:00 pm for $12 instead of the all-day price of $20. Also, look for special promotional deals throughout the summer (if you bring soda cans, etc) *They require swim diapers and plastic covers and they enforce that pretty strictly, so come prepared for the little ones.
- Wildflower Hikes –I think the mountains covered in wildflowers might be my very favorite thing about Utah. Mid-late July is the time to go depending on the year and the altitude of the hike. The above photo was taken in Little Cottonwood Canyon right by Alta at the very end of June last year after a particularly mild winter and early spring. There’s not necessarily a trail right here, but we just explored and picnicked and let the kids run free. So, so beautiful. Other great wildflower hikes with kids are the Cecret Lake trail (it can be pretty busy on weekends or holidays) and Bloods Lake trail.
Bloods lake in late July was crazy beautiful with all of the wildflowers in bloom!
4. Rockwell’s Ice Cream in Provo is this cute little ice cream parlor on Main Street in Provo with the.best.ice cream. We love the Muddy Buddy, Snickerdoodle, Strawberry, and Honeycomb. Tack on a trip to BYU’s Bean Museum or Museum of Art (MOA) on a hot summer day and you’ve got the perfect field trip!
5. This is the Place Heritage Park I can’t say enough about how much we love this place. Train rides, pony rides, Native American dance performances (don’t miss these!), class in the old school house, rag-doll making, gold mining (my kids’ favorite), leather stamping–there is so much to do. It was worth it for us to buy a family membership so we could come back again and again.
6.Mona Lavender Fields Young Living Farms is about an hour south of Salt Lake, but for us, it is totally worth the drive. The lavender blooms at the end of June, but it’s still a fun place to visit and explore even if it’s not peak lavender season. Bring a picnic and enjoy roaming the grounds where there’s plenty of shade, an old western town, fun old-school “rides” that the kids loved, and even a medieval jousting arena. You can check out the shop and pick up all sorts of lavender-scented stuff and you can even sample lavender-flavored ice cream! The lavender festival takes place on June 27th, but I kind of like just wandering around and exploring without the crowds.
The kids had fun exploring the old Western town at Young Living Farms.
7.Rowley’s Red Barn After exploring the Mona Lavender Farm, we like to swing by Rowley’s Red Barn just up the road. This place is adorable and reminds me of the places I loved when we were living in New England. They have ice cream and fudge and all sorts of old fashioned treats. They’ve also got a huge walk in refrigerator with tons of gorgeous, well-priced local produce. We love this place!
8. Utah Olympic Park –this was one of our very favorite days of the entire summer last year. We went to the Fairy Forest in Kamas (see below) and then headed to Park City to hang out at the Olympic Park. We skipped the Alpine slide this time, which can have extremely long lines, and instead the boys did the smaller ropes course. It was slightly cheaper and they spent 30 minutes tackling the course instead of just five minutes going down the slide. There is a cool playground at the bottom where the girls played happily while the big boys conquered the ropes course that ended with a small zipline ride (included in the price.) Here’s a Groupon deal for the Olympic Park.
If you’d rather not spend any money at all, you can still have so much fun watching the aerial skiers. We could have sat here all day. It was so cool to watch those tricks!
The Fairy Forest –My kids absolutely loved visiting the fairy forest in Kamas! It’s unlike any place we’ve ever been. Basically the fairy forest is an unofficial spot that the park rangers have to pretend that they don’t know about. People have brought hundreds of their own little fairy houses and have painted and decorated small rocks, creating a fun place to explore. The forest itself isn’t super beautiful, but the drive up there is gorgeous! If you go up there, I’d recommend creating your fairy houses in advance and making them out of natural, bio degradable supplies.
We brought a bin of non-toxic paint and some paint brushes and the kids painted rocks. We had to drag them away because they were having so much fun. I loved watching they’re creativity run wild.
HI-Mountain Drug After visiting the Fairy Forest, this old fashioned soda counter/diner in Kamas is the perfect spot to stop for a burger and shakes! The shakes were so good with so many unique flavors. We didn’t eat burgers but I hear they’re amazing. I especially love that this family run business has been around for three generations.
Liberty Park Seven Canyons I had been to Liberty Park dozens of times, but until last summer when my sister-in-law invited us to tag along, I had never been to the fun little water feature in the middle of the park. All of these little “streams” intersect making for the perfect place for younger kids and babies to splash and play.
Bloods Lake This is one of our very favorite hikes with kids. A half-mile downhill trail leads down to this pretty lake where the kids can splash and play. On the opposite side of the lake (far right in this picture) there’s even a rope swing. We weren’t brave enough to dunk into the icy water but we had fun watching other people do it! Note, even in July it was chilly on this hike because it’s at such a high altitude. I’d definitely recommend bringing a sweater, even if it’s warm in the valley below.
Auntie Rae’s Dessert Island This fun little dessert cafe in Holladay has Dole Whip of $1! They have tables and a grassy area out front where you can eat your ice cream, berry pie, and cookie sundaes.
Wheeler Farm We love exploring this FREE farm and park. There’s a nominal fee for wagon rides and milking demonstrations, but usually we just picnic, play on the playground, feed the ducks, admire the gardens, and visit the animals. A few nearby (ish) places where we like to pick up picnic food are Cous Cous Grill, Greek City Grille (not open on weekends), and Oh Mai.
I hope this list helps you create some memorable summer adventures with your family! And as always, I’d love to hear about your favorite spots!