Visiting the United States? There are 50 states in all.

Utah, a Western state, has topography that provides almost unlimited outdoor recreation — hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding and camping.

Nature is the prime attraction in Utah, but if you want cultural amenities, you won’t have far to look. Salt Lake City, the state capital, has the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, plus opera, ballet and theater companies, a symphony orchestra, museums and ethnic restaurants.

Smaller cities have vibrant music and theater scenes as well. Logan, for example, is home to the Utah Festival Opera, a summer event, and Cedar City hosts the Utah Shakespeare Festival during the summer and fall. The Sundance Film Festival is held each January in Park City, and the Red Rock Film Festival is in November in the towns of St. George, Ivins and Springdale.

(State Dept.)

Nature’s cathedrals

Southern Utah is canyon country, where you’ll find some of the most stunning vistas in the American West. Locals and tourists alike flock to Utah’s top national parks, known as “The Mighty Five” — Zion National Park, with its massive red and ivory cliffs; Bryce Canyon National Park, featuring odd-shaped rock pillars called “hoodoos”; Capitol Reef National Park, marked by ancient petroglyphs; Arches National Park, defined by its natural-rock arches and bridges; and Canyonlands National Park, a colorful plateau of canyons, mesas and buttes.

In the mid-1800s, when Mormon pioneers passed through what is now Zion National Park, its grandeur left them awestruck. (Shutterstock)

Go to any of these places to explore by day. Some guided tours show you the same scenes at night, when you can marvel at the millions of stars visible.

A rock formation in Arches National Park invites stargazing. (Arches National Park/Creative Commons)

Winter playgrounds

Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts can choose from Utah’s 14 ski resorts, many of which are near Salt Lake City. “Kids ski free” programs are widely available, and most resorts can accommodate skiers of all skill levels. (If you want to be pampered, head for the resorts in Park City, where you’ll find luxury spas and upscale shopping.)

A skier, airborne over the slopes in Snowbird, Utah, tests his prowess on a challenging course. (Thinkstock)

Pioneer days

Salt Lake City was established by Mormon pioneers in 1847, and ever since, Utah’s capital has been the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (informally called the Mormon Church). While you’re here, explore Utah’s early history at the This Is the Place Monument, marking the spot where Mormon leader Brigham Young instructed his followers to settle by declaring, “This is the right place.”

The Beehive House was named for the beehive statue on its roof, a symbol of industriousness, a quality prized by Mormons. (Shutterstock)

You can tour the Beehive House, a Greek Revival–style mansion that served as home to Young and that’s connected to the Lion House, Young’s other residence.

A real-life Jurassic Park

At Dinosaur National Monument, straddling the Utah-Colorado border near Vernal, Utah, you can visit an area called The Quarry, where some 1,500 dinosaur fossils from the late Jurassic era are embedded in rocks. Be sure to investigate the surrounding canyons along the Green and Yampa rivers.

The Dinosaur National Monument’s visitors center exhibits finds such as this Allosaurus skull. (InSapphoWeTrust/Creative Commons)

Read more about Utah and check out the other 49 states. If you need a visa to visit, here’s how to get one.