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

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.

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