Bridal Veil Falls, photo courtesy of Keith Perry
Utah has the “greatest snow on Earth,” beautiful national parks and hikes that lead to breathtaking views. After 22 years in Utah, I've found myself enjoying the landscape more and more as I try new things. Whether you're new to Utah or your family's been here since the pioneers, get outside of your house and your comfort zone and go on an adventure. Now, I'm not saying you have to turn into a Teva-wearing, Nalgene-drinking, granola-type person. There are adventures to be had, even for eww-bugs-are-gross folks and I-hate-dirt people.
Wherever you are on the spectrum from indoorsy to outdoorsy, get out and enjoy what's left of Utah's incredible summer season (most of these activities are fall-friendly, too).
If you don't mind traveling, check out places like Brian Head, Flaming Gorge, Captitol Reef National Park, Zion National Park, Moab, and Bear Lake. If you want to save some gas, there are plenty of things to do and places to explore in Utah Valley.
Left to right: Battle Creek Canyon, Rock Canyon, slacklining; photos by Hannah Perry
Alpine Sliding Rock: an old-fashioned swimming hole with a rock waterslide. No, it doesn't hurt your bum. Quick tip: it can be crowded on Saturdays, so plan accordingly.
Provo River: perfect for tubing, rafting and kayaking. Don't forget a life jacket—it's required by law when floating down the river. The excursion takes a couple hours start to finish.
Sundance Resort: Robert Redford's resort in the north fork of Provo Canyon. Head up there for hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, mountain biking, market shopping and an outdoor theater. Take a scenic lift ride up to Ray's Summit and enjoy incredible views of the mountain. (Click here for information on full moon rides.)
Timpanogos Cave: a fun place to explore after a quick but steep hike. Park rangers give hour-long tours through the cave system. Bring a jacket because temps are much cooler in the caves.
Rock climbing: one of the best ways to get in touch with nature. Grab your harnesses and people who know what they're doing and head to American Fork Canyon or Provo Rock Canyon to scale rocks. Both canyons have different level routes. Be safe!
Canyon bonfires: ideal for enjoying summer nights. Cook up some foil dinners, roast some s'mores and have a grand ol' time up Provo Canyon (Vivian Park or Glen Canyon Park) or at Utah Lake (via the entrance from Center Street in Provo).
Max Zipline: a tree-top canopy zipline tour through the mountains with views of Mt. Timpanogos and the Provo River.
Hiking: easier day hikes to places like Stewart Falls and Silver Lake and multi-day hikes on the Timpanookee Trail or Aspen Grove Trail. If you're feeling really adventurous, do a sunrise hike of Mt. Timp. I'd recommend starting around midnight so you get up to the top in time for the sun. (Don't forget flashlights. It seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people learn the hard way.)
Utah Valley has plenty of other ways to get out: Bike down the Provo River Parkway Trail or take on the Alpine Loop for some fun exercise, try trail running, find some hipsters slacklining and have them teach you, check out a farmers market and make fresh salsa, pack a picnic and head to one of Utah County's many parks or catch an outdoor movie.
Whatever activities you choose, just get outside and enjoy some fresh air. You'll be happier and healthier. Not to mention, it'll help you keep the kids busy before school starts up again.