By: Jenny Willden
Moab is booming in recent years with new restaurants, bars, and shops opening that rival the area’s always stunning natural terrain. And while a rafting trip down Westwater or Cataract Canyons is our favorite way to adventure, there’s plenty to experience beyond the wild waterways.
While the river is the star of the show, it’s worth tacking on a day or two before or after your trip to explore all Moab has to offer. Here’s our can’t-miss list of how to fill your days and nights.
Breakfast & Coffee
Start your morning with a hearty breakfast at Moab Garage Co. This bustling cafe is located on Moab’s main drag and offers savory and sweet dishes from its red rock storefront. Order online if you’re in a rush, or grab a seat and stay for a spell.
Try a sugary liege waffle if you’re craving sweets, or fuel up with the hearty McLovin’ sandwich. This signature dish features scrambled eggs, ham, and cheese on a toasted pretzel bun and is paired with seasoned tater tots. Yum.
If you’re racing to get on the river, order drive-thru coffee at Snake Oil Coffee Company. This shop is hidden on a side road but is worth seeking out. Choose a signature coffee creation, or mix up your traditional beverage order with a Golden Specific Elixer, a combo of organic turmeric, Ceylon cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and espresso.
Another Moab Main Street favorite for grab-and-go eats is Doughbird Donut Shop. The donuts are lauded as Utah’s best, and spicy chicken sandwiches offer an option for those who don’t love sweet treats. Craving coffee? Doughbird makes great iced lattes, teas, or cold brew coffees.
Dining with a group can be a challenge. Let everyone pick what they love for lunch at the Moab Food Truck Park just west of Main Street. It’s Utah’s largest food truck park with over nine vendors and options vary from tacos and pizza to hot dogs and gelato.
Find a more elevated mid-day meal at 98 Center Moab, a Vietnamese-inspired eatery serving fresh bowls of pho soup and Bahn mi sandwiches from noon until night. Pair your entree with a diverse menu of cocktails and mocktails.
Find the best views in town at Sunset Grill, the oldest operating restaurant in Moab. This steak and seafood joint is set high on a cliff, offering epic sunsets with red rock valley vistas.
Moab is also home to plenty of casual dining options, but when you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, Desert Bistro delivers. Specializing in Southern cuisine, this intimate option offers incredible comfort eats with warm, romantic vibes.
Moab isn’t known as a late-night hotspot, but there are a few places to get your drink on. Grab a beer or casual cocktail at Woody’s Tavern, Moab’s only true dive bar. Or enjoy local microbrewed beer paired with American eats on the edge of town at Moab Brewery.
Where to Stay
Rest your head at Moab’s most high-end property: Hoodoo Moab. This new hotel is a block from Main Street and just 10 minutes from Arches National Park. Enjoy the outdoor pool, relax with a massage or facial, and just lounge in the resort’s sprawling lobby.
What to Do
When you’re limited on time before or after a river trip, going into crowded Arches National park can be time-consuming and expensive. Instead, take a three-mile amble beyond Arches to Corona Arch.
This epic red rock walk features cairns, safety cables, ladder climbing, and incredible views of the 140-foot sprawling Corona Arch. Expect way fewer crowds than Delicate Arch with an equally amazing view.
Jenny Willden is a Salt Lake City native and the longtime managing editor of Utah’s Outdoor Sports Guide magazine. When she’s not exploring the world, you’ll find her snowboarding or summiting peaks in the Wasatch Mountains. Jenny’s adventure travel writing also appears in TripSavvy, Matador, Women’s Running, Park City, Sensi, and Trivago magazines. Read her stories at jennywillden.com or follow her on Instagram @jenny.willden.