Moab is a unique place to visit. Not only does it have some of the best landscapes in the whole of the US, but it is also close to not one but two National Parks (Arches and Canyonlands) and one of the most amazing state parks I have ever visited! In this guide we round up the best things to do in Moab to fit into our perfect 3 days in Moab itinerary.
How to Get to Moab
There are some small airfields near Moab but international visitors will likely arrive to Moab doing a road trip from
- Denver Airport (5 hours)
- Salt Lake City (4 hours) or
- Las Vegas (7 hours)
If you are driving in to or from Denver then be sure to take the Utah 128 Scenic Byway on at least one journey to get some great views!
How many days in Moab should I spend to see the main Moab Attractions? Is 3 Days in Moab enough/too much?
If you are wondering how many days in Moab you should spend to give yourself enough time to see the main Moab attractions I would say the minimum you should aim for is two days but ideally I would say you need 3 to do the Moab area justice. Obviously, you could speed through the parks in a day, but this would be doing more a tick box lip service exercise rather than having time to enjoy some of the amazing hikes and quieter viewpoints on offer in the area. . In this 3 day itinerary we will outline some of our favourite hikes and things to do in Moab.
We personally think 3 days is the best amount of time to do a Moab itinerary however if you only have one day check out this itinerary!
It is also possible to do this Moab itinerary with kids.
Best Things to Do in Moab Utah
- Arches National Park
In my opinion the best things to do in Moab are visiting the two National Parks it is next to. My favourite is Arches. Arches National Park is probably the biggest draw for people visiting to Moab. If there was one thing that should be top of your Moab bucket list, it should be this!We have previously written about our favourite things to do in Arches with details on how to access the sites and recommend hikes. These will be plugged into the itinerary below but for a more comprehensive discussion please check out this post! Our favourites include: Hike to Delicate Arch, Windows Arches, and the Park Avenue viewpoint! We allow time for all of these viewpoints and hikes in the below itinerary.
- Canyonlands National Park
Again, I have a more in-depth post about things that can be done in Canyonlands here. By comparison to Arches, Canyonlands is a much quieter park which always surprises me given its proximity to one of the busiest!
- There are three main areas to Canyonlands National Park: Islands in the Sky, The Maze and Needles (there is a full breakdown of the areas in this post!). In this itinerary I will only recommend places in the Islands in the Sky area. This has the main sites and attractions and is definitely the easiest place to visit especially for novice hikers and those travelling with families.
- If there is one thing you must do in Canyonlands national Park it is of course watching the sunrise at the famous Mesa Arch! This is a must for your itinerary!
- Dead Horse Point State Park
In another part of the country I am sure that Dead Horse Point State Park would be national park, but I can say that this is simply one of the best State Parks I have ever visited! It gets its name from the point that cowboys would corral their horses and leave them to die – not a pleasant story but a stunning view!
Dead Horse Point in the park has one of the best sunset viewing spots in the Moab area!
- Spend time on the Colorado River
The Colorado River is so important to the area! It would be a travesty to travel to this region and not actually spend time on the River whether this be on a jet boat, or kayaking! There are some great excursions that take in Colorado River that can be found HERE!
Other Moab Attractions
Dinosaur Attractions Near Moab
Mill Canyon Track
Moab is a great place for dinosaur fanatics and fossil hunters! There are some tracks such ass Mill Canyon Tracks where you can see actual dinosaur tracks from an interpreted boardwalk hike!
Museum of Moab
If you want a more indoor activity to escape the heat of the day the Moab Museum is one of the best places to do this! There is also a fantastic exhibition on dinosaurs for kids to enjoy!
This is basically a park with life sized dinosaur models. We pulled into the car park and as soon as we did my toddler claimed she didn’t like it it was scary but they looked quite impressive from the outside!
Other attractions inside include:
Enjoy a drink
Moab has quite a craft alcohol movement. Whether you are a wine or beer drinker there is something for you ar either Moab Brewery or Castle Creek Winery – located 14 miles from Moab the winery is within the grounds of Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge. This is a great place to stay for those who are spending a bit longer in the area!
Scott Matheson Preserve
The Scott Matheson Preserve is a great wetlands for viewing wildlife in the Moab area!
Best things to do in Moab at Night
Usually when you are some of the more remote USA National Parks you might find that there are not many things to do in the evening but that is not the case here. There are loads of great things to do in Moab at night including:
Stargazing at the Dark Night Program
If you are looking for what to do in Moab at night and aren’t too tired after a day of hiking and exploring you should check out the dark sky programmes at the state and national parks in the area. Moab has some of the best places to star gaze in the country which makes this one of the best things to do in Moab night.
Go to one of the best places to watch sunset in Moab
There are also some spectacular sunsets in Moab however you you want to know the best place to watch sunset in Moab I recommend heading to Dead Horse State Park and in particular head to Dead Horse Point.
Enjoy Sundowners at the Sunset Grill
If you don’t want to head back to a park for sunset then the best place just off downtown Moab is the Sunset Grill. Set up high, this is the best view of sunset in the town!
The Perfect 3 Days in Moab Itinerary
Day one of the perfect 3 day Moab itinerary
Note about the itinerary: As we travelled in summer and summer is the busiest time for visitors in Moab, we have planned this itinerary with the summer visitor in mind. However, if you are visiting at other times of year, you can adjust the order of things as you won’t be restricted by temperature.
AM: Canyonlands National Park
Your first day of your 3 day Moab itinerary is going to start early at Canyonlands National Park. Your first stop will be the Mesa Arch Trail to take in 0.5 miles. This is a very popular spot and one of the most instagrammed national park spots in the country. If you want to watch the amazing sunrise or get good photos you will need to get there early
Be sure to exercise caution at the viewpoint.
The Mesa Arch trail is only 0.5 miles so can be accomplished by even the most novice hiker or those travelling with children!
Once you have finished here, I would recommend taking in the following overlooks and trails
- Buck Canyon Overlook
- Green River Overlook
- Grand View Point
- Upheaval Dome
Once you have completed all the trails you wish for the day head back into and enjoy the hotel pool if traveling in summer. If you are looking for a hotel with a pool in Moab, then check out this post!
Or explore the town of Moab. Be sure to grab some food while back in town!
A great place to watch the sunset is at the Buck Canyon Overlook back at Canyonlands National Park.
I would then recommend staying to join one of the dark sky programs.
Day two of Moab 3 day itinerary
AM: Arches National Park
Day 2 of you Moab 3 day itinerary sees you heading out to tackle the backbone of the Arches National Park. Depending on what your priorities are for hiking I would recommend going to one of the most popular places early i.e.:
This is one of the most popular views in Arches National Park and is one of the harder hikes. I recommend starting with this hike and then work out how many others you can do with your time before the worst of the heat!
The hike is a round a 3 mile round trip and requires plenty of water so be sure to pack plenty of water.
Once you have completed this the other hikes I recommend doing are:
- Balanced Rock
- Park Avenue
- Double Arch and Turret Arch Travel
Once you have had your fill of your hiking for the morning, head back into town.
Afternoon/ Early Evening
Head to Dead Horse Point State park. There are a few trail heads that you can take but I would organise your time to be back at the Dead Horse Point Overlook as this is perhaps the best sunset spot near Moab!
Again, if you have time, you could stay in the park for some amazing stargazing!
Head back to Arches this am to finish the hikes you missed yesterday!
For your last activity on the day why not add something more adventurous for your last afternoon! I would personally recommend doing an excursion on the Colorado River but below are some of the more adventurous things to do in Moab.
Best Moab Tours And Excursions
When you walk around Moab you will be bombarded by tour companies that organise unusual and more adventurous way of seeing the National Parks and surrounding area. We did not partake in any as we were travelling with a two year old. However below is a list of excursions that are on offer in the town!
- Jet Boat Adventure
- Air Tour of Arches
- Rock Climbing
- Petroglyph Tours
- Mountain biking
Where to eat in Moab
One of the best things to do in Downtown Moab is to enjoy the food and drink scene. There are lots of one off eateries and craft breweries in the Moab area and downtown Moab is a great place to spend some time. If you are looking for where to eat in Moab the places we enjoyed were:
A great burger restaurant and ice cream parlour with a cycling theme
If you only want ice cream and drinks during busy times you will have to order from the outside kiosk!
A great and hearty Mexican!
We didn’t eat here being too tired at the end of every day however if you want to do a sundowners outside of the park then this is the best place to do it in Moab!
To make the most of your time in Moab we recommend having packed lunches and breakfasts prepared to make the most out of your day!
Where to stay in Moab
We have a full where to stay in Moab guide here which aims to maximise your time in the parks!
FAQS About Best Things to Do in Moab 3 day itinerary
What should I do in I only have 2 days in Moab?
If you only have 2 days in Moab then I would recommend picking the two days on the above Moab 3 day itinerary that appeal to you most.
Can you do moab in a day?
Ideally you would spend more than one day in Moab. However if this isn’t possible you could pick your favourite day from the above and make this your Moab in a day itinerary however we have also created an itinerary that covers the highlights of both Arches and Canyonlands in a day.
Further Moab Reading
- Best Things to do In Arches National Park (including hikes)
- Best Things to do In Canyonlands National Park (including hikes)
- Moab Packing List
- Moab Itinerary
Have you been to Moab? What was your 3 day itinerary? What was your favourite thing to do in Moab?