Beach towels have been replaced with backpacks and sleeping in now is reserved for the weekends. School is back in session, and exciting as it may be, families may need a break more than ever. Thankfully, Labor Day weekend is just around the corner (Aug. 31 to Sept. 2). Here are some ideas to get your family out and about on the last long weekend before the annual UEA break in October.
Fishing in the Uintas
Lakes along the Mirror Lake Highway (150) from Kamas to Evanston, Wyo., are stocked frequently with trout all too willing to put a smile on any young angler's face. Waters closest to the road get busy, so pick a backcountry lake to hike into or drive to so you can get away from the crowds.
Birding the GSL marshes
The fall migration is underway, and Great Salt Lake Audubon is holding the "Fall Migrant Chase" Sept. 1 starting at 8 a.m. on the south shores of the Great Salt Lake. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 585-429-0157 for details.
Mountain bike at Brian Head
Some of the best single track in the state can be found at Utah's southernmost but high-elevation ski resort. Take your own bike or rent one and be prepared for as many miles as you can handle. http://brianhead.com/summer/
Cooler weather, hopefully, means little ones usually can go a little longer, and everybody might return home without the need to run into the house and into the shower. Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy Utah's hiking trails. Visit The Salt Lake Tribune's Hike of the Week archive to pick a trail that matches your needs. http://www.sltrib.com/csp/cms/sites/sltrib/Outdoors/hikes.csp
Take a dinosaur trip to Vernal
The Quarry Visitor Center at Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal has been open for nearly two years, and you still haven't taken the kids there yet. It's worth the drive. While in Vernal, swing by the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum.
Star-gazing at Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park is recognized around the globe as providing some of the best star-gazing on the planet. Astronomy programs with the Dark Rangers of Bryce are scheduled throughout the year, and one is slated for Aug. 31. http://www.nps.gov/brca
Oktoberfest at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort • Dig out your lederhosen, but don't forget to wear hiking boots in this annual celebration of everybody's Bavarian roots. It might be called Oktoberfest, but it lasts from mid-August to mid-October. Family-friendly activities abound, and the food will make you feel like you are in Germany. http://www.snowbird.com/events/oktoberfest/
Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship and Festival • The best sheepdogs from across the world gather each Labor Day to crown a champion at the venue for the Nordic skiing events at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Families are welcome, but the family dog needs to stay home. http://www.soldierhollowclassic.com/
Antelope Island Stampede Festival • Hot air balloons will launch each morning, and professional kite fliers will be showing off their mad skills as part of the festival. The balloons will launch at the Kaysville Ponds. All other events will take place on Antelope Island State Park. http://www.antelopeislandstampede.com/