Add These “Local Gems” to Your Summer Bucket List
Zions Bankers showcase their favorite places to dine and play in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.
Looking for travel tips and insider insights as you plan your summer road trip? It’s wise to ask a local.
Here, we’ve done the work for you. From undiscovered destinations to popular vacation spots, employees across our Zions Bank footprint offer insider tips to dine, relax and explore in the places they call home.
Anyone who travels through the Idaho Panhandle during the summer months should visit the University of Idaho Arboretum, says Alex Navarro, manager of the Moscow branch.
June and July are particularly beautiful, with all kinds of plants and flowers native to North Idaho. And, best of all, admission is free.
Navarro recommends following up the arboretum with a round of golf at the neighboring University of Idaho golf course or dining in downtown Moscow, which boasts 13 restaurants and ample outdoor seating over a five-block span.
Wood River Valley, Idaho
Of Blaine County’s many outdoor recreation opportunities, Region President Tracy Groll relishes time spent at its plentiful rivers and streams.
“Whether it’s exploring the wildlife at the Silver Creek Preserve or cooling off at the Big Wood River, there are plenty of activities to enjoy,” Groll says.
For a bite to eat in the Ketchum area, pop in to The Cellar Pub, which serves up great food, a history of local athletes, and a “home away from home” feel, according to Rick Lethbridge Jr., community banking relationship manager at the Wood River Valley branch.
The fish and chips are one of his favorite menu items.
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Idaho’s Wood River Valley, the Sun Valley Music Festival is America’s largest free symphony and a favorite of Jackie Cole, assistant manager of the Wood River Valley branch.
In 2021, the concerts span July 26 - August 19 and Cole suggests packing a picnic to bring as you enjoy some of the country’s best musicians.
Cache Valley, Utah
Northern Utah’s Cache Valley is known as Dairy Country for good reason. Ice cream lovers will rejoice at the plentiful options. Smithfield branch Manager Lynn Godderidge recommends Gossner Foods in Logan, Aggie Creamery on Utah State University’s campus, and Casper’s Ice Cream in Richmond – home of the original FatBoy ice cream sandwich.
For a full meal, grab a burger and fries at Morty’s Café, a Logan original.
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Among the many incredible hikes in the Bryce Canyon area, Mossy Cave is a favorite of Marc Henrie, manager of the Panguitch branch. Accessed from Highway 12, the family-friendly hike follows a canal carved by pioneers and terminates at a moss-covered waterfall.
“There are lots of fun small pools and it’s really fun for kids to play in,” Henrie says.
The Bryce Canyon Wranglers at Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill are another must-see dining and entertainment experience, according to Henrie.
“The food is great and the music is really good,” he says. The band typically performs nightly through the spring summer months; Henrie recommends calling ahead to make a reservation.
Just 30 minutes from Bryce Canyon, Panguitch City offers fun activities for travelers year-round, Henrie says.
More than 30 hot air balloons ascend over Panguitch each June as part of the Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally, held June 25-27, 2021.
Also in June, the Quilt Walk Festival features a chocolate fest, quilt show, sewing and quilting classes, dinner theater, parades, games and historic home tours.
Cedar Breaks, Utah
Easily accessed from the I-15 corridor, Cedar Breaks National Monument is a natural amphitheater reminiscent of the stunning formations at Bryce Canyon.
“Go in the Fall and bring a light jacket as it can get cool,” says Josh Hunt, Cedar City branch manager. “Then drive over to Brian Head for lunch or dinner.”
“The monument and surrounding area are well known for educational opportunities where you can learn about the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, view prehistoric plant and animal fossils, and experience numerous scenic rock formations in their natural settings,” Walker says.
Vernal also offers countless other activities for summer outdoor enthusiasts, like camping, river rafting, boating, fishing and hiking.
Catch up on sports while taking in spectacular views of Zion Canyon on the wrap-around patio. Bodell’s favorite menu item: the taco salad. She reminds visitors to check the posted hours, because the restaurant is often closed on Wednesdays, depending on the time of year.
For a morning or early afternoon boost, hikers can fuel up with a cup of joe, smoothie or bagel at Deep Creek Coffee Company.
Heber City, Utah
Tony’s Tacos in Heber City is a personal favorite of Jeremy Fairbanks, manager of Zions Bank’s Heber City branch. Fairbanks enjoys the stellar service, flavorful food and fun atmosphere — especially the outdoor patio on Main Street. “Although all their food is great, I personally recommend the street tacos … steak, chicken, and pork,” Fairbanks says.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Whitewater rafting and rock jumping in the Snake River Canyon are a favorite activity of Henry Jones, manager of Zions Bank in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Insider tip: The water is high in June, and lower in August, so plan accordingly. For a guided tour and gear rentals, Jones recommends checking out Teton Whitewater.
While the Tetons are spectacular year-round, Jones says September is the prime to visit the park, after the summer crowds dissipate.
If you require banking assistance during your travels, call on Zions Bank’s network of 120 branches and 215 ATMs across Idaho, Utah and Jackson, Wyoming. Visit the Zions Bank website to find a location near you.