Even though Utah technically qualifies as a desert, the state is also home to beautiful bodies of water. If you like red rock, mountains, fresh air and big, salty lakes, you’ll likely enjoy what the state has to offer in terms of boat tours, too. Here are our favorites!
Canyonlands by Night and Day offers arguably Utah’s most spectacular boat tours. If rafting down the river on your own (or with a guide) doesn’t appeal to you, Canyonlands by Night and Day is famous for its “Evening Dinner and Boat Tour,” which includes a cowboy-style Dutch oven dinner and a slow, peaceful evening boat ride on a gentle part of the Colorado River.
As its name suggests, Moab Jett Colorado River Jet Boat Tours is located near Canyonlands by Night and Day, but specializes in a very different kind of boat tour. Rather than kick-back on a serene, evening ride, you’ll join one of the company’s experienced guides on a New Zealand-style jet to zoom and splash around on the cool waters of the Colorado.
Despite the presence of other (and more salty) lakes in Utah, Bear Lake in Cache Valley has the reputation for being the closest thing the Beehive State has to the ocean. No, you won’t find palm trees and starfish at Bear Lake, but you will find beautiful turquoise waters and a range of colorful fish. While most visitors to Bear Lake have their own boats or rent them, you can take an amazing guided boat tour of the lake with Bear Lake Adventure Center.
In Utah, rafting is the most popular way to cruise on water. Based in Salt Lake Valley, Holiday River Expeditions has been around since 1965, and takes lucky rafters to the beautiful Green River in Southern Utah on whitewater rafting expeditions.
Visiting the Grand Canyon is a popular bucket list item. But what arriving there via raft/boat? Based in Kanab, Grand Canyon Expeditions takes interested adventurers on both motorized and non-motorized tours along the famed Colorado River to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Trips last 1-2 weeks, but the memories will last a lifetime.
It’s a bit of a cheat to include this boat tour on the list given that Lake Powell straddles the Utah/Arizona border, but most Utahans claim Lake Powell because most of the lake is technically within the Utah state border. Lake Powell is one of Utah’s most popular locations for boating and relaxation, and this Antelope Canyon Tour will give you an even closer look at the area’s distinct geological features.
A sailing school located on the shores of Utah Lake, Bonneville School of Sailing also offers couples the unique opportunity to take a guided, small boat tour of the lake just in time for sunset. The small company also offers two-hour day cruises for up to five people for $135.
The Great Salt Lake is one of the country’s most famous lakes, but most people have never been there. Gonzo Boat Rentals & Tours gives you a great excuse to explore this unique and extremely salty lake with its romantic sunset dinner cruise. A two-hour cruise with dinner is $85 per person, a two-hour, five-star dinner cruise is $105 per person, and the company’s two-hour Sunday lunch cruise is only $55 per person.
As tempting as it is to rent the Pirate Blue pontoon boat for your own personal enjoyment, the company who created it also offers guided lake cruises in beautiful Southern Utah on the hilarious, pirate-themed boat. The company only takes walk-in customers for the cruises and it only costs $60/hour for six people!
Another Utah rafting company, Adrift Adventures is one of the state’s most extensive adventure-focused enterprises because it offers both river tours and national park 4x4 Jeep tours. One of the company’s most popular tours is a whitewater rafting tour that takes rafters through Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park on the Colorado River. The trip lasts six days and covers 120 miles, so remember, this one is not for the faint of heart.