Utah is one of my favorite states in the U.S.. The terrain is so varied and beautiful that you say wow around every turn. There are so many state and national parks as well. Moab is a great hub to see a few of the parks: Canyonlands National Park (Island in the Sky and Needles), Dead Horse Point State Park* and Arches National Park. I recently learned that this area is much different in the winter than it is in the spring and summer. The other times I have been to the park.
Winter in Moab means:
- Less tourists
- Colder weather, possibly snow and ice (get a rental with good tire grip not a sports car like I had)
- Some stores and restaurants are closed for months
- Vacation rentals are plentiful and cheap. Check out Vacasa.
- You can be the only one in the parks
- Less competition for prime photo positions of the sites. You could arrive 10 minutes before sunrise and be the only one at the arch rather than behind a bus load of people.
- The sun rises and sets in different spots on the horizon and most online advice is for summer i.e. the sun doesn’t come up right through the windows or set through the delicate arch
- Less daylight but more star time
- Beware of flash flooding on some low lying roads
- Most campgrounds are closed plus it’s too cold! Conversely, it’s not crazy hot during the day.
The places I enjoyed eating and drinking at during the winter:
- Arches Thai (I went here three times! I love spicy food!)**
- Eclecticafe (The coffee is good and so is the food. Plus if you want some local jewelry this is a great place to shop.)
- Moab Brewery (Decent food and beer. It’s a popular place!)
- Fiesta Mexicana (There are other Mexican places but most were closed for winter or the days I wanted to go.)
- Wicked Brew Drive Thru (Great spirits and delicious coffee.)
- Moab Coffee Roasters (Good coffee and wifi.)
When in Moab for the winter Castle Valley and the surrounding Mountains (La Sal Range) are beautiful when snow covered. Take a drive to through the area.
*If you have an annual parks pass this park is not covered. The pass is a good idea if you are going to both Canyonlands and Arches. You’ll only need to visit two more to make it worth it. Who doesn’t love an excuse to go to another national park?!
**I came up with a new question to ask of future travel buddies. What’s your favorite thai dish? Mine is spicy Pad Kee Mao. Pad Kee Mao means “Drunken Noodles,” presumably because it should be cooked with enough chili to sober you up, or knock out your hangover. However I’ve learned over the years that if you like it spicy it’s best to make sure they know that and don’t tone it down for the white girl 🙂 Although, my husband like even more spice. He asks for it thai spicy which is a whole other scale of heat.