The Great Salt Lake is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Utah. The large, salty lake is 75 miles long and about 35 miles wide. Although recreation is mainly boating, 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 Great Salt Lake Yacht Club, the self-proclaimed home of the world’s saltiest sailors! The Great Salt Lake is indeed one of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet with 15% average salinity levels. The Dead Sea in Israel is 33% salinity, and the oceans are 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. If relaxing isn’t for you, visit the marina and sign up for a dinner cruise or spend time floating on top of the water with a paddleboard or pedal boat. Great Salt Lake State Park is also the perfect location to park your RV and travel to one of the five national parks located in Utah or stop at the state park on your way from one national park to another. All five of Utah’s national parks are within 245 and 325 miles away one way.
The Great Salt Lake is an easy 18.5-mile drive west via the interstate from Salt Lake City, Utah. From Las Vegas, Nevada the drive northeast is approximately 437 miles and takes visitors past some of Utah’s most scenic canyons and national parks.
Visitors should be prepared to pay a daily use fee in addition to the camping reservation fees. Access the pay station at the entrance station. The park is open year-round but runs on seasonal operating hours.
This small, five space campground offers year-round RV camping right along the banks of the Great Salt Lake. Each space is a pet-friendly, 40-foot back-in site with waterfront views, and each site offers water and electrical hookups (30 / 50 amp). The campground has a community 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. Each space has a picnic table, fire pits, and a grill. The campground is a marina campground, so campers will have access to all of the facilities near the marina. Even though the campground is open year-round, self-containment between October 1 and March 31 is recommended. Quiet hours are from 10 pm—7 am.
The Marina at Great Salt Lake Park is the hub of watersports. 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, or sailing lessons and charters. Spend time on the water and see what the Great Salt Lake is all about!
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 and watch for migratory birds feeding on the brine shrimp, or 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.
The geology in the area 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 of 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. Download the Junior Ranger booklet, visit the park office, and find out what it takes to become a Junior Ranger.
Before taking off on the self-guided tour, stop by the visitor center to learn more about the park’s day use facilities, such as the marina and picnic shelters. Talk with the park rangers about the Junior Ranger Program, and spend time inside the gift shop. The visitor center and gift shop are open year-round, except Christmas Day. Check out the exhibits, publications, and watch a video presentation to learn more about the Great Salt Lake.
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.