Epic Moab Family Vacation

and a grilled artichoke around the campfire

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We spent 4 days on a Moab family vacation this week where we camped, biked, hiked, played and cooked over an open fire every night. This grilled artichoke was one of the highlights of our camp food.  (Since this is a food blog I figured I’d lead with the dish even though this is a travel post!)  The smokiness of the char from the grill pairs so well with the fresh lemon and herbs. The recipe is below, but first some highlights of our trip…


grilled artichoke fresh herbs on a plate in the sun


If you’re an adventure seeking family, there’s no better place for a spring time vacation than Moab, UT.  You could visit ten times and never do the same thing twice.  It is a year-round outdoor sports destination, offering whitewater kayaking and rafting, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, four-wheeling, camping, dirt biking, canyoneering and more. Epic mountain biking might be what draws dad to Moab, but there are plenty of family friendly adventures just waiting for the whole family.  It’s a place where we’re ALL happy to leave the electronics at home, unplug, get outside and make lasting family memories.



Last spring we spent most of our Moab family vacation at the National Parks.  Arches and Canyonlands are both within minutes of Moab.  We especially LOVED Arches NP.  It’s full of great, short hikes to spectacular vistas that even the shortest of the toddler legs can handle.  If your kiddos are older, there are even more options for you.  Be sure not to miss the Windows Section, a View of Delicate Arch and Devil’s Garden.  If you can get a campsite at Devil’s Garden, do it.  It’s the best.  There aren’t any hook ups for your RV, so you’ll be boondocking, but it’s worth it!

This year we opted for some different adventures.  we stayed at the newly renovated Moab KOA, with full RV hook ups and a brand new, beautiful pool and hot tub area.  It was GLAMPING, for sure!  We discovered a wonderful tour company named Canyonlands by Night and Day.  This company offers TONS of great family friendly tours and adventures and their guides are top notch.



We started with a half day Colorado River Rafting Trip.  The river is really low this year due to the lack of snow in the rockies, so it was pretty tame.  The vistas were incredible and our guide was really fun and knowledgable about the area.  We were entertained all morning with his stories of the history and geology of the area.

Another highlight was the Sunset Hummer Tour.  Serious off road 4×4 touring with very experienced guides and a GORGEOUS sunset.  I would venture to say this is a can’t miss experience for your Moab family vacation.  It’s thrilling and beautiful, you’ll get to see parts of the area you just can’t experience any other way.



Some other recommendations for a Moab family vacation would definitely include mountain biking the bar M loop trails.  This is a small network of single and double track trails just a few miles north of town.  There’s something for everyone from pure beginner (our 4 year old Lucy loved the Rusty Spur Trail) to expert technical trails.

If you’re more of a road biker (or bike path biker like I am), Moab has a really nice paved rec path that extends up the river road a few miles in one direction and all the way to Arches NP in the other.  It’s a great family ride in the morning before it gets too hot.



Last but not least (for this trip anyway) Moab Giants is a new outdoor dinosaur museum and it’s REALLY COOL.  There is a 3/4 mile flat hiking loop that has all kinds of dino replicas and real dino print fossils as well as tons of educational information on the areas geology and paleontology.  it may be suited a bit more to little kids, but I think many generations would love and appreciate this gem.



So, that pretty much sums up our Moab family vacation.  We had a blast.  Adventuring together every day, swimming and cooking every night.  We made this artichoke recipe twice.  It’s a staple in our family in the spring and summertime.  Be creative with the citrus and the herbs.  Super simple and super yummy (and if you have an instantpot, super quick too)


grilled artichoke on the grill


Stay tuned for Utah vacation Part 2. Lake Powell and Escalante….


grilled artichoke fresh herbs on a plate in the sun
5 from 3 votes

Grilled Artichoke with Fresh Herbs and Lemony Vinaigrette

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Sides
Cuisine American, seasonal, Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 184 kcal
Author KellyLiken


  • 2 large artichokes
  • 3 lemons halved
  • 2 T parsley roughly chopped
  • 2 T chives roughly chopped
  • 2 T tarragon roughly chopped
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a stock pot full of salted water and the juice of 1 lemon to a boil.

  2. Trim the stems off of the artichoke, flush with the base.  With a serrated knife, trim about 1/2-3/4" from the top of the artichoke and split them in half lengthwise.  

  3. Using a spoon, scrape out the "choke".  That's the fuzzy part at the heart as well as some of the spiky leaves.  Rub all of the exposed areas with a half of a lemon to prevent browning.

  4. Boil the artichokes, covered for about 20-25 minutes until the heart is tender.  Remove from the liquid and allow them to dry.  Meanwhile, turn your grill on to medium high.

  5. Brush both sides of the artichokes with a bit of olive oil and season them well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Grill them just until they are warm in the middle and slightly chared.

  6. Serve the grilled artichokes sprinkled liberally with the chopped herbs, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.

Recipe Notes

You can boil the artichokes well ahead of time.  In this case, allow them to cool in the cooking liquid and grill them just before serving.

If you have an instantpot, use 1 C water and the lemon juice and set the artichoke halves on the steaming rack.  Cook on manual 7 minutes and quick release the pressure.  Other than that the recipe stays the same.

Nutrition Facts
Grilled Artichoke with Fresh Herbs and Lemony Vinaigrette
Amount Per Serving
Calories 184 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 79mg3%
Potassium 449mg13%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 280IU6%
Vitamin C 56.3mg68%
Calcium 70mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Elise Backinger

Fun to see this story. We were supposed to have dinner with you in Vail for our anniversary two years ago. Off you went and here you are! We will meet up for your wonderful food sometime, I am sure.



    Would love to meet up again sometime over good food and drink. Let us know when you’re coming through the Vail Valley.


Debe Griggs




    Thank you Debe!


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Kelly Liken, one of Colorado’s most promising and influential young chefs, was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her mother was an outstanding cook, constantly exploring new recipes and seeking out fresh products at the local farmers market, which led Kelly to develop her love for cooking in high school. Read More