From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
Tucked along the shores of Utah Lake and known as the “Garden City” thanks to its endless supply of fruit orchards, trees, and flowers, Provo is an incredible place to call home — for a lifetime or even a day. If you’re hoping to familiarize yourself with this one-of-a-kind town, read on; we’ve got plenty of suggestions for those who want to explore Provo!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
One of the biggest draws to living in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas is its incredible location in close proximity to a diversity of outdoor activity opportunities. Here are just a few of the epic state and national parks to check out in the Provo, UT area.
The scenic shores and cool waters of Deer Creek reservoir off the opportunity for boating, zip lining, swimming, fishing and more. It’s all in the shadow of the stunning spectre of Mount Timpanogos, and you can finish the day by camping under a star-speckled night sky — tent and RV sites available with amenities such as potable water, showers and picnic tables.
Offering three distinct recreation areas along the shoes of the Jordanelle Reservoir, Jordanelle State Park is a popular destination for fishing, swimming and sunbathing as well as picnicking, hiking, and other landside activities. With both waterfront and mountain side views, this preserve truly offers something for everybody — and plenty of opportunities to reel in something delicious for dinner, too!
As home of the largest freshwater lake in the western United States, Utah Lake State Park is an absolute must-see for anyone in Provo and the surrounding areas. Running almost 25 miles in length and covering almost 150 square miles in surface area, this stunning lake truly offers endless opportunities for all sorts of watersports, all just minutes away from the greater Salt Lake City area’s array of urban adventures.
Along with its namesake mountain, which towers almost 12,000 feet above sea level, Wasatch Mountain State Park also boasts 21,000 acres of rugged and beautiful Utah landscape as well as fascinating historic sites such as the restored Tate Barn from over a century ago, the ancient Huber Grove apple orchard, and the Snake Creek Hydroelectric Power Plant Historic District. Popular amongst day trippers and RV campers alike, this is a great place to get away from it all.
You don’t have to go far from the beaten path to find some of the trails less taken when you’re in Utah! Here are some of the best-loved hiking trails in Provo, whether you’re just looking for a short jaunt or a more challenging traverse.
Considered a moderate-to-challenging hike according to Utah’s rather rugged standards, Lost Creek Falls Trail runs a little less than three miles out and back and sees over 1,000 feet in elevation gain during that time — so make no mistake about it, you’ll get a sweat worked up! Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful valley views, foliage (which is especially beautiful in the fall) and another waterfall. This trail is also dog-friendly, but be sure to keep Fido on leash the entire time.
Tucked into Rock Canyon Park, the Rock Canyon Trail is a great way to get familiar with your surroundings on foot without overexerting yourself. Measuring about five and a half miles and seeing less than 2,000 feet in elevation gain, this is another moderate hike that will certainly put you through your paces without making you feel completely exhausted… and goodness knows the epic views of the Utah countryside will make it worth your while.
Looking for a challenging hike that’ll really test your limits? Squaw Peak Trail runs just over seven miles and sees over 2,700 feet in elevation change during that time, featuring a river and taking adventurers up to the heights of this peak where panoramic views of the surrounding community and countryside are available. Dogs are also welcome on this trail, though they must be kept on leash the entire time.
Easily one of the most epic hikes in all of Utah, ascending the Mount Timpanogos Trail from Aspen Grove is no easy feat: running 15 miles altogether and seeing more than 5,000 feet in elevation gain, this is a serious undertaking that should be attempted by experienced hikers only, and may work best as an overnight trip. Including many steep switchbacks, water crossings, and the kinds of views you won’t forget for a lifetime, this is an incredible adventure for those who are ready for it.
Provo Canyon is so, so beautiful at all times of year. There are a lot of cool waterfalls in the area you can hike to or just walk to, one of the most famous being Bridal Veil Falls. There are several places to park along the canyon, and Bridal Veil Falls is right next to the of the first parking areas you’ll see as you go into the canyon. You actually don’t even hike to it, as there is a little sidewalk that will take you right to your viewing spot, so Bridal Veil is great for anyone with small kids, or perhaps for those on bikes to glimpse as they ride on by. If you’re ready to explore, check out the numerous small waterfalls you can hike to by heading up the mountainside. A day or even a quick trip here is definitely worth your time!
There’s plenty of adventure to keep you busy in Provo — and plenty of great restaurants to keep you fueled and ready to take it all on! Here are some of the best eateries in town, no matter what you’re hungry for.
Offering an authentic Indian experience in the heart of Provo, Utah, Bombay House is a great spot to enjoy the flavor of something a little different than your day-to-day. From freshly made naan to all sorts of crispy pakoras to tandoori delights and curries, you’ll leave warm and satisfied — especially if you save room for some mango ice cream for dessert!
Widely considered one of the best restaurants in Provo — and for miles around — Communal is a farm-to-table dining experience whose name comes from its traditional shared seating arrangements. That said, carry-out and delivery are also available for those who’d like to enjoy their meal in privacy… though we still recommend sharing with somebody, as these portions are more than generous!
Looking for plant-based options? Vegan Sun is the perfect spot for vegetarian and vegan diners who are also looking for some of the best Asian fare Provo has to offer. Inspired by Vietnamese, Japanese and other cuisines, this spot offers pho, banh mi sandwiches, ramen, rice dishes, noodles and so much more. All of it is plant based and utterly delicious; enjoy!
Dishing up classic, comforting favorites in an inviting atmosphere with old-school decor, La Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano has long been considered one of the best Italian restaurants in Provo. Life feels sweet indeed when you’re indulging in freshly-made pasta dishes, calzones, or pizza — not to mention the range of delicious sweets this spot offers for desserts.
Looking to add some spice to your life? El Gallo Giro is the place to go in Provo when you’re in search of delicious, authentic Mexican flavors, from street tacos and quesadillas to burritos, tortas and more. With a menu that could keep you busy for multiple meals and an obsession with fresh ingredients, it’s impossible to go wrong at this well-loved eatery!
All the Provo locals know this is seriously one of the best places to get breakfast. Kolaches are a pastry from the Czech Republic, and they are divine. Savory kolaches are like a roll with different ingredients inside like eggs, bacon, sausage, and peppers, and sweet ones are more like a flat pastry with fruit and icing at the center. I recommend going to Husk’s earlier rather than later in the morning, because they tend to sell out.
Looking for even more fun and exciting things to do and places to explore in Provo? No matter who you’re adventuring with, we’ve got you covered! Here are some of our very favorite things to do in town.
Provo is a great place to raise a family. Here are some of the best opportunities to get into the local action with your kiddos of all ages!
Want to literally fly through the tree-top canopy of the scenic Wasatch Mountain range, gazing at the lush surroundings and wandering river as you zoom through the sky as high as a bird? Provo Canyon Adventures offers an incredible ziplining tour of the area, as well as guided raft trips and paddleboard rentals. There are all sorts of ways to engage the whole family with this stunning wilderness; just take a look.
Ice skating isn’t just a winter activity thanks to Peaks Ice Arena, which offers the whole family the opportunity to glide on ice all year long. Offering open skate sessions for the public as well as learn-to-skate classes and youth and adult hockey leagues, this is a (literally) cool place to get moving, whether you’ve been skating for years or this is your very first try.
Anybody can tell you there’s no shortage of things to keep you busy during the daytime hours in Provo… but there’s also plenty to see and do after night falls! Here are some top options to consider.
Think arcades are a thing of the past? Think again! At Nickel City, the whole family can enjoy a wide range of classic and newfangled games, from Skee Ball and Plinko to PacMan and laser tag. And as the venue’s name suggests, everything is designed to be as affordable as possible; you can even host a basic birthday party starting at just $10.99 per person! Get your game face on, grab a slice of ‘za, and call it a (really good) night.
Looking for a date night activity or things for couples to do in Provo? There’s nothing that hits the spot quite like movie night — and the local Cinemark 16 is a great place to sit back, relax, and sink into the big screen. Offering all the biggest and best box-office hits as well as occasional indie and foreign films, this theater is also known for its addictive popcorn and comfy seating!
Sick of spending yourself into a tizzy every time you set out to see the town? Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do in Provo on the cheap. Here are some top tips.
Although it’s technically located in the neighboring community of Orem, the University Mall is a great place to wander, window shop, and maybe even scout out a great deal or two. You can even get out of the deal scott free if you go simply for the people-watching! Along with its more than 150 shops, which run the gamut from clothes and accessories to electronics and toys and so much more, this shopping center is also home to a wide range of restaurants as well as a movie theater and event space. In short, it’s a one-stop shop — and truly unlike anything else in the Utah Valley.
Another gem just a few minutes from Provo, Orem Fitness Center is a great place to work up a sweat and make a new friend or three, all on the cheap. Featuring an indoor swimming pool, a range of fitness classes and sports options, and plenty of DIY recreational fun, an individual pass is just $15 monthly, which is a pretty hard deal to beat for hours of entertainment and activity.
It’s true: there are plenty of things to do in and around Provo that are absolutely free of charge. Here are some of our favorite picks.
Thanks to Provo’s proximity to Brigham Young University, folks here have the opportunity to view a stunning collection of artifacts and educational materials without paying a dime. That’s because the university hosts a wide range of museums that are completely free to enter (although donations are accepted), including the BYU Museum of Art, the BYU Museum of Paleontology, and the BYU Museum of People & Cultures, just to name a few.
One thing you can always do while you’re in Provo? Get outside and enjoy the one-of-a-kind scenery of the Utah Valley. Local green spaces like Riverside Park, Pioneer Park, Exchange Park and others make it easy (and free) to enjoy the great outdoors, and many also offer developed facilities like playgrounds, splash pads, picnic tables and more.
The Covey Center is located on Center Street in Provo and constantly has amazing events going on! From theater to dance to pretty much any sort of performance art you can imagine, it’s all here – and they also have an art gallery around the performance hall to scope out before your show or during intermission. The location is perfect for making a night of it, because there are tons of fun restaurants to get dinner at before the show and great dessert spots to visit after.
In need of some TLC? Whether it’s the healing touch of a qualified massage therapist or just a new ‘do to help catapult you into a new chapter, here are the best day spas and salons in Provo, Utah.
Offering massage in a wide range of modalities, skin care treatments customized to your specific needs, body wraps, nail care, lash extensions, waxing and more, Premier Day Spa & Salon is well-named — and will definitely help you feel relaxed and ready to take on whatever the day may toss you way, even if it involves a close-up!
Specializing in all things hair care, Salon K offers cuts, color, deep conditioning treatments and so much more to help ensure your fringe perfectly compliments your face (and your lifestyle!). From cutting edge ombre looks to more subdued, classic styles, your stylist will be able to guide you through your service and find the exact right look for you.
Staying in shape will help you look better, sure — but even more importantly, you’re going to feel like a million bucks. Here are the best gyms and yoga studios for those in Provo looking for a sweat session.
No matter what your goals, Vasa Fitness offers what you need to make them a reality. From its expansive cardio floor to its seemingly endless supply of free weights to the strength training machines that make it easy and safe even for beginners, this gym is all-inclusive and also staffed by motivated professionals who can help guide you where you’re going. There are even group fitness classes to help get you moving!
“Life is delicious” is this local yoga studio’s tagline — and after one of their stretch-filled, strengthening, enlightening classes, you’ll understand why (and agree). Offering a range of guided practices all taught based on the intuition of the teacher, The Yoga Underground also offers special events such as Moon Medicine, Sweat Sessions and more.
There’s no way you’re going to get bored in Provo… but you also shouldn’t miss some of the incredible adventure opportunities that lie within an easy day’s drive! Here are some of the very best day trips and weekend getaways in the vicinity of the Utah Valley.
Sure, it’s less than an hour away — but really, how much time do you spend in SLC proper when you’re hanging your hat in Provo? Make the drive to Salt Lake City and enjoy the endless cuisine, cultural attractions, and more that characterize this unique western city. After all, it’s not too far for a quick trip!
If you’re looking for a little bit more of a getaway, Moab is the perfect spot to call home base while you explore two of Utah’s most beloved national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. The town itself is also chock full of charm, with indie bookstores, coffee shops, and restaurants galore. Enjoy!
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Provo that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Provo? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.