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7 Reasons Why Travelers Are Flocking To This Stunning U.S. State In Record Numbers

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Many places across the nation experienced a record-breaking year when it came to tourism in 2023.

But, aside from the obvious places like Florida, California, or New York, many of the underrated states also pulled in the crowds.

three hikers walking down a path with amazing canyon views in the bakground in zion national park utah

One great example of that is Utah.

According to a recent report, a staggering 10.6 million visitors headed to Utah’s National Parks in 2023, alongside a record-breaking 13 million visitors to its state parks and a record 7.3 million to other historic sites and national monuments. 

It seems ‘the Beehive State’ is fast becoming one of the go-to places for an off-path vacation. But why? Let’s take a closer look: 

Those Parks Really Are Something

It should probably be no surprise that Utah’s national parks and state parks are the places that are helping it surge in popularity among travelers.

The state is home to stunning natural beauty in locations such as Arches National Park and the mesmerizing Zion National Park, which was recently rated as one of the best in the country. 

stunning red rock cliff face against blue sky in zion national park utah
Photo by David Guest

Many of these parks are among the finest places in the country to go hiking, with accessible routes and great public transport and shuttle buses to help you get around and see it all.

Full Of Hidden Gems

Utah was recently revealed as the U.S. state with the fifth-highest number of hidden gems within its borders.

The sheer size, scale, and beauty of this place mean that it’s hard to see it all in one trip.

woman doing yoga at Coral Pink Sand Dunes in utah

Beyond the major national parks, you can undertake exciting activities such as sandboarding at Coral Pink Sand Dunes or enjoy a refreshing dip in a geothermal spring like Homestead Crater.

A City For Everyone

Last year a record-breaking number of passengers flew in and out of the airport of one of Utah’s most popular destinations, Salt Lake City.

Travelers seem to be hooked on this unique destination – not only is it a fascinating place with plenty to do no matter what the season, but it’s also one of the cheapest cities to visit in the country.

capitol building against a purple sky with mountains in the background in salt lake city utah

The surrounding mountains make for great skiing in winter or hiking in summer, while visiting the surreal and strange landscapes of the Salt Lake itself is a must.

Ideal For Solo Travelers

In between the vast expanses of stunning nature, Utah has some friendly towns and cities that offer a welcoming and fun vibe that’s appealing to solo travelers.

To back that up, the city of Moab was recently named one of the most welcoming destinations in the world by travelers, making it an ideal hub to spend a few days and meet some like-minded folk.

view of arches national park at sunset near moab utah

Many of the activities and attractions in Utah can be viewed on organized tours (which are always great for solo travelers) or under your own steam if you prefer.

Shoulder Season Is Where It’s At

The rise in popularity of traveling to places in their shoulder season is a global phenomenon, and places like Utah show just why.

By visiting in spring between April and June you will avoid the largest crowds and most expensive prices but still enjoy decent weather without getting cooked by extreme heat.

two hikers looking down into a green canyon in utah

Relatively Affordable

We’ve already mentioned how affordable Salt Lake City is, but that affordability extends to much of the state. 

There’s a wide range of hotels and motels to choose from under $150 per night, possibly even less than $100 per night if you’re not too choosy about having a fancy hotel. 

You will also find that food and transport costs are relatively low in this state compared to other more densely populated parts of the country.

a motel in zion national park utah

To save even more money, you could consider buying a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, seen as most of the best things to do here are national parks.

This will save you money in the long term. 

Another great way to maximize savings while traveling is by utilizing a card that will help you stretch your travel dollars further. Here are some of our favorites.

Road Trip Heaven 

With the all-American road trip looking set to make a major comeback in 2024, there is no better place to add to your route than Utah.

Having done it myself, I can say that traveling around Utah by road is one of the best ways to see it in all its glory.

My best advice with this is to take your time and don’t try to drive too far in one day – often the views between the main sights are just as impressive, so take time to drink it in. 

a road sign welcoming you to utah against a blue sky
Photo by David Guest

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.