*While our accommodation and some of our experiences were provided to us complementary, these opinions are our own.
If you live in the Salt Lake area or will find yourself there in the summer we have 3 cities perfect for quick summer getaways. We visited during the middle August, and while we were happy that Salt Lake City was about 10°F cooler than our home in Austin, Texas, the mountains where much cooler. We loved being able to hike and enjoy ourselves mid-day instead of staying inside to avoid the debilitating heat.
Alta is located at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon about 30 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City. The former mining town is now a wonderful ski destination, but in the summertime it is an ideal place to cool down, relax and hike among wildflowers.
We stayed in Alta for two nights enjoying the newly reopened Snowpine Lodge. The current Snowpine Lodge has plenty of brand new spaces, but the building has deep roots in the area. The original building started as part of a silver mine, later became a general store, then a winter shelter for skiers, and is now incorporated into the larger lodge as a resort for guests.
In January, after a $50+ million overhaul the lodge was reopened. While a large portion of the lodge is brand new, the original walls still make up part of the structure and can be seen throughout the spa, game room and other areas. During the summer time, nightly rates are very affordable as well as the breakfast.
The four top reasons we recommend making a trip up to Snowpine lodge in the summer are 1) the affordable nightly rates starting around $130, 2) the delicious breakfast, 3) the fun events, 4) and the location. The breakfast is a delicious hot buffet, but what really stood out were the daily menu items available like french toast with a berry compote or ricotta pancakes made to order.
Throughout the summer, the lodge has several events. We checked in on a Wednesday and enjoyed excellent live music, BBQ, and perfect weather.
Unrelated to couples travel, but worth mentioning, are the dorm-style rooms available. If you are a solo traveler and want to go skiing, they have shared rooms with bunk beds so you can save money but still stay in a ski-in/ski-out property.
We loved the views in the area, especially waking up to such a picturesque view out the window. When we decided to get active we went further up the canyon to 1/2 mile hike up to Cecret Lake where the water is clear and you can see salamanders in the water.
Dinner at Table X
Being so close to the Salt Lake Valley, it is easy to drive into the area to get anything you need. We took the opportunity to go enjoy a meal at Table X, a newish restaurant in the area.
Created by 3 graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, Table X has completely raised the bar for food in the area. I never expected to get a meal as good as this in Utah. Michelle and I have dined in Michelin-rated restaurants around the world and Table X is right up there with any restaurant we have eaten at. You can order a la carte, or a 3 or 5 course tasting menu.
We enjoyed 5 courses along with 3 non-alcoholic drink pairings. Overall the flavors were amazing. The garden in the back provides some of the produce, which comes through in the fresh flavors. I was impressed by the balance of heat used in many of the dishes. They used seasonal peppers to provide flavor without it seeming too hot.
All of the courses were great, but the dessert with raspberry currant ice cream and blackberry sorbet was a highlight for us, as well as the house made Burrata and the Poached California Halibut.
Ogden & Snowbasin
Located about 40 minutes north of Salt Lake City, Ogden makes for a perfect summer giveaway. The downtown area provides plenty of things to do, especially in the summer. The Ogden Farmers Market is open every Saturday on Historic 25th street. You can enjoy activities at the Salomon Center including rock climbing, surfing on a Flowrider or getting a meal at one of the restaurants. While we were in Ogden, we enjoyed brunch at The Sonora Grill where we were surprised to find Mexican food we enjoyed outside of Texas. A block or two away, you can catch a Ogden Raptors baseball game or if your timing is right you can see a show at Peery’s Egyptian Theater.
While we were in Ogden we were hosted by the Hampton Inn & Suites which put all of these attractions within walking distance (or electric scooter distance).
After getting to know Ogden, take a drive up to Snowbasin where the weather is cooler and the scenery can not be beat. During the summer you can take the gondola lift to hiking and biking trails with amazing views of the surrounding areas. There are regular events like the Sunday afternoon Blues, Brews & BBQ we were able to attend.
Michelle and I have been to Park City numerous times and I even worked there for a few ski seasons as a chef. This trip, we decided to take a trip up to see what visiting Park City is like during the summer.
Main street is still charming, it is just much warmer out, making it more enjoyable to stroll around. The outlets are open as usual, where we made a quick stop to get a great deal on some Nikes and sunglasses. There is a huge variety of great places to eat during your time in the area.
For some summer specific activities we headed to Park City Mountain Resort. The mountainside is full of activities including an alpine slide, mountain coaster, zip lines, mini golf, and have lifts running as well. With an Adventure Pass, you can enjoy unlimited attractions on everything all day long, except for the larger zipline.
For couples, the best attraction in the mountain coaster. The coaster is somewhat like a kiddie roller coaster, but you have control of the breaks. It is great for two people because the more weight you have, the faster you will go. We recommend riding together and not braking at all the whole way down for a really fun ride.
The Alpine coaster is pretty fun too. It has over 3,000 feet of a luge-like track and is one of the longest slides in the world!
Another attraction worth visiting is the Utah Olympic Park. This is where several events including the bobsled, skeleton, luge, and the Nordic combined events took place during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Inside the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center they have memorabilia including full ski suits and props and costumes from the opening ceremonies. We enjoyed watching athletes practice skiing, landing in swimming pools but also wished we could jump in ourselves.
There are several activities you can experience in the summer and winter like bobsledding, tubing and ziplining.
There are plenty of accommodations to choose from in Park City and the summer rates keep everything a fraction of the cost of what you would pay in the winter time.
If you are looking to get up the in mountains during the summer to cool down, Salt Lake City has amazing options nearby. Enjoy the slopes without the crowds, snowing driving conditions or winter pricing.