Spending two or three days in Moab, Utah, is sure to make for a memorable desert spring or summer road trip. Moab is packed full of epic outdoor adventures making it a world-class outdoor recreation destination. This guide is structured to offer fun outdoor things to do in Moab, where to camp, and the best times of year to visit. Visiting this high desert gem should definitely be high on your life bucket list!
Let us help you plan an incredible three-day adventure full of desert fun in the sun to Moab, Utah.
Find inspiration for how to have the best Moab summer road trip ever!
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This guide is formatted with outdoor things to do in Moab throughout three-days. If you only have one or two days in the area, that is totally cool. You can pick and choose.
We lived close to Moab for over ten years. We’ll share the best things to see and do, including our favorite spots to adventure and camp!
We are sharing a few different options for you to pick and choose for your Moab trip!
Feel free to pick and choose based on your level of comfort, adventure, and trip expectations.
First things first – buy the Annual National Park Pass. It is $80. If you plan to visit more than 3-4 National Parks in one year, it pays for itself. That’s some local advice for exploring National Parks in the U.S.
Spend the morning exploring Arches National Park. Arriving earlier will help with the crowds as well as cooler temperatures for hiking and sightseeing.
We recommend driving the main paved road, pulling off at the designated pull-offs to see the main arches, and saving time to hike to Delicate Arch.
Delicate Arch is the iconic sandstone arch you see in all the travel magazines and Instagram posts.
Delicate Arch is 3 miles round trip and will take roughly 2-1/2 to 3 hours to hike.
Be sure to check out other hikes in Arches National Park if you’d like to do more.
Moab is full of epic outdoor adventures. If you’re not too tired from hiking and exploring Arches National Park, we highly recommend going:
If you feel like a super hard-core adventure, there are also skydiving and base-jumping outfits.
Take your pick of desert outdoor activities!
Make time to walk the streets, grab a local bite to eat, and explore local stores on the main street. Downtown Moab is quaint and full of old west desert charm mixed with some hippy-dippy. Super fun.
Maybe you have already been to Moab, you have already visited Arches National Park, and are now looking for a new adventure.
Play an all-day hike to Druid Arch in the Canyonlands Needles District.
The trailhead is about 2-2.5 hours from Moab. It will take roughly 5-7 hours to hike.
It is worth the trip! This is an advanced backcountry hike that requires long distance, some rock scrambling, and a ladder climb. It also requires packing in all your own food and water.
The hike is so awesome!
If you don’t feel like hiking in the backcountry all day, check out the famous Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs along the Indian Creek Scenic Byway.
A trip to Moab wouldn’t be complete without floating the Colorado River! Bring your own gear, or find a guiding outfit to take you stand-up paddle boarding or whitewater rafting along the Colorado River.
Spending time floating or whitewater rafting the Colorado River through canyon country should definitely be high on your Moab adventure bucket list.
If you aren’t bringing your own gear, we recommend calling around to pre-book your adventure ahead of time. Whitewater rafting through Cataract Canyon is incredible. We have done it two times in March (during college Spring Break).
Google any guiding outfits in Moab to get on their books.
When you visit Canyonlands National Park and get to the end of the paved road from the main park entrance off of UT-313, you will think you are looking at the Grand Canyon. This area of Canyonlands is referred to as the Island in the Sky District.
Canyonlands National Park is absolutely a must-see natural wonder of the world. Take time, drive around, explore the pull-offs.
Before or after your trip to Canyonlands, pair the day with sightseeing at Dead Horse Point State Park. Both parks are close together and accessed from UT-313.
Hike, mountain bike, or camp to stargaze Utah’s Dark Sky.
Did you know Dead Horse Point is one of the most photographed places in the U.S? There is a famous view of where the Colorado River bends through Canyonlands National Park. Add Dead Horse Point State Park to your bucket list!
What do you think of the Moab summer road trip ideas?
Let’s talk about how to get to Moab, Utah!
Visitors can drive their own vehicles to Moab or fly into one of the surrounding airports.
The closest airport is Canyonlands Regional Airport.
An hour and a half away, the next closest is in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The third closest is in Salt Lake City, which is almost four hours away.
Surprisingly, you can find pretty fair rates flying directly into Moab. When we used to live in Grand Junction, sometimes I would actually fly out of Moab because the flights were cheaper to a larger connection such as Denver.
To really explore Moab, you definitely want a vehicle. Last time we checked there was not really any reliable means of public transportation. We absolutely recommend renting a car or driving your own. Roads are fairly well marked because it is a major tourist destination.
Be sure to plan ahead with the flights and rental cars. Moab is a tourist hot spot and can have tens of thousands of extra people visiting depending on the time of year.
The cool thing about Moab is that visitors can find a place to stay on any budget. If planning a visit during the high seasons, we definitely recommend booking places to stay in advance. Since Moab is a small community, accommodations tend to fill up fast during the high tourist season.
Being from the area, we always camped. We would mostly do primitive camping on BLM land in the area.
You might also enjoy reading more on our article camping for free on BLM land in Utah.
We would also camp along the Colorado River off of UT-128 when we could find a spot. Check out the map below.
Below are budget-friendly camping options to check out on your visit to Moab:
Below are mid-range hotel options to check out:
These are the luxury options. We visited all three to plan our wedding, and all our incredibly beautiful!
With Moab, Utah, being in the arid Southwest, it tends to have lots of sunshine. This makes it a pleasant destination to visit year-round. Moab in the spring and summer makes for a great road trip!
Moab does get hot (like over 100 degrees Fahrenheit hot) in the summer. However, since it is located in the high intermountain desert, the evenings tend to be cooler. You can camp in the summer as long as you have shade during the day. Moab is a big tourist destination in the summer as well, with folks being off work and out of school.
Be mindful of rain and thunderstorms when hiking and canyoneering in the desert. Along with the arid climate comes bone dry soils, which have a difficult time absorbing mass amounts of rainfall at one time. That’s why you’ll see signs to be flash flood aware. The water will not soak up in the soil and will follow the path of least resistance which includes drainages and low-lying areas. Always good to know your surroundings.
The weather is still reasonably warm all the way into the end of September or early October in Moab, which makes for excellent camping and hiking weather. Fall is actually one of our favorite times to visit as well as the spring. There is more rain in the fall (or at least it always seemed that way).
It does get cold here in the winter, and sometimes it snows. Winter is definitely the off-season for tourism, so there will be way fewer crowds for exploring.
The beginning of spring is still the off-season bringing fewer crowds as well. The crowds tend to pick up around spring break and then later in the spring around May. Be sure to watch out for flash flooding. Also, bring clothes for all four seasons in the spring! It could snow one day and be 80 degrees the next. That is the magic of being in the high desert.
We think the best time to visit Moab is from mid-March to early June, and then mid-September until early November.
The desert is a special place. Please check out our post on recreating responsibly in the desert.
We hope you have a great visit to Moab!
Here is a quick summary of itinerary options for your trip:
Since you are road tripping to Moab, you might be road tripping through more of Utah!
When are you going on your summer road trip to Moab?
Thanks for reading!
Ashlee & Pablo
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I’m a travel and outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness through an outdoorsy lifestyle. I want to help people live their best life by sharing free adventure guides. The USA has been my backyard most of my life, and it’s the place where you’ll find most of our escapades! I’m married to an expat Argentine, chihuahua Mom, and am passionate about the environment. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, hiking, and SUP’ing!