We’ve been to Moab twice now, and still feel like we just barely scratched the surface of this beautiful corner of Utah. This post is a roundup of our favorite things to do in Moab with Kids! Hiking in Moab is one of the most popular activities, but there are so many other things to do in Moab with kids like rafting, ATVs, climbing and of course scenic drives!
Hiking at Arches National Park
This is seriously one of the coolest parks we’ve ever been to in the US, and probably in the world. No wonder it’s consistently rated among the top 10 national parks in the US, and is one of the “Mighty 5″ parks of Utah.
Weather in Arches National Park ranges from 60º to 80º in the spring and summer and 30º to 50º in the winter months. We’ve visited in both the winter and summer and I can honestly say I prefer coming here in the winter! The temperatures are mild enough that you get to enjoy cooler hiking weather with less crowds. If you do end up coming in the summer, make sure to start the hikes extra early to avoid the heat!
There are so many different hikes and areas to explore here. If you’re not into hiking, there’s about 938471923847 viewpoints you can just pull over at on the side of the road and soak in the beauty of Utah’s Mars-like terrain. Arches National Park with kids will be fun no matter what your kid’s hiking level is!
Here are some of our highlights and favorite kid friendly hikes in Moab!
Hiking to Delicate Arch
This one is a given – you can’t come to Arches NP and not visit this icon. This is the arch that’s on all of Utah’s license plates and is reason enough to come to Moab. And you can absolutely hike Delicate Arch with kids! Just make sure to bring a carrier for younger kids and take your time on the way up.
It’s a fairly easy 3-mile in-and-out hike that’s mostly uphill. You can hike it any time of year, weather permitting. We hiked it in February and although there was not much snow on the trail, the wind was so strong we couldn’t stand up straight when we got to the top delicate arch viewpoint. We had to pretty much crawl our way across to see the arch (not an easy feat with a baby in a carrier!) The nice part about going in the winter though is there’s significantly less people and you don’t have to fight tooth and nail for a good viewing spot 🙂
However, if you DO like the thrill of long lines and taking the same photo as 340980098 or so other people, I have some good news! In the summer, there is generally a single-file line originating a few feet away from the arch and wrapping around to approximately where the above photo was taken. It’s gotten so popular as a photo-op that we witnessed a graduation photoshoot and a proposal happening here all on the same night!
The most popular times to do this hike are sunrise and sunset. Golden hour really accentuates the redness of the rock, and the colours of the arch become incredibly saturated. Keep in mind that you still need to hike back for about 40 minutes so you might need to bring a flashlight.
If you’re lucky enough to go on a trip to Moab with kids AND your parents or someone who can watch your kids at night, you should absolutely hike up to Delicate Arch for some epic stargazing. This is hands down one of the best things to do in Moab at night. I had the luxury of seeing Delicate Arch at night with my brilliant-photographer-dad while the kids were sleeping at our Airbnb, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Ever.
The Milky Way rises perfectly behind the arch, and the night sky here is stunning.
There’s nothing but you, the stars, the arch, and the 2349582934857 other similarly-lucky souls who hiked up here at night. (It wasn’t that crowded by night, I’m only mostly kidding). For a guide on how to do Night Sky Photography, check out our tips and tricks here.
This is one of those easy-pull-over-on-the-side-of-the-road kind of stops. Not much of a hike, but there’s a paved path going up to the rock.
It’s also a fantastic spot for photographing the night sky! We pulled over here on the way back from Delicate Arch and were spoiled by the full view of the Milky Way across the sky. We could also see the glow of Moab on the right, and the glow of the rising moon on the left.
Double Arch trail is a short, easy 15 minute hike which conveniently shares a parking lot with Windows and Turret Arch. They’re all pretty cool and there’s lots of terrain to explore in this section of the park, but if you’re tight on time I would pick Double Arch.
There is a great post covering Windows and Turret Arch here!
Once you’re fully arched-out, head over to Fisher Towers. I promise, there are no arches there.
This place is seriously super cool. The hike is about 3 hours in-and-out, and is fairly moderate. Our 2.5 year old champ was able to hike the first hour before she conked out on dad.
There was one part that was a little tricky, where you had to climb up/down a ladder. Aside from that, it’s completely doable with kids and our toddler loved the climbing aspect of this trail!
Baby sat on me the entire way, and I only took her out for a quick snack at a strategically epic view point
This was my view 🙂
Rafting down the Colorado River
There is an easy 7 mile stretch of calm river flowing through a beautiful red rock canyon right outside of Moab. We rented a 12′ raft and took our 2 & 4 year old girls down this stretch. The girls loved trying to paddle, seeing the views and birdwatching!
You can rent a raft at Wild West Voyages and they will drop you off at the start of the 7 mile stretch, and pick you up at the end of it. They also have Standup Paddle Boards for rent as well as Kayaks, so you can choose your preferred watercraft and get in the water!
Bouldering near Moab
If you’re into bouldering, check out Big Bend Bouldering Area. It’s right across from the Big Bend Recreation area, and only a short 15min drive out from Moab. It’s a free-range climbing area and there are routes for all ages and skill levels. The kids had an awesome time climbing various rocks, large and small, and we brought our bouldering mats and did some overhangs and larger walls.
Canyonlands National Park
This is a huge park with lots of trails. The most famous stop here is Mesa Arch, and people line up here with tripods at ungodly hours of the morning to catch the sunrise peeking through the arch. We went here in February, and despite it being winter there was a huge crowd of people already lined up. It’s only about a 5 minute walk from the parking lot, if you can find a spot.
Another cool stop is Shafer Canyon Trail and Shafer Canyon Overlook. They overlook the same spot, but one has a parking lot with a small trail and the other is just a pull-over-on-the-shoulder-of-the-road kind of lookout.
There’s a ton more stops and trails and lookouts in this park but we had to cut our drive short and head home because our toddler fainted in the backseat without much warning! Anyone else travel with breath holders..?
Corona Arch Trail
If you happen to find yourself in Moab with dogs, you’ll quickly come to realize that dogs are not permitted at National Parks. They are, however, permitted at some state parks, including this wonderful trail! We went here solely to get our dog a proper hike, and ended up really enjoying it.
It’s a 2 hour in-and-out hike that’s mostly flat. It gets a little tricky near the end since you have to balance on inclined rock and climb some ladders, but we still felt safe enough to hike with a baby carrier.
Dead Horse Point
This is a gorgeous lookout that’s easily accessible by car. We came here right after watching the sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands. The colors were absolutely stunning during golden hour. You have a near-360 view of the canyon, so make sure to spend some time here walking around!
This is probably one of the easier things to do in Moab with kids since it doesn’t require any hiking. Make sure to keep an eye on your little one because some of the drop offs are not fenced off!
Where to stay in Moab with Kids
We rented out this Airbnb when we visited Moab with my parents. It’s a very spacious 3 bedroom condo with a pool that the kids enjoyed swimming in on very hot days. It’s about 10 minutes outside Moab so you’ll need to drive if you want to go into the town but it’s hard to find a place this size in Moab proper.
This airbnb was right in the center of Moab. Although it was a little smaller, it was walking distance from restaurants, parks and had a really great playground right across the street for the kids to play on.
Campsites in Moab Utah
If you’re interested in a more wild experience, there are lots of free campsites in and near Moab. You can also try camping at Arches National Park! You can find a list of available free campgrounds in Moab here.
Restaurants in Moab
Arches Thai was so good we went back for lunch the next day! It has some amazing Thai food that our kids also enjoyed. It’s right in downtown Moab and is very close to the Airbnb I mentioned above. You can find the Arches Thai menu here.