Canyonlands Half Marathon and 5-Mile Run. No doubt because of the spectacular scenery, great weather, and fantastic hospitality, Moab's half-marathon—usually held the third Saturday in March unless it conflicts with the Easter Jeep Safari—is one of the favorite running events in the West. In 2015, the race celebrated its 40th running. The course runs along Highway 128, following the Colorado River and parallelling the east side of the park. (This group also does a popular half-marathon in October called "The Other Half," the Winter Sun 10K in early December, and a women-only half-marathon in June titled "Thelma & Louise.") Registration and hotel rooms fill to capacity months in advance so plan ahead. 36 S. 100 E, Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–4525;


Moab Art Walk. Moab galleries and shops celebrate the perfect weather of spring and fall with a series of exhibits. Art Walks are held the second Saturday of the month from March through June and September through November. Stroll the streets (6–9 pm) to see and purchase original works by Moab and regional artists. Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–4912;

Moab Arts Festival. Every Memorial Day weekend, artists from across the West gather at Moab's Swanny City Park to show their wares, including pottery, photography, and paintings. This fun festival is small enough to be manageable, charges no admission, and offers an array of affordable artwork. There's live music, cultural entertainment, a kids' tent, and lots of food. The arts festival partners with local libation producers to bring a wine and beer festival at the park as part of the event. Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–2742;


Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo. Cowboys come to the Old Spanish Trail Arena (just south of Moab) for three days in late May or early June to try their luck on thrashing bulls and broncs at this annual Western tradition. 3641 S. Hwy. 191, Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–4852;


Winter Sun Festival. If you visit Arches or Canyonlands in early December, you will avoid the crowds and also be in Moab for the Winter Sun Festival, which includes the memorable—and often silly—Electric Light Parade. Merchants, clubs, and other organizations build whimsical floats brightly lit with Christmas lights for a nighttime parade down a darkened Main Street. The city Christmas tree lighting, a 10k race, holiday arts-and-crafts fairs, and a visit from Santa Claus are also highlights of the weekend festivities. Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–7814;

Green River Melon Days. The town claims its melon festival, dating to 1906, is the world's oldest. All the watermelon you can eat, an old-fashioned parade, a 5k run, and other small-town-America activities await you on the third Saturday of September. Green River, Utah, 84525. 435/564-3427;

Moab Folk Festival. Some of America's top folk artists converge in Moab each November to perform on indoor and outdoor stages. Past artists have included Richard Thompson, Ray Bonneville, Bruce Cockburn, Loudon Wainwright III, and Ferron—this is a real treat for folk music aficionados. Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–3198;

Moab Music Festival. Moab's red rocks resonate with world-class music—classical, jazz, and traditional—during this annual festival that takes place in indoor and outdoor venues including the city park, local auditoriums, private homes, and a natural stone grotto along the Colorado River. Musicians from all over the globe perform, and it's one of the West's top music showcases. The festival starts the Thursday before Labor Day and runs about two weeks. Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–7003;