In the north of Utah, there is a naturally beautiful little corner of the world where nature and history have been protected and preserved. Here you can bring your family for some old fashioned fun. This is a place to unplug and connect with the world and each other in a wonderful way. Doesn’t that sound amazing? It is not too good to be true. Just say no to screen time! In Box Elder County, Utah, your family will look everywhere but at your screens. Look to the skies, glimpse to the past, and take in the fun all around on your next family trip.
Box Elder County, Utah needs to be on your family vacation bucket list. The city at the heart of the county is Brigham City, a sweet little town about 55 miles north of Salt Lake City. If you aren’t driving to Box Elder County, go ahead and book a flight to Salt Lake City and take the scenic drive from there. We said your family will be looking everywhere but at their screens while visiting Box Elder County. Let’s take a look at where you all will be looking instead.
Look To the Skies
The skies above a special spot in Box Elder County will fascinate your family. There is something so magical about birds in flight. Perhaps it is because of the secret desire in all of us to take to the skies on our own. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Box Elder County is a world renowned place for birding. With nearly 80,000 acres of land, this place is home to over 250 species of birds. You read that right, 250 species of birds! The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is the world’s largest breeding colony of White-faced Ibis and is one of three of the largest colonies of American White Pelicans in North America. The fall population of waterfowl peaks at over 263,000 birds.
The Refuge features a Wildlife Education Center. You can tour the area by car at your own pace. The Auto Tour lasts anywhere from an hour and a half to half a day. This scenic drive through the wetlands will let you see so many birds in their natural habitat, like pelicans, ibis, plovers, stilts, teals, and swans. This area is rich in life, and your family can make some amazing memories here.
The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge isn’t the only place to see the birds of Box Elder County. There are literally dozens of other birding spots throughout Box Elder County. If you have a bird loving kid in your family, you could spend an entire vacation just birding. Think of all the learning opportunities that will make this kind of trip an investment in your child’s mind and love of learning things firsthand. Study the area ahead of time. Make a list of birds that your child wants to see and keep track as you visit the different birding areas. Odds are, you will lose count of how many birds you have seen. Your child will never look at the skies the same and will always remember his trip to one of the best birding spots in the entire world.
Glimpse to the Past
Box Elder County is a place that honors the rich history of Utah. Your family can take in a variety of historical experiences in a way that is engaging and entertaining. Here are five must see historical experiences in Box Elder County.
1. Golden Spike National Historic Site: Go west from Brigham City and you will discover a strangely quiet place below the Promontory Mountains. This is where the first transcontinental railroad was completed. In this place, the last spike was driven to connect the two great railroads that connected our country in 1869. Take your kids to see a rebuilt section of track with the golden tie where the historic connection was made. Visit in the summer and you can witness a reenactment of the driving of the last spike that includes two life-size, fully operational, replicas of the Jupiter and No. 119 steam locomotives on the tracks. It seems as though all children go through a phase where they are obsessed with trains, making this a great historic site for kids of all ages.
2. Maddox Ranch House: This is a special spot in Utah. The Maddox Ranch House needs to be on your list of places to eat while in Box Elder County. This is an old school steakhouse offering family dining since 1949. It is located in Perry, Utah, near the mouth of Sardine Canyon. Maddox Ranch House is beloved by Utah residents. They treat everyone like family. The kid’s menu is great, and they know how to feed you well since they’ve been doing it for so long. Maddox Ranch House is famous for their Turkey Steaks and Shrimp Steaks. This restaurant got its start as a seven stool counter on Main Street in Brigham City, Utah, during World War II. Dine in or get take-out from the cabin. Either way, this is a required experience when visiting Box Elder County.
3. Crystal Hot Springs: In the city of Honeyville lies the historical Crystal Hot Spring of Box Elder County. The history of the springs goes all the way back to the Shoshone-Bannock Native American tribes. The tribes would gather here once a year to share the history of their ancestors. Crystal Hot Springs became a business in 1901. Wounded soldiers were sent here for rehabilitation during World War II. Today, your family can visit here to float and swim in the hot springs, the cold springs, or slide down the water slide. There is a slide pool, soaker pool, and olympic pool. Babies and kids of all ages are welcome and they even host family nights with special pricing.
4. Nancy Holt Sun Tunnels: This unique destination is located in the Great Basin Desert, west of the Bonneville Salt Flats. It is a huge work of art created in 1976. It doubles as an astronomy exhibit. The giant concrete tunnels have holes drilled in the shapes of constellations. You can visit all day or camp out here and experience the tunnels at sunrise and sunset. It is remote and a little strange. Your kids will love it!
5. Utah’s Famous Fruit Way: Please make sure to include a stop at Utah’s Famous Fruit Way while you are road tripping around Box Elder County. The Fruit Way is a stretch of U.S. 89 from Brigham City to Willard. In fact, Highway 89 in the communities of Willard and Perry were declared Utah’s Official Fruitway by the Utah State Legislature. Here you can find the best in local produce. Travelers have been stopping here on their way to Yellowstone for a long time!
Find Fun All Around
What makes Box Elder County such an ideal family location is the variety of activities for all ages. There really is something for everyone here. Take a glimpse at all these ideas for families. You will all be so busy looking around you that you won’t have time to get sucked into your screens like you do at home.
Visit the ATK Rocket Garden. This is a free display of missiles.
Willard Bay State Park is a great place for water sports, swimming, and camping.
There are locations all over the county if your family likes to fish.
For more history, visit the Brigham City Museum.
Is there a dinosaur loving kid in your family? Check out the Box Elder Museum of Natural History.
The Brigham City Utah Temple is a piece of Mormon history and a beautiful sight no matter what religion your family practices.
Look up, look down, look all around. Box Elder County, Utah is a dream come true for families wanting to unplug this summer. Detox from your screen addictions. Travel back to a simpler time and soak up sweet times with your family without all the distractions we live with these days. The world class sights and activities will inspire, educate, and delight you all. Your family will leave Box Elder County, Utah with full and grateful hearts and memories that will last forever.
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