Looking to visit one of the most famous lakes in the country on your next RV adventure? If so, you need to pay a visit to Great Salt Lake State Park. Located less than 20 miles from Salt Lake City, the Great Salt Lake State Park may be small on size, but there is plenty of fun to be had by visitors of all ages. Originally opened to the public in 1978, the park receives over 200,000 visitors a year who are looking to have some fun in the sun.
The large, salty lake is 75 miles long and about 35 miles wide, making it the largest saltwater lake in all of the Western Hemisphere. Although recreation is mainly limited to activities on the water, the scenery makes camping along the lake a unique and special experience. Great Salt Lake State Park is well known for its marina and the local yacht club, which is the self-proclaimed home of the world’s saltiest sailors! The Great Salt Lake is also famous for being one of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet with 15% average salinity levels. The Dead Sea in Israel has 33% salinity and the oceans have only 3% salinity, so this salty feature is indeed a distinct travel destination.
Visitors coming to the park to stay lakeside in an RV can enjoy the scenery and relax along the salty shores thanks to the small campground that is available to call home. There are five powered sites for you to choose from, but if the campground is full you can always head to the nearby Salt Lake City KOA. Great Salt Lake State Park is open all year round with peak season running from May until September.
Driving to and from Great Salt Lake State Park is suitable for beginner RV drivers thanks to its location only 18.5-mile drive west via the interstate from Salt Lake City, Utah. There is one entrance to the park that is located off the I-80, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding the park. Since Great Salt Lake State Park is on the smaller side, the roads within it are straightforward to navigate, and you can expect them to all be flat and in excellent condition.
If you need to get any supplies before your arrival at the park, you can head to Mills Junction (around 11 miles away), West Valley City (about 14.5 miles away), and Salt Lake City (roughly 18.6 miles away). Most of the major supplies and amenities will be in Salt Lake City, and since the city is so close to the park, it is worth driving there.
Great Salt Lake State Park is open year-round but runs on seasonal operating hours. If you are considering visiting during the winter months, be sure to check the weather conditions before your trip since the area is known to get large snowstorms on occasion.
Are you visiting for a day trip? There is a huge parking lot near the marina that will easily hold your RV or boat.
Since there aren't many sites available at the park, consider staying at the nearby Salt Lake City KOA. This award-winning, family-friendly campground is located around 21 miles away near many educational, historical, cultural events and sites.
The campground is suitable for RVs up to 80 feet in length, and there are dozens of sites to choose from, some of which include full hookups, and deluxe patio sites. There are also some fantastic campground amenities, such as a hot tub, pool, basketball court, playground, showers, media center, and laundry facilities. Got a furry friend? There is also a dog park that you are welcome to use to help your dog get some exercise.
Reservations for the Salt Lake City KOA can be made before your arrival, and the campground is open all year round.
The Marina Campground is the only place to stay within Great Salt Lake State Park, so it will be the best choice for visitors wanting to be as close to the park as possible. The campground is on the smaller size and contains only five spaces that can be used year-round for RV camping.
Located right along the banks of the Great Salt Lake, each space is pet-friendly and can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length. You will be able to enjoy the waterfront views in luxury as each site offers water and 30- or 50-amp electrical hookups. You will also have a picnic table, fire pit, and a grill available for you to cook your camping meals. Bringing your boat? You will have access to all of the facilities near the marina, which is a huge plus!
There are also several great campground-wide amenities, including a dump station, outdoor showers, a foot-washing station, and restrooms. For campers who wish to use a shower, a refundable fee is required to access the facilities.
The Marina Campground is open all year-round, and since there are only five sites available, it is recommended that you make a reservation well in advance, so you don't miss out.
The Marina at Great Salt Lake Park is the hub of watersports in the area. Visitors can bring their own watercraft, or you can visit the marina and rent one of the kayaks, stand up paddleboards, or a pedal boat. The marina also offers visitors opportunities to take part in sunset dinner cruises, jet boat tours, sailing lessons, and charters. Spend time on the water, and you will see why the Great Salt Lake is such a popular tourist destination!
Since the salty waters of the Great Salt Lake don’t support many life forms other than algae, brine fly-larvae, and brine shrimp, fishing in this lake isn’t an option. But just because the water is mostly barren, that doesn't mean the wildlife on top of the water can't still flourish. Bring your binoculars in your motorhome and watch for migratory birds feeding on the brine shrimp. Look for one of the 257 bird species that pass through the area seasonally. Hundreds of birds, including ducks, gulls, geese, pelicans, and eagle inhabit the nearby marshes and wetlands surrounding the lake, and they are often seen flying over the park.
If you are interested in the area's geology, Great Salt Lake State Park is worth exploring. Ancient Lake Bonneville’s shorelines, which the Great Salt Lake is a remnant of, can be seen from the park. Get a closer look at the area by visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats, just over 100 miles away. The salt flats, over 30,000 acres in size, are a thick crust of salty white soil that looks like a frozen lake covered in snow. Learn about the formation of the Great Salt Lake, and explore what makes the entire location surrounding the park a must-see for visitors.
Utah state parks want to encourage children to learn about Utah’s natural resources. One way the park’s system involves children is through the Junior Ranger Program. Many of the state parks, including Great Salt Lake State Park, participate in the kid-friendly activities that help children earn a Junior Ranger badge. If you have a little explorer, this is the best way to get them involved with the great outdoors. Download the Junior Ranger booklet, visit the park office, and get ready for your child to have some fun!
Before taking off on the self-guided tour, stop by the Visitor Center to learn more about the history of the park, and it's day-use facilities, such as the marina and picnic shelters. You can review the exhibits or watch a video presentation to learn more about the Great Salt Lake. Talk with the park rangers about the Junior Ranger Program, or spend time inside the gift shop where you can find something special to remember your journey. The Visitor Center and gift shop are open year-round, except Christmas Day.
Great Salt Lake State Park knows that people visiting the park are curious about the lake’s formation. The salty body of water is so unique that visitors of all ages question the sights and the smells that surround the Great Salt Lake. Keeping consistent with innovative ways to engage visitors, the park put together an interactive, self-guided listening tour that visitors can access via their phones. Prepare to get a little sandy, and begin your tour behind the visitor’s center. Listen with a small group, or bring your earphones and walk along the shores of the lake, and learn about the creation of this incredible salty lake.