Although it may not be at the top of your vacation destination list, Utah is actually full of fun things to do.
People sometimes overlook it because it’s not a well-known tourist destination like Florida, New York, Nevada or California, but the Beehive State actually has a lot to offer, especially in terms of variety.
Desert tours, skiing trips and rafting adventures can all be found within the state of Utah. Here are 30 experience gifts in Utah that you might want to consider.
Experience Gifts in Utah
A Peaceful Day in the Clouds: Salt Lake City Scenic Helicopter Ride, West Jordan
There are a ton of ways to explore Utah and see its sights. You can hop on the back of a horse, climb on a bike or board a bus, but there’s really no better way to see it than from above. With this gift, up to three of your loved ones can board an R-44 helicopter and take an hour or half hour flight over Salt Lake City.
They’ll get to see some of the state’s most famous sights, such as Temple Square, the Capitol Building, the Wasatch Mountain Range, Downtown Salt Lake and more.
Put Her in the Cockpit: Learn to Fly a Helicopter, West Jordan
If your friend is the type who’d rather fly the helicopter than simply sit back and enjoy the ride, that can also be arranged. She needs no experience and will be able to choose between an R-44 and an R-22.
She’ll start with a 15-minute training/safety session and will then help the instructor do a pre-flight check. They’ll head into the air, and she’ll get to fly the chopper herself for 30 minutes. She’ll take it over the Wasatch Mountains and get to see the outskirts of Salt Lake City and the beautiful Utah landscape.
Another Chance to Learn to Fly: Learn to Fly a Helicopter, Spanish Fork
There’s another chance for your loved one to learn to fly, this time in nearby Spanish Fork. He won’t be able to choose his helicopter; he’ll be flying the R-22, but the rest of the experience is pretty similar to the flight experience in West Jordan.
He’ll start with the same 15-minute training and safety session and get to help with the pre-flight check. Then he’ll have 30 minutes of flying the copter on a straight and level flight path. He’ll also learn to hover, climb and descend.
See All the Sights from on High: Moab Air Tours, Moab
If your friend prefers planes to helicopters, she might like to tour Utah on one of the Moab Air Tours, which will take her over some of the most beautiful natural landmarks in the state. There are several different options from which you can choose in a variety of price ranges.
There are tours that’ll take her over Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park or both! There’s also one that’ll give her a two-hour trip over the gorgeous Monument Valley. Whichever option you choose, your friend is sure to have an experience she’ll never forget.
Send Him Free Falling: Skydiving Over Utah, Erda
Flying certainly isn’t the only thing you can do in the skies over Utah. For your more adventurous friends, this skydiving experience might be more their speed. The company offers skydiving packages for experienced jumpers and for those people who’ve never jumped before in their lives.
If your friend falls into this category, he’ll do a tandem skydive with an experienced instructor. The company is also able to license professional jumpers as well.
More Adrenaline-Filled Air Adventures: Hang Gliding and Tandem Paragliding, Various Locations
Hang gliding and paragliding are other options for the adrenaline junkies you know. Actually, thanks to the experienced instructors and pilots with years of experience, this is actually safe enough for teens/older children.
That’s what makes it such a great gift, especially if you’re looking for something for an entire family to do together. While Nice Sky Adventures doesn’t let older children/teens hang glide by themselves, they can participate in the tandem paragliding experiences.
‘L’ is for Lamborghini: Race a Lamborghini
If this is the experience you choose for your friend, he’ll take his three to six laps in a Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4. This is a top-of-the-line sports vehicle that’ll make your friend feel like Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible movie while driving it.
It’s a newer, updated and more innovative model of the Gallardo, and it can hit speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour in a surprisingly short amount of time. It goes from zero to 60 in a little over three seconds, and it’ll absolutely blow your friend’s mind.
Even Faster than the Lamborghini: Race a Ferrari 488 GTB
If your loved one prefers Ferraris to Lamborghinis, you can accommodate that as well. She’ll still get the same three to six heart-stopping laps around the track, only with this package, she’ll take them in a Ferrari 488 GTB, the successor to the 458 Italia.
It, too, can blow past the 200 mile per hour mark with no trouble, and it reaches zero to 60 in three seconds flat, beating out the Lamborghini by about 0.2 seconds! The Ferrari is equipped with all the most innovative tech features found in Formula 1 race cars, and your friend will feel just like her favorite NASCAR driver behind the wheel of this beauty.
For the Pal Who Prefers Porsches: Race a Porsche
This one is for the Porsche lovers. Let your friend crawl behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, which is often lauded by experts as the best model Porsche has ever produced. It reaches the same amazing speeds as the other two cars, but with its four-wheel steering and extremely sensitive steering, this car handles better than any on the market.
If your buddy loves speed and Porsches, he won’t leave disappointed.
This Mustang Won’t Buck: Race a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Because Mustangs aren’t quite as rare and hard to find as the other three luxury cars, this package is a little more budget-friendly, but it’s still just as much fun. With this package, your friend will be able to race around the track in the sixth-generation Mustang Shelby GT500.
It has more than 700 horsepower and features the quickest street-legal acceleration there is. In short, it’s just as amazing and exciting as the rides in the luxury vehicles.
Double the Speed; Double the Fun: Italian Supercar Experience
If you hook someone up with this experience, he’ll get the same 30-minute classroom experience, but when he heads to the track, he’ll get to drive two of Utah Motorsports Campus’s most exciting luxury vehicles – the Ferrari and the Lamborghini.
He’ll get three laps with each car and be able to answer for himself the age-old question of which car is better.
The Triple Threat: Ultimate Exotic Car Racing
This final need-for-speed package truly is the ultimate one. With this experience, your loved one won’t have to choose between her favorite fast car. Instead, she’ll get to drive all three of the Campus’ fastest, most luxurious supercars.
She’ll get three laps in the Lamborghini, three laps in the Ferrari and three laps in the Porsche. At the end of the day, she’ll truly leave with her mind – and hair! – completely blown.
A Lot of Fun on the Line: Ultimate Zipline Adventure Tour, Heber
When it comes to ziplining fun, there’s no beating Utah’s Ultimate Zipline Adventure course, which is found in Heber, Utah. It’s an ACCT-certified course that has ten different ziplines and seven suspension bridges, adding up to a total of over two whole miles of ziplining.
This makes it not only the longest course in Utah but the longest ziplining course in the entire country! It’s also the longest zipline over a body of water in the entire world!
Your friend will have a ton of fun, but he’ll also get to see some beautiful scenery as well.
Part of the zipline will take him over Deer Creek Lake and Rainbow Bay and through the Wasatch Mountains. The part of the zipline that crosses over the Lake is 4,000 feet long. It’s truly a breathtaking experience like no other.
*Note: The course does include over 500 stairs in total, so be sure your friend is up for the challenge physically before sending him off on this adventure.
For the Animal/Nature Lover: Soldier Hollow Horseback Riding, Midway
This great experience is for the loved one in your life who loves getting out into nature but wants to do it in a more laid back, easygoing kind of way. With this package, she’ll ride on horseback through Soldier Hollow Valley and take in views of the gorgeous Wasatch Mountains, the Deer Creek Reservoir and Mount Timpanogos.
She’ll visit the site of the original hunting camp of the Ute Indians called the Crow’s Nest, and she’ll be seeing the very spot where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held.
An Awesome Rafting Adventure: White Water Rafting, Park City
For friends who love the water, it doesn’t get much better than a rafting trip down eight and a half miles of river. The Weber River is the perfect place for rafting thanks to its Class II rapids, stunning scenery and curious wildlife.
The trip will also take your friend through “The Rock Garden,” which is well-known for its gorgeous red rock arches, and to Taggart Falls.
For the Avid Fisherman: Guided Fly Fishing, Midway
Whether your friend is a lifelong fisherman or has never caught a fish in his life, this fly fishing trip can be a lot of fun. Your pal will be paired with a knowledgeable guide with years of experience fly fishing in the area.
The guide will tailor the trip to your friend’s experience level, and all the needed equipment will be provided. Between the lovely sights of nature and the hungry trout, it’ll be a day your friend won’t soon forget.
Tired Legs, but a Satisfied Soul: Mountain Biking Singletrack Ride, Park City
When it comes to Utah tours, this is one of the best as long as your friend is an intermediate-to-advanced bike rider. The tour will take her down a singletrack trail through some of Utah’s wild country.
She’ll have a local guide who’s very familiar with the mountains, trails and terrain, and the guide will tailor the route to suit your friend’s desired cycling conditions. This is a nice option even for those who’ve lived in Utah their whole lives.
She’ll go through the woods, bike around switchbacks and experience Park City, Utah in a totally new way.
More Fun on the Water: Inflatable Kayak Tour, Park City
This is another great option for the friend who loves the water but may not want to depend on others to help her through the rapids. This guided tour will take her down some of the same Class I and Class II rapids areas of the Weber River, but this time, she’ll go it alone in her single-person, inflatable kayak.
(Tandem inflatable kayaks are also available for couples.) It’s a little more physically demanding than the rafting trip, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. She’ll even get to stop midday for a complimentary lunch by the river.
A Beautiful Way to Spend the Day: Hiking in Zion National Park, Springdale
Utah is home to five national parks, and Zion is probably the most lovely of the five. There are tons of opportunities for hiking within the national park, so you can generally find one that fits the skill, experience and stamina levels of any individual.
Whether your friend would prefer to hike around the high-elevation Kolob Terrace or on one of the low-elevation Southwestern Desert trails, he’ll find something that suits his tastes. These hikes are especially nice for families or groups, but park rules prohibit groups containing more than 12 people.
The Gift of Learning Something New: Mountain Adventures Rock Climbing Courses, Salt Lake City
One of the best experiences you can give someone is the gift of learning a new skill or hobby. Utah is a great place for learning to rock climb, and you can help your friend do just that thanks to the Utah rock climbing company known as Mountain Adventures.
Mountain Adventures offers a myriad of different courses to people with no experience, little experience or lots of experience with rock climbing. Some of the courses they offer include: outdoor rock climbing clinic, anchor building, crack climbing clinic, sport leading clinic, Grand Teton prep course, self-rescue/AMGA course prep and more.
A Versatile Hobby Indeed: Paddle Boarding on the Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake City
If you have a friend who really does love the water but isn’t quite adventurous or athletic enough to enjoy a rafting adventure or a spirited kayaking trip, she might enjoy paddle boarding instead. Paddle boarding is something she can do on the water that’s a little more slow-paced and easier to do.
It’s also a very versatile activity. She can lie down, sit or stand up on her paddle board. If she’s flexible, creative and adventurous enough, she could even learn to do yoga on the board! There are plenty of places to paddle board in Utah, but one of the best is the Great Salt Lake.
So rent your friend a paddle board, and send her on her way!
For the Friend Who Loves to Sleep Under the Stars: Camping and Stargazing in Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey
Because of its five national parks, Utah is also a great place for anyone who loves to camp. There are plenty of places to do this in the state, but one of the most beautiful – and most underrated – is Capitol Reef National Park.
It’s a quiet, secluded, peaceful place that, for whatever reason, doesn’t seem to get as much foot traffic as Utah’s other national parks. In some ways, that’s a shame, but in others, it’s hugely advantageous.
Because it’s visited less than the other parks, there are never a ton of people around, so your friend can truly camp in peace and solitude. The park has also been designated as an International Dark Sky Park, which means it’s one of the best places in the country to be able to truly gaze at the stars.
Its famous red-orange cliffs of sandstone, the lack of people and the huge sky overhead will let your friend know what it would feel like to live on Mars.
The Only Cat that Likes the Snow: Park City Cat Snowcat Skiing, Park City
Whether your pal prefers skiing or snowboarding, he’ll be able to do it on this snowy expanse of 40,000 acres in Park City. He’ll start by hopping aboard the Snowcat and heading into the back country, where he’ll get to ski or snowboard to his heart’s content.
He can usually get in eight to 12 runs a day, the Snowcat waiting at the bottom, ready to take him back up once again. The Snowcat trips up the mountain are nice rides, complete with snacks and refreshments, and lunch is provided at midday.
A More Laid Back Day in the Snow: Snowshoeing Tour, Park City
Snowshoeing is a nice snow-based activity that just about anyone can do, regardless of whether or not she has any prior experience. This is a guided tour that’ll take your friend through the lovely, majestic Park City mountains.
All the required equipment will be provided to her, and she can choose the leisure tour or the heart-pumping aerobics tour. Either way, she’ll enjoy the lovely, snow-covered sights of Utah.
A Truly Breathtaking Tour: Cross-Country Skiing Adventure, Park City
Whether you’re looking for something for a friend, a couple or an entire family, cross-country skiing is a good option. With this package, your friends will have their own professional, knowledgeable guide who’ll customize the tour to their interests, experience and fitness levels.
It’s a nice workout, but it doesn’t require any prior experience to be able to do. Your friends will feel like they’re living in a different century, traveling through the snow just like their ancestors did hundreds of years before them.
Send Her to Utah’s Longest Tubing Lanes: Snow Tubing at Woodward, Park City
Snow tubing is another activity that’s fun for the whole family, which makes this another great package if you’re looking for something for friends who have children. Snow tubing at Woodward is even more exciting than a lot of other snow tubing locations because their lanes are longer than any other tubing lanes in Utah.
It’s a fun, “no experience needed” activity that’s so safe, kids as young as four can take part in it, so if you have friends who are looking for a little mindless fun in the snow, this is a great option.
The Perfect Combination of Speed and Snow: Snowmobiling Trip at Lofty Peaks Adventures, Park City
When it comes to snowmobiling in Utah, there’s no better option than Lofty Peaks Adventures. The company offers a ton of options for snowmobiling. They offer guided tours or guide-free rentals that’ll allow your friend to go snowmobiling on his own without anyone’s direction.
There are one-hour options and all-day options as well, and there are plenty of available locations. Whether your friend is a resident of Utah or a tourist, he can definitely find some fun at Lofty Peaks.
Turn Your Friend into a Master Brewer: Virtual Homebrew Lesson
If you’re looking for an at-home experience for a more introverted friend, consider this virtual homebrew lesson. Everything your friend will need to brew his own delicious hops will be delivered right to his front door.
Then, at a time convenient for him, he can log into the virtual lesson and work with live brewmasters who’ll teach him to become a pretty decent amateur brewer himself. All-in-all, it’s a pretty great gift that any lover of beer should enjoy.
For The Friend Who Love to Cook: The Chef and the Dish Private Virtual Cooking Lesson
Whether your friend is an amateur chef who everyone agrees could be the real thing or someone who burns water when she tries to cook it, she can learn a lot from this live virtual cooking lesson. Your friend will get to select a chef with whom she wants to work.
Then she’ll receive a recipe booklet that’ll tell her all of the ingredients she needs to purchase. Then she’ll schedule her live lesson with a world-renowned chef. The chefs hail from all over the world and each has his or her own specialty dish.
The dish she ends up learning to cook will depend on the chef with whom she works.
A Restaurant-Worthy At-Home Experience: Blue Apron Meal Delivery Kit
This last experience is another one for the foodies. Blue Apron will deliver delicious, farm-fresh and seasonal ingredients to your friend along with recipes for a full meal. It completely eliminates the need to meal prep or to shop for groceries! Everything he needs will arrive fresh at his home, and his only job is to prepare it using the step-by-step instructions included with the ingredients.
You can choose between a two-person kit or a family (four-person) kit, and he’ll actually get to pick his own meals from the available selection each week.
Utah’s Got It All
Although Utah has been moving between the second and third spots on the list for “Fastest Growing States” in the U.S. over the past few years – due in large part to a sizable increase in birth rates among the many Mormon families that live there – it rarely makes it out of the bottom half (26-50) of the “Most Popular States for Tourists” list. In fact, it usually hovers somewhere between 30th and 35th in popularity.
As of the year 2020, though, Utah has seen a dramatic increase in visitors. When the COVID pandemic swept across the world, particularly in the United States, thousands of people had to cancel their summer vacations and winter holiday trips. Large, popular, enclosed spaces like Disneyland in California and the casinos in Nevada were no longer as safe to visit. That’s when people began turning their attention to Utah.
Utah has lots of vast, open spaces and thriving outdoor recreation activities. Utah is unique in that it’s one of the few states you can visit in the U.S. and see beautiful flat lands, arid deserts and snow-capped mountains all without leaving the state.
Utah lends itself nicely to a wide variety of outdoor activities that range from skiing and sledding to hiking, camping and rock climbing. There are all kinds of great things to do on the water including fishing, rafting, canoeing and even paddle boarding. It’s definitely one of the few states that actually really does have something for everyone. It even has beaches!
So whether you have friends looking for new and interesting vacation spots or you have loved ones who live in or are moving to Utah, there are all kinds of great experience gifts you can give them. You can send them flying, skydiving, ziplining, cycling or speeding around the track at the Utah Motorsports Campus in lightning-fast luxury vehicles! There are also a few experiences you can send directly to their homes if your friends still aren’t sure they’re ready to be out and about in the world.
Whatever your loved ones’ specific tastes and hobbies, Utah has something that can accommodate them. In fact, this list is only a small percentage of the amazing experiences Utah has to offer, so the next time you’re considering a trip for yourself or a surprise trip for someone you love, make sure you add Utah to the list of possibilities.
Thanks for stopping by today. Before you leave, please check out the comments section and share your own favorite Utah experiences. Be sure to like and share this list with your friends and loved ones as well!