Hosting a family reunion is one of life’s greatest joys. Whether planning a large gathering or just wanting to get together with relatives who live far away, there are many ways to celebrate. But if you want something unique, consider hosting a family reunion in Utah. There are plenty of fun things to do in Utah, including state parks, scenic hiking trails, and great family attractions.
We have a ton of Utah family reunion ideas, as well as numerous tips for how to host an unforgettable family reunion. We also provide numerous tips on how to avoid big problems when planning a family reunion in Utah.
Tips For Choosing Family Reunion Dates
You’ll need to choose dates carefully when hosting a big family reunion. Most families gather around holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. However, if you’re looking to hold a special event, you may wish to pick a date that doesn’t fall during a major holiday. That way, fewer people will travel during busy times and spend their holidays away from home. You might also be tempted to host your family reunion in Utah during summer because children are off from school, but summer is the busiest time for travel.
Things to Do Before You Book Lodging
Check for Large Events
Before you book any hotels or activities, you should check out the local area. Find out if there are any upcoming festivals or concerts that might draw crowds to your location. This is especially true in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and West Valley City, as that’s where the most significant concert venues are. Trust me; you don’t want to be in Salt Lake City during a Garth Brooks or Paul McCartney concert (unless you’re attending them, of course)!
Understand the Climate
Look into the weather forecast, too – especially if you’re planning on having outdoor activities. Make sure you know what kind of weather to expect before you schedule anything. Luckily, you don’t have to worry much about your event being rained out in Utah because Utah is one of the driest states in the United States, but snow is still something you need to consider.
Where to Stay
When selecting a hotel, always ask whether the distance between the airport and the family reunion location is convenient. Many airports offer shuttle buses, but if yours does not, you’ll need to rent a car or take public transportation. Some cities also offer shuttles directly from the airport to certain areas.
Once you select a place to stay, you’ll need to decide how you plan to get there. Public transportation options vary depending on the size of the city and the destination. If you’re flying in from another state, you may want to consider renting a vehicle instead of taking public transit. Consider renting a car for your trip, or even staying near the airport. If you don’t want to rent a vehicle, ensure that cabs, Uber, Lyft, or some other form of transportation is available and services the areas you’ll be traveling to.
Utah Family Reunion Accommodations
From hotels to resorts, and cabins to camping, here are some great tips to consider when choosing your family reunion accommodations:
Choose Accommodations Based On Location of Your Reunion and Activities
If you plan to do any hiking or skiing, choose the accommodation that offers access to trails. If you plan to attend concerts or plays, check to see if there are hotels near the venue. Perhaps you’ll use a hotel’s event rooms to host your family reunion.
Choosing Hotels Based on Location and Time of Year
You may not know where to stay until after choosing your family reunion dates. However, you should choose hotels based on the location of your reunion and the time of year. For instance, if you’re planning to attend a family reunion in July, you might consider choosing a place near the beach. Or, if you’re hosting a family reunion in February, you might prefer a hotel closer to ski resorts.
Additionally, hotel rooms vary greatly depending on location. For example, a hotel near a ski resort may charge significantly more than one near a state park. Also, consider whether you prefer a quieter hotel or one close to restaurants and attractions.
Reserve Camp Sites and RV Sites Ahead of Time
Campgrounds and RV parks are usually booked up months ahead, especially if you’re trying to get a group of close sites. Most campgrounds offer discounts for booking multiple nights. Some allow reservations online, and others require advance bookings.
Finding Cabin Rentals
Cabin rentals are another great option for families looking to get away from it all. They range from rustic cabins to luxury vacation homes. Many cabin rental companies offer unique accommodations such as log cabins, yurts, and treehouses.
There are many ways to find cabin rentals. One way is to use a local vacation rental service, and there are many for Utah. Another option is to go directly to individual owners who rent their cabins out. Owners often advertise their properties on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and other classified advertising websites.
Renting Houses on Airbnb and VRBO
Airbnb and VRBO are popular ways to rent a house or apartment for short stays. Both platforms provide detailed descriptions of each property and allow renters to rate their experience.
The Best Places To Host A Reunion
Utah has many beautiful locations perfect for hosting a family reunion. From national parks to historical landmarks, there are numerous options available. Utah State Parks is one of the best places to hold a family reunion. They offer everything from camping to swimming, making them ideal for any occasion.
Family Reunions At Utah State Parks
Utah has some amazing state parks, and they also happen to be the perfect family reunion venues. As of this writing, the Utah State Parks website has 46 state parks listed throughout the state.
Each park offers visitors something unique and special. From hiking trails to waterfalls, there is no shortage of things to do at any of these beautiful locations. State parks offer camping, cabin accommodations, and even RV hookups. They also provide access to fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking.
The 5 Closest State Parks to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
Locations close to the airport are incredibly convenient for family reunions. Because of that, I’m listing the five closest state parks to the Salt Lake City International Airport.
Great Salt Lake State Park
Distance from Airport: 15 miles
This state park is only 15 miles from the SLC international airport, about a 20-minute drive.
This state park offers boat rentals, public viewpoints of the Great Salt Lake, and boat accessibility. The lake, whose salinity ranges from 2 to 7 times greater than seawater, is also a popular tourist destination for bird-watching.
East Canyon State Park
Distance from Airport: 37 miles
East Canyon Reservoir is tucked away in the mountains of northeast Utah, just south of Redrock Peak. Boaters enjoy its calm waters while fishermen come here to catch bass, trout, and crappie. Campers come here to explore the area and relax. But there is another reason why East Canyon Reservoir is unique—it holds a lot of history!
Jordanelle State Park
Distance from Airport: 42 miles
Jordanelle State Park is located just north of Heber Valley in Wasatch County. It features three distinct recreation areas: Hailstone, Rock Cliff, and Ross Creek. These areas provide various recreational opportunities, including picnicking, camping, and boating. If you’re looking for something different, try your luck at fishing or hiking. You’ll also find plenty of places to explore around the park.
Rockport State Park
Distance from Airport: 42 miles
Rockport State Park offers fishing, boating, skiing, and camping. There are five developed campgrounds and primitive sites available. You can also rent an RV or tent site. Ice fishing is allowed during the winter months.
Antelope Island State Park
Distance from Airport: 46 miles
Hike through the woods and past lakes and streams, then stop at one of the many primitive campgrounds scattered throughout the park. Spend your nights under the stars, listening to the sounds of crickets and owls while you enjoy the view. Take a dip in the lake or just relax on the beach. If you’re lucky enough to stay overnight, you’ll wake up to see a glorious sunrise.
Other Parks Worth Mentioning
While the above five parks are located closest to the Salt Lake City Airport, they are not the most famous of the parks in Utah. Here is a list of parks you should consider if traveling around Utah isn’t a concern:
- Zion National Park – Not only is this the most famous park in Utah, but it’s also one of the most famous in the United States. It is home to the famous “Big Bend,” a famous turn in the Virgin River. Overflowing with spectacular scenery, this park will take your breath away.
- Arches National Park – Home to the world-famous “Delicate Arch,” Arches National Park is a must-visit for anyone who wants to see the best of what Utah offers.
- Bryce Canyon National Park – Bryce Canyon National Park is located in Bryce, Utah. The park features hoodoo towers, colorful sandstone cliffs, and deep slot canyons. Visitors can hike through the park, climb its many trails, and enjoy the views from the overlooks.
- Canyonlands National Park – This gorgeous park features the famous Mesa Arch and the Island in the Sky district, which offers terrific scenic views.
Things You Can Do At The Park
You can enjoy many activities at Utah state parks and other parks around Utah. Some of the highlights include:
- Hiking – Enjoy the beauty of Utah’s natural surroundings by taking a hike.
- Boating – Many parks feature boat rentals, so you can take in Utah’s gorgeous views from a perspective most will never experience!
- Fishing – Catch fish in the lakes and streams located throughout the park system.
- Camping – Spend time outdoors under the stars in one of the campgrounds located throughout the park system.
- Swimming – Take advantage of hot water springs at destinations like Meadow Hot Springs, the Red Reef natural water slides, or swim in the blue waters of the Sand Hollow reservoir.
- Horseback Riding – Ride horses along scenic trails throughout the park system, or take lessons from experienced guides.
- Kayaking – Explore the waterways located near the parks, or rent kayaks and paddleboards to explore the area yourself.
Utah Amusement Parks
There are several amusement parks located throughout the state that offer fun for all ages. Here’s a list of some of the best ones to visit:
Lagoon Amusement Park – Farmington, UT
Families love this park because they offer something for everyone. There are rides for kids, adults, and those looking for an adrenaline rush. Lagoon-A-Beach waterpark offers fun for all ages. And if you’re looking for entertainment, they’ve got plenty of shows and events throughout the year.
Cowabunga Bay Water Park – Draper, UT
Cowabunga Bay is an outdoor water park located in Draper, Utah. It features 11 slides, a lazy river, and inflatable spinning spheres. There is also a restaurant called Cowabunga Grill.
Evermore Park – Grove, UT
Evermore is an immersive experience unlike any other. You will step into a world of play for everyone, immersed in a fantasy medieval village of imagination. Enjoy delicious foods and treats while exploring interactive games and adventures like no other.
Splash Summit Water Park – Provo, UT
Splash Summit Resort is the former Seven Peaks Waterpark in Provo. It features over 15 attractions, including a lazy river, wave pool, tube slides, and water slides. They also have a few food stands to choose from.
Boondocks Food & Fun: Kaysville – Kaysville, UT
Boondock’s Food & Fun is an all-season family fun center in Kaysville, Utah. They offer a full-service restaurant, arcade games, bowling alley, laser tag, bumper boats, miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, roller ball, a huge arcade, and the Kiddie Cove indoor playground.
Family Reunion Activities
While deciding where to go and what to do, you should also consider the types of activities that would appeal to your guests. Are there sports teams nearby? Is there a golf course nearby? Are there museums or art galleries close by? There are plenty of ways to entertain your guests, so try to come up with a few ideas.
Make sure you check out our family reunion activity resources, including:
- 100+ Family Reunion Games List
- 10 Fun Family Reunion Activities for Kids
- Creative Family Reunion Activities
- Family Reunion Picnic Games and Activities
Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Family Reunion
There are plenty of ways to celebrate a family reunion. Some ideas include games, themes, events, and cook-offs. Games such as relay races, tug-of-war, and horseshoe tournaments are fun ways to get everyone involved. Theme parties are another great way to bring out the creative side of each person attending. And finally, there are always food competitions!
Some examples of fun ways to celebrate a family reunion include:
There are many board game options available today. Many families enjoy playing Scrabble or Monopoly. Other games such as Trivial Pursuit, Connect Four, and Uno are also popular. For larger reunions, you can consider games like family reunion bingo or look at our giant list of over 100 family reunion games.
Have a theme party! Choose a theme that all members of the family can participate in. Examples of themes might include wild west, carnival, various decades (the 50s, 60s, 70s, etc.), superheroes, or periods such as medieval times or the renaissance. Check out our list of over 20 family reunion themes for even more theme ideas. Theming your reunion also makes planning your family reunion playlist.
Also read: 30 Great Songs For Your Family Reunion.
Another way to celebrate a family reunion is to hold a talent show. Everyone has talents that they can share with their friends and family. Maybe there is someone in the family who plays guitar, sings, dances, juggles, does magic tricks, or acts. They could perform during the talent show. Here are some fun family talent show ideas.
Cooking competitions are another fun way to celebrate family reunions. Each person prepares a dish using ingredients provided by the host. Then, each family member votes on his/her favorite dish. The winning dish is then served at the next reunion. Here are some excellent cooking competition theme ideas to try.
Watch movies together at a family reunion. Movies could be chosen based on the interests of the whole family. We have a great article that tells you my secrets to hosting a memorable family movie night!
Have everyone take photos at the family reunion. Then, towards the end of the reunion, each family can submit their favorite photo for the whole reunion to vote on. The winner gets a prize. The best part of this idea: you can have everyone send you their photos, and you can assemble an online photo album of the whole event for people to enjoy and remember.
Have one of the days be a “swimming party.” Utah is loaded with tons of gorgeous natural springs and hot springs. These are the perfect place for everyone to meet up and enjoy a fun day of swimming together.
Crystal Hot Springs – Honeyville, Utah
Crystal Hot Springs is located in Honeyville, Utah. It boasts the highest mineral content of all hot springs in the world. It is located just 69 miles North of Salt Lake City. Their pools are open year-round, so you can even enjoy them in wintertime, as you see people doing in this video:
Fifth Water Hot Springs – Springville, Utah
There are three beautiful waterfalls and several other natural wonders you can visit. There are several soaking pools you can enjoy.
Mystic Hot Springs – Monroe, Utah
Mystic Hot Springs, also known as Monroe Hot Springs, is located in Monroe, Utah. It offers fantastic surrounding views. This is a privately-owned location, and it’s often described as a “hippie campsite with a hot spring.”
Meadow Hot Springs – Meadow, Utah
Meadow Hot Springs is a fantastic place in Meadow, Utah. There are many different ways you can enjoy yourself there. If you’re looking for a nice swimming spot, then Meadows Hot Springs is worth checking out. Camping is also allowed here. Check out this great video that shows an overview of visiting:
If the weather permits, why not host a picnic day? Bring food and drinks and set up a table or blanket under a tree or near a lake. Check out our family reunion picnic planning guide.
Set up campfires and cook s’mores around a bonfire. We have an article that gives you our top 5 tips for throwing a family reunion camping trip.
Planning a family reunion is no easy task. But once you’ve made your decisions, you’ll be able to relax knowing everything is taken care of. You’ll also be able to focus on enjoying your special occasion with your loved ones in the beautiful state of Utah.