Vernal is the hub of Dinosaurland, mixing the region's ancient heritage with a certain kitschy charm—think down-home diners and giant dino statues. Dinosaurs aren't the only things they're proud of in Vernal, however. The town claims a connection to the ancient Fremont people, a rowdy ranching past, and more than a passing acquaintance with outlaws like Butch Cassidy, who frequented the area whenever he felt it was safe to be seen around town. Legend has it that the saloonkeepers of Vernal gave Butch's gang the name "Wild Bunch," muttering "There goes that wild bunch" whenever the outlaws rolled in. Now the largest town (population 10,000) in the northeast corner of the state, the cattle-ranching community of Vernal is one of the few Utah towns founded by non-Mormons. However, it was the town's remote location—at the eastern edge of Utah, far from government authorities—not a lack of religion that led to its early reputation as a wild and lawless place. These days it’s more of a tame, friendly spot to cool your heels between trips to outlying areas as well as biking and river adventures.
FODOR'S GO LIST 2016
The top 25 places we think should be on every traveler's radar this year.More