- Lodging: Hotels there are expensive. I looked at both air bnb and hotels. The hotel was less expensive for our group than a air bnb. I would check both though. Also check early and check often. I had found a hotel but checked a few days before we left and found a hotel that was higher rated (on trip advisor) and a better price. We chose to stay at Moab Valley Inn. Their rooms were roomy (enough to have a roll away bed and it not be in the way) and beds were comfortable. They also had a hot breakfast (along with cold cereal). Their staff was also super helpful.
- Gas is expensive, so be prepared for that.
- Eating: We ate at a couple of nice places for dinner. One was the Moab Diner. It's a 50's style diner. They are friendly, super helpful, and the food is good and not too expensive. It's a very kid friendly environment. We also ate at Milt's Stop & Eat. They mainly serve hamburgers and other sandwiches. They have regular ones and also specialty ones. You can choose what kind of meat you want your burger to be. They also have fries and shakes. We loved the hamburgers and the shake. We were not big fans of the fries. The seating (inside and outside) is very limited. We opted to take the food back to the hotel. We also ordered pizza from Pizza Hut. It was pretty good.
- Shopping: There are a couple of grocery stores and hardware stores but no big box stores in Moab. There are however lots of specialty stores that you can pick up some cool souvenirs from.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
We visited several areas in the park. I highly recommend going early into the park. You will miss some of the crowds and the heat (if it's a hot time of the year). Also take plenty of water with you, dress for the weather, and have good shoes on if you're planning on hiking at all.
- Windows and Turret Arches: We went here in the evening our first night. It was a great way to burn off energy after traveling awhile. It's a short .5 mile hike loop with a good trail. There are some awesome views that you can get as well.
- Double Arch: This is right next to the windows arches. It's also .5 mile hike (round trip). There is some slickrock climbing that you have to do to get up by the arches, but again great views and fairly doable with kids. It's really pretty at sunset.
- Devil's Garden: This is one of the most popular areas of the park. I assume it's because the trail is well groomed and the hikes to quite a few arches are easy and short. We visited Tunnel Arch, Pine tree Arch, and Landscape arch. It was about 1.5 miles round trip but the trail was easy with a few up and down hills but nothing too hard.
- Sand Dune Arch: This is an awesome arch. Again it's only about a .5 mile roundtrip hike and the trail is easy. You get to walk through a little slot canyon. The whole ground is covered with beautiful, soft orange sand. There are lots of places to climb and play once you get to the arch. Some families had even brought buckets and shovels to use in the sand. It was by far one of our favorite places that we visited on our trip.
- Delicate Arch: There are two ways to view this arch. One is the viewpoint which has two paths. They are fairly easy and quick to go to. The other option is to hike up to it. It is a 3.4 mile roundtrip hike on mostly slickrock. On the way there, it's mostly up hill. On the way back, it's mostly downhill. There is about 200 yards that are along a trail with a drop off on one side. We had our smaller children touch the wall so they stayed away from the edge. The opportunity to be right by delicate arch was AWESOME! I have bad knees and this hike was probably the hardest one that we did. I have a hard time when it is constantly downhill without a break, but I made it and was glad I could go with my family. I HIGHLY recommend using a hiking stick if you have any knee problems.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK - NEEDLES DISTRICT
We decided to make the drive south to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. It was a bit of a drive, but it was a fun day. It wasn't as busy as Arches and had some fun hikes to go on.
- Newspaper Rock: This is just off the side of the road on your way to The Needles. It is fun to stop and see the ancient writing on this huge rock!
- Visitors Center: They have some information about that area of the park. They also have water and bathrooms that you can use. Most of the hikes in this area are longer but we did find out about a couple that our family could do.
- Wooden Shoe Arch: You can see this from a pull out. It's fun to take a picture of.
- Pot hole Point: (.6 mile loop) To me this place looked like the moon. If it has just recently rained, you might get to see some life in the pot holes. We saw some snails in a few of them. The views are beautiful. By far, our favorite part of the hike was climbing on some HUGE boulders and finding some lizards!
- Cave Springs: (.6 mile loop) This was another fun hike. It follows along the edge of a rock where you are able to see an old cowboy camp (it's fenced off), a spring, and some native american ruins. Then you climb a couple of ladders and walk across the top of the rock and back down to finish the loop.
BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT
We realized that we were super close to Bears Ears National Monument when we were in the Needles District. We decided to drive the rest of the way and do a little hiking. We only had time for one hike but it was fun.
- House on Fire: (.9 mile/one way) There are some ancient american ruins that are underneath a cliff. You follow a stream bed most of the way and if you get there at just the right time, it will look like it is on fire. We got there in the evening at sunset time, unfortunately, it wasn't on fire. After talking to a friend who also did this hike, she said that the best time to go is about 9:30-10:00 am. I'm sure it changes but during the end of March/first part of April, that is the prime time.
- Bears Ears: By the time we got done with the House on fire hike, it was dusk. We decided to see if we could see the Bears Ears from a distance. We were able to make them out (faintly, because it was dark) from the road.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK - ISLAND IN THE SKY
The day we visited Island in the Sky, it was colder and windy. We were also all hiked out. Thankfully, Island in the Sky, has some AMAZING view points and we got our fix that way. I really think that a fun way to see Canyonlands (both Island in the Sky & Needles District) would be in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. There are trails all over in both sections of the park. Unfortunately, our minivan just wasn't up for those kinds of trails. :)
- Mesa Arch: (.5 mile, loop) This was a short but worthwhile hike. The view at the arch is beautiful and spectacular! This is the only hike that we did, but it was well worth it.
I hope some of this information is helpful and that you are able to enjoy a trip to this beautiful, unique area. Some other locations you could visit would be Natural Bridges National Monument, Hovenweep National Monunment, and Mesa Verde National Park. They are all with in a days drive. We have been to these areas before and loved them as well. Enjoy your travels!