Maximum Fun and Minimal Hassle in Moab
By Margot Black
Moab is a charming town in southern Utah where you can find abundant outdoor adventure for the whole family. Situated on the Colorado River, it is home to two of the state's five national parks -- Arches and Canyonlands -- and considered to be one of the best adventure hubs in the United States. No wonder, given its proximity to some of the nation's most stunning natural phenomena. From excellent camping, hiking and rafting to jaw-dropping wonders of nature, exploration reigns supreme in this remarkable red-rock playground.
We made the most of our time in Moab by booking the four-day, three-night Southwest Sampler vacation package through the Moab Adventure Center. We chose this particular package because it bundles highlights and adventure into one convenient purchase that would otherwise be overwhelming to organize piece by piece. From activities and the hotel reservation right down to packing tips, the Moab Adventure Center had it all arranged.
During these super-packed travel times, one of the best tips I can offer to ensure that everyone has a great time in a new area is to jump on a group trip. Time is tight for everyone, so being able to get the most impact out of your trip with little travel planning effort is a parental victory. The Southwest Sampler is heavenly for busy parents because it offers a memorable Moab adventure experience with minimal hassle and maximum fun.
To get to Moab, you can fly into Walker Field Airport in Grand Junction, Colorado, or Salt Lake City International Airport and then rent a car. Alternatively, you can fly into the smaller Canyonlands Field airport near Moab; however, flights to this airport are only available through United's Skywest from the Denver airport or Delta's Skywest from Salt Lake City. Regardless of how you get there, arriving a day or two early can mitigate any complications that might arise if your flight is canceled or delayed.
Flights are really full right now, so the same applies to joining any group trip. Make sure you have ample time (at least a full day) to get to your meeting location. Additionally, you should consider purchasing travel insurance if you have a lot of money invested in any trip. And if sitting with your family is a must, you will also need to pay in advance and reserve your seats.
Since hotels are also so packed right now, I was beyond grateful that our trip included transportation to and from every activity. We stayed two nights at Spring Hill Suites by Marriott. Situated between town and Arches National Park, this family-friendly hotel was the designated meeting location for all included activities. In addition to complimentary breakfast, the hotel also has a fun red rock-themed pool area with waterfalls.
Our second day in Moab was dedicated to exploring the geologic wonders of Arches National Park. We had a blast hiking on trails, taking pictures and learning more about the park's history from our informative guide. The beauty of a guided tour is that you know you're seeing the best spots and that you'll get the best photos. I couldn't have anticipated how awe-inspiring the landscape would be. The views of the sandstone arches and towering red rock formations were otherworldly.
Later that evening we embarked on an off-road Hummer Safari that was equal parts exhilarating and mesmerizing. Our guide was an experienced driver who made us feel safe during all the hill climbs and swift turns in the sand. Venturing out into Moab's backcountry overlooking the Colorado River is epic and phenomenal for adventure-lovers, teens and even the most jaded traveler. The best part is that Mom and Dad can enjoy the views without driving and the kids get a variety of adventures.
We spent the next two days on a sensational Colorado River rafting and camping adventure. Moab Adventure Center supplied all of our camping gear and meals, so all we had to worry about schlepping around was a duffel bag with our personal items. I also loved how they provided a detailed camping and rafting guide ahead of time, including a useful "What to Pack" list.