I’m originally from Long Island, so I was spoiled growing up with access to non-stop flights available at JFK and LaGuardia. Now residing in Columbus, I'm pretty excited to hear we’re finally getting a handful of new nonstop services this year. New routes include Seattle, Charleston, and Salt Lake City. Let’s be honest, Salt Lake City usually isn’t the first destination to come to mind when discussing a new vacation. But here’s why it’s on our radar and how to take advantage of the new nonstop flights:
Bonneville Salt Flats
Close to the Nevada border, the hour and a half detour West is well worth it. The Bonneville Salt Flats is a magical experience. Walk on salt deposits and gaze out upon the 30,000 acres of desolate landscape. Plan accordingly though – restrooms, food, beverages, and gas aren’t always available nearby.
Salt Lake Temple
While the Salt Lake Temple is not open to the public, it definitely leaves its mark on the city. This temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) took 40 years to build and is the largest LDS temple in the world. There are neighboring spots in Temple Square that you can visit while admiring the temple. You can check out the visitor’s center, museum, or gardens in the area.
There are quite a few unique gardens around the city you can stroll through. In addition to the Temple Square Gardens, wander through the International Peace Gardens in Jordan Park. Or go for a smaller walk in the tucked away Gilgal Sculpture Garden. Red Butte Garden is another great place to explore with an amphitheater for shows, year-round events, and classes.
Liberty Park has a little bit of everything. Running paths, swimming pool, tennis courts, and amusement park rides for the family. If you’re traveling between June-October you can visit the Liberty Park Farmer’s market on Friday afternoons. Then stroll over to the Tracy Aviary and opt into a “Nose to Beak Experience”. They have exhibits and classes about the birds and conservation efforts too.
Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is approximately 75 miles long and 35 miles wide. Whether you want to find some adventure during the day, or relax on the lake during a sunset cruise, some time with this city’s namesake is a must. The high salt content makes it easier to float – Antelope Island has great beaches perfect for this.
If you end up on the north side of the lake check out the Spiral Jetty, an earthwork sculpture constructed by Robert Smithson in 1970.
Utah has tons of jaw-dropping parks to explore. You can use Salt Lake City as a starting point to road trip to some of the amazing national and state parks. It all depends on how much time you have and driving you want to do:
- Antelope Island State Park – 1-2-hour drive
- The largest island in the Great Salt Lake and home to tons of wildlife like bison, deer, sheep, antelope, and other desert animals.
- Arches National Park – 3-4 hours
- The park has over 2,000 of the iconic natural stone arches that pictures can’t do justice.
- Bryce Canyon National Park – 4-hour drive
- You can check out the adjacent Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument too!
- Canyonlands National Park – 4-hour drive
- Only about 30 minutes from Arches National Park if you’re interested in both!
- Capitol Reef National Park – 4-hour drive
- This underrated gem showcases Utah’s natural beauty without the crowds.
- Goblin Valley State Park – 4-hour drive
- “Sandstone goblins” contribute to the strange and vibrant landscape.
- Dead Horse Point State Park – 4-hour drive
- You can look for miles into Canyonlands National Park or 2,000 feet down to the Colorado River.
- Zion National Park – 4-5-hour drive
- Take the short hike to the ‘secret’ Petroglyph Canyon. It’s not a well-known spot, and it’s an easily accessible historical site.
- Snow Canyon State Park – 4-5-hour drive
- Film site for many Hollywood films, this park has a bunch of easy-moderate trails you can explore.
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park – 4-5-hour drive
- These pink dunes can move as much as 50 feet per year and has great areas for off-roading adventures.
- Goosenecks State Park – 6 hours
- Admire the canyon walls revealing 300-million-year-old geological activity.
Museums in the SLC area can satisfy a variety of interests. The Leonardo is a museum of creativity and innovation with interactive exhibits that disrupt the distinctions between art and science. Admire the unique architecture while exploring the Natural History Museum of Utah. Appreciate the nearly 20,000-piece collection of fine art from around the world at the Utah Museum of Fine Art. If you’re looking for something more local, you can check out the Alice Gallery for work contributed by Utah artists. You can take a tour at the Beehive House to learn more about Brigham Young, the second President of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Learn about Utah’s military history at the Fort Douglas Military Museum or visit the Hill Aerospace Museum and its 90+ military aircraft, missiles, and aerospace vehicles. Car enthusiasts can make their way over to the Price Museum of Speed to appreciate the collection of vintage race cars and memorabilia or the Classic Car Museum for their collection of antiques.
Other Fun Spots to Check Out
- In Herriman, Utah you can find “The Up House”. This home is a replica to the charming little house in the movie Up.
Admire the murals and street art throughout the city. Specifically, south of the building at 222 South Main Street in Salt Lake City, somewhat hidden, there is a giant mural of books. The art itself is pretty cool, but visitors also leave notes in the missing/loose bricks at the bottom. Find a note, leave a note, grab some Instagram fuel.
- As with pretty much any city, you’ll also be able to find great food and ghost tours.
- At the Hogle Zoo you can make a reservation to feed a rhino, gorilla, giraffe, or giant tortoise!
- Adventuring about an hour-and-a-half north of SLC you can find the Golden Spike. The ceremonial 17.6 karat gold spike joined the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869.
- You can swim or scuba dive in the Homestead Crater, a geothermal spring about an hour away from SLC. Make sure you plan in advance! Reservations are required for swimming and diving in the crater.
- Hike up Ensign Peak, just north of SLC, for some amazing views of the city.
- Love to ski? Some of the best ski resorts can be found around Salt Lake City.
Is Salt Lake City on your bucket list? What activities are you most looking forward to?
Written by Ali Iovino
Ali is the Director of Marketing at UNIGLOBE Travel Designers. She is an avid road-tripper and will use any excuse to hit the open road. In her spare time she can be found volunteering in Columbus, hanging out with other people's dogs, or visiting family on Long Island.