Since not all great places to stop with kids are along the major interstates, Pitstops for Kids! has added a new series called Off the Beaten Path.
First up, beautiful Moab, Utah and its surrounding areas. We had the pleasure of visiting Moab while touring national parks of the southwest, and quickly realized we could have happily spent many more than the one night we’d reserved in the town. Located 45 minutes from I-70 in Utah along US Highway 191 (2 hours from Grand Juncton, Colorado), Moab is one part champion of the arts, one part gateway to adventure and three parts sun-baked natural beauty.
Why it’s worth the drive: Moab is home to both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, which showcase some of the most stunning geological formations we’ve ever seen! Arches in particular is breathtaking, and offers many easy hikes and vista points for kids to explore. We started at the overlook for Delicate Arch (an easier hike with great views), then drive the short distance to Double Arch. You’ll see the visitor’s center directly after entering the park, but do that last when the temperatures rise. (General Tip: whatever your activity, get up and go early; later in the day, temperatures can be unbearable in summer.)
The town of Moab has much to offer in and of itself. If your kids will tolerate such activities, there’s ample shopping (for everything from boutique clothing to high end outdoors equipment to fine art). If you’re up for some adventure, rent bicycles and explore the area on the many trails or book a dune buggy or Jeep expedition to see more of the desert. Read more about our impressions of Moab.
Date last visited: July 2009
Distance off the interstate: 45 minutes.
Hours and Admission Prices: The National Parks charge $10 per vehicle. Hours vary by season. Check the official websites for more information. There are many hotel and motel options. We stayed in the Days Inn Moab (426 N. Main), which was in walking distance to restaurants and shops and had a nice pool and free wi-fi.
Food Services: Moab is known for both its fine and casual dining. Our favorite spot was a small cafe called the Wake and Bake (57 S. Main), where you can get homemade crepes with a multitude of fillings and eat out on their sun-touched patio. We also ate one dinner at the Bar M Chuck Wagon, a fun wild-west themed dinner show located a few miles out of town. The BBQ offerings and entertainment were family-friendly (and the pre-show ‘shoot out’ was great), but very young kids might get bored (ours did). If you go, be sure to get reservations!