Ogden City and Valley. The largest city north of Salt Lake City is Ogden, with more than 86,000 residents. Its growth was spurred by the coming of the railroads and Hill Air Force Base, but its 21st-century renaissance is oriented around the easygoing outdoorsy lifestyle here. Hiking, skiing, golf, kayaking, boating, and more are all available either within city limits or in the beautiful valley that lies 8 miles up the canyon.
The Golden Spike Empire. Heading north up I–15 from Ogden (or, if you're in no hurry, up Highway 89, where you'll find plenty of farm stands), you'll come upon the Golden Spike Empire. Pleasant farmlands in the shadow of the Wellsvilles give way to rolling sagebrush-covered hills and eventually the desolate salt flats of the Great Salt Lake. Visit the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the Golden Spike National Historic Site.
Bear Lake Country. It’s almost incomprehensible that a lake as blue as the Mediterranean exists in the Intermountain West—but it’s true. Straddling the Utah-Idaho border, Bear Lake is relatively undeveloped, with a quaint cluster of old-fashioned burger and shake shops on the southwest side, and only a few small motels and campgrounds. At 109 square miles, it will give you plenty to explore for a few days in the hot summer.