August is a great month to pack up the kids and dogs and go on a staycation or a short road trip.
If you don’t want to fight crowds in the more popular destinations like National Parks, try these three road trips, all of which can be enjoyed via car camping or a weekend hotel stay for less than $400.
As the least populated state in the union, Wyoming will provide you with scenic vistas, wide expanses of space, and something like a trip back in time.
Consider Evanston, just 80 minutes from Salt Lake. (Yes, the same place you go for keg runs, fireworks and cheaper liquor.) There is actually a scenic and historic Main Street in Evanston. The street is book-ended by a Railroad Museum called the Roundhouse. There’s also the Suds Brothers Brewery and the Bear River Wildlife Refuge. I tried Suds Brothers SOB (South of the Border), which is similar to a Corona. It was refreshing and light. We lunched at the Serendipity Bookshop, which offers home-made bread sandwiches and fresh pies baked daily.
Next, drive on to Kemmerer, Wyoming, and camp at nearby Fontenelle Reservoir, where you can visit the Stock Exchange–one of the oldest saloons in the Western U.S. The bartender/owner is always there, and he was a pleasure to talk with about the history of the boom/bust cycles of the region. Kemmerer features a rustic ghost town and a wild west feel.
Before leaving, stop by Bob’s Rock Shop so he can tell you where the best places are to collect fossils with your kids, or just buy them directly from Bob.
Drive two more hours to Lander. With its wooden slat sidewalks, this old west town reminds me of Park City in the 1980s. Lander has seen better days, back when the oil and gas booms made the population soar. The town offers an excellent brew pub restaurant and many affordable hotels. It’s also one of the best access points for hiking the spectacular Wind River range.
Other Great Reasons to Road Trip in August
Moab in August
Saturday August 6th: Rangers from Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park will join forces–and telescopes–to offer visitors a chance to experience “the park after dark.” A short interpretive program will be followed by telescope viewing. Moab offers some of the darkest night skies in North America, so it’s guaranteed to be spectacular. Stay at the Desert Star or Red Stone Inn for around $150 per night.
Helper Arts and Music Festival
From August 18th to the 21st, the Helper Arts, Music and Film Festival offers some of Utah’s best artists in a much more intimate setting than the more crowded Salt Lake and Park City festivals. Moab is home to 20 exceptional artists who will be there along with a lineup of bands and some great food. The festival kicks off with dance concerts on August 5 and 6.
This festival is quickly becoming one of the top fests in Utah. Helper is just a two-hour drive from Salt Lake City, and the Main Street is full of historic buildings, many of which were former brothels from the coal-boom era. Visit UtahStories.com for a full story and artist profiles.