Beautiful to gaze upon, Utah's Great Salt Lake doesn't lend itself to much recreational activity, though some certainly exists. The lake's water is saltier than the ocean, so it can't support marine life large enough to make fishing a viable sport. And since water levels constantly fluctuate, where the shoreline was a few years ago could be a long way from where it's situated today. RV parks are rare in such a setting, but they do exist and make good bases of operation for exploring this ecological treasure.
Antelope Island State Park
The largest island in the Great Salt Lake is also home to Antelope Island State Park (stateparks.utah.gov), which has an RV-friendly campground. A 7-mile-long causeway connects Antelope Island to the mainland. The campground doesn't have any water or electric hookups, but it's well-worth a visit for the natural white-sand beach, the ample wildlife viewing opportunities -- bison and bighorn sheep actually still roam on the island -- and some of the more scenic hiking trails in the region for taking in sunsets and lake and mountain vistas. Reservations for all Utah state park campgrounds must be made through ReserveAmerica (reserveamerica.com) or by calling 800-322-3770.
Willard Bay State Park
North of Salt Lake City, you can see tranquil, glistening Willard Bay from Interstate 15. Willard Bay is a freshwater reservoir separated from the rest of the Great Salt Lake by a dike. It's home to Willard Bay State Park, which has modern campground facilities with full hookups at its north and south marinas. Watersports are more common on Willard Bay than on the rest of the lake, so you'll see more people boating and water skiing here. A concessionaire rents boats and personal watercraft from inside the park. The fresh water can also support larger marine life such as crappie and catfish, so fishing is popular on the bay, unlike on the rest of the Great Salt Lake.
Oquirrh Motor Inn & RV Resort
The Oquirrh Motor Inn & RV Resort (oquirrhinn.com) is more motor inn than RV resort, but it does have its perks for RVers looking for a hookup convenient to the lake, if not directly on it. On the other side of Interstate 80 from the southern shore, the view of the water is impeded by fast food restaurants and gas stations in its small camping area sandwiched between two giant truck stops. But it's a short drive to the Great Salt Lake Marina, a state park and one of the few marinas on the lake. So staying at the Oquirrh Inn -- named after the impressive mountain range that looms over it -- is a good option for RVers towing a boat who want easy access to the interstate and a public boat ramp.
As those who live near the Great Salt Lake can attest, sometimes the over-salted body of water just plain stinks. It's called "lake stink" in the area, and while it doesn't always permeate the air, sometimes it can be overbearing. If you're not averse to the sulfur-like smell of rotten eggs, it won't be a problem. According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, lake stink comes from decaying organic matter trapped by the briny waters and occasionally released into the atmosphere. There's no way to tell when lake stink will happen, but it usually occurs a few times a year.
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