Well hello again, travelers!
When we left off, the family and I had just spent 5 incredible days in Denver and Vail and were headed further west to Moab, Utah. Now is a great time to mention that this adventure (that we tackled all at one time) could easily be 2 trips. Maybe it should have been 2 trips. The drive to Moab is 6+ hours from Denver, and it’s definitely possible to plan other side trips from Denver and see Utah on a different itinerary. But no matter what, can I beg you not to miss it? Because Moab is pure magic. Of course, my first impression of Moab was just HOT. And I was raised here in North Carolina where we have a sub season known as "Hell's Front Porch", so I believe I bring the proper perspective on heat. But stepping out of the car for the first time in mid-day Moab was like stepping directly into an oven. It was oppressive. I seriously thought to myself, “I’ve made a terrible mistake and my family will never forgive me”. So my second piece of advice is, maybe don’t go in July. However, once we got our bearings and found the refreshing Colorado River, we all adjusted and I fell completely in love with this red wonder.
We had a special treat for our first night, a “glamping” experience at Under Canvas Moab, which was absolutely amazing. The tents were high end, with built-in misters to moderate the heat and cots with 400 thread count sheets. Plus there were sweet extras like icees from a hand-cranked machine, outdoor games at our disposal and s’mores kits around the fire pits they tended. The staff (several of whom were from NC actually) knew the area so well and gave us great insider advice on how to get the most out of our trip. The best tip they gave us was to find Mill Creek, a tiny swimming hole south of downtown. Here you can enjoy shallow pools of icy water and slick rocks with enough current to slide down. Refreshed by the cold water and the uncomplicated joy of being with my kids in this natural playground, it truly was that quintessential moment where the family vacation is worth every penny.
The kids loved Arches National Park- endless rock formations to climb up and jump off and no two look alike, so really this can go on for hours. There are plenty of hiking trails with opportunities to see the wide range of rock formations from different angles as well. Even just driving through the park is a chance to enjoy the breathtaking and unique beauty of the land. In addition to Arches, there are 2 other national parks relatively close by, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point. We didn’t have the time to include those in our trip, but again, if you were to make an individual vacation from just this area, I definitely would include them on your tour!
Moab is famous for its’ perfect ATV conditions, so I booked a tour of the Hell’s Revenge area with Moab Cowboy that seriously blew us away. Our tour guide, Cricket, is a seventh generation resident of Moab and and loved sharing stories and history about her hometown. She was also an excellent driver, which helps when you’re on what’s known as Devil’s Backbone, a sandstone hill with almost no clearance on either side and a sheer drop 100 feet down. It was exhilarating and terrifying and 100% memorable.
Another highlight was rafting down the Colorado river. It was gentle enough for the whole family, with plenty of opportunities to jump in to cool off and let the current take you downstream. The drive to get there was half the fun, on the iconic highway 128 that passes scenery you might recognize from classic westerns and even modern movies like The Lone Ranger.
The Hyatt Place Moab was the perfect family hotel for our stay, centrally located with extra space for the kids, a gorgeous pool and a huge bonus of laundry room access. There were plenty of great restaurants in downtown Moab- The Broken Oar, and Zax Family Restaurant rated the highest with our whole family.
Overall, this was an astonishingly successful vacation and writing about it makes me want to go back immediately! There are so many amazing destinations in this country, and I can't wait to share our next adventure with you.
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