Moab is a mecca for outdoor adventurers, if you like getting outside you are going to love Moab. From hiking to mountain biking to a rad downtown with cool restaurants and shops it’s no wonder Moab has become a popular destination.
I love Moab for its beautiful scenery, huge variety of things to do, and surprisingly good food. I say “surprisingly” only because, small desert town in Utah generally doesn’t scream culinary excellence, but Moab got it. And honestly, it makes sense, you’ve got to fuel all that outdoor adventure somehow and with a huge influx of young outdoorsy visitors, hipster-y eateries are popping up all over town.
While I love food, let’s not get sidetracked. The main reason to come to Moab is for the epic landscape and outdoor activities. Moab boasts two national parks, a state park, and a plethora of public lands to explore. I was lucky enough to spend three weeks in Moab and never got close to exploring everything, but I did get to do some pretty cool stuff. This post is your guide to Moab’s coolest experiences, best food, and most scenic photo spots so you can make the most of your time in this magical place.
Things To Do
Visit The National Parks: Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park are both right outside of Moab. If you plan on spending any significant time in the parks it’s worth getting a National Parks Pass. That way you don’t have to worry about paying by the day, plus it helps out the National Parks.
- Arches: Arches is quite literally full of arches and other awesome sandstone formations. There is one road in and out so it’s fairly easy to navigate. Make sure to check out The Windows, Delicate Arch, and the Devil’s Garden. I’d also suggest getting there early because the park can get a huge line at the entrance. The rangers will also start turning people away if they fill up. I like going for sunrise because it’s a beautiful time of day, there’s not a lot of people around, and there’s no risk of getting turned away.
- Canyonlands: Canyonlands has a ton to explore, there are four districts, each with its own distinct scenery. The most popular and easily accessible is the Island in the Sky district. This is where you can see the famous Mesa Arch and epic views of the canyons below. If you are looking for a little more backcountry adventure or off-roading the Needles District is the place to go. You can also get a unique view of the park by taking a boat trip down either the Colorado or Green rivers.
Off-Roading: If you’ve ever wanted to romp around the desert in a dune buggy Moab is the place to do it. There are tons of 4×4 trails to explore and you can do so in an ATV, Jeep, or your own off-road vehicle. My 4Runner is outfitted for off-roading so we used the Guide to Moab UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails book to explore some trails. But if you are looking for a little more guidance Moab Tour Company offers both rentals and guided tours.
Shop Local Goods: There are some very cool shops on Main St. stocking goods from local artisans. If you wander down the street you’ll be sure to find something cool but a few of my favorite shops are Desert Wild, Moab Made, The Find, and Arteesan.
Hiking: There is tons of hiking to do around Moab, both in the National Parks and outside of them. A few of my favorite trails were the Corona Arch, The Jeep Arch, and the Fisher Towers Trail. For some dog-friendly hikes check out this post!
Eat & Drink
Moab Garage: We all know hipsters love brunch, so Moab Garage is going to be a must. It’s super cutesy inside and the breakfast and lunch menus are delicious.
Love Muffin: Love Muffin is a cafe-style breakfast spot with solid coffee excellent breakfast. You can order online for pick up which always makes grabbing breakfast on the go easy.
Wicked Brew: If you need to pick up some coffee and breakfast real quick on the way out to your adventures Wicked Brew is your spot. It’s a drive-through coffee stand with good coffee and breakfast burritos that will only take you a minute. Seriously, you’ll be in and out in no time.
Doughbird: This might be the most hipster-y place in Moab, maybe it’s the fancy doughnuts or maybe it’s all the subway tile, either way, it’s good. Doughbird does two things, doughnuts and fried chicken, and they do them both amazingly!
Spitfire: I’d say Spitfire is the best BBQ in town, they are super fast and the portions are just about perfect. Their big outdoor patio is perfect on warm evenings and it’s got a very mellow vibe.
98 Center: For really great Vietnamese food head over to 98 Center. The pho is excellent and they have vegetarian and vegan options too. And make sure to try the Golden-Aid, it’s delicious!
Trailhead: If you are craving a burger Trailhead is your spot. The burgers are amazing, I’m literally getting hungry just thinking about them. The building is one of the oldest in town and is beautiful inside. Plus they have a rooftop patio for enjoying your burger in the fresh air.
Quesadilla Mobilla: Quesadilla Mobilla is indeed a quesadilla food truck, and it is awesome, what can I say? Hipsters love food trucks. Grab a quesadilla on your way out to an adventure or on your way home, either way, they are delicious.
*I’m going to be honest here, Moab is not a destination for drinking, it is Utah after all. But there are few local beverage companies that are worth checking out.
Spanish Valley Vineyard and Winery: Full disclosure, I did not get to hang out and do a tasting at Spanish Valley Vineyard (thanks COVID). However, I was able to purchase a few bottles and have my own tasting at my Air BNB. They specialize in German-style wines, think Rieslings and Gewürztraminers. All the wine is made completely on the property from growing the grapes to bottling, they do it all right there. It’s a small operation, and after briefly talking to the owner I can imagine doing a tasting there with him would be a lot of fun.
Moab Castle Creek Winery: Castle Creek Winery is located right along the Colorado River in a beautiful canyon. The tasting room is a little funky. It’s not like a traditional tasting you’d do in Napa, but it’s a fun experience.
Moab Brewing: Moab Brewing is Moabs largest restaurant and only brewery, it’s kind of a must. It’s a good spot to grab a beer and some snacks after a day out adventuring, but be aware that it can get really busy, like hours-long waits and frazzled servers kind of busy. No judgment on them for that, it’s a popular place, but it’s just a good thing to be aware of.
HipCamp: If you are looking for that outdoorsy vibe but still want some luxuries HipCamp is always a great option. Here are a couple of cool spots, The Sky Dancer’s Den, and the Off The Grid Canyonlands Stargazer.
Campgrounds: For that true outdoorsy experience you better be camping. There are tons of campgrounds and BLM land around Moab and don’t forget the national parks, you can camp there too (in designated campgrounds obviously). Check out Discover Moab for a full list of camping options.
Where to Take Photos
The Windows in Arches National Park: The Windows area in Arches is an awesome spot for photos. There are four epic arches all in a two-mile area and you can actually climb up into a couple of them for your perfect Insta pic.
Shafer Canyon Overlook in Canyonlands National Park: The Shafer Canyon Overlook has an epic view and is easy to get to. Snap an epic shot looking down the canyon at the expansive landscape.
Dead Horse Point State Park: Dead Horse Point looks down at the Colorado River and the beautiful canyons it’s carved over the years. Honestly, if I didn’t know any better I would have thought it was the Grand Canyon, it’s that epic.
Corona Arch: For a non-park photo spot, take the fairly easy hike to the Corona Arch. The arch itself is beautiful as is the canyon you hike through to get to it.
Where to Eat & Drink in Moab
Packing for Moab
The Best Places to Take Photos in Moab
5 Outdoor Adventures to have in Moab
Street Art of Moab
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