Moab is best known for its red rock canyons, towering spires and famous arches. But for those in the know, Moab is also one of the most family-friendly adventure destinations in the western US. If you’re travelling throughout Southern Utah with children, Arches National Park and the surrounding Moab area is a great place for kids to explore and create their own adventures. Moab’s canyon country, with the adult supervision, offers a perfect playground for children of all ages.
Top 5 Moab Family Adventures
- The North and South Windows in Arches National Park. Be sure to stop at the visitor center first and learn about becoming a Junior Ranger. Kids can check out a Red Rock Explorer Pack or pick up a booklet to complete. Either choice will land them with a badge and certificate of completion. The North and South Window Arches are relatively easy to get to and feature a gentle climb and grand arches.
- Sand Dune Arch is another family favorite inside Arches because you can get up to the arch itself with an easy hike. Inside the cavern created by sandstone “fins” that contain the arch, you’ll find a sandy playground where kids love to jump from small ledges, scramble and play hide-n-seek.
- Directly across from the entrance to Arches NP is a giant red sand dune. Your kids will laugh and shout as they slide and tumble down the sandy hill. Consider this “sledding in the desert.” Parking is available at the base of the dune, just climb up and glide, slide or tumble back down. Make sure you empty out the red sand in everyone’s pockets before heading back to your hotel.
- About eight miles north of the park entrance, kids will love the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail. With 15 individual sites to view exposed dinosaur bones, fragments and fossils, this is a memorable trek for the junior paleontologists in your midst.
- After spending your morning hiking and exploring, river rafting on the nearby Colorado River is a great way to beat-the-heat during Moab’s summer afternoons. Kids as young as four can participate. While enjoying rafting they can take a refreshing swim next to the raft (with life jackets) or participate in a friendly water fight. Summer river water temperatures are mid 70’s. Perfect for a cool afternoon soak when the temps start rising.
You might even want to head back into the park to catch the sunset after a day exploring Moab. A few of our favorite vantage points to watch the sun dance across the red rocks include the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint, Skyline Arch and Balanced Rock.
No matter where you choose to explore around Moab, remember that temperature and conditions can vary widely throughout the day. Morning lows can be chilly, daily high temperatures can be moderate to hot, layering and planning ahead is important.
You’ll want to pack extra water and snacks; opportunities to fuel up are few and far between and there is nothing like a hungry, hot or cold child to put a damper on your adventure.
Exploring is hard work. Kids can get dusty. At the river, sand can stick to shoes and sandals. Consider packing a couple newspapers to line the floorboards or a garbage bag to throw dirty or wet clothing in. Keeping a change of clothing or footwear handy will keep everyone more comfortable.
See you in Moab!