If you’re looking for Great Salt Lake beaches, you are bound to find some along its sprawling 335 miles of shoreline.
The Great Salt Lake is one of the most stunning holiday destinations in the state, and a must-see if you find yourself in the Salt Lake City area.
Being the largest saltwater lake north of the equator, the Great Salt Lake has been often compared to a small ocean.
Spending a day on its shores feels like a day by the seaside, but what are the best beaches available?
From the Salt Lake City area to the northern shore, Antelope Island or Willard Bay, here are my 9 favorite Great Salt Lake beaches.
Great Salt Lake Beaches near Salt Lake City
1. Great Salt Lake Marina
As the natural salt deposits give this beach an unparalleled look year-round, this gorgeous, picture-perfect beach will leave any visitor in complete awe.
The beach is partially sandy and characterized by a distinctive light alabaster color.
In the summer, you’ll love to hang out by the lakeshore and have fun swimming and boating in the salted water.
In wintertime, the white salty beach stands out against the mountains covered in snow in the background, making the whole scenery somewhat unearthly.
You can check out the Grear Salt Lake Marina visitor center for some information on the lake’s history and biology. There is also a self-guided tour available to visit the marina with complete autonomy while learning something new.
This is a super popular spot for taking pictures, and many like to come around sunset hour to catch the most beautiful shades of red and pink in the sky.
Because of how stunning the beach looks when you can clearly see the mountains, I recommend coming to Great Salt Lake Marina on a clear, sunny day.
The only downside to the beach? It sometimes can get that bad “lakewater” smell, and in the warmer months, you have to pack bug repellant.
2. Sunset Beach and Silver Sands Beach
Located right next to each other, Sunset Beach and Silver Sands Beach can be easily visited on the same day, and you’ll only need to pay for the entrance once ($5 for entering the whole State Park).
Because these beaches are mostly rocky and generally not super comfortable (composed of hard sand and small rocks) these are not the best spots to take a bath, but going for a swim is still possible.
On the plus side, both beaches are prime locations for pictures and are visited by many at sunset.
The area is relaxed and basic, so it’s perfect for spending a day at the beach with your dog and letting your puppy run in freedom.
3. Black Rock Beach
Black Rock Beach is the place to visit if you love an interesting geological formation.
It just takes a minor detour from highway 80 to reach Black Rock, and the views make it totally worth it.
Not only the rock itself is impressive, but you can also climb it for one of the most amazing views over the Great Salt Lake.
There is no “easy way” to climb the rock, but it is not a strenuous activity if you have nice climbing or hiking shoes.
I recommend trying to climb the rock from the west side as it is known to be the least challenging.
This naturalistic area is also famous among wildlife observers and those who love birdwatching especially.
Around Black Rock, you might catch sight of a Great Blue Heron, Ibis, or American Avocets.
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Great Salt Lake Beaches near the central and northern shore
4. Antelope Island Marina
If you’re looking for an adventurous weekend, filled with hiking, exploring, kayaking, and stunning sunsets, this is your ideal destination.
Antelope Island, situated right in the middle of Great Salt Lake, is characterized by a unique natural environment, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from Salt Lake City as well.
On the island, bison roam free and it’s not uncommon to spot them in the wild.
After spending some time by the beach, you can hit the Lady Finger Trail. The trailhead is easily reachable and located just five minutes from the Antelope Island Marina.
If you’d like to camp near the lakeshore, then Lady Finger campground is your best option for a cheap stay in a basic campsite.
Other must-sees at Antelope Island are the White Rock Loop Trail (amazing Mars-like views and sunsets to die for), Buffalo Point Trail, and the Lakeside Trail Loop.
All of these hikes are clustered close to each other. If you’d like to stay on the island for multiple days and hit all of the most adventurous paths, you can book a campsite at the White Rock Bay Campground, which is conveniently located in the middle of the various trailheads.
5. Bridger Bay Beach
Bridger Bay Beach is located on the northern shore of Antelope Island and has an almost 360 view over the lake.
From a naturalistic standpoint, the beach is beautiful, however, it is pretty basic (not equipped) and only reachable through a hike.
To get to Bridger Bay, you can reach by car the Antelope Island State Park Visitors Center, then hit Bridger Bay Route for about 5 minutes, until Island Buffalo Grill. From that point, you’ll have to walk, and the path is not paved.
Since reaching the island is a trip in itself, I recommend spending at least a couple of days to make the drive worthwhile.
You can book a campsite at the Bridger Bay Campground, which is completely immersed in the pristine nature of the island.
Basic tent campsites are available, however, because of the terrain, the most comfortable option is to camp with RV or camper.
6. Spiral Jetty Beach
If you’re on the lookout for a truly magical location, Spiral Jetty Beach is just what you’ve been waiting for.
Even the best pictures don’t do justice to this otherworldly location, with the pinkish lakewater fading in the horizon and the amazing Spiral Jetty sculpture conferring to the location an aura of magic and wonder.
The spiral was designed in 1970 by the artist Robert Smithson. Basalt rocks, salt crystals, and mud make up this thousand-five hundred-foot-long sculpture.
Spiral Jetty road is mostly dirt and gravel but is still the best route to get there by car.
A half-hour drive from Spiral Jetty will take you to Golden Spike National Historical Park, where you can enjoy both historical and naturalistic wonders.
7. Stansbury Island and Stansbury Bay
Stansbury Island is perfect for a holiday immersed in wild and untouched nature.
Basic camping is permitted virtually anywhere on the island, with the exception of a few private areas.
The whole area suffers minimal to no light pollution, meaning that at night Stansbury Island becomes one of the most beautiful spots around the Great Salt Lake, perfect for stargazing.
From caves to petroglyphs, and the famous Castle Rock, on the island you’ll find plenty to explore.
Mountain biking is one of the most popular activities around Stansbury Bay, and there is one biking trail that crosses the island. The trail is not listed on most maps but you can check out the coordinates to the trailhead.
There are also a few hiking possibilities on the island, and the trails are all pretty challenging. You can read more about the Stansbury Island Mountain Trail, and Bike Trail on the Utah Mountain Biking website.
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Great Salt Lake Beaches at Willard Bay State Park
8. Eagle Beach
Whether you’re visiting Willard Bay State Park in the summer or during wintertime, you’ll find something fun to do at Eagle Beach.
Eagle Beach is great during the warmer months for swimming, boating, and fishing.
However, the whole area really comes to life around Christmas, with amazing festive lights illuminating the streets around the beach.
The Christmas light display is one of the main tourist attractions and people come from all over the state to enjoy the spectacle.
The price of admission can seem a bit expensive (around $20 per car) but is totally worth it when you’re looking for some Christmas spirit.
If you want to spend a few days exploring Willard Bay State Park, a good option close to Eagle Beach is Willard Peak Campground.
9. Pelican Beach
Pelican Beach is more popular than Eagle Beach during the summer because of its fine and comfortable sand. For this reason, it can get crowded during the weekend and holidays.
If you love to have a quiet time at the beach, I recommend visiting during the week or coming in early in the morning to avoid the big crowds.
This is a great spot for swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding, and the beach is equipped with useful amenities such as bathrooms and covered picnic tables.
If you don’t have your own boat or equipment, you can rent nearly anything you’d need at ClubRec Rentals and General Store. You can find the rental shop conveniently located between Eagle Beach and Pelican Beach.
For some evening fun after a day by the lakeshore, you can check out Pelican Beach Disc Golf Course, which is just one minute from Pelican Beach.
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More Amazing Things to See around Salt Lake City
As you probably know, there are many great things to do in Salt Lake City, but have you ever heard about the Bonneville Salte Flats?
Utah is also a perfect choice for hiking, but for a more comfortable trip, check out the road trip down highway 12.