Summer in Utah is all about the outdoors. Fresh air, scenic views, and natures wonders provide an ideal environment to have fun and adventure while maintaining your sobriety. For years, researchers have claimed the positive effects of nature on wellness. Two recent studies (Thompson, et al., Beyer et al.) found being outdoors lowered stress levels and reduced depression and anxiety. And the benefits can last long after you’ve gone back inside, a recent study by Dr. Andrea Michelli found the after-effects can last for up to seven hours.
There is no state more ideal for immersing oneself in nature than Utah. With so many adventures from Logan to Moab to St. George, and everywhere in between, you’ll have more options for sober outdoor fun than time this summer to do it all.
We want to help you allow nature to restore your mind, body, and spirit so we’ve narrowed down some outdoor adventures you will have fun doing sober this summer. Whether you’re an outdoor adventurist, or just like to relax and enjoy the sunshine, we’ve narrowed down the top 10 outdoor adventures to have in Utah this summer.
Utah: Outdoor Adventures on Land
Utah is home to some of the most beautiful national parks in the country. With Zion, Arches, and Bryce Canyon welcoming thousands of visitors every summer, these are without a doubt on your bucket list. Here are some other top options to check out.
- Get lost in Escalante Canyon. With towering cliffs and swirls of pinks, oranges, and white you’ll be in awe as you explore the canyons and plateaus in this Utah wonder. For an extended adventure, we recommend a backpacking trip with the expert guides at Wildland Trekking. They provide unforgettable adventures through the ancient canyons, ending each night gazing up at the stars, creating a therapeutic setting and a true backcountry experience.
- Start your morning with a sunrise hike up Sunset Peak. It’s called Sunset, but it is a high peak that gives you a 360 panorama view so it will be great for sunrise. An hour or so to get to the peak. Alternatively, if you’re not a morning person, this hike is a perfect way to end a great summer day. Bring a flashlight or headlamp.
- Drive 30 minutes outside of Springville and relax in Fifth Water Hot Springs. Start the 2.5 mile hike early and reward yourself with a scenic, tranquil experience. Pack a lunch and spend the day testing the waters in the many hot spring pools and waterfalls.
2. Horseback Riding
Horseback Riding is a fun interactive experience with nature and animals. It’s commonly said to have therapeutic benefits that stimulate positivity, confidence, and happiness in those that ride.
- Explore Bryce Canyon on horseback with Red Canyon Trail Rides. They have guided rides from one hour to full day adventures on trails that align with your interests.
- Enjoy spectacular scenery in Heber Valley at the Red Ledges Equestrian Center. The expert guides offer one hour to half day options for any skill level.
3. Mountain Biking
This one is for the thrill seekers. Mountain biking lets you feel the wind in your hair as your rush down the rugged mountainside.
- Located in Ivins, Red Mountain Resort offers custom mountain biking adventures as well as bikes for rent if you’re looking to hit the open trail solo.
- The Dixie region is one of the most renowned mountain biking destinations. Turn to Bill and Kathi, owners of Over the Edge Sports, to set you up with all the mountain biking equipment you need. With the miles of trails to adventure through, you’ll redefine your perspective on fun.
Utah: Outdoor Adventures in the Water
Increase body strength and reduce stress on calm open waters. Stand up paddle boarding is the perfect way to actively enjoy sunshine, connect with nature, and reap the benefits on your mental health.
- Start in Moab and paddle the Colorado River where you’ll be surrounded by towering red rocks and serene sounds of flowing waters. Paddle Moab has everything you need for a day on the water. They offer SUP rentals, shuttle service, and day tours for any style adventure you’re seeking.
Tubing is a great water activity for those looking to feel the freedom and carefree joy of the great outdoors. Your adventure could be calm and relaxing, or exhilarating depending on the waters you tube down.
- Float the Virgin River in Springdale. Reserve your tube with Zion Outfitters and enjoy the cool waters on a hot day. The two-hour adventure is a fun, low-cost activity to do all summer long.
- High Country Adventure is another great option in this area of Utah. Your rental includes the tube, shuttle, and lifejacket so you can leave the gear to the experts, and focus on fun.
Whether you’re looking to maneuver through roaring rapids or breathe easy on calm waters, Utah has so many kayaking spots to choose from.
- Lake Powell is an ideal kayaking location for any skill level. Bring your own or rent from the pros at Kayak Lake Powell. If you’re looking for a more hands-on experience, they have you covered there too with guided tours.
Rafting is a great adventure for groups or families. You’ll be hard-pressed not to laugh as you hit the rushing water in Utah this summer.
- Spend a few days on the water on an unforgettable white water rafting trip with Holiday River Expeditions. You’re in for a treat with epic scenery, group comradery, and summer fun.
- For a shorter adventure, turn to Red River Adventures in Moab for a half or full day of action on the water.
Utah: Outdoor Adventures for the Non-Outdoorsy
1. Outdoor Movies
All across Utah, communities offer free movies in outdoor spaces. Breathe fresh air and enjoy cinema entertainment amongst neighbors and friends.
- Springville’s Arts Park is continuing its 10-year tradition with free movies in the park every Monday evening. Bring your own chairs and arrive early to save a spot on the lawn. This is an alcohol-free event, and you are welcome to bring the popcorn and candy.
- Murray is also hosting free movies in the park, every other Saturday this summer. All you need is your own blanket or chair.
2. Concerts in the Park
Like movies, communities are coming together this summer to enjoy live music in wide open spaces. Across Utah there are many family-friendly events to choose from.
- DeJoria Center in Kamas is hosting its Summer Concert Series with performances every Thursday. The family-friendly event is free for all ages and guests are asked not to bring alcohol.
- Homestead Resort in Midway hosts free concerts every Saturday throughout the summer. BBQ is available, so come hungry.
3. Outdoor Yoga
Outdoor yoga is the perfect way to connect with your zen and with nature. Across the state, you can find free or low-cost options to ground and center on the ground.
- You don’t always have to get dirty to enjoy the outdoors. Salt Lake Power Yoga and The City Library have teamed up to offer free yoga on the library’s rooftop. Every second Monday of the month you can start your day deep breathing in crisp morning air.
- A change of scenery is always nice, this summer Granogi partnered with the Utah State Parks for an Outdoor Yoga Series. The traveling experience hosts yoga classes at different state parks across the state through November.
Staying sober this summer will be easier when your days are filled with active outdoor adventures. With 10 great ways to get outside, you’ll have more fun sober and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of it.
What are some of your favorite sober summer things to do? Please share!