We get it. When you are the parent at the helm of masterminding a trip there are so factors to consider and boxes to check, it may seem easier to stay at home. However, fear not, because there’s a destination that ticks all the boxes. Non-stop flight and a 10-minute drive from the airport? Check. Create picture-perfect memories? Absolutely. Blend education with fun? Yup. Budget-friendly? Done. Get a good night’s sleep in a top-rated hotel and fuel your adventures at locally-owned restaurants? Yes and yes.

Let us drop you a pin: one that points to Salt Lake. Here are 4 reasons Utah’s state capitol should be on your family’s vacation wishlist.

Hiking City Creek Canyon

#1 A Family Trip to Salt Lake Cuts Drive Time, Adds Bonding Time  

Simply put, it’s ridiculously easy to access city and mountain hot spots. What does this mean for parents? Less time in the car means more time to play. And less time commuting equals more time connecting. 

Downtown Salt Lake City sits only six miles from the Salt Lake International Airport. That means touchdown-to-hotel-check-in time is minutes, instead of hours (sorry, Denver). 

Once downtown, hiking trailheads are less than a mile away and mountain resorts are less than 35 miles away. 

Discovery Gateway Children's Museum

#2 Salt Lake Is an Affordable Family Vacation

What parent doesn’t enjoy saving money? Even if you crave a luxury family vacation over a budget-friendly trip, city passes and tours allow all families access to the most popular attractions at a discount. 

The Salt Lake Connect Attractions Pass, in particular, offers entry to 18 attractions for a discounted rate of 60%. If your crew needs a more laid back pace, The Salt Lake Downtown Discovery Pass offers discounts to 10 downtown locales. Consider visiting a children’s museum, planetarium, aviary, botanical garden, butterfly biosphere, art museum, historical park, immersive art exhibit or Olympic venue. 

Ride the Lift for Easy (but Amazing!) Views

#3 Salt Lake Boasts Mountain Fun for the Nature-Loving Family

It’s easy for us to wax poetic about our mountain adventure. The foothills that overlook the city offer family-friendly hiking and mountain biking trails, a botanical garden, a natural history museum and the University of Utah. Meanwhile, the two canyons that house our four famous ski and summer resorts—Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton—offer chairlift and tram rides, hiking and mountain biking trails, fine dining, outdoor concerts, spas, disc golf, beer and dining festivals, and so much more. 

Animal Encounters at Utah's Hogle Zoo

#4 Salt Lake Offers City Fun for the Intellectually-Curious Family

Salt Lake City is bustling with summer festivals, events, concerts, farmer’s markets and sporting events. Families enjoy the Utah Arts Festival, Utah Pride and Pioneer Day, a Utah-only celebration. Summer also brings Real Salt Lake MLS soccer games and Bees baseball games. 

Spend a day at the Great Salt Lake, Bonneville Salt Flats or Antelope Island State Park, where bison, brine shrimp and over 10 million birds, represented by 338 species, reside. (Make it easy with a day-tour that picks you up at your downtown hotel.) Or head to the zoo, aviary or aquarium for more animal discoveries.

A family vacation wouldn’t be complete without discovering—and devouring—the best of Salt Lake City’s dining scene. Find family-friendly, locally-owned coffee shops, bakeries, breweries, sushi bars, food trucks and local legends like Red Iguana, Caputo’s, Market Street and Squatter’s Pub Brewery.