Canyonlands National Park
Mesa Arch, Islands in the Sky,
copyright Frank Mendonca
Did you know Utah's largest national park has appeared in more than 100 feature films? Its most memorable role was in Thelma and Louise, during which actresses Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon did an Evel Kneivel impression over the park's 2,000-foot deep gorge. (You'd swear it was the Grand Canyon -- they're both shaped by the Colorado River).
Hollywood aside, Canyonlands is really three parks in one. The Green and Colorado Rivers divide it into sections so far apart, that they're almost separate parks. Reserve a day to explore each one.
If you're short on time, visit Islands in the Sky, 29 miles north of Moab and the closest section to town. Some of the best mountain-biking terrain is located here, and because of its elevation gain, it's best for kids 10 and up who are proficient bikers.
Those planning a longer stay in the Moab area should check out Needles, named after the massive sandstone spires that stand in a tangled formation, 60 miles south of town. If you're traveling with older kids, try the long but rewarding hike to Chesler Park, which snakes through tight slot canyons near its end point.
For the less adventurous, there's the equally spectacular canyon view from Dead Horse Point State Park. Once again, sunset is the best time to go.