What to do in Moab
Carved out of the red-rock landscape that surrounds it, Moab is a cheerful, low-slung town that's an excellent home base for two of Utah's "Mighty Five" national parks: Arches and Canyonland.
Where to go in Moab
Many of the otherworldly rock formations in Arches National Park are easily accessible by car and don't require much walking, which gives the park its kid-friendly reputation. The names of the arches pretty much describe the distinctive outcroppings: Balanced Rock, The Windows, Double Arch, Skyline Arch and Sand Dune Arch are all less than a mile walk round-trip. (Bring pails and shovels to Sand Dune, and your little ones might stay occupied for quite a while.) Older kids might be able to tackle the more strenuous three-mile round trip hike up to Delicate Arch, the largest in the park and one of the state's most iconic symbols (it's on the Utah license plate).
Canyonlands National Park is so large it's divided into four sections; Island in the Sky is the easiest to navigate, especially if you have limited time. There are several lookout points, including Green River Overlook, where you can clearly see how the water is slowly carving its way through the canyon, and Grand View Point, which has views all the way to Colorado.
Where to stay in Moab
Hoping for some chill-out days mixed in with your adventures? The luxurious Sorrel River Ranch sits on 160 acres along the Colorado River, and it's about half an hour from both Arches and Moab. Although it's spendy, it also offers plenty of on-site perks for little ones, like a petting zoo (with horses, potbellied pigs, chickens, goats, and rabbits), complimentary pony rides, bike rentals, a heated pool and an array of lawn games, all included in the daily rate. With its Spanish-tile roof and classy, wood-meets-stone decor, the Best Western Plus Canyonlands, right in the center of Moab, is stylish and serviceable. There's a pool and hot tub, and from the outdoor fireplace, you can look out towards the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
Where to eat in Moab
As the name suggests, the Quesadilla Mobilla food truck, which can usually be found at the corner of Main Street and 100 North Street, offers several different spins on the beloved cheesy tortilla. Playfully named menu items include the Dirt Bag (cheddar/jack and refried beans) and the Southern Belle (shredded beef and roasted sweet potatoes). Weary parents hankering for pub grub like wings and burgers washed down with a crisp microbrew will be happy to end the day at Moab Brewery, a popular hub in town. (And despite the state's strict alcohol laws, some beers here have up to 9 percent ABV.) Kid-friendly choices include giant soft pretzels, pasta, grilled cheese and corn dogs, and house-brewed root beer that's free of both caffeine and high-fructose corn syrup.