The best things to do in Moab with kids – Utah’s adventure capital

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Moab is the adventure capital of Utah. Each year, more than one million travelers visit the tourist town on the eastern edge of the Beehive State looking for fun things to do in Moab with kids or without! As the gateway town to both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, there are countless hike trails, unique campsites, and plenty of other family-friendly activities in Moab. 

If planning a family vacation to this adventurous desert town, here are the best things to do in Moab, Utah with kids!

Top 10 things to do in Moab with kids

Moab is a small town with a surprising amount of things to do, thanks in part to the two national parks within a 30 minute drive. With just over 5,000 residents, Moab itself is a cute town with souvenir shops, ice cream parlors perfect for cooling you off during the hot summer months, and numerous family-friendly restaurants and breweries that are great places to relax after a day of hiking or exploring around Moab with kids. But before you kick back and relax in downtown Moab, you will want to check out some of these great family-friendly attractions in Moab first!

Visiting Arches National Park with kids

Several of the top things to do in Moab actually take place about 10 minutes outside town in Arches National Park. As the second most-visited national park in Utah behind Zion National Park, 1.5 million guests visit Arches each year. With more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches covering more than 76,000 acres, you could spend a full 2 days in Arches National Park and still not see everything.

You will have to pay admission to get into the national park. Because this Moab itinerary includes activities in both Arches and Canyonlands, it may be a good idea to invest in a national park pass before your trip. This will cover your admission into both parks.

If visiting Arches National Park with kids, here are a few must-do hikes within the park.

1. Early morning hike to Delicate Arch   

Whether you have one day in Moab or one week in Moab, you will want to start at least one day with an early morning hike to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. It is roughly a 30-minute drive from Moab to the trailhead to Delicate Arch. Hiking to this famous Utah landmark is not particularly strenuous, but the hike is rated as moderately difficult, primarily because there is no shade to protect you from the scorching desert sun. For this reason, it is best to start the roughly 3-mile round trip hike early in the morning, particularly if visiting Moab in summer.  

Depending on the age of your children, you can expect a few complaints while doing the hike. If hiking to Delicate Arch with kids make it fun for them by looking out for lizards along the path. You’ll likely see a lot of them! Our daughter was so focused on finding lizards that she stopped complaining about being tired and hot. 

Utah's Delicate Arch with kids looking out over it
Hiking to Delicate Arch with kids is not only doable, it is a rewarding adventure!

2. Scramble on the rocks at The Windows or Double Arches 

On your way back to Moab, and before you leave Arches National Park, stop off the scenic byway at The Windows and Double Arches. These are both short, easy hikes that give kids an opportunity to scramble and climb on the rocks underneath the massive arch formations. Once you get to The Windows or Double Arches, you will enjoy a cool breeze that naturally blows through this area, making it a perfect place to sit and relax for a few minutes and take in the views of Balanced Rock and other fascinating rock formations.

Double Arches - an easy trail if visiting Arches National Park with kids
Double Arches is an easy trail to hike if visiting Arches National Park with kids

Other fun things to do in Moab Utah with kids

While Arches National Park is a fun place to explore, there are lots of other things to do around Moab with children. Here are a few more activities in Moab for kids and their fun-loving parents.

3. Moab Giants Dinosaur Museum

What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs?! At Moab Giants, you can get a glimpse of what dinosaurs actually looked like, with more than 100 life-size and life-like dinosaur statues. Your kids will love getting to step back into prehistoric times and learn about some of the most dangerous creatures to ever walk (or swim) the earth.

T Rex statue at Moab Giants, a great place to visit in Moab with kids
The impressive T-Rex at Moab Giants, one of the best places to visit in Moab with kids.

4. Visit the Moab Rock Shop

For some reason, all kids seem to be fascinated by rocks! What better way to peak their interest than a visit to the Moab Rock Shop. This fun little shop has minerals, rocks, and even fossils on display and available for purchase. The shop is like a treasure chest of geology, and is definitely one of the more unique things to do in Moab with kids. 

5. Watch the sunset in Canyonlands

Moab is one of the few towns in the United States with two national parks within about a 30-minute drive. While Canyonlands is slightly farther from town than Arches, it is worth the drive to see Utah’s version of the Grand Canyon. The Island in the Sky is the most popular district in the park, and the easiest to get to. The sunset over Shafer Canyon is spectacular. You’ll want to watch young children carefully, as with many other canyons, there are lots of steep, dangerous drop offs in Canyonlands.

Watching the sunset over Canyonlands National Park - one of the best things to do in Moab Utah
Sunset over Canyonlands National Park – Image by Adam Derewecki from Pixabay

6. Camp out under the stars

Family camping trips can be a lot of fun as long as you have the right kids’ camping gear. But whether you decide to bring your own tent and reserve a designated campsite, or take the hybrid approach and book glamping accommodations like Under Canvas, a camp out under the stars is one of the best things to do in Moab. Although the day time temperatures in Moab can be unbearable during the summer months, the night time temperatures tend to drop dramatically, which makes sleeping under the stars much more pleasant.

7. Dead Horse Point State Park

Equally as beautiful as Moab’s national parks, Dead Horse Point State Park is another great place to visit in Moab with kids, and a convenient stop when visiting Canyonlands National Park. Offering spectacular views overlooking a bend in the Colorado River, this state park has a sad backstory that gives the park its name. Dead Horse Point is a peninsula atop a sandstone cliff. Legend has it that cowboys would herd wild horses across the narrow neck of land that leads to Dead Horse Point so they had no way to escape. Typically, after they selected the mustangs they wanted, they would let the others loose. However, the legend is that once the horses were left corralled on the small peninsula where they all died, thus the name “Dead Horse Point”.

Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab Utah
Dead Horse Point. Image by Vit Ducken from Pixabay

8. River Rafting or River Boat Cruise

Aside from its national parks and red rocks, the Moab area is known for water sports on the Colorado River. The Fisher Towers section of the Colorado River is the most popular area for rafting adventures with kids. Many rafting tours require kids to be at least 50 pounds, so if your little one isn’t quite ready for river rafting, there are also calm water river cruises available, as well.  

inflatable boats on the Colorado River
An inflatable boat cruise is a calmer river activity than white water rafter if visiting Moab with kids

9. Check out Hole in the Rock Home

Hole in the Rock is one of those quirky roadside stops that can make a Southwest USA road trip a bit more interesting, especially for kids. Built into the side of a massive sandstone rock formation, the 5,000 square-foot home with 14 rooms has been around since the early to mid-1900s. About 12 miles south of Moab on Highway 191, the home also has a petting zoo, gift shop, and general store. But of course, the home itself is the main attraction. You can take a brief guided tour of the house, which contains the original furnishings and collections from the original owners. 

10. Hang out by a swimming pool

The weather in Moab, Utah can be unforgivably hot at times. While the winter may be mild, you can expect warm temperatures for much of the year, and high temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. For this reason, booking your Moab family trip at a hotel with a pool would be strongly recommended. There are several hotels in town that have beautiful pools with waterfalls, grottoes, spas, and spray features that the whole family will enjoy. We’ve included details and links below! 

Where to stay in Moab with kids

If looking for a great hotel with a pool, here are a few great places to stay in Moab with kids. We tend to split our time between camping and hotels, so for every day or two we camp, we will book a night in a hotel. Our daughter enjoys the hotel pool, and we get to enjoy a hot shower and comfortable bed! 

What to bring if visiting Moab, Utah

If visiting Moab with kids there are a few things you will definitely want to have with you, particularly in your day pack when hiking in Arches, Canyonlands, or Dead Horse Point. These necessary items are essential to keep you and your kids safe from the sun, heat, and often unforgiving elements in the region.

  • Lots of water
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen 
  • Lip balm
  • Hat 
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking shoes
  • First Aid
  • Swimsuit

Have a question about the best things to do in Moab, Utah with kids? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts or inquiries in the comments below. 

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