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Moab Travel Guide for First-Timers – Read This Before You Go

Apr 2, 2022

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Moab is a charming little town in Southern Utah, and it is FULL of things to do. It’s where you’ll find some amazing Utah National Parks like Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, but it doesn’t end there, which is why you’ll need this Moab travel guide!

With the surrounding desert and mountains, a Moab itinerary is where you can also try a ton of new activities like rock climbing and canyoneering.

In other words, it’s the perfect place to check a boatload of stuff off your bucket list. 

Have I convinced you to go yet? I hope so!

This guide will cover everything you need to know about traveling to Moab and what to expect when you get there so you can plan the best trip. 

Make sure you check out my other UT posts too:

And with that, let’s start things off with some must-know planning details!

Sunset in Moab Utah

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of every sale made at no additional cost to you.

Planning Your Trip to Moab, UT

  • Where is Moab: Moab is located in Southern Utah.
  • 🌵When to Go: The best months to visit Moab, UT, are October through May.
  • How Many Days to Visit: You should spend 2 full days in Moab. That will give you time to visit the National Parks and surrounding areas.
  • ✈️Fly: For the best tickets, check KAYAK.
  • 🚗Rental Car: KAYAK can also help you find budget-friendly rental cars! 
  • 🚐Campervan Rental: Want a campervan instead? You can rent one using Outdoorsy.
  • 🏨Stay: Under Canvas MoabSage Creek MoabHyatt Place Moab
  • 🎟Fees: The standard National Park entrance fee is about $35 per park. To save, snag the America The Beautiful Pass ($79.99), and it will be your annual pass for all US national parks.

I should note that summer is a popular time to visit Moab, too, but they can be very hot! You’ll need to watch the heat closely.

You can visit in winter as well, but that will require extra preparation.

Getting to Moab

Moab is a destination most folks end up in during a Utah National Parks road trip or some other southwest road trip of choice. However, if you’re looking to fly closer to Moab, you can do that. 

Here are the airports and major cities closest to Moab, UT. 

  • Canyonlands Field Airport – About 18 miles from Moab and a 20-minute drive. Tickets can be costly!
  • Salt Lake City – About 230 miles away and a 3 hour and 45-minute drive.
  • Flagstaff, AZ – About 320 miles away and a 5 hour and 20-minute drive. 
  • Denver, CO – About 530 miles away and a 5 hour and 40-minute drive.
  • Las Vegas – About 450 miles away and a 6 hour and 50-minute drive.

Click here to search KAYAK for flights to Moab!

Where to Stay in Moab, UT

With so many tourists visiting each year, Moab has excellent accommodation options that offer views and proximity to all the good stuff. Take a look: 

  • Under Canvas Moab—This property offers a unique experience to those traveling in the area! You can go glamping under beautifully designed canvas tents complete with a comfy bed and fireplace. Plus, you’ll get a deck with a patio to enjoy your morning coffee on! 
  • Hoodoo Moab by Hilton—A GORGEOUS property with desert-inspired decor. Try to get a room with a view when you go!
  • Hyatt Place Moab—Beautiful property with a mountain-view pool complete with pet-friendly rooms.
  • Sage Creek Moab—Vacation rentals near the heart of Moab! The condos are each designed and curated to feel like your home away from home.
  • Cozy Condo—Beautiful 2BR condo near the heart of Moab that will be the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring.

Click here to explore more desert-inspired vacation rentals in Moab!

Under Canvas Moab via Booking.com

Things to do in Moab

Now we can get into the fun part! As mentioned before, Moab is a great place to cross many bucket list items.

I recommend exploring some of Moab in both my Arizona Utah road trip and Utah National Parks road trip blogs. 

Now, I’d like to give you an idea of how you can best spend your time here!

READ NEXT: How to Spend 2 Days in Moab, Utah

Explore the National Park

There are 2 US National Parks within a short driving distance from Moab. They are Arches National Park (20 minutes from Moab) and Canyonlands National Park (47 minutes from Moab). 

Both are beautiful places to spend a day! You can also spend a day going on a 4×4 tour through BOTH parks! If that’s too much, you can do a half-day tour too! Don’t forget your America The Beautiful Pass!

Dead Horse Point State Park

Another gem in the Moab area is Dead Horse Point State Park! It’s a must-see and incredible for sunrise or sunset. 

Book an Unforgettable Tour

Don’t leave Moab, UT, without going on an epic adventure! Here are some unforgettable experiences to consider!

Take an Off-Roading Trip

Moab is a MECA for off-road lovers. That’s why they host Jeep Week in Moab, UT every year! Take your own 4×4 here or book an experience like the ones below:

Go on an Epic Canyoneering Adventure

Moab is also home to slot canyons and plenty of hidden gems you can go canyoneering in. If you’re a novice at the sport, you can book a guide!

Jump on a Scenic Plane Ride

See Moab and the surrounding national parks from the sky! You can go on a helicopter tour or a scenic airplane ride.

Go Rafting

Because of Moab’s proximity to the river, you can do everything from whitewater rafting to packrafting!

Girl packrafting in Moab Utah

City Amenities

Between activities you might want to bust out your laptop to do a couple of things or fill up on water before heading out on a long trip.

So in this section of your Moab travel guide, we’ll go over some city amenities you may find useful! When I lived in a campervan in Moab, I found these to be SO helpful.

Where to Get Wifi in Moab

Finding WiFi can always be a bit of a struggle as a traveler.

Moab made it easy, though! If you’re into coffee shops, I recommend Moab Garage. Please note that the Moab Garage saves their tables for customers, which means you will at the least need to buy a small cup of coffee to use their WiFi. 

Otherwise, if you want a quiet space to work, I suggest heading to the Grant County Public Library.

The WiFi is super fast, and they have a significant number of desks for you to work on!

Where to Fill Up or Cleanup

When I went packrafting in Moab, I found myself DESPERATE for a shower afterwards.

We would be camping our last night in the city so a hotel wasn’t an option. Hopefully if you find yourself on a Moab adventure, this section will come in handy for knowing where to take a shower and fill-up on filtered water!

To our surprise, Moab had free filtered water for visitors. This is ESPECIALLY helpful if you’re going camping or booking a tour of sorts. You can find it in the Gear Heads outdoor equipment shop.

If you’ll be out packrafting or canyoneering or camping and need to freshen up, I can’t recommend the Moab Recreation & Aquatics Center enough. 

For $5 you can use their shower for unlimited minutes, while a $7 fee will get you a day pass to their gym and the showers. 

The Rec Center is next to a park, making for a perfect yoga and picnic spot, which is excellent after a long day of visiting Utah National Parks.

Where to Eat in Moab

Before we went out on our packrafting Utah adventure, we needed snacks. So the City Market was the perfect grocery store to restock. 

In between stops along your Arizona Utah road trip or a Utah National Parks road trip you’re embarking on, stop in City Market to pick up granola bars or other supplies you need. 

Getting food within US National Park borders can be so expensive, so this is a great way to save!

But aside from City Market, you might want to eat out during your Moab trip. Here are some great places to eat in Moab:

Sunset over Moab Utah

What to Pack

Figuring out the right items to bring to the desert can be challenging! But, as someone who lived in the desert for 13 years, I kind if know what I’m doing ;).

Below is a list of items to bring. 

Toiletries

Clothing

For Fun

Outdoor Activities

Your Next Steps for Your Trip to Moab, UT

I hope you found this Moab travel guide helpful! Moab is a fun town to explore and has so many excursions in close proximity to it that you’ll have a hard time find something NOT to do. Ha!

If you want my suggestions on how to add Moab to a larger trip you’re planning that includes National Parks and other Utah gems check out one of my other Southwest blogs:

Thanks for reading, and see you in the next post!

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!