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Best Campgrounds Near Salt Lake

Best Campgrounds Near Salt Lake

Tucked up against the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City has some of the easiest access to the outdoors of any large city.  Within 20 minutes from the city, you can be in a secluded mountain campground. 

While it’s no secret that Utah is full of amazing campgrounds, but what most people forget is that you don’t always have to go far from home to get an amazing camping experience. 

If you’re looking for a Salt Lake camping getaway, without having to drive far, we’ve put together a list of the best campgrounds within an hour of Salt Lake City.  Whether you’re looking for a backcountry tent camping experience, or you want all the bells and whistles of a full service RV park, you can find whatever type of camping you’re looking for close to Salt Lake City. 

Best Campgrounds Near Salt Lake

Best Campgrounds in Salt Lake Canyons

There are 3 major canyons adjacent to Salt Lake City.  Little Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood and Millcreek Canyons.  All are in close proximity to Salt Lake City and have lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation in addition to camping.  Plan on going for a hike, riding mountain bikes, or even going rock climbing near any of these.  To protect the Salt Lake watershed, dogs and other pets are not allowed anywhere in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, and they are permitted in certain areas of Millcreek Canyon.

Albion Basin, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Just 20 minutes from Salt Lake, Albion Basin Campground is a great option if you’re looking to escape the city, but not drive too far. The campground is located at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon and has stunning views of the surrounding mountains. In July and August, the wildflowers here are absolutely stunning, so it’s worth planning in some time to go for a hike and really enjoy them.  Albion Basin is a popular spot for photographers and hikers in the summer months, so if you want to avoid the crowds, plan on camping midweek. 

There are a total of 24 sites at Albion Basin Campground, 6 of which are first come first served, so it’s best to reserve in advance.  This campground has vault toilets, but no electricity or RV hookups.

Tanners Flat, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Tanners Flat Campground is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, just a short drive from Salt Lake City, just before you reach Snowbird ski resort. This campground is a great option for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. Tanners Flat has  31 single sites, three double sites, four overnight group sites and an amphitheater that can all be reserved. 

Tanners Flat has both flush and vault toilets and drinking water, but there are no RV hook ups or electricity.  If you plan on staying around camp, bring a volleyball net and ball to enjoy the volleyball court on site, or just buy some firewood from the host and hang out by the campfire. 

If you’re looking for a unique nature experience, consider taking the tram to the top of Snowbird and hiking down.  The views of the Wasatch mountains are incredible from there and the wildflowers are stunning in late summer.

Spruces, Big Cottonwood Canyon

Just a short drive from Salt Lake City, Spruces Campground is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, near Solitude ski resort. This campground has stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is a great option for those looking to escape the city without driving too far.

Spruces has over 100 sites, making it one of the best big campgrounds around Salt Lake City.  This campground has flushing toilets and drinking water readily available.  While there are plenty of nearby hikes in Big Cottonwood Canyon, you can also enjoy hanging out at the campground and enjoying the baseball field, volleyball court or the horseshoe pits.  All of the roads and parking sites are paved, which make it an easy place for kids to bring their bikes or scooters as well (just make sure to supervise them).

Millcreek Canyon

Millcreek Canyon is one of the closest places to get away from the crowds and into nature from Salt Lake.  While there are no developed campgrounds in Millcreek Canyon, it’s a fantastic place for a short backcountry trip. 

The Millcreek camping regulations only require that when you camp, you are at least 1/2 mile away from the road and that you are more than 200 feet from any trail.  If you’re planning on heading out on a Friday evening, go early as the best places to camp get taken quickly.

Best Campgrounds East of Salt Lake City

The farther you get away from downtown Salt Lake, the fewer the crowds are.  If you’re looking to get into the mountains a little more, here are our favorite campgrounds east of Salt Lake.  These are both great campgrounds and are each located on a lake, so they’re perfect for camping on a hot summer day!  Plan on packing your swimming suits, sunscreen, and get ready for some great lake camping. 

East Canyon, Morgan

East Canyon State Park is one of our top picks for camping near Salt Lake City. It’s typically significantly less crowded than other area campgrounds and has really fantastic amenities.  If you want to camp near a lake, this is our top pick. 

The campground is complete with flush toilets and drinking water.  At the campground, you can rent yurts, cabins, and our all time favorite, conestoga wagons.  We camped in a conestoga wagon last summer and loved that there were real beds, a mini fridge, a fan, and even a heater for cold nights.  Inside, there is also a table that’s perfect for a late night card game. 

During the day, plan on boating, kayaking, or playing on the floating inflatables.  Boat rentals are available at the marina store, making this a great campground for a lake adventure.

NOTE:  Cabins, yurts, and wagons are often fully booked, so reserve them far in advance. 

Jordanelle, Park City

Jordanelle State Park is a great lake campground that can accommodate over 200 different groups.  This is one of the best full service Utah State Park campgrounds with options for tent camping and RV camping with hookups.

While you’re there, plan on spending your time at the lake.  There are options for sailing, kayaking, rowing, as well as other areas that are great for water skiing.

Plan on heading to the swim beach where there’s lots of room for kids to swim and play away from boats, and even play on the floating inflatables.  Kayaks and SUPs are available for rent here. 

With its close proximity to Salt Lake, Jordanelle gets very crowded on summer weekends, so plan to reserve a campsite in advance.

Best Camping On The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is incredibly unique, but most locals don’t spend time there.  Camping is one of the best ways to enjoy the lake, and these Great Salt Lake camping areas make it even easier!

Antelope Island, Willard, Great Salt Lake

Antelope Island is located northwest of Salt Lake City out in the Great Salt Lake.    As Utah’s largest island, Antelope Island is a great place to get away from the city and enjoy some stunning views.

There are 3 developed campgrounds on the island, White Rock Bay, Bridger Bay, and Ladyfinger Point.  All 3 of these campgrounds have drinking water and flush toilets.  Each campsite also has a fire ring and a picnic table.

While you’re on the island, be sure to take a hike out to see the Great Salt Lake, go bird watching, or enjoy a sunset cruise.  You can also bring your bike to ride around the island on the 13 miles of paved roads.

If you want to camp on Antelope Island, be sure to make a reservation in advance as the campsites fill up quickly, especially on weekends.

NOTE: In the spring, Antelope Island is often filled with biting flies (insect repellent doesn’t work on them), so summer and fall trips are usually the most comfortable here.

Spiral Jetty, Great Salt Lake

If you want a really unique Utah camping experience, consider camping at the Spiral Jetty.    The Spiral Jetty is a large sculpture located on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake.  It’s only accessible by four wheel drive vehicles and is about an hour drive from Salt Lake City.

There are no developed campgrounds at the Spiral Jetty, but dispersed camping is allowed.  This means that you can camp anywhere on the property as long as you’re at least 100 feet away from the sculpture.

There are no amenities at the Spiral Jetty, so you’ll need to bring your own water and firewood.  There is an outhouse located near the parking area.

During your stay, enjoy hiking around the sculpture and swimming in the Great Salt Lake.

Willard Bay State Park, Willard

Willard Bay State Park is located on the freshwater shores of Willard Bay, which empties into the Great Salt Lake.    The state park has three developed campgrounds with nearly 100 campsites between them.  Each campsite has a fire ring, picnic table, and water hookup.  There are also flush toilets, drinking water and even hot showers located in the campgrounds.

The best way to enjoy Willard Bay is on the water.  This is a popular area for motor boats and water skiers and wake boarders love to spend time here.  Kayaks are also available to rent to paddle around as well.

Best RV Parks Near Salt Lake City

Salt Lake has a shockingly small number of RV parks, so if you plan on RV camping with full hookups and RV park amenities, plan on reserving well in advance, as these RV parks are often totally full.

Salt Lake KOA, Salt Lake City

The Salt Lake KOA  is located just minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and has all the RV park amenities that you could want, including full hookups, a swimming pool, hot tub, Wi-Fi, and a dog park.  This is the best place to stay in Salt Lake City in an RV because of its easy access to everything the city has to offer.

Sun Outdoors RV Park, Salt Lake (formerly Pony Express RV Resort)

If you’re looking for a good all ages RV park near Salt lake, Sun Outdoors is another great option.  This RV park can fit everything from small campers to big rigs that are up to 70′, so there really is something for everyone.  If you want the experience of staying here without an RV, check out their cabins that are available to rent.  With a playground for the kids, a swimming pool and even bike rentals, Sun Outdoors is a very family oriented RV park in Salt Lake. 

Cherry Hills, Kaysville

Cherry Hills is a small RV park located at teh Cherry Hills water park in Kaysville.    The RV park has 140 campsites and is open year round.  We love the mature trees, and grassy areas, that make this Utah RV park extra welcoming!  This RV park is open to both tents and RV’s up to 40′ long.  If you’re taking an RV trip with kids, this is a great place to stay since you’ll easily be able to access the water park, minature golf, playgrounds and kids games. 

Lagoon, Farmington

If your family likes amusement parks, you’ll love camping at Lagoon.  Lagoon is Utah’s best amusement park, and camping there makes it easy to pack in a full day of fun there.    The RV campground at Lagoon has full hookups, Wi-Fi and a even a special park exit so that RV park guests can go straight from the amustment park to their campground.  You can also enjoy the view of the mountains from your campsite. 

As you can see, there’s no shortage of amazing campgrounds close to Salt Lake City.  If you’re looking for some great outdoor memories, they’re literally right out your front door!

Jessica Averett is an outdoor who lives in the mountains of Utah with her husband and 5 kids.  She believes that the best memories are made outside with a solid side of dirt mixed in.  Get her best camping tips and tricks at KidsCampingTips.com.

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