It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways: Moab is an adventurer’s paradise. There are so many outdoors excursions you can go on, and so many incredible places to soak up the red dirt deserts and epic sunsets. There are tons of amazing things to do in Moab, Utah, so to make things easier as you plan at your Moab itinerary, I’m sharing my absolute favorites.
Disclosure: Part of crafting the ultimate Moab itinerary is finding the best places to stay. As a frequent traveler, I’ve curated a list of epic places to stay in Moab to make your planning process easier. I may make a commission, at no cost to you, if you choose to book through one of the Moab lodging links in this article. I appreciate you supporting small businesses like mine by using these links to book!
While Moab is certainly busier in the spring and fall (fall is personally my favorite time of year to get out to Moab!), the weather is also a lot more enjoyable in these months.
Winter can certainly be interesting. The air in Moab is very dry, so while it’s cold, it’s not unbearable. Plus, there’s a chance you can catch a magical dusting of snow on the desert if you’re lucky!
I’d recommend at least giving yourself 3-5 days in your itinerary to do all of the best things in Moab.
Sure, you can see a glimpse in a quick weekend, but that doesn’t leave much room for side explorations, spontaneous hikes or rafting trips, or any other last-minute adventures you may want to take.
If you ask me, one of the best things to do in Moab is camp, assuming you’re visiting in the spring or fall seasons.
You get to experience each Moab sunrise and sunset from camp, can cook your dinners with the most incredible views, and sleep beneath the desert stars. It doesn’t get any better.
If you want my recommendations for best non-camping lodging in Moab, though, I include more info further down in the article!
These are my personal favorite things to do when I get out to Moab. They’re mostly outdoors focused, because let’s be honest, you’re probably drawn to Moab for its epic landscapes. And trust me, this little desert town will not disappoint.
Dead Horse Point State Park is without a doubt tops the list of best things to do in Moab. It’s one of my personal favorites, especially at sunset. It reminds me of Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, except for Dead Horse is honestly so much more epic.
If you have a chance, swing by around sunset to watch an epic Moab sunset, with the Colorado River twisting beneath the overlook.
Another reason why Dead Horse is at the top of my list of best things to do is that unlike Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, Dead Horse is dog friendly!
As someone who loves camping with dogs, this is a must in my book. There’s nothing more exciting than sharing your Moab adventures with your furry bud, so if you’re looking for dog friendly hikes in Moab, definitely check out Dead Horse.
Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky visitor center is only a 20 minute drive away from Dead Horse. My recommendation is to see Canyonlands in the afternoon and then spend the sunset at Dead Horse.
Speaking of Canyonlands…it’s absolutely worth adding to your Moab itinerary. The park has two sections: Island in the Sky and Needles. If you’re looking for epic overlooks, Island in the Sky is going to be your go-to.
While Canyonlands is certainly less busy than Arches, it’s still a pretty popular national park.
With that said, the best way to get away from the crowds is to start your Moab adventures before dawn. You get empty parking lots and private, epic sunrises that are truly unbeatable.
If you don’t want to get up at sunrise, though, definitely swing by on a weekday.
My personal favorite spots to visit when in Canyonlands are Grand View Point Overlook, Murphy Point Overlook, and Green River Overlook.
Unpopular opinion, but I don’t think Mesa Arch is worth the stop. Canyonlands is amazing for its epic canyon views.
Arches is where I’d go to see arches. Mesa Arch is pretty, don’t get me wrong. But it’s beyond crowded, and I don’t think it’s worth the hype (somebody had to say it!).
Another cool spot to see in Canyonlands is Upheaval Dome. Created some 60 million years ago, it’s this giant, crater in the ground that scientists are still debating on the cause of.
If you want to stay at a hotel, the Element Moab is a beautiful, pet-friendly modern hotel option that has laundry on-site and really great common space amenities.
If you’re looking to spend some time poolside, I cannot get over how epic the outdoors pool is at the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites and the Marriott SpringHill Suites. I mean, come on, you can’t beat those views!
Another absolute gem is this industrial, modern apartment with a fire pint and hot tub onsite. It’s within walking distance to downtown, which is perfect for grabbing a bite to eat. Plus, it has 3 bedrooms with 5 beds, which is perfect if you’re traveling with a group.
I remember my first time driving Utah 128 and being in complete and total awe of the drive.
If you thought the national parks in Moab are awesome, you have only scratched the surface. There is so much to do up Utah 128 that any Moab itinerary would be incomplete without the drive.
Some of the absolute best things to do in Moab are up this road. Whether you’re looking to paddle on the Colorado River, enjoy a picnic by the water, go hiking amongst the red desert rocks, or witness an incredible desert sunrise, the options up this Moab road are endless.
The itty bitty town of Castle Valley is too far off Utah 128, and right outside of town, you can get iconic views of Castleton Tower.
There are so many amazing pull-offs on the side of the road where you can watch the sun set at Castleton, or you can opt for a hike to experience the golden hour magic.
Personally, I’m a big believer that the best things to do in Moab typically involve scoping out an epic spot to watch the sun set. Desert sunsets are honestly like nothing else, and spending any Moab sunset indoors is a total waste.
Of all the hikes I’ve done in Moab, Fisher Towers Trail is one of the most memorable. The rock structures on this hiking trail are honestly some of the coolest Moab has to offer.
This road to the trailhead is actually right off Utah 128, so definitely add it to your Moab itinerary when you’re exploring that area. As you’re hiking, make sure to look up and see if there are any climbers making their ascent.
I know, I know, I just talked about how Canyonlands was cooler than Arches, but let’s not kid ourselves: Arches National Park is a total gem as well. My favorite times to be in Arches are sunrise and at night.
Why? Arches, especially during busy season, has a tendency to completely shut down entry into the park when they’re at capacity, which can happen pretty early in the day.
Entering the park at sunrise helps with that. Plus, (and I cannot stress this enough!) Arches is stunning in the morning light.
As for night, I absolutely love seeing the star-filled sky in the desert, and there’s something even more magical about doing that with all these grand, epic arches nearby.
Some classics to see when you’re in Arches include: Double Arch (pictures do not do this one justice, you’ll just have to stand under it to see!), Turret Arch, Park Avenue, Delicate Arch (this is the arch on the Utah license plate), and Sand Dunes Arch Trail (my personal favorite).
Just as a general rule when in delicate desert environments like Arches NP: please make sure you’re staying on the trail (the cryptobiotic soil is extremely sensitive!).
Also, don’t be that person that climbs on the arches. I get that it’s tempting, but the only way we can continue exploring these great places is if we all make a point of loving and taking care of them.
This is quite possibly my personal favorite thing to do in Moab. And honestly, I’ve found some of my most loved Moab spots from doing this.
I highly recommend renting an AWD or 4WD vehicle, if you don’t have one, and getting out on those dirt roads (Moab is full of them, since it’s an off-roading paradise!).
Just think of it this way: as a general rule, the harder a spot is to get to, the less people you’ll find.
There’s a reason Arches and Canyonlands are the most popular places in town. They have paved roads and every person gets a map telling them what’s there.
But, if you’re willing to venture out and do your own exploring, you’re bound to be rewarded with everything Moab has to offer.
The night sky in Moab is to die for. Rather than heading back to your hotel when it gets dark, stay out and watch the stars.
If you’re into astro photography, there’s an awesome app, Photo Pills, that can help you plan for Milky Way photos. Definitely make sure you download it before your trip to Moab.
If you plan on traveling to Moab during the springtime, pay close attention to the blooming desert plant life.
The flowers in the desert are on another level. I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of staring at cacti with colorful flowers budding on them.
Outdoors enthusiast and advocate. Adventure elopement photographer. Dog mom extraordinaire. Girl who lives for the sounds of dirt beneath her hiking boots.
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