What is on the checklist for your dream RV vacation? If it includes unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities, scenic vistas, and adventure-filled recreation opportunities, then head to Antelope Island State Park in northeast Utah. Located along a peninsula on the stunning Great Salt Lake, the park's scenery and unique geology will leave you in awe. The areas first inhabitants likely lived here more than 6,000 years ago, and in more recent history, the area was first explored back in 1845 by a fellow named Fielding Gare. His residence still stands on the park land and visitors can tour the ranch during their stay. But you're in for more than a history lesson when you come to Antelope Island.
Great Salt Lake offers picturesque views with large mountain peaks jutting out in the backdrop. But this is no ordinary lake. As the name suggests, this body of water is actually a salt lake four times saltier than ocean water! You can learn more about the lake and geology of the park from exhibits and knowledgable rangers at the Visitor Center. Other recreational activities offered at the park include hiking, biking, and horseback riding on miles of trails and boating on the picturesque lake. The park is also famous for playing host to a massive bison herd, as well as antelopes and bighorn sheep. Millions of birds stop over here on their migratory route, and the birding experience here is incomparable. Three RV-friendly campgrounds await you at Antelope Island State Park, so pack the rig and aim it towards northern Utah.
Antelope Island State Park is actually not an island at all, but rather a peninsula situated on the Great Salt Lake in northeast Utah. This means getting to the park is much easier. Located about an hour northwest from Salt Lake City, major routes like I-15 and I-84 surround the peninsula. These mountain roads provide stunning views, with a few gradual inclines and some twists and turns along the way. Even those maneuvering large rigs should have no trouble navigating these well-traveled roads.
The park entrance is located off the Antelope Island Road, which can be accessed directly from I-15. Once inside the park, most roads remain paved for easy travel to main points of interest including the Visitor Center and the Fielding Garr Ranch. Some roads in the park are gravel, so those traveling with RVs may want to bring a passenger vehicle along to drive the dusty roads.
Parking lots are plentiful and can be found in the day-use area, in and around the campgrounds, near the boat launch, and at the ranch.
Bridger Bay Campground is the largest at Antelope Island State Park, with 26 RV-friendly sites available. Sites are equipped with fire pits and sheltered picnic tables. Although no hookups are available, vault toilets are available on-site. A dump station, restrooms with flush toilets, and potable water can all be found about a mile from the campground at Bridger Bay Beach. Three ADA-accessible sites are available at Bridger Bay. Up to eight people and two vehicles can be accommodated at each campsite, and maximum length restrictions vary. This pet-friendly campground is open year-round, and reservations can be made up to four months in advance.
White Rock Bay Campground is located just south of Bridger Bay and offers 20 RV-friendly sites. Maximum vehicle lengths vary, and each site is equipped with a sheltered picnic table and a fire ring. Sites can accommodate up to 16 people and four vehicles, and two equestrian sites are also available. Pets are allowed as long as they remain leashed. No hookups are available, but vault toilets are located on-site and potable water can be found about a mile away. A dump station and restrooms with flush toilets are both located about two miles away at Bridger Bay Beach. White Rock Bay is open year-round, and reservations can be made up to four months in advance.
If you're not much for planning, Antelope Island State Park offers any unbooked sites on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests should note that sites fill up fast on weekends and during the busy summer months, so if you're hoping to snag any open spots, you should arrive to the park early. All campgrounds are primitive with no hookups or potable water, but a dump station, drinking water, and restrooms with flush toilets can be found in the day-use area.
Those camping with a group can cozy up to the Lakeside Group Campsite located in the White Rock Bay Campground. This primitive style site can sleep up to 80 people in both tents and RVs, and comes equipped with picnic tables, both open and sheltered, and fire pits. Vault toilets can be found nearby, and restrooms with flush toilets, potable water, and a dump station are all located about two miles away. Dogs are welcome at this site. The campsite is open year-round, and reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.
If you'd like to sleep under the stunning night sky at Antelope Island State Park, head to the Ladyfinger Campground. This tent-only, primitive style campground offers five sites equipped with a tent pad and picnic table. Fires are not allowed at this campground. Guests should note that these are hike-in sites, located about 200 feet from the parking lot. Vault toilets are available, and restrooms with flush toilets and potable water can be found about a mile away. Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept leashed. The Ladyfinger Campground is open year-round with reservations available up to four months in advance.
If you didn't have any luck finding a space to camp at Antelope Island State Park, head to the nearby Willard Bay State Park. Located about 45 minutes north, this scenic park offers modern RV campgrounds with both full-hookup and primitive campsites. There are also plenty of private RV parks located in and around the Salt Lake area, with campgrounds ranging in price and amenities.
There are 45 miles of hiking trails available at Antelope Island State Park, so don't forget to pack your hiking boots along in the motorhome. Visitors can hike from the northernmost point to the southernmost point in the park, and everywhere in between. Trails range in length and difficulty, so hikers of all skill levels can find a trail that is right for them.
For some stunning lake and mountain views, head out along the Mountian View Trail. Bring plenty of water with you, as this trail stretches over 11 miles. For a shorter trek, check out the Lakeside Loop Trail located on the northwest side of the park. This five-mile trail is one of the most popular in the park, spoiling visitors with remarkable 360-degree views for most of the way.
If you prefer to ride the trails rather than walk them, don't hesitate to bring your horses along on your RV vacation. Horses are allowed on all the trails with the exceptions of the Frary Creek and Dooly Knob Trails. The most popular routes amongst equestrians include White Rock Bay, Mountain Bay, and Fielding Garr Ranch, all of which are equipped with hitching rails at the trailhead. Guided horseback rides are available during the peak season for beginners or for those without horses, and reservations must be made in advance.
Home to giant herds of bison, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and of course, antelope, Antelope Island State Park has some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the state. Back in 1893, just 12 bison called this area home. Today, more than 500 of these majestic animals wander the park! Badgers, bobcats, and coyotes make up some of the top predators of the park. All park animals roam freely and can be seen at different places throughout the park depending on the time of year. Head to the Visitor Center to learn about your best chances for spotting these unique creatures.
For a unique perspective of Antelope Island State Park, take to the stunning Great Salt Lake. A boat launch is available in the marina at the north end of the park, and if you didn't tow your own vessel behind the Sprinter, boat rentals are available, along with guided kayak tours and cruises during the peak season. For an especially memorable boating experience, stay on the water into the evening hours to catch one of the park's famous sunsets.
Those looking to hit the trails at a faster pace should bring their mountain bikes along in the Airstream. With the exception of the Dooly Knob and Frary Creek Trails, all the trails are open to cyclists. Trails vary in length and difficulty, so whether you're looking for an easy, flat ride, or hoping for a more technical ride or workout, you are sure to find what you're looking for. To beat the crowds, take to the trails during the off-season. Trail maps and recommendations can be found in the Visitor Center.
You don't have to be a fowl fanatic to appreciate the incredible birding opportunities at Antelope Island State Park. Although the salty lake may not seem like the best place for birds to congregate, millions make the journey here every year along the Pacific Flyway. Massive wetlands surround the park, creating the perfect environment for over 250 species of birds to rest, nest, and mate before continuing south. You might also be able to spot hawks, falcons, and owls, so don't forget to pack your binoculars in the pop-up.
Located at the north end of Antelope Island State Park, the Visitor Center is a great resource for those interested in learning more about the park. Inside, visitors will find interesting exhibits about the park's geology, animals, history, and the Great Salt Lake. There is also a gift shop if you'd like to pick up a souvenir to remember your time at the park or stock up on firewood and snacks for the night. Kids can pick up Junior Ranger booklets, and adults can stock up on trail maps and ranch brochures.
Throughout the year Antelope Island State Park offers various educational programs to visitors. These family-friendly activities often end up being guests' favorite part about their camping trip, and they're a great way to get the kids out of the campervan and interested in nature. Programs include (but are not limited to), bird walks, geology talks, guided hikes, and junior ranger programs. To find out about which programs are available during your stay, head to the Visitor Center located on the north end of the park near the campgrounds.