Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Family Vacations in Utah

Family Vacations in Utah: Great Salt Lake
The rocky shoreline of the Great Salt Lake contrasts with the water's still surface and the surrounding salt flats.

Utah's Great Salt Lake is the largest lake in the United States west of the Mississippi. It covers about 1,700 square miles in the shadows of the grand Wasatch Range. The lake is a remnant of a prehistoric inland sea called Lake Bonneville that was at one time ten times as big as it is now. The water of the Great Salt Lake is much saltier than the ocean. Because of the high salinity, the lake supports no fish, but provides habitat for brine shrimp, brine flies, and flocks of migratory birds.

Early European explorers believed that the lake was the tip of a Pacific fjord or fed by a river from the ocean. Today people boat and swim in its waters and sunbathe on white sand beaches. If you're planning to boat, nonmotorized crafts such as kayaks or sailboats are a better choice -- the salty water is corrosive to metal.

There are also trails for hiking and mountain biking on Antelope Island, a Utah State Park, as well as other stretches of shoreline. A luminescent sunset over the Great Salt Lake, clouds and sky streaked with vivid hues of orange and red, is unforgettable.

Visitors to the Great Salt Lake will also want to see Utah's Lake Powell. Continue to the next article to find out how to plan a trip to Lake Powell.

Great Salt Lake Information

Address: Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

90 S. West Temple

Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 801/534-4900

Continue to the next page to read about Utah's Lake Powell.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.­
  • Salt Lake City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit Salt Lake City.
  • Utah State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Utah, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.