It’s no secret I love Ogden. My free time is always full with all the fun family-friendly activities going on in our city. We have everything here: art galleries, restaurants, theatres, hiking trails, parks, live music…the list goes on. However, as much as I love it, sometimes I just need to get out of town.
My kids and I love pulling out a map and planning an adventure. You don’t need a lot of time or money to enjoy a fun trip out of town, though. A fun day trip is at the very top of my list of favorite activities to do. All you need is a tank of gas, a cooler full of snacks, and a free day.
Below is a list of my top ten favorite day trips to take from Ogden:
- Pineview Reservior
Just 24 miles up Ogden Canyon, Pineview is a fun place to visit year-round. I hear the ice fishing is great in the winter. In the summer, we pack a lunch and spend the day on the beach building sandcastles, kayaking, and playing in the water. On our way home, we love to stop in for dinner at Luis’s Mexican Cuisine or Carlos & Harley’s, and then grab a scoop of Farr’s ice cream at The Oaks on our way back down the canyon.
- Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
Twenty-five miles north of Ogden, this destination is a lot closer than you think. The marshes found at the mouth of the Bear River attract over 250 species of migrating birds that rest and feed at the Refuge annually. Spanning almost 80,000 acres and offering a 12-mile auto tour, it’s easy to spend the entire day observing the amazing wildlife. Be sure to stop in at the visitor’s center and don’t forget to pack the binoculars!
- Brigham City
My ancestors were one of the first families to settle Brigham City when the Mormons came to Utah. Although no close relatives live there now, I still feel a connection to the area and I enjoy spending the day in that neck of the woods. It’s a quick 26-mile drive from Ogden and we usually drive up Highway 89 for the scenic route. Once there, I recommend taking a stroll down Main Street, visiting the Brigham City Museum, and checking out the World of Puppetry Museum (yes, it’s about as creepy as you think it would be – therefore, totally awesome).
- Antelope Island
This is definitely my favorite nearby destination (28 miles west of Ogden) to take the kids to. We usually try and pick a clear day, in any season, and head out there for some breathtaking views of the Wasatch Front. We always stop in at the visitor’s center, which gives a great overview of the island and its inhabitants. Our next stop is then Fielding Garr Ranch, which is one of the oldest working ranching operations in the Western United States. You’re always sure to see some bison and other animals on the island, so be sure to take sure to take a camera!
- Salt Lake City
Getting out of town doesn’t always have to mean jumping in the car! Some of our favorite adventures include hopping on the Frontrunner and traveling the 35 miles to spend the day down in our capitol city. We sometimes spend the day visiting one of the many awesome museums: The Leonardo, The Children’s Museum, Clarke Planetarium, etc. Other days we might decide to visit Temple Square, The Salt Lake Library, or Liberty Park. You’ll never run out of places to explore in SLC.
- The California Trail
Yes, the California Trail is way too long to experience in just a day. However, a pretty interesting portion of it lies just east of Ogden and it’s a fun way to spend the day learning a bit more about our state’s history. The portion of the Trail that runs between the Wyoming border (69 miles from Ogden) and the small town of Henefer, actually consists of three very important ones: the California Trail, the Mormon Pioneer Trail, and the Pony Express Trail. Be sure to print off the information on the auto tour so you don’t miss any of the important landmarks.
- The Spiral Jetty
I grew up in the Ogden area but didn’t even hear about The Spiral Jetty until last year. I’ve now taken two trips out there in the last six months, one in August and one in February, and it has definitely become one of my favorite destinations for both seasons. It lies 70 miles northwest of Ogden, past the small ghost town of Corinne and a bit further than the Golden Spike National Monument (I’d recommend stopping to check out both).
- Provo Canyon
Beautiful in any season, Provo Canyon is only 74 miles from Ogden and completely worth the drive! During the winter, you can stop to cross-country ski or showshoe along the trails. In the summer, you can pack a picnic and enjoy a hike or visit Deer Creek Reservoir State Park. You’ll pass Bridal Veil Falls, Mt. Timpanogos and see some amazing scenery. This is definitely a trip you’ll want to pack the camera for.
- Bear Lake
Growing up, I spent many summer days playing in the sand at Bear Lake, about 90 miles north of Ogden. I love taking my children up there to experience some of the same adventures. The water is pretty cold, so unless it’s really hot out, we tend to spend most of our time on the beach or on the water in a boat or on waverunners. Stop in for a world-famous raspberry shake and then drive up to Paris, ID. Your friends will think you’re fancy when you tell them you went to Paris over the weekend.
- Bonneville Salt Flats
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, head out to the Bonneville Salt Flats for the day. I visited for the first time last fall and immediately fell in love with this part of the state. It’s a little over 150 miles from Ogden, so you’ll want to plan a full day. Along the way, you’ll pass Saltair and the Tree of Life – both cool photo ops. If you want to go a few miles further, you can stop in at Wendover for an $8 steak dinner and try your luck at winning on the slots.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve barely scratched the surface of exploring what our incredible state has to offer. I’m always looking for new places to add to my list of must-see destinations! If you have any suggestions, leave a comment!
Candice Brown was born and raised in the Ogden area. She spends her free time reading, crocheting, and adventuring with her offspring. You can keep up with her on Instagram here.