Moab keeps you moving

Hike, bike, or raft Utah's slickrock canyon country
Kurt Repanshek

Moab is fueled by locomotion. Paddling rivers, cycling slickrock, hiking through the world's grandest collection of stone archways ― this southeastern Utah destination is a slice of high-energy nirvana.

Sandals, T-shirts, shorts, and sunglasses are de rigueur here from late April through mid-October. The only other accessories worth considering: hiking boots, mountain bikes, climbing gear, or a whitewater raft or kayak.

Life in Moab wasn't always so fraught with possibility. Settled in 1855, the town revolved around cattle and crops during its first seven decades. A comparatively short-lived uranium boom in the 1950s injected much-needed infrastructure into Moab: motels, stores, and restaurants. Today it is recreation that plays throbbing heart to Moab's soul.

Of course, you don't have to keep moving every minute of each day. A good museum, quiet spots for watching wildlife, and even a sunset cruise will give you a chance to contemplate the serene beauty of the countryside. And once night falls, Moab recharges with good restaurants and charming B&Bs.

Sweet red-rock sleep

Chain motels compose the bulk of Moab's lodging. For a travel planner or for trail maps and lists of outfitters, contact the Moab Information Center (Center and Main Streets; www.discovermoab.com, 800/635-6622, or 435/259-8825).

Cali Cochitta Bed & Breakfast. The owners borrowed the Aztec words for "house of dreams" when they turned this historic 1870s brick Victorian home into a B&B. Breakfast can be taken out on the patio by the garden, or inside, family style, at a rambling table. Five rooms from $95. 110 South 200 East; www.moabdreaminn.com, 888/429-8112, or 435/259-4961.

Sunflower Hill Bed & Breakfast Inn. A dozen rooms are housed in two beautiful old homes nestled amid Moab's most colorful gardens. A covered porch graces the side of one house, the Garden Cottage, and a hot tub stands ready in a nook of the garden. From $139. 185 North 300 East; www.sunflowerhill.com, 800/662-2786, or 435/259-2974.