Family Fun: Antelope Island State Park
Living in a land-locked state doesn’t mean you can’t have some island adventures. Antelope Island State Park in northern Utah is an exotic state park, with island views, animals, history, and beaches.
We recently visited Antelope Island, which is approximately one hour’s drive north of Salt Lake City. You don’t take a boat to get there, but get to drive on a causeway where you can immediately breathe in the salty air from the Great Salt Lake. After arriving on the island we immediately went to the informative visitors center for information and maps. We stopped at Bridger Bay and walked out to the lake shore. Although the water was too cold for the kids to go “floating” in May, they still enjoyed wading in the unusual water.
The island hosts a herd of 500 buffalo, established in 1893, as well as bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, and birds. We were lucky to see buffalo and pronghorn as well as different species of birds. Viewing the buffalo walk across salt beaches and through the water, with a backdrop of the Wasatch Mountains and the cities below them was definitely surreal.
Although we didn’t do a lot of hiking with our small children, there are many hiking, mountain biking, and even horseback riding trails with spectacular views. The nice campgrounds also beckoned us to make a future trip.
There was one small problem with our visit - tiny gnats. We were aware this could be an issue, although we were hoping to go early enough in the season before they were out. They were an annoyance, but there was enough of a breeze on different parts of the island that it wasn’t too bad. Bug spray helped a little, but hats and potentially mosquito-netting hats (which we saw some people wearing) would have increased our time outside the car.
I would highly recommend a visit to the island, particularly when the bug population is gone (later summer when the heat kills them) or on a nice, breezy day. The best information I found is contained on the Utah State Parks website: http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/parks/antelope-island.
What state park is on your top 5 list?