13 Teen-Friendly, Parent-Approved Salt Lake City Activities

Navigating family vacations with teens can be a challenge—finding activities that keep them engaged and not glued to their phones is key! As a Utah mom of 3 teens, I can wholeheartedly relate.  If our kids don’t have buy-in on the activities we choose, it’s hard to get them to engage.  Luckily, Salt Lake City is packed full of fantastic adventures that will keep your teens excited and energized for your whole trip.  Below, I’m sharing 13 teen friendly Salt Lake City activities that our kids love, and hopefully yours will too.  Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or some fun in the city, Salt Lake City with teens doesn’t disappoint!

Skiing solitude

Exhilarating Outdoor Adventures in Salt Lake City for Teens

1. Conquering Trails: Mountain Biking in Mill Creek Canyon

biking utah with kids

Mill Creek Canyon offers a variety of trails, making it a perfect spot for mountain biking teens of all skill levels. Whether your teens are just getting their wheels dirty or are seasoned bikers, they’ll find something to love. My 17-year-old son regularly rides there with his friends (all expert bikers), yet we can just as easily find great trails for his 11-year-old brother who’s a beginner.  The canyon not only challenges them with a wide variety of terrain but also shows off with some pretty fantastic scenery.  If you’ve got a kid who’s an expert-level rider, consider a shuttled ride down the Wasatch Crest Trail for a buck-list-worthy experience. 

2. Reaching New Heights: Rock Climbing Indoors and Outdoors

With mountains all around, Salt Lake Valley has so many great places for rock climbing.  If you’re just getting into the sport, try out Momentum Indoor Climbing, where the kids can get a crash course in climbing basics. The staff there are fantastic and it’s amazing to see their confidence grow. 

After learning the ropes there (literally), head a little south to Little Cottonwood Canyon for some of the best rock climbing in Utah.  It’s a climber’s paradise with numerous routes of all levels of difficulty that offer breathtaking views over the valley.  Unless you have rock climbing experience and plenty of gear, plan to go with a guide so you can make sure that everyone is safe.  We love that rock climbing is not just a physical activity; it’s about solving problems, as each route challenges their mind as much as their muscles.  This is one of our top ways to bond with teens since there’s a huge amount of trust involved!

3. Slope Styles: Skiing and Snowboarding near Salt Lake

Skiing utah

I cannot say enough good things about the skiing and snowboarding in Utah.  It’s what brought me to Utah for college and what eventually brought our family back to stay for good.  It’s unbelievable and it’s some of the most easily accessible skiing in the United States.  Within a 30 minute drive of Salt Lake City, you can get to 7 different ski resorts and there’s a little something for everyone.  

While every resort has a variety of beginner, intermediate, and expert terrain, as well as great ski schools, there are a few resorts that have a specialty that must be shared.  

Snowbird – best for super steep terrain and deep powder
Solitude – best low-key ski resort
Brighton – Freestyle, but still very family friendly
Woodward – the whole focus is on freestyle and jumps here (though, I don’t recommend their ski school)
Deer Valley – Skiers only, very luxury-focused

Read Next: 9 Fun Things to do at The Great Salt Lake

4. Hit the trail for some hiking

hiking mount timpanogos with kids

The number of hiking trails near Salt Lake City are incredible.  Hiking can be done year round in the valley (occasionally with a little snow), and in the canyons in the summer and early fall.  Here in Utah, we love to be very active and there’s a great infrastructure to support that.  Some of our favorite year round hikes are the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, the Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge, and City Creek.  

If you’re looking for summer hikes to do with kids, head to the canyons.  The weather is cooler up there and in July, the wildflowers are incredible.  Our favorite summer hike is Secret Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon, but for something a bit different, Donut Falls is always fun and it’s a really easy trail too. 

5. River Fun: Tubing on the Weber or Provo River

If you’re looking for a great way to cool down, take a tubing trip on the Provo or Weber Rivers.  Both of these rivers are located about an hour away from Salt Lake City, but the drive is beautiful, so we never mind.  We typically take our kids floating down one of these two rivers a few times a year and it always feels amazing on a hot day.  Tubing is a blast and is even more fun with teens! Floating down the River, you’ll enjoy mild rapids and the serene parts where you can just drift and enjoy the scenery. It’s the perfect mix of relaxation and excitement—a definite must-do for any family visiting in the summer.

Both the Provo and Weber River have companies who will rent you tubes and shuttle you from the bottom to the top to simplify things.  It’s also important to know that life jackets are required on both stretches of river. 

6. Take a Scenic Bike Ride: Bike Rides Around City Creek Canyon of along Jordan River Parkway

city creek canyon trail

Salt Lake City is smaller and set up differently than most major cities in the United States and you can literally be in nature within 5 minutes of downtown.  Our favorite place to bike ride near downtown is around City Creek Canyon.  The road there only has 1-way traffic (counterclockwise) and the other lane is reserved just for bikers and runners.  It’s so pretty and will give you some incredible views of downtown Salt Lake City.

If you’re farther out in the suburbs, a bike ride down the Jordan River Parkway is such a great way to spend the day.  The trail goes for over 40 miles and passes parks, playgrounds and fishing ponds and is our favorite way to get around the valley without having to deal with car traffic. 

7. Smooth Sailing: Sailing Lessons on the Great Salt Lake

Sailing on the Great Salt Lake is a unique experience due to the lake’s high salinity and vast size. Sailing on the Great Salt Lake feels like a mini adventure on its own. Learning to maneuver the boat is a fantastic experience for the kids. The unique salty water and vast open views made it feel like a different world.  

Your family can learn basic sailing techniques or simply enjoy the ride and the expansive views of the largest salt water lake in the United States. The marinas offer rental services and lessons, making it simple even if you’re a complete beginner. It’s also a fantastic way to see the sunset over the lake.

Urban Activities in Salt Lake that Teens Will LOVE

8. Strategic Moves: Paintballing at Utah Xtreme Paintball

Utah Xtreme Paintball is the go-to place for an action-packed afternoon. The facility offers various themed fields that replicate urban warfare or tactical scenarios, providing an immersive experience. Paintballing is as fun as it is messy, and it turns out to be a great way for the family to team up and strategize together. The themed fields make the games even more immersive and exciting.

It’s a great physical outlet and helps develop teamwork and strategy among participants. Safety is a priority here, with all necessary gear provided and referees ensuring fair play.

9. High-Flying Fun: Trampoline Parks

“The energy at the trampoline park is infectious, which probably explains why my kids beg to go there so often.  Watching the kids (and yes, us parents too) bounce and try out aerial tricks is hilarious and heartwarming.  Airborne and Get Air trampoline parks are indoor playgrounds where your teens can jump, flip, and soar through the air. These parks offer various activities like dodgeball, basketball hoops, and obstacle courses, which add to the fun.

10. City Rolling: Segway or Scooter Tours of Downtown

I’ll be honest, if I told my teens that we were taking a tour of downtown Salt Lake City, I would hear nothing but groaning and complaining.  However, if I told them the tour was on a Segway or electric scooter, they would be thrilled! 

These guided tours offer a breezy, fun way to see the city’s landmarks and hidden gems while learning about its history and culture. It’s an engaging activity that combines technology, education, and adventure, making it appealing to teens and adults alike. The kids love the novelty of the Segways, and everyone learns something new about Salt Lake City’s history and landmarks.

11. Racing Excitement: Go-Kart Racing at Utah Motorsports Complex

For gravity-defying speed and competition, the Utah Motorsports Complex offers an adrenaline-pumping go-kart racing experience. With options for all levels, your family can race each other on safe, well-maintained tracks. The go-kart racing at Utah Motorsports Complex is fiercely competitive and loads of fun, especially for teens. We all get a bit carried away with the racing spirit, and it’s a great way to round off a day.It’s an exciting way to foster a little friendly competition and make lasting memories.

12. Game Night: Attending a Utah Jazz Game

Watching the Utah Jazz play is an electrifying experience that can turn anyone into a basketball fan. The energy in the arena is contagious, and there’s nothing like cheering for your team in a live setting. For the best ticket options, begin looking a few months in advance. Even if you’re not from Utah, you’ll quickly join in with the excited local fans cheering for their “team.” The Real Salt Lake soccer team also is such a fun team to watch.

13. Peaceful Observation: Bird Watching at the Great Salt Lake

Bird watching for teens?  Hear me out!

Bird watching at the Great Salt Lake can be surprisingly fascinating. The lake is a crucial stopover for millions of migratory birds, making it a prime spot for spotting rare species. It’s a calm, educational activity that can help teens appreciate the beauty and importance of wildlife conservation.  If you’re looking for something to do with some downtime, consider some birding.  The Bear River Refuge is a great place to start with lots of education, a 12-mile audio loop, and amazing access to the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. 

If you’re anything like me, you might be a bit nervous about keeping those energetic teens entertained on your next family trip. But trust me, Salt Lake City has got your back. With everything from the thrill of skiing down Snowbird’s slopes to the chill vibes of birdwatching by the Great Salt Lake, there’s no shortage of adventures to fill your days and wear out even the most energetic teens. So whether you’re racing go-karts, bouncing around a trampoline park, or exploring the city on a Segway, you’re set for some great family bonding. Salt Lake City is that perfect mix of city fun and natural wonders that’ll keep the whole family buzzing with stories to tell. Pack up, head out, and get ready to make some awesome memories—you’ve got this!

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