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Family Travel: Moab’s Best Adventures for Kids (plus a $500+ KOA giveaway!)

Family Travel: Moab’s Best Adventures for Kids (plus a $500+ KOA giveaway!)

Be sure to enter to win our Grand Prize: 3 complimentary KOA Camping Vouchers good for one night apiece; including Deluxe Cabins, at any KOA campground in North America. $500 prize value.  Smaller Prizes: 2 complimentary KOA Camping Vouchers good for one night apiece; including Deluxe Cabins, at any KOA campground in North America.  $300 prize value. Additional details are at the end of this article.

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For several years, I was a Salt Lake City-based travel writer and adventure paradise Moab, Utah was my second home. We rafted the Colorado River, mountain biked famed Slickrock trail, 4x4ed Moab Rim, hiked to Delicate Arch at sunrise and cooled down in Mill Creek Canyon’s cossetted swimming holes. Even after moving to Colorado, getting married and having kids, my husband Jamie and I would return annually to backpack Devil’s Kitchen in nearby Canyonlands National Park.

I’ve vowed to take Hadley and Bode but we are busy juggling sports in spring and fall (the best times to beat Moab’s summer heat) and campgrounds are at capacity if you don’t book early. So, I jumped at the opportunity when I heard Kampgrounds of America (KOA), the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds, was doing a summer campaign.  KOA has more than 485 locations in the U.S. and Canada but I was obviously interested in one in particular.

Moab KOA

Moab KOA

I was admittedly a KOA snob before our trip because I’m accustomed to backcountry wilderness experiences. But since having kids (and several rained out tent camping trips), it was a relief to have clean bathrooms and showers, fun on-site activities and the option to stay in a cozy camping cabin. The Moab KOA is conveniently located on the edge of town, just 5 miles from Arches National Park, 32 miles from Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky District, Dead Horse Point State Park is 32 miles northwest and has three scenic byways (including National Scenic Byway 128 that was rated by Reader’s Digest as one of the “Top 10 Scenic Drives in America”).

Translation: Moab is Mecca.

Hiking Arches National Park

My kids are seasoned outdoor enthusiasts but our adventures have been focused on the mountains and beaches so Moab’s red rock desert landscapes were out of this world.

Double Arch

Double Arch

Our first stop was 76,518-acre Arches National Park, home to the world’s largest concentration of more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. As we drove the 18 mile paved road, their mouths were agape at the dizzying array of pinnacles. “Look, are those the Three Gossips? I’m pretty sure I see the Petrified Dunes!”

Arches has an abundance of hiking trails–from short walks around Balanced Rock (0.3 mile) to more adventurous hikes like Delicate Arch, featured on Utah’s license plate, and the 7-mile loop through Devil’s Garden. My all-time favorite area is the Fiery Furnace. This strenuous three-hour hike winds through a labyrinth of contorted burnt-orange sandstone walls, towers, spires, fins and arches. The catch: heavy restrictions are in place and visitors must accompany a ranger-guided tour or obtain a hiking permit at the visitor center and we were too late. (http://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/programs.htm)

We settled upon hiking the Windows area, which has several short, interconnecting trails. The kids were in heaven climbing North and South Window arches that are formed out of the same sandstone fin, while also scaling castle-like Turret Arch and Double Arch, the tallest in the park. I was in heaven for these views.views

 Duly noted: There is no “settling” in Arches.

Mountain Biking Dead Horse Point State Park

Moab is the mountain bike capital of the universe and boasts several famous trails like Slickrock and Porcupine Rim for expert riders

(Click Page 2 to keep reading about our mountain bike adventures and a red sand sea!)

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

35 Comments

  1. fun, fun trip! had no idea koa had cabins; will have to check it out.
    my favorites in moab: negro bills canyon. great hikes in that area.

  2. Lots of great rafting trips and jeep tours in Moab. Hurray Pass is great for families starting out on the bike. Nice tips and I agree, if you’re going to Moab for the first time, you have to do Delicate Arch.

  3. All those years we lived in Utah and could have met you and NOW you decide to back to your old stomping ground! Promise me… one day we will go play there together!!!!

  4. Wow! I didn’t know there was camp grounds near Moab, pretty cool. I would love to visit Utah one day.

  5. I’ve never been to Utah. The pictures are beautiful!!! I would love to make it out there with my boys someday.

  6. Didn’t even know KOA was this nice!!!

  7. We just stayed at the Moab KOA two weeks ago – the cabin was brand new. Such a great trip, we loved Arches and Canyonlands and the campground was the perfect mix of nature and creature comforts.

  8. I want to visit so badly!!!

  9. Very nice. would love to visit Utah . i have never been there and going camping there would be a trip of a lifetime

  10. This looks like an amazing trip! My kids are a bit young to enjoy this sort of adventuring just yet, but we plan on heading west when they’re a little older. Moab looks like it deserves a spot on the itinerary!! Thanks for the tips.

  11. Looks beautiful. Never been to Utah…would love to go there someday.

  12. I have yet to go to Moab. Thanks for sharing

  13. This looks like an awesome family bonding experience!

  14. I have two boys who pick up rocks wherever we go. They would LOVE visiting this park. Thanks for sharing with us!

  15. Arches is on my list of places I want to see! KOA sounds like a great way to go!

  16. We are hoping to take our boys camping soon.

  17. Moab looks amazing! THanks for sharing your families adventure.

  18. Looks great! Thanks for great write up and pictures!

  19. That’s good there are clean bathrooms! I’ve never been to Utah, but your pics of it are breathtaking!

  20. I’m a Utah native and after 5 years in Houston my husband and I recently moved back with our 3 little boys. But I’ve surprisingly never been to Moab and I’ve wanted to go for a long time! KOA there would be great!

  21. What a great family trip!

  22. Sounds like so much fun…and great photos!

  23. Great time for family bonding!

  24. Looks gorgeous! I’d love to take my family!

  25. I had NO idea that Utah was so incredibly beautiful!

  26. I WOULD LOVE TO VISIT UTAH! MY BOYS AND I LOVE BEING OUTSIDE SO THIS WOULD BE AN AWESOME ADVENTURE!

  27. Our kids would have an AMAZING time in such a beautiful place!

  28. We’re planning on going to Arches National Park in several months! I’m glad you all had fun 🙂

  29. Never been to Utah but it looks beautiful! Great pictures.

  30. The Arches National Park is so beautiful!

  31. This looks like it was an amazing trip! One the kids will remember for a lifetime.

  32. It really is hard to plan weekends when the kids are doing sports isn’t it? Thanks for the beautiful photos.

  33. Moab looks pretty amazing. I must plan a trip.

  34. Wow! Beautiful pictures looks breathtaking! I’ve never been west before its on my list!

  35. Arches National Park looks fun

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