So Much To Do in Such a Short Drive

By Annette Velarde

Okay, everybody, listen up. There’s been a change of plans. Instead of staying home and mowing the lawn again this weekend, why not head to Moab? You are long overdue for a change of scenery, and four hours south of Park City is about as big a change as anyone could ask for. The drive down is a ride through geologic time. As you turn off I-15 onto State Highway 6, the landscape begins to change rapidly until you find yourself surrounded by some of the grandest art in nature.

Pictures of Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and the La Sal Mountains have filled countless art galleries with their breathtaking beauty. Moab is in the center of them all and is only a few minutes drive from each. Every southern Utah State and National Park is open and waiting for you to explore. Mark your calendar with the National Park’s “Fee-Free Days,” August 25th, September 28th, and November 9th–11th, 2013.

Before you head out for Moab, take a look at their calendar of events at to see if there is something going on you don’t want to miss. June 22nd is the Mountain Wildflowers Seminar. This is a full day of exploring the La Sal Mountains learning to identify wildflower species at the peak of their bloom with local experts. Holding two sessions in July, the La Sal Mountain Explorer Base Camp is an eco-adventure for kids entering 5th through 8th grades. This is an all-inclusive, four- day, three-night summer camp that explores the spectacular environment of the surrounding area. The Moab Bull Challenge is being held on August 23- 24. This is a pro-level bull-riding event where spectators will experience the adrenaline rush of seeing top riders compete for championship-size purses. The celebrated Moab Music Festival is August 29– September 9 featuring world- class music performances of classical, jazz and more presented over two weeks.

September 25–29 is the M.O.A.B. (Mother Of All Boogies) Skydiving Festival. Over 300 skydivers from around the world will be jumping from 13,000 feet at speeds of up to 120 mph. The Moab JEEP Jamboree is October 17-19 with new trails added this year that provide something for both the beginner and the experienced driver.

Moab’s list of celebrated outdoor activities gets longer every year. This summer’s must-do new tour is Raven’s Rim Zip Line Adventure. Covering four miles and offering views of Arches National Park, the La Sal Mountains, and the Colorado River Canyon, these high-tech guided tours zoom you along at heights up to 75 feet above the ground. It’s an adrenaline-packed 2 ½ hours of excitement for the whole family. If speed is not your need, also new are the Moab Trolley Tours. These are fun, informative, narrated tours that last just under two hours and take you off the beaten path to some of the best places around Moab. You will visit historic spots and awe-inspiring landmarks, take in breathtaking views, experience the sites where western and modern movies were filmed and take tons of photos all the way along. Paddleboarding has also arrived on Moab’s new sport scene in a big way. Although several of the river- rafting companies have added it as an option, Paddle Moab specializes in this relaxing, gentle cruise. They offer several guided tours down local waterways and take care of everything from equipment to transportation.

For such a small town, Moab has an amazing variety of places to eat. New in 2013 is Twisted Sistas’ Café, owned by (you guessed it) two sisters who are making their restaurateur dream come true. They feature tapas and small plates that highlight their food artistry along with heartier entrees. Also new to the restaurant options is Los Dos Amigos. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serving some of the best Mexican food in Utah, you cannot go wrong here. It is located about two miles south of town, so when the restaurants on the main drag have long wait-lists, Los Dos Amigos is well worth the short drive.

Red Cliffs Lodge, located just outside Moab on the banks of the Colorado River, is the perfect combination of easy access to outdoor activities and tranquility. The main lodge, styled after the grand lodges of yesteryear, offers gourmet western cuisine and a full cocktail lounge. All of the guestrooms are ground level and just 50 feet from the water’s edge. They offer a wide variety of luxurious floor plans that can comfortably accommodate parties of up to six people. All the rooms have relaxing sitting areas, kitchenettes, and private patios or decks that overlook the river. You could actually spend the entire weekend just at Red Cliffs Lodge and have a great vacation. The pool, gym, restaurant, winery, and riding stables will keep everyone in your family engaged and on cloud nine. While at Red Cliffs Lodge, make sure to take a tour of Castle Creek Winery, located right on the property. This is the oldest and largest winery in the state and has won the ‘Best of State’ award several years. Boasting five white and four red, they offer something for every palate.

The Tasting Room and Rio Grande Winery Deck are fantastic places to spend a late afternoon. If you’re lucky enough to be there when they are crushing the grapes, it is a sight to behold. Red Cliff ’s is also home to the Moab Museum of Film & Western Heritage. In the museum one can learn more about film locations, such as The Commancheros and Rio Conchos, how the sets are built, and how filming process is managed on nature’s own sound stage. On display are production photographs, movie posters, autographed scripts, props from the many pictures filmed in the area, and displays about the western ranching heritage. With so much to do at Red Cliffs Lodge and in the Moab area, every member of the family is sure to have the trip of a lifetime.

The road is calling you. Don’t ignore its invitations to experience something new and get outside to play in Moab, Utah. For complete information, see

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