best lake camping utah

Best Lake Camping Utah: Campgrounds Near Salt Lake

Jun 19, 2024

Which state campgrounds are the best? Everything boils down upon how you see things. Some might see it as an isolated location in Zion National Park's wilderness, devoid of facilities and inhabited by few other campers.

It could mean a put-in with an RV hookup, running water, showers, and flush toilets to someone else.

We've compiled a list of the best places in the state, at the risk of being labeled as prejudiced, ignorant, or flat out incorrect by readers.

Best Lake Camping Utah

Why is Utah Famous?

Utah is known for its beautiful desert landscapes, but it's only one facet of this varied state that offers countless chances for amazing outdoor activities.

Do you still recall the capitals of your states? Utah's is simple: Naturally, Salt Lake City gets its name from the Great Salt Lake that it is situated on.

When characterizing the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, "great" is an exaggeration.

Along with dozens of other remarkable lakes and reservoirs, Utah is home to Lake Powell, the second-largest artificial lake in the country. Some have sandy beaches and are shallow and mild.

Some are frigid and profound, mirroring neighboring snow-capped mountain summits and almost imploring you to capture and distribute images. While some lakes are popular, others are quiet.

Do you think of yourself as the pickiest camper? You're in luck, because there's a lake camping experience in Utah to satisfy even the most passionate nature lovers.

READ ALSO: Best Bailey Campgrounds and RV Resort 

Best Lake Camping Utah

Many individuals visit Utah's numerous lakes for the water activities, fishing, boating, swimming, and beautiful scenery.

Their year-round attractiveness is further enhanced by the possibility of lake camping, which is available to both tent campers and RVers in some parts of the state.

Before you, a lot of campers have looked for amazing lakefront locations that enhance the surrounding natural beauty with plenty of amenities.

Take their lead and explore these well-liked lake camping locations in Utah. Each has spaces for scattered camping in addition to several campgrounds.

1. Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

A man-made lake in northeastern Utah, Flaming Gorge Reservoir borders Wyoming and is part of the Ashley National Forest's Flaming Gorge Reservoir National Recreation Area.

Over 200,000 acres make up the recreation area, which offers lots of space for hiking, boating, fishing, and water activities. The lake's cool temperatures and superb transparency also enable spearfishing and scuba diving possible.

With 43 campgrounds dispersed over around 360 miles of shoreline, Flaming Gorge Reservoir is a great lake camping option in Utah. On the public areas of the national forest, dispersed camping is also free.

2. Granite Flats Campground

Granite Flats Campground

Have you ever wished to visit a location that gave you the impression that you were on a foreign planet? You might have that identical experience here.

Here, take in the splendor of American Fork Canyon and be taken aback by the amazing vistas of Tibble Fork Reservoir.

At a height of around 7,000 feet, it offers more than 50 camping spots where you may spend a happy, quiet time with your loved ones or life partner.

These campsites have freshwater, picnic tables, and fire ring. It's also possible to set up your own tents and take in the magnificent Milky Way.

3. Devil’s Garden Campground

Devil’s Garden Campground

This campground is a great spot, which lies in Utah's southeast, allows you to have a closer look at the sky and its exquisite decorations, the stars and galaxies.

At over 5,000 feet in elevation, it's widely regarded as the nation's most sought-after camping location. About eighteen miles separate it from Arches National Park.

They've made an effort to keep it somewhat isolated from the bustle of the cities, so you might not get the full boondocking experience here.

You should keep in mind that this park probably does not have power connections or showers. Here are more than sixty camping spots, some of which may accommodate parties of eleven people.

4. Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park

The landscapes of Goblin Valley are perfect for you if you've always had an obsession with creepy and unusual locations. Perhaps you might inquire as to why it's called the Goblin Valley.

The goblin-like appearance of the sandstones in this area can be seen whenever one gets close. Although there are official hiking trails, most people prefer to just explore the Valley of Goblins on foot.

There are around twenty-five camping sites with drinking water, dumping stations, and hot showers. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your talents if you are an adventurous mountain biker.

READ ALSO: Bonnet Lake Campgrounds and RV Village

5. Bear Lake State Park

Bear Lake State Park

Bear Lake, which lies on the border between Utah and Idaho and is among the state's deepest lakes, is tucked away in the Rocky Mountains. All kinds of outdoor enthusiasts adore its rich blue seas.

Activities available in the lake include sailing, scuba diving, swimming, waterskiing, and fishing for record mackinaw, whitefish, and cutthroat.

There are 136 campsites at Bear Lake's Rendezvous Beach on the south side, 46 of which have utility hookups, a group pavilion, modern facilities, and hot showers.

The broad, sandy beach is a well-liked location for family get-togethers and offers fantastic camping, picnics, and boating opportunities.

In addition, Bear Lake Marina features 13 campsites, a visitor center, a contemporary restroom with hot showers, a group pavilion, and a disposal station. On the east side of the lake, there are six rustic campsites.

6. Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park offers incredible views of sculpted monolithic mountains and towering canyon walls.

But because of how well-liked the Zion Canyon picturesque drive is, the National Park Service has severely restricted access for private vehicles and now provides mass transit.

Vehicles need to be parked in Springdale or at the Visitor Center of the park; a shuttle service is available to take visitors into the canyon.

The park has two campgrounds that are accessible year-round. According to first-come, first-served policy, South Campground is open. Reservations are accepted for Watchman Campground from April 15 through October.

Both have vault toilets, RV hookups, and campsites for tents and trailers. You must get a backcountry permit and pay the required cost at the visitor center in order to camp in the wilderness.

There is a restaurant and resort in the park as well. In the southwest portion of the state, to the east of St. George, sits Zion National Park.

Zion National Park is a camper's paradise with fully furnished campsites complete with all the conveniences you could ever need and wilderness camping options that bring you as near to boondocking as you'd like.

There are several campgrounds where you can camp, including Lava Point Campground, South Campground, and Watchman Campground.

Activities available here include thrilling ATV rides, hiking, horseback riding, canyoneering, and lots of family-friendly fun.

7. Mirror Lake/Hwy. 150

Mirror Lake/Hwy. 150

Camping is abundant along Hwy. 150, which runs from Kamas to Evanston, Wyo., on the western flank of the Uinta Mountains.

Make reservations as soon as possible if you wish to stay at one of these famous campgrounds. Along Highway 150, Mirror Lake Campground is one of the most well-liked.

Ten thousand feet gives you plenty of opportunity to enjoy some fresh outdoor air. Hike one of the nature trails or go boat or shore fishing on the lake. This beautiful alpine environment offers a plethora of activities.

READ ALSO: Best Boulder City Campgrounds

8. Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park

This location offers an amazing view of the towering cliffs that create a scene that will linger in your memory forever. The Dead Horse Point is the highest point in this high-altitude desert.

There are about 20 camping spots available here, however if you want to see the amazing views of the surrounding high cliffs, you should tent at the top of Dead Horse Point.

For most guests, hiking and mountain biking are the preferred activities. Bring your cameras along to capture some amazing photos of this rare animals. 

9. Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake

The most well-known lake in the state, Great Salt Lake, sometimes known as "America's Dead Sea," offers great lake camping choices in Utah.

The unique salty lake spans an incredible 1,700 square miles and sustains a variety of habitats for hundreds of bird species, bighorn sheep, and roaming bison, among other amazing creatures.

If you enjoy seeing and taking pictures of wildlife, your camping trip at the Great Salt Lake will be even more enjoyable.

Because of the saline-induced buoyancy of the lake, swimming and floating are also possible in it—a unique sensation.

Boating is also very popular. Two state parks offer camping near Great Salt Lake: Great Salt Lake State Park on the south coast and Antelope Island State Park on the east side of the lake.

In addition to backcountry camping opportunities, Antelope Island State Park has four constructed campsites: three for tents and RVs and one just for tents.

There is a single, year-round campground at Great Salt Lake State Park that can accommodate tents and RVs up to 40 feet.

Water and electrical hookups are present. There are also basic tent-only beach sites available in this park.

10. Sand Hollow Reservoir 

Sand Hollow Reservoir

With its red sandstone surroundings, warm waters, year-round sunshine and huge golden sand beach, Sand Hollow Reservoir is one of the most popular places for lake camping in Utah.

Lounging on the beach is definitely appealing, but so are high-adrenaline activities like OHV riding on Sand Mountain, a huge mound of sculpted red sand dunes.

Boating, jet-skiing and water-skiing are also available, as are equipment rentals. The reservoir is in southern Utah near St. George.

Camping is available at three campgrounds in Sand Hollow State Park, including RV sites with full hookups.

READ ALSO: Best Adult Only Campgrounds and RV Parks

11. Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Situated in southern Utah's Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Lake Powell spans 1.2 million acres.

The lake is a site of exceptional sight beauty, with hundreds of kilometers of rivers winding through the region's famous red rock environment.

It's also a recreational haven, home to several marinas along its shoreline and a popular boating and water sports destination.

Lake Powell is a popular destination for campers, with free scattered camping available across the backcountry and shoreline. Camping is permitted for up to 14 consecutive days without a permit or costs.

Additionally, the National Park Service has a number of well-maintained and rustic campgrounds that do not take reservations and have a low nightly fee.

54 campsites with grills, a modern bathroom, potable water, and a dump station are available at Lees Ferry Campground; hookups are not provided.

There are six designated campsites at Beehives Campground, but there are no other amenities. Several campgrounds and RV parks are run by park contractors inside the recreation area.

Among these are the 266 tent and RV campsites at Wahweap Campground and the 98 sites at Bullfrog RV & Campground.

12. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Originating from the huge interaction of land, water, and time, Bryce Canyon is a captivating location of incomparable beauty. Sadly, millions of people have come to appreciate its beauty.

The park is most popular in the spring, summer, and fall. You can ride horses on the numerous routes or go hiking. In the park, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities.

Bryce has a lodge and two campgrounds. Although there are over 200 campsites at the campgrounds, RV connections are not available. There is a first-come, first-served policy for campsite availability.

Finding an open campsite is usually most challenging on weekends and holidays. It is forbidden to gather firewood, so carry your own for campfires.

13. Smith and Morehouse Reservoir

Smith and Morehouse Reservoir

There's nowhere more picturesque for alpine camping along the Wasatch Front than the campsites at Smith and Morehouse Reservoir. Not too far away to be considered "away," but it doesn't take "forever" to get there.

The campsite has 34 apartments, restrooms, cooking water, and amenities for those with disabilities.

There is excellent climbing available in the nearby mountains, and the reservoir provides excellent fishing. East of Kamas is the Smith and Morehouse Reservoir and campground.

14. Utah Lake (for Mountain Views)

Utah Lake (for Mountain Views)

Situated between the Lake Mountains and Wasatch Mountains in north-central Utah, Utah Lake is a sizable freshwater lake that is naturally formed.

On the eastern side of the lake are the cities of Provo and Orem. On the east side, Utah Lake State Park maintains a campsite, marina, boat launch ramps, and playground.

The campsite has drinking water available, an RV dump station, and contemporary facilities with showers.

15. Mount Timpanogos

Mount Timpanogos

One of Utah's most recognized mountains and arguably the state's most well-known mountain hiking destination is Mount Timpanogos.

It is the second-highest summit in the Wasatch Mountains, only surpassed by Mount Nebo at 11,749 feet.

This extraordinary work of nature, also called Timp, is more than 11,500 feet high. You are welcome to park your RV here and spend time in the tents with your family.

For the keen angler, Mount Timpanogos campgrounds provide rafting, ATV riding, boating, ziplining, horseback riding, and fishing. This place is indeed a lovely gift from nature; you will get lost in the verdancy and freshness of it all.

READ ALSO: Best Allegan Campgrounds

16. Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

This location has, as the name implies, pink dunes that either appear pink or are pink. To enjoy off-road riding, get out of your truck campers and travel trailers.

The sand dunes resemble a small-rippling sea of sand, making them an ideal location for taking pictures. There are only a few group camping sites out of the more than fifteen available.

There are picnic tables, modern restrooms, drinking water, showers, and dumping stations. Even though there are many trekking opportunities here, driving across the dunes is the greatest way to see this location.

A huge 3,000 acres of sand dunes, blue skies, juniper and pinyon pine trees, and red rock cliffs are all striking contrasts found in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

Off-highway vehicle use and camping are both ideal in the park. There are 22 camping spaces, modern showers and facilities, a sanitary disposal station, and a park ranger who lives on site.

17. Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park

Due to the mild winters in southern Utah, Snow Canyon is a well-liked spring and fall vacation spot. The black lava rock that tops the red and white sandstone cliffs provide fantastic hiking, camping, and photo opportunities.

A 35-unit campground, modern bathrooms, hot showers, electric hookups, a sewage disposal station, and a covered group-use pavilion are among the amenities.

Situated in the southwestern region of the state, Snow Canyon State Park is 11 miles northwest of St. George.

READ ALSO: Athens Ohio Campgrounds

18. Jordanelle Reservoir and State Park

Jordanelle Reservoir and State Park

Together with a boardwalk trail system and plenty of surrounding fishing options, Jordanelle's Rock Cliff campground provides visitors a superb choice of wildlife viewing and landscapes.

Visitors can enjoy year-round recreational possibilities at this picturesque camping location along the Provo River, which is located just before it joins Jordanelle Reservoir.

The locations of the campsites are far from the parking lots. To transport your camping equipment to and from your car, there are carts available.

A mild path system was created to make it easy for you to get to your campground. Aspiring beavers frequent the region, and there is much evidence of their artistic creations among the riverside trees.

As the snowmelts in the upper water drainage, be cautious of high water in the Provo River in the spring.

19. Antelope Island

Antelope Island

There are plenty of camping spots on Antelope Island as well. There are more than fifty sites spread across four campgrounds.

Even if there is a lot of space for camping here, you must bring the greatest travel trailer that is fully furnished with several useful goods.

The majority of the campsites lack electricity and water hookups and are somewhat basic.

The best things to do while camping here are swimming, bird viewing, photography, picnics, and sailing in addition to saltwater bathing.

Bottom Line

It's clear that reservations at these well-liked lakes book up quickly, particularly during the peak tourist seasons. Luckily, these lakes are only a small sample of Utah's stunning lakeside camping locations.

In Utah, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path lakefront locations to explore if you'd rather be in a less crowded, serene setting or if it's too late to secure a spot.

Selecting a location for your Utah lake camping vacation will be the most challenging aspect of preparation. Start by imagining the perfect lakeside camping trip. Is it sunny, with sandy beaches and pleasant waters?

Do you wish to camp in a peaceful wooded grove far away from other campers? Are you taking a camper van packed with home comforts, hiking boots, or fishing gear?

Whatever your ideal camping experience entails, there's probably a lake in Utah that will fulfill your amazing vision!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.