Utah’s beauty is often understated. With sprawling National Forests, breathtaking deserts colored red, and glistening lakes, a trip across the state will take your breath away. Big cities may attract large crowds of tourists, pouring over monuments and capitals, but in between these metropolises, there can be hidden gems with unique shops and lovely sights.
With the grand landscape in Utah, many of the small towns are brimming with beautiful natural structures, and that wonderful ‘home sweet home’ feeling waiting to welcome tourists:
Springdale is a tucked-away town that helps welcome hikers to one of Utah’s most popular National Parks. The town is at the foot of Zion’s National Park, among red rock cliffs carved by the Virgin River.
Shops and restaurants make up a large portion of the small town, hoping to appeal to the backpackers and adventures traveling through. Most of the city’s revenue is brought in through tourism, which only creates a more welcoming atmosphere.
Mona is a small town in Utah with a population around 1,500. Nestled at the very base of Mount Nebo, it is a great place for small climbing excursions. Their downtown has many locally-owned businesses to support and the entire town is pristine with bouquets lining street corners.
This town is rather famous for lavender-covered hills that make up violet paths up to Mount Nebo. There are multiple farms that all visitors can enter (most for free) for a relaxing day among beautiful, fragrant lavender.
The scenery of Torrey is truly amazing, framed by many natural and individual rock formations lining its silhouette. Most visitors come for the extended trails and sights of Capitol Reef National Park, or when participating in the Tour of Utah bike race. Between these two activities, thousands of visitors are warmly welcomed yearly.
Torrey houses less than 200 people, but their intricate pioneer past is obvious due to the various historic structures still standing throughout the small town.
4. Green River
The name of this small village says it all - a great river runs through the city’s majestic surroundings. Less than 1000 people call this Green River home, so it is truly a place that can take you away from the hustle of regular life. The fruit in abundance is melon, and some say you’ll never taste one as sweet than in Green Rivers rolling hills.
Featured in town is the John Wesley Powell Museum which is filled with boats that voyaged along the river. These river paths can lead through the Gray and Desolation Canyons, and planning an excursion is possible at most times of the year because storms are irregular in the area.
Midway is rich with Swiss immigrant heritage, and it's Midway’s Swiss Days which fills the streets with thousands of guests each year. This August festival showcases local food vendors and live performances.
Scuba diving is also a popular activity for the town, one of the few places this is possible so far from the coast. Standing towards the center of town is the Homestead Caldera, a geothermal hot pool. From the beautiful mountain views to the range of fun activities, Midway is a must see along your way.
Moab is one of the most visited small towns in Utah. The most notable sight is the rock formations found in Arches National Park. This small town is a great place to rest for those visiting the nearby Canyonlands National Park.
This is a true southwestern city. Though Moab has an old-timey welcoming feel, the downtown area is renowned for its modern dining and shopping. There are crowds of young people running homemade clothing shops and even specialty coffee shops.
7. Heber City
Right in the heart of Utah’s mountains is the town of Heber City. This is an area of Utah where all activities are centered on the outdoors. From boat tours and paddle boarding on the water to hiking and horseback riding through the surrounding wilderness, lovers of the outdoors will love Heber City.
Heber Valley Historic Railroad Line is a great option for a day excursion; at the top is a clear view of what people call the "Utah Alps." These beautiful views that surround Heber City are easily the splendor those experienced when first settling the Wild West.
8. Garden City
You can find Garden City along the edges of Bear Lake. The winters can be harsh and make the town a little less exciting, but in the warmer months many festivals and events spring up to take advantage of the huge lake. Known as the Caribbean of the Rockies, for the beautiful color of the water, the summer is all about spending time on and around the water, but the surrounding wilderness is something to see.
In August, there is a festival for the raspberry harvest, featuring more raspberry recipes than you’ll know what to do with. The Pickleville Playhouse is known all over Utah for its outstanding community theatre productions. The combination of an exciting day on the water, followed by dinner and a show, leaves nothing to be desired.
9. Brigham City
Brigham City can give visitors enough activities to comfortably stay in town for weeks. The Wellsville Mountains are great for those looking for a nature escape, but in case the city life is missed, this town lies only 60 miles from the capital of Utah.
There is the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge with many different species and learning information on the local habitat surrounding the river. If time allows, several monuments exist with the center of town, including the Golden Spike National Monument. Peach Days festival is a highlight of the city’s events, a multi-day appreciation of the town's famous peach harvest.
Leave the city life behind by becoming entwined with nature at one of the many beautiful small towns Utah has to offer. Small places like these offer stunning secluded scenery and a secluded comfort the big cities will never be able to compete with.