Picture this: You wake up to chirping birds and the faint morning sun bouncing off red mountains in the distance. Later, you’re going on a hike and ATV ride among century-old rock formations. Tonight you’re going on a river dinner cruise with a light and music show. It’s not a movie— it’s your 2 Days in Moab itinerary ahead!
As a Southwest native, I’ve been to Moab more times than I can count. Heck, I lived there when I traveled in my campervan! So in this post, I’m condensing that experience into the ultimate two day itinerary. Let’s dive right in!
When you’re done, read this Moab travel guide for everything you need to know before you go!
(Stay until the end of this post where I give you a map plus itinerary add-ons!)
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First, let’s get to know you.
Are you an early-bird-catches-the-worm type traveler or a night-owl-on-the-prowl type person?
This is essential information to know when you arrive for your visit to Moab.
If you’re a night owl, you’ll have a better time on your trip if you arrive the evening before.
That way, you can squeeze in a dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants or pubs.
There are a few places to go to self-induce a food coma, but one of the best places to do that is Zax Restaurant.
They offer pizza, burgers, pasta, and a bar in downtown Moab.
Depending on your arrival, early risers, you might still have time for a sunrise breakfast before exploring the city for the day.
Try the retro Moab Diner on the main street, which serves an all-day breakfast from 6 am. If you’re ever in doubt about where to pick up some grub, just cruise through South Main Street for a pick of the city’s best eateries.
Insider Tip: For this itinerary, you’ll be moving through two national parks, so it would be a good idea to get an America the Beautiful Pass to save a few coins!
Don’t forget these:
Day 1 — Arches National Park
An Arches and Canyonlands itinerary can take as long as you want.
But, for this trip, you’ll only spend half a day at each park.
That way, you’ll still have plenty of time to explore more of the city in one day in Moab.
For your first day in Moab, you’ll explore downtown and one of the national parks — Arches National Park.
One day in Arches is plenty, don’t worry!
Let’s dive into the details!
This National Park has no restaurants, so you’ll have to pick up sustenance before you go.
Many hotels offer buffet breakfasts to their guests either free of charge or at a low cost.
If your hotel doesn’t provide this service, Moab Diner is always a winner and opens at the crack of dawn.
You can also pick up lunch boxes to-go there for a mid-day lunch in the park.
My suggestion? On your first morning in Moab, spend your first few hours just exploring the downtown area yourself.
There are many coffee shops, restaurants, and shops on South Main Street alone.
Stop by Moab Made, Lema’s Kokopelli Gallery, and Hogan Trading Company to pick some fantastic gifts and art pieces made by locals.
A few great clothing shops also sell handmade and custom pieces.
Then, stop by one of the great eateries for a quick brunch or lunch before heading to your next destination.
Insider Tip: Notable cafes include Jailhouse Cafe, Moab Coffee Roasters, and Love Muffin Cafe.
Your first adventure of the day is called Hell’s Revenge.
Don’t worry. It isn’t as bad as it sounds.
This Hell’s Revenge 4×4 Off-Roading Tour from Moab is a midday tour of the 6.5-mile terrain outside downtown Moab.
On your 2.5-hour driving trip, you’ll see the fantastic views of the La Sal Mountains, Abyss Canyon, and the Colorado River on a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping ride.
After that thrilling experience, it’s time to head over to Arches National Park.
This setting is much more relaxing and allows for tranquil walks and stunning views that will stop you in your tracks.
So, if off-roading isn’t your thing, consider this Arches National Park Adventure from Moab instead.
Of course, you don’t need to take a tour to enjoy the park. Just buy an admission ticket and take a self-guided tour.
There is plenty to do and see, from fantastic scenic drives to rock climbing and hikes.
Here are some of my faves:
- Hike to Delicate Arch
- Visit the Windows Section
- Get a permit for Fiery Furnace
- Visit Sand Dune Arch
Insider Tip: If you only have time for one, make sure Delicate Arch is on your list!
For a night-time treat, you might enjoy this Colorado River Dinner Cruise.
It comes accompanied by music and a light show.
Come on that is a fantastic way to end the night!
On this romantic cruise, you’ll be seated in a dining room with river views and served a delicious cowboy-style dinner from a Dutch oven.
After this, the theatrics begin with your guide’s show of lights, shadows, music, and dramatic storytelling.
On this ride, you’ll learn about the canyon’s history through the lens of its early settlers.
No flash photography is allowed, and remember to bring a jacket along!
Alternative: If a dinner cruise isn’t your jam, check out one of Arches best sunset spots!
Day 2 — Canyonlands National Park and Beyond
Another day, another marvelous adventure on this two-day trip to Moab!
After a day in Arches, Canyonland’s itinerary is up next for day two.
I’ve also included activities outside of the national park so you get the full Moab experience.
Let’s dive in!
Did you know that Arches National Park’s formations date back to the Jurassic Era?
And after yesterday, you’ve only scratched the surface of the areas 300+ million-year-old bows.
However, if you’d like to explore another prehistoric attraction, visit the Moab Giants.
This is an open-air museum of (you guessed it) dinosaurs.
First things first; breakfast. Visit the Giant’s Cafe for breakfast and a drink from their themed menu. Then, head to the action.
This museum is a fun place to kill an hour or two and still learn about the area’s prehistoric past.
Hike the dinosaur trail to spot 100 life-sized dinos as well as a fantastic view of the Arches National Park.
There are also a few interactive exhibits to explore, like the 5D Prehistoric aquarium, 3D theater, and the tracks museum. It’s good to keep in mind that the museum is closed on Wednesdays.
Alternative: You can do a sunrise mission to Corona and Bowtie Arches—the trail is located in Moab and a moderately, challenging 2.4-mile round trip adventure. It takes about 1 hour to complete.
After a Jurassic amount of fun at the museum, it’s time to move to Dead Horse Point State Park — about a 30-minute drive away.
You probably wouldn’t expect too much with a name that bleak, but the views here are amazing.
But first, let’s address the elephant (or horse) in the room.
This is cowboy territory, and it was the area where many corralled horses accidentally succumbed to the elements and lack of food and water.
Today, visitors often report seeing or hearing horses roam here from time to time — or so the legend goes.
Whether you believe this 19th-century folklore is up to you. But, what you cannot deny are the astounding views.
With the flat top rock formations and Colorado River below mirroring the sky, it will feel like you’re captured in a painting.
Most trails here are relatively easy, like the Dead Horse Point Overlook Trail.
This is a short hiking trip that takes less than an hour but leads to the awe-inspiring and iconic photo view.
Every time I have ever come to Moab, I’ve stopped here and LOVED it. The park is gorgeous for sunrise or sunset too.
Insider Tip: You’ll only need a few hours max at Dead Horse Point before you make your way over to Canyonlands National Park. The parks are about a short 15-minute drive away from each other, so it’s quite easy to reach by car.
It isn’t that far from Canyonlands to Moab.
So, you can spend a few more hours in the park before heading to your accommodation for the last night.
Canyonlands is the perfect place to watch the sunset.
For the best views, head over to Green River Overlook at sunset.
Utah is also one of the few places in the US that gets minimal light pollution, which means the sky is really alight with stars almost every night.
So, don’t forget to stick around for the canyon’s amazing full moon hikes!
The dark skies allow you to see the Milky Way crystal clear while you explore Moab, Utah in two days.
Insider Tip: These hikes typically happen in summer and start at White Rim Overlook.
Where to Say
If you’re planning on visiting Moab, you’ll probably need some place to crash, huh?
The good news is that it doesn’t matter how long your Moab trip is because almost anywhere you stay will have amazing views.
But here are a few faves:
La Quinta by Wyndham Moab — If you want to experience downtown Moab with your pet at hand, you better book a spot at this 3-star hotel. Rooms come with a kitchenette, en-suite bathroom, and seating area.
Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection By Hilton — 4-star contemporary hotel hugged by the nearby mountains, which you can ogle at from the heated outdoor pool.
Your 2 Days in Moab Itinerary in Sum + Map
- Day 1:
- Downtown Moab
- Hell’s Revenge/ Arches National Park
- Colorado River Dinner Cruise
- Day 2:
- Moab Giants
- Watch the Sunset
- Take Moon-lit Hikes
Your Next Read: Utah National Parks Road Trip
Let’s be frank, Moab is a great city with so much to explore!
So don’t be afraid to mix it up a little and remove and add a few of the things you most badly want to see instead!
Packrafting in the Moab area is one of my TOP recommendations.
It’s basically like backpacking, but on a raft you can take on the go.
Packrafting Utah was a serious bucket list experience for me that everyone needs to try at least once.
Pro Tip: You can book an epic packrafting adventure down the Green River for an unforgettable experience.
You might not know this, but spending 2 days in Moab, Utah gives you the perfect amount of time to try things you wouldn’t have the opportunity to otherwise.
Canyoneering is one of those activities!
You’ll have the chance to scale some of Moab’s gorgeous rock formations, Indiana Jones style.
Sure, you can see the canyons well enough on foot, but why not float above them and see them from a different angle?
It doesn’t matter how many days in Arches National Park you spend, you’ll be surprised at the beauty from above.
Insider Tip: You can go on a scenic airplane ride to get a different perspective!
Utah is a cowboy landscape, so saddle up a horse and gallop away.
It is a great way to see the landscape at a closer yet faster range.
You don’t have to be a seasoned rider to enjoy the activity; beginners are welcome.
Perhaps don’t ride a horse in Dead Point State Park. You wouldn’t want to spook them there!
Final Tips for Your 2 Days in Moab Itinerary
Let’s wrap all this up with some parting tips for your Moab 2 day itinerary.
Practice Good Hiking Trail Etiquette
There’s nothing worse than walking behind someone that doesn’t respect nature as they should.
If you’re a first-time hiker, make sure this isn’t you and that you practice good hiking trail etiquette.
Prepare for the Heat
Utah’s summers can be sweltering.
Expect temperatures to rise anywhere between 85°F to 88°F.
Now, add that to the scorching desert terrain, and it may feel like you’re trapped in an oven.
Layer up on sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and stay hydrated.
Plan Your Hikes Well
Ranking Utah National Parks may be difficult, but Moab’s National Parks are among the most highly rated places to hike.
Make sure you know the hiking trail’s length, elevation, and duration before attempting it.
Also, ensure you have enough water, snacks, and food to carry you throughout the hike.
Make a Trip Out of It
You’re already visiting 2 Utah National Parks, so why not visit the rest of them?
Take a Utah National Parks road trip through the Big 5!
You can also take an Arizona Utah road trip, which I have a post on ;).
Overall Thoughts on Spending 2 Days in Moab, Utah
Moab, Utah is the perfect place for travelers and adventure-lovers to experience new things in a gorgeous, other-worldly setting.
So have fun and enjoy yourself!
If you want more tips for exploring Utah, make sure you click here to check out my other Southwest posts!