Moab Favorites (Sleep, Eat, Shop)


Over Spring Break we took the kids to Moab for a few days of hiking.  It was GLORIOUS.  I have much more to say on the topic of kids and Arches National Park (spoiler alert: it’s THE BEST), but one really nice surprise was how much fun we had in the town of Moab.

Truth be told, we were so exhausted after hiking that we were hardly up late….but when we needed some downtime, some fun distractions, or some good food….Moab was an easy win.  Here are a few notes from our travel – including a few helpful tips from readers and locals.

Where To Stay

We stayed at the Gonzo Inn.  The location was perfection – we could walk everywhere –  our room (suite?) was huge, and the staff was really nice.  Knowing we had two active boys, our suite was located right over the check-in desk…so the kids could bounce off the walls without disturbing anyone below.

That said….we didn’t love it.  The free breakfast wasn’t great (the kids loved the waffles, but if you are health-conscious, there isn’t much else to choose from except #sadoatmeal), and the decor, best described as ‘quirky Southwestern’, involved too-small bathroom sinks with too-big faucets….meaning that we were drenched in water whenever we tried to brush our teeth.  The cleaning staff never remembered to re-fill our coffee maker which isn’t a huge deal but…..COFFEE, MAN.  I mean come ON.

A reader left a DM on Instagram saying that she had recently stayed in this Moab vacation rental with her kids…and it had a climbing wall in the master bedroom, and bunk beds for the kids.  YES.  That’s where we’ll try to stay next time.

That said, The Gonzo Inn did have a lovely (large) balcony, two king-size beds, and two bathrooms, so we had plenty of room.cream pajama set | hiking boots

Where To Eat

We have it on good authority (from both locals and a few friends we made in Moab) that Sabaku Sushi is AMAZING.  Fresh fish, flown in daily.  Go for happy hour or dinner, but GO.  We missed it this trip, but’s high on our list for next time.   We also heard a ton of good things (also from locals) about 98 Center – they use local, organic ingredients with a Vietnamese influence.  YUM.

Now, a few places we tried and loved…

Best Breakfast After Days Spent Hiking:  Jailhouse Cafe

The reviews are mixed on this one, but I can’t imagine why.  We LOVED our breakfast at the Jailhouse Cafe. It’ not for the gluten-free crowd, perhaps, but after several days of hard hiking, the florantine bendict was well worth the caloric splurge.  (And the sweedish pancakes – similar to crepes, were AMAZING.)  There’s always a line to get in, but it moves pretty quickly, and the open-air patio is a lovely place to wait for a table.

Our Usual Breakfast (or Lunch) Spot:  Ekcletica Cafe

Eklectica Cafe was our favorite spot for both breakfast and lunch.  Good scones, sure, but also insanely good quiche, breakfast burritos, and a ton of lunch specials that were delicious.   The inside is teeny tiny, so a tough place to get into if it’s cold, but thankfully, we were able to sit outside most of the time.

Need to Pack a Picnic Lunch?  Sweet Cravings Bakery and Bistro

When I’ve been hiking all day, the last thing I want is more trail mix.  So we went to Sweet Cravings to pack us a picnic lunch to take on our hikes.  Their picnic lunches are perfect – and they pack it up carefully for hiking, so nothing makes a mess (not even the delicious coleslaw).  Don’t forget to add a roll of house-made cookies – we loved both the gluten-free chocolate ones and the potato chip cookies.  They were perfect for a late afternoon snack towards the end of the hike.

My only word of caution is for fellow East Coasters:  Sweet Cravings specifically (although this applied to Moab in general) cannot make a real hoagie to save their lives.  Don’t be fooled by the ‘italian sub’.  They serve it on a fluffy, doughy focaccia bread which this East Coast family found rather horrifying.  We should’ve gotten the wraps (they look amazing).

Oh Hey Margaritas: Miguel’s Baha Grill

We loved this place.  At Miguel’s Baha Grill the fish tacos are fresh and delicious and the margs are made with lime juice, not mix.  There’s always a line to get in, but you can add your name to the list and then wander around downtown Moab while you wait.  They also take reservations if you are more on the ball than we are.

For Nostalgia: Pasta Jays

Take this recommendation with a huge grain of salt.  When Mike and I lived in Boulder (right after we were first married), Pasta Jays was our go-to for date night.  We’d stuff ourselves on the greasy garlic bread, pasta, and split a half-carafe of Chianti.  And then smell like garlic for a week.  It was basically the only place we could afford.  We had no idea that Pasta Jays had a Moab location, so imagine our surprise when it was right around the corner from our hotel.  Everything was the same:  the menu, the red-and-white checkered tablecloths, the half-carafe of Chianti, the smell.  So we brought the boys….for nostalgia’s sake.  And?



Where To Shop

Best Place To Take the Kids: (The One I Wish Had a Different Name)

tee | jeans | hiking boots | bag | sunglasses

If you only have time to check out one place….Cowboys and Indians Trading Co is a virtual wonderland.  Boxes of rusty, old-fashioned keys, arrowheads, giant padlocks (some which say “Fulsom Prison” haha), pocket knives, cowboy hats, actual lassos, southwestern blankets and pillows, etc.  They even have a section in the back with some seriously cool fur coats (not that I could bring myself to actually buy any).  But this place is old school and was a joy to browse.

For A Pretty Little Local Something: Moab Made

For a little something to bring home….Moab Made has some really fun ideas.  Pax came home with a bracelet made from climbing ropes, for example.

For Yourself: Indigo Alley (And the Spa next door)

For clothes, I loved Indigo Alley.  I came home with a fun hiking tee, and in the spa next door, I picked up a s’mores-cooked-over-a-campfire onesie for Scotti’s baby-on-the-way.  The spa also has some seriously rich body cream if you a surprised (and itchy) by the dry deset climate. (Me too.)

Any other Moab favorites out there?  The kids are DYING to go back, so we’re always looking for new finds….




  1. We were in Moab last summer. It was our gateway before exploring all of Utah’s National Parks. Our boys loved Milt’s Stop and Eat an old school hamburger joint. Arches was amazing, but we also thought Canyonland Park was beautiful in a completely different way. We stayed at the Best Western. I don’t typically love chain hotels but was pleasantly surprised by the large rooms and bathrooms. The pool was also large and a nice place for the boys to unwind after a long hot day. It is also right downtown so very convenient. I can’t wait to go back.

  2. I always love these posts and wish we had done more travelling while the kids were young. This is a pretty vague question but we are going on our first out of the country vacation in the next few weeks BUT we can’t finalize a location that will please the family?? Any suggestions from you well traveled people?? We have an 18, 16,15, and 12 year old and 7-10 days to spare!! We had Barcelona, Belize, and Italy on the short list but we are absolutely open to anywhere with great culture, good food, and ideally amazing beaches close by…

    • I travel with my kids a lot. I love love love Spain. Barcelona is great, a fun mix of history/art and good food, a fun vibe, and beaches. And it’s easy to manage. Italy is nice too – we were in Sicily recently and that was wonderful, but a little harder for a new traveler (takes more planning, driving is ideal to get around but a little tough. Worth it if you have time to plan a lot).

      Oh! Greece! Athens and then off to an island!

  3. Our kids love Moab! I second Milts—something about a burger and milkshake after a long day on the trails. Also, there are some really great hikes outside NPs. Negro Bill Canyon (what’s up with the names around there?) is a great hike along a creek and ends with a really cool arch—perfect for hot days and adventurous kiddos. Rim Village rentals are outside of town but great for families (pool, playground, tennis) or big groups traveling together.

    • They FINALLY changed the name- now it’s Grandstaff Canyon. Excellent hike, your kids will definitely want to play in the water.

  4. We were there for our spring break – which was in early March. Loved it. We stayed at an Airbnb townhouse a bit outside the center of town, it was lovely (3 bedrooms!) but I’m jealous you could walk everywhere.

    I second Miguel’s Baja Grill. Also Moab brewery was fun. Lunch for us was usually a picnic while hiking or in the park somewhere so…just salads and sandwiches and fruit from the grocery store, no lunch recommendations

    • I want to know about that jacket too! And Shana, I always love your travel posts so much. My husband and I always go to Las Vegas for a few days in the spring, and spend a day or two outside of the city, next year we’ll go to Moab for a night or two, so this post is helpful!

  5. We are in Moab now! Wanted to go back and reference this post! Moab Garage ice cream where they make it front of you with liquid nitrogen–super fun and very, very good, for $4! I am pleasantly surprised how much like the town of Moab. I feared it would be like Sedona.

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