Wow! What an amazing road trip we had from Texas to Moab, Utah! We just returned from a spring break getaway that went by way to fast. I am already looking forward to the next time we get to visit this state. It is hard to adequately describe the landscape and the pictures definitely don’t do it justice!
Did you know that 4th graders get a National Park Pass that gets the entire family into ALL National Parks for free? It has also been extended to 5th graders this year, so be sure to check out this link if you have a 4th or 5th grade student!
I posted most of our itinerary on social media and several people have reached out to me asking for exact details on our route and how we planned out our days. I hope this post helps you plan your own trip – it’s a fantastic itinerary if you have kids under 10.
Day 1: We started our drive from North Texas and headed to Farmington, New Mexico for the night. It took about 13 hours total, the time change gaining an hour helped out immensely! We stayed at a nice hotel, TownePlace Suites by Marriott and it was in a great location next to a gas station and several restaurants. We were able to walk to The Outback Steakhouse for a quick dinner before getting ready for bed.
Helpful Tip – If I know we will be stopping overnight to stay at hotels during our drive, I pack a smaller suitcase for those nights so we don’t have to haul all of our luggage in and out. I also use packing cubes to keep our clothes situated!
Day 2: We checked out of the hotel and decided to visit the Aztec Ruins National Monument near Farmington. This was a quick stop but it was really neat. My boys loved the prairie dogs that were outside of the park. Inside the park you are able to take a self-guided tour around the ruins. A park ranger on site told us that these ruins aren’t actually from the Aztecs, but from the Pueblos that lived there. They were named Aztecs Ruins long ago and the name just stuck. The ruins were really cool and this was a great way for the kids to burn up some energy before getting back in the car.
From here I put in “Forrest Gump Point” into my GPS. It’s about 2 hours 15 minutes to this location. It is the iconic place in the movie where Forrest Gump stops running, right near Monument Valley. If you notice, this route takes you through Arizona, so that was an exciting bonus! Monument Valley is currently closed, as is Four Corners.
But these are places that you can definitely check out when they open back up! We were able to see Shiprock Peak, a gorgeous peak that has been the backdrop of several movies. I read online that this is sacred ground and you can’t actually get to it, but we stopped as close as we could for a photo op. You can put Shiprock Monument into your GPS if you want to try to get closer to the peak.
After a quick photo at Shiprock, we continued our drive to Forrest Gump Point. The scenery is amazing and the pictures below don’t do it justice. I was so excited to see Monument Valley and love the family photo we were able to get!
There are not a lot of places to eat or even gas stations along this route, so be warned! We were starving and had to wait about 30-45 minutes to find a restaurant in Bluff, Utah to stop at. Luckily we pulled in right before The Twin Rocks Trading Post Cafe was closing at 3:00. We didn’t see a kids menu, but ours had no problem having street tacos and quesadillas! It was a very nice place to eat with both indoor/outdoor dining.
Finally after leaving the restaurant, we were headed to Moab for the week. Again, the sights were beautiful which made the long drive worthwhile.
We stayed at the Hyatt Place Moab and found the hotel very accommodating. Rooms were cozy, the breakfast grab and go bags were great, and the kids loved the outdoor heated pool and hot tub. I would definitely stay at this place again, the location was great and the staff was very friendly and helpful. The breakfast provided was an egg and sausage breakfast bowl and it also included a boiled egg, yogurt, muffins, and juice/milk/coffee. We even packed the boiled eggs in our backpacks and had them for a snack during our days of hiking! For dinner in Moab, we ate at The Broken Oar and I had a steak and mashed potatoes that were delicious! thatwerdelicious! excellent!
Day 3: So day three was our first day in Moab and we decided to spend the day hiking at Arches National Park. I had to see the Delicate Arch, so that was our first hike for the day. I kept a close watch on the live webcam at the ticket area, and never saw long lines to get into the park. We arrived around 10 am. I am sure it’s much busier during the summer. This was our first visit to Utah, so I didn’t really know what to expect at the park. But it ended up being super easy! Take the map that is offered to you at the ticket area. The park has signs along the way and we were able to find the Delicate Arch hike fairly easy and we enjoyed the sights along the way. What I love about this park is that even people that can’t hike can enjoy almost everything! There are places to pull over and view the famous landmarks or you can park and hike to them. We knew that the hike to Delicate Arch would be the longest and hardest of the trip so we started there first. I am not going to lie, it was pretty hard in one part that is a very steep incline. The rest is fairly easy and the walk back down was no trouble at all. The kids did great and we saw people of all ages and ability levels able to do this one. And I promise that the view at the end is amazing! I also loved that everyone waited turns to take photos under the arch and we all offered to take photos of each other. I am so happy to have these memories of my family.
We left the Delicate Arch and stopped in a shady area to have a quick lunch. We packed sandwiches we got from the hotel store and our extra leftovers from breakfast. The temps were in the 60s so it was very comfortable. It was extremely windy the closer we got to the arch though. The kids got a chance to eat and play a little, then we made our way back down. Be sure to check out the petroglyphs before you leave the area!
From here, we drove over to the double arch and this was a very easy and short hike. My boys loved exploring the arches and the rocks at the bottom. Restrooms are located at most of the parking areas before hiking so that was helpful, too. We had such a good time hiking and climbing and playing in this area. It was so much easier to explore than the Delicate Arch hike. In all, we hiked 6 miles/64 flights on this day! We decided to leave around 5:00 pm and headed straight to dinner. We ended up going to The Moab Brewery and it was also delicious! But be warned, a lot of their food is very, very spicy if it has their green chili on it! The kids loved that their kids meals came with a Frisbee plate! We ended the night in the hot tub, soaking all of our sore muscles.
Day 4: Today we booked a guided UTV excursion with Moab Tour Company. We decided to go with their most popular tour which was a level 2, 3 hour UTV trip on Hells Revenge and Fins & Things trails. It was EPIC! We loved our guide, Tyler. He was super funny but also made us really comfortable. He took us to see several gorgeous places in the Sand Flats and took photos of our family. We also got to check out some dinosaur tracks. The trails were pretty intense in places, but so much fun! I can’t recommend this tour enough. Our kids loved it, but my husband probably had the best time getting to drive the UTV! For lunch, we stopped at Zax, which was downtown. We passed it on our ride and it looked like it had a lot of options. I had a delicious steak pasta, my husband had pizza, and the kids had burgers and mac and cheese from the kids menu.
After our UTV ride, we decided to go check out Dead Horse Point State Park. This is another place that is stunning and the pictures don’t do it justice. We checked out all of the overlooks, which meant that we didn’t have to do a lot of hiking. Just hang on to your kids, some of the overlooks were crazy! The kids had a really good time just exploring and climbing on rocks and into small crevices. We ended the night with fast food and time at the pool!
Day 5: This was our last full day in Moab before our journey home. We decided to spend the day in Canyonlands National Park, which is very close to Dead Horse Point State Park. We enjoyed some of the smaller hikes, like the one we did at Mesa Arch. If you have kids, make sure they don’t run up to the arch, there’s a steep drop-off right past it!
The hike to Mesa Arch was a very easy and short loop with lots of nice views! This park is a little bigger than we thought and was a little more confusing for us to maneuver.
We started at Canyonlands near Dead Horse Point and then wanted to see The Needles area. Little did we know that these two parts weren’t close to each other and it took us about 2.5 hours to get from one area to the next via car. The views were totally worth it, but it felt like we spent a lot of time driving. We did get to see Newspaper Rock on our drive to The Needles area and we found some fun hikes. We realized that the hike down to the Needles was 10.4 miles and knew our kids couldn’t do it. So we stayed in one area and let the kids play and climb. Then it started to snow which made for a beautiful scenic drive back to the hotel. We stopped for Mexican food at Fiesta Mexicana and it was probably my favorite dining experience of the trip! The enchiladas and margaritas were great and we all left stuffed!
Day 6: Our original plan was to drive back to New Mexico for the night and find some fun things to do before heading home. However, the weather had other plans for us and Colorado was expected to get record breaking snow and New Mexico had chances of snow too. I also looked at the weather in Texas and the panhandle had chances of tornadoes (which did happen), so we ended up just driving about 9 hours to Amarillo for the night and then and then left the following day for a 6 hour drive home. All in all, it was a fantastic family trip and we cannot wait to explore another National Park! I hope you get the chance to visit Moab, you won’t be disappointed!
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