Family Friendly Moab in One Day (Arches and Canyonlands)

Josh had to be in Salt Lake City for work last week, so we all tagged along and made it a family road trip! On our way back, we spent a night in Moab and explored Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

We stayed at the River Canyon Lodge. It was very bare-bones, but it worked for us. The kiddos slept on the floor in extra blankets (just like camping, right?). We ate dinner across the street at Thai Bella Moab. It was DELICIOUS! Some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had.

We woke up early, grabbed coffee at Eklectica Coffee & Collectables, and made it to Arches around 8:00am. We headed straight for the Delicate Arch, since I heard that hike gets the most crowded later in the day. It was also our longest hike of the day, and I wanted to get it out of the way before the kiddos got too tired.

The hike is about 3 miles round trip. It’s a gradual uphill on the way there, and downhill on the way back. Winston (4 years old) hiked the entire thing, and with minimal grumbling. Win! There are some four foot cliffs towards the end of the hike (see photo #4 below), but I felt safe with Winston holding my hand.


It was definitely worth getting to Delicate Arch at the beginning of the day. By the time we got back (around 11) the parking lot was overflowing and the hike had gotten a lot more crowded.

We got back in our car and drove farther into the park towards Sand Dune Arch. The Sand Dune Arch itself isn’t that amazing, but there’s a giant natural sand pit in front of the arch that the kiddos really enjoyed playing in.


Some of the other parents brought legit sand toys for their kids, but Winston and Ella seemed pretty happy with our leftover coffee cups. 😛

We spent about 30 minutes at Sand Dune Arch, then we headed out to see Landscape Arch and the Devil’s Garden.

The hike to Landscape Arch was about 2 miles roundtrip.


By the time we got back from the Landscape Arch hike, we were pretty hungry and ready for lunch. We made a quick pit stop at the Balanced Rock on our way back to Moab.

We also stopped at the Visitor’s Center on our way out, since it was closed on our way in. The kiddos insisted on filling in the Junior Ranger booklet. All National Parks have a Junior Ranger Program, and usually we pick up the booklet on our way in for the kiddos to fill in throughout the day. It keeps them interested and excited about everything we see!

In Moab, we stopped at the Moab Food Truck Park and had Quesadilla Mobilla for lunch and Delicate Donuts for lusster (lunch dessert?). 


The Quesadillas (I can never spell that word without spell check) were 8/10, and the donuts were 10/10. Yum. There were lots of other great options at the Food Truck Park if Quesadillas and Donuts aren’t your jam. 

We wrapped up lunch around 3pm and headed to Canyonlands for a quick stop on our way back to Denver. The kiddos fell asleep in the car, so we took solo trips to see the sights. We stopped at Mesa Arch and a Canyon overlook, but I’d love to go back to see more! The hike to Mesa Arch was easy and quick. I’m sure the kiddos (at least Winston) could have done it.


We’ll definitely be back in Moab someday, but I hope you enjoyed reading about our little one day stopover. If you go to Moab, let me know what we should see next time!

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