Curious about what to do in Moab? We have you covered!

By Redtail Air Adventures

While the opportunities to explore the Moab area are nearly endless, you can see and do a great deal during a long weekend or small getaway. If you only have three days in Moab, we have the perfect itinerary for making the most of your trip.

Planning a trip to Moab needs to strike the right balance between rugged adventure and desert luxury, action and relaxation. So here is our recommendation for a 3-day Moab itinerary that will check all your boxes!

Tips Before the Trip

Start Booking Early

Moab is a small and globally-popular place, so spots for lodging, guided tours, and reservations are limited! The last thing you want to do is deal with last-minute trip disappointment, so make sure to plan and start booking well in advance to land your ideal accommodations and trip times.

Check for Necessary Permits

Did you know that reservations are required to enter Arches National Park between 6 AM and 5 PM April through October? Always check if you can land park reservations, camping spots, parking passes, and hiking permits well in advance to avoid stress when you arrive.

Consider the Time of Year

You can have fun in Moab year-round, but know what you’re getting into! Each season has its unique draw, and a little research will go a long way in choosing the best Moab activities for the different seasonal climates. While many people choose to visit during the summer, a winter vacation in Moab can be just as fun!

Without further ado, here is our 3-day itinerary for a fantastic introduction to the best of Moab. 

arches at sunset

Day 1 in Moab

You should dedicate your first day in Moab to getting familiar with the area, and the best way to do that is from the sky! 

Get a Lay of the Land on a Scenic Airplane Tour or Helicopter Tour

Want to get a lay of the land? We recommend kicking things off with an unforgettable flight over iconic national parks on our Arches National Park tour or Canyonlands National Park tour. Better yet, take a combo tour that will take you over both parks!

A scenic morning airplane or helicopter tour with Redtail Air is the perfect way to survey the area from an incredibly-unique vantage point. This may also give you some ideas for other areas around Moab to explore. You may want to visit later in your trip, either on a hike or by car. 

On top of the stunning overview (literally!) of the area, our friendly and knowledgeable pilots are a fantastic source for recommendations of things to see, do, and eat during your stay.

couple on scenic flight over rocky mountains

Take a Dip at Ken's Lake

There’s no better way to thrive during the hottest part of the day than with a water adventure! Ken’s Lake is just a short 20-minute drive from downtown Moab and offers a respite from the hot desert days. Swim, fish, or paddle for a few hours with a beautiful desert mountain backdrop!

Bonus activity: Faux Falls is just a hop, skip and jump from Ken’s Lake! The 3.4-mile easy hiking loop leads to a gorgeous desert waterfall and a little swimming hole at the base to cool off and enjoy the scenery. Make the short hike over to falls that are so pretty that some question their authenticity – hence the name!

person on a SUP on ken's lake
motion blur of a waterfall

Grab a Drink at Moab's Premiere Winery

Once you are cooled off and laked out, we recommend heading to a gorgeous Moab winery for a luxury desert-style wine tasting experience. 

Spanish Valley Vineyard and Winery is located close to town and offers beautiful wines with grapes grown right in Moab. This winery offers a family-owned experience that perfectly balances expert wine knowledge with approachable charm. You can even stay overnight for a welcoming bed-and-breakfast experience!

a tractor and sign for spanish valley winery

Wrap Up Your First Day With an Unparalleled Sunset

After a fun-packed day in Moab, there’s no better bookend than a gorgeous desert sunset. While there is no wrong spot to enjoy a Moab sunset, here are some of our favorite places:

Upper Colorado Scenic Byway — Enjoy the sunset reflected off the water of the Colorado River. This is a great option if you want terrific views without needing to leave your car. 

Grand View Point, Canyonlands National Park — Take a small hike to some sunset views that seem endless.

Sunset Canyonlands Flight — Missed the daytime air tour? Our Sunset Canyonlands Flight will give you a sunset view you’ve never experienced.

Bonus Activity: Want to continue the fun well into the night? Moab has some unparalleled stargazing, perfect for astronomy enthusiasts! Multiple national parks near Moab have been named International Dark Sky Parks, which means the nocturnal environment is protected. This leads to some of the best views of stars, constellations, and planets you can witness.

sunset glow over the colorado river

Day 2 in Moab

Day two is all about getting into the nitty-gritty of the national parks! That means beautiful desert hikes near Moab, amazing views, and unforgettable desert experiences.

looking up at landscape arch

Start Your Day with a Hike in Arches National Park

There are so many hikes to choose from in the Moab area, so to help you decide where to spend your limited time, we’ve narrowed it down to a few of our favorite hikes in Arches. If you want to embark on a guided adventure, hop on a fantastic hiking and bus tour. These experiences allow you to explore off the paved walkways and onto the rocks a little more. 

Note: Most of our favorite hikes require park access, so ensure you have all the necessary reservations to embark on these trails!

 

Landscape Arch

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2 miles

Location: Within the park

Located at the Devil’s Garden Trailhead, this relatively flat, 1.9-mile hike is excellent for families who want a simple, well-maintained walk. The star of this hike is Landscape Arch—one of the world’s longest natural arches measuring 306 feet in length! You’ll also see Pine and Tunnel Arch along the way. 

 

Delicate Arch

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Distance: 3 miles

Location: Within the park

You can’t plan a Moab trip without witnessing Delicate Arch! This iconic hike is well-worth navigating the crowds. At the end of the hike, you’ll be greeted with one of the most famous views in all of Utah. Prepare for a long line during busier times to get that classic arch pic.

Want to enjoy the experience with fewer people around? Take this hike on a weekday early morning for the best chances of unobstructed arch pictures and views. 

 

Devil’s Garden Loop Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 7.8 miles

Location: Within the park

If you want to get some steps in, this is one of the longest hikes in the park and will take you through some impressive red rock formations. The more primitive trail offers chances to scramble up rocks and traverse some ledges for an exhilarating hiking adventure. Keep an eye out for Landscape Arch and Double O Arch during your travels!

Take a Desert ATV or Hummer Tour

Are you traveling with your family? Many kids and young adults may need a break from hiking to do something that’s a little more exciting to them. Desert Hummer Tours or ATV rentals are the perfect adventures to break up all of the nature walks and experience the desert in an entirely new way.

atv outside highpoint shop in moab

Explore Downtown Moab

If you’re traveling child-free, take some time to enjoy downtown Moab! Pose for some pics in front of the Insta-famous Moab Mural and other beautiful street art. Peruse charming souvenir shops and stroll by several delicious options for a post-hike dinner.

Finish the Day With a Post-Hike Meal and Treat

Speaking of a post-hike meal, having at least one special meal in Moab is well worth it. Our town may be small, but the delicious dinner options could rival big-city flavors any day of the week. 

There’s nothing quite like digging into mouthwatering North Carolina-style BBQ after a day in the dirt! Spitfire Smokehouse will get you that stick-to-your-ribs meal and ice-cold beer you are undoubtedly craving. 

For groups or families visiting Moab, there is a little something for everyone at The Spoke. This cornerstone Moab restaurant prides itself in making everything from scratch in-house and offers excellent options for all dietary preferences. 

Gloria’s Corner Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes that will keep you coming back your entire visit. From light and fresh acai bowls to hearty spaghetti and meatballs, this spot can keep you fueled from sunrise to sunset. 

Zax Restaurant should be at the top of your list when those pizza cravings hit. A local favorite, the Zax make-your-own pies will ensure you get all of the toppings you love without any to pick off. They even offer take-and-bake options for when you want to enjoy a fresh slice from the comfort of your rental’s couch!

downtown moab
zax restaurant in moab at night

Day 3 in Moab

Day 3 in Moab is perfect for giving special attention to the road less traveled. Visit some of the lesser-known sites for a truly unique trip.

Paddleboard or Raft Through Canyon Views on the Colorado River

Start the day off on the Colorado River! A 14-mile stretch of the Colorado River is easily accessible from Moab, making it a popular activity for locals and tourists alike. Great for all ages, rent a watercraft or embark on a guided tour to get your wiggles out on the water. With options ranging from a calm paddle to whitewater fun, you can find a level of river adventure perfect for you and your group.

rafting on the colorado river

Experience the Serene Silence of Canyonlands National Park

One of the most common mistakes we see Moab newbies make is skipping over Canyonlands. This less-visited national park offers unparalleled views that seem to go on forever.

Since it attracts fewer crowds, it is entirely realistic to enjoy these expansive views with no other people in sight. The lack of people and uninterrupted open scenery leads to some of the most surreal silence you can find. We promise that this is an underrated experience that visitors hold dear for the rest of their lives. 

Here are some of our favorite spots to explore:

Mesa Arch — A short, family-friendly trail for those who want one of Canyonlands National Park’s most iconic vistas.

Upheaval Dome — This 3-mile trail leads to a striking bull’s-eye-shaped geologic structure.

Grand View Point — Those who hike to the end are rewarded with the best views on this short trail!

Green River Overlook — It’s only about a 4-minute walk to views of the river and surrounding Canyonlands. 

Note: Many of these views include access to dramatic cliffs with no barricades, so be careful and keep the little ones with two and four legs close!

view of the green river and red rock cliffs in canyonlands

Finish the trip at Dead Horse Point State Park

Another underrated destination near Moab, Dead Horse Point, boasts fewer lines and less packed parking lots. Walking along the canyon rim is reasonably straightforward and offers expansive views around each curve. Enjoy unobstructed canyon views in the day, or take in the jaw-dropping, star-filled sky at night!

 

With so many bucket list adventures in Utah to tackle, planning what to do in Moab may seem daunting. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to our team for help planning the perfect aerial overview for your Moab adventure!

bright red rock canyon walls at dead horse point

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