In this article it’s my pleasure to introduce you to the unique destination of Antelope Island State Park in Utah, share my experiences here and provide you with some travel tips for your visit. Before I get started, let me tell you a little bit about myself and my background as a traveler and artist.
I have lived in Lafayette, Louisiana my entire life. My passion for travel was influenced by social media but fueled by curiosity. It started small with adventures to nearby southern states once I got my first car at 17.
As travel blew up on Instagram, it exposed me to all of the pictures of places that I never knew existed. I think my first solo flight to California is what had me hooked. It made me realize there was more to experience in life, both visually and mentally. As for art, it became constant in my life as my travel increased. It was originally inspired by the places I visited.
Awesome 6-Day Utah Road Trip
Utah was a destination that was on my mind for a while. One day on Facebook, I saw a stunning video of The Narrows in Utah. Me and my fiance, Jacob basically decided that weekend that we would book a Utah trip because of it! The trip was six days in total, from May 2nd to May 6th.
We decided to do a vanlife trip and we booked through a company called Native Campervans – which allowed us to stay near the most beautiful routes/scenes and also experience a new way of traveling. I would genuinely say it’s something everyone should try at least once in their life!
The main stops on our itinerary were Sand Hollows State Park, Angels Landing and The Narrows (both in Zion National Park), Slot Canyon and The Great Chamber (in Kanab), Moab and Antelope Island State Park. Making a road trip out of it allowed for the most interesting scenery along the way.
My Experience at Antelope Island State Park
Antelope Island State Park ended up being a last minute decision actually. I stumbled across this location on Instagram and we headed straight there! With that being said, I didn’t have much time to research like I usually do – which had both its pros and cons. The pros were that we literally didn’t know what to expect, so the stunning views were a great surprise to us.
This state park is the largest island on Great Salt Lake at roughly 28,000 acres, with roads that allow you to travel by car for several miles to sightsee. The landscape includes huge hills, large rocks, salty and fresh bodies of water with beaches, hiking trails, a beautiful mountain range in the distance, and the most unreal sunsets at the Ladyfinger Point landmark.
The coolest part of the island is that the animals roam freely! There were many moments we experienced with bison where they peacefully crossed the street, walking along the side of the road by our cars, running in herds in the distance along Buffalo Bay, and even the occasional antelope.
It was truly a day that I will never forget. If you plan to just visit during the day, then there are entry fees. We bought a campsite for our van for $40, which included the campsite and any other fees. The only negative experience was the bugs. We didn’t realize this would be an issue until after we paid and saw signs saying: “The Biting Gnats Have Hatched”.
Due to our lack of research, we didn’t know that the biting gnats were active from April to June. And when I say they were everywhere, it’s true – they were everywhere! Being outside for more than 10 minutes could have you covered in them. All bug sprays are ineffective, so if you get out of your car, you have to constantly swat them and then run back to your car.
Since we only stayed there for the second half of the day, slept and then headed out, we were unable to deal with them. But the biting gnats were definitely bad enough to ruin your trip on the island. With that in mind, I would recommend traveling outside of that time frame. Without the gnats, I would absolutely recommend everyone visit Antelope Island State Park!
Best Things To Do at Antelope Island State Park
My favorite spot at Antelope Island was probably at Ladyfinger Point at sunset. If you can make it out there for golden hour when the gnats are out of season, it’s just amazing! The first thing to plan for is to visit outside the months of April to June – that way the biting gnats can be avoided.
Based on my experience, I would recommend seeing the sunrise at Ladyfinger Point, driving the island roads all the way to the end of Fielding Garr Ranch, and parking along the road when the bison come to hangout.
As for things I wasn’t able to experience due to the gnats, I recommend looking into the horseback riding tours in the backcountry, E-bikes to explore the island instead of going by car, swimming in the Great Salt Lake (if you can get past the smell), bringing your lunch to Buffalo Point and eating at the picnic tables with a view, and hiking one of the trails.
Picking a few of these activities to do on your day trip or multi-day trip to Antelope Island will guarantee a great experience on the island without a doubt! There is something for everyone to enjoy here for sure.
My Best Memory from Visiting the State Park
One of my favorite moments was when we were driving along the road of Farmington Bay and parked on the side of the road to watch the bison and their babies travel in herds by the water. We had never heard the noise a bison makes, so I made Jacob try to imitate what he thought they would sound like and then we would play a video of the real sound to compare.
We laughed so hard until we cried and it felt like we had abs! It was one of those moments that made me stop and realize how lucky we were to be in that moment with the scenery, our van, the bison and a good laugh.
Where to Stay near Antelope Island State Park
Antelope Island State Park does have campsites available if you have some sort of van, camper, RV or tent. If this isn’t an ideal option for you, an Airbnb or hotel is always a great option! If I were looking for a place to stay near Antelope Island, I would most likely search for a location near the Syracuse and Farmington Bay area since it would be near the island’s entry.
Based on a quick search, this Airbnb listing looks like the type of booking I would have picked! https://abnb.me/7o4q0SGFUkb. It’s an awesome location and the perfect spot for families or couples traveling on the road.
Need to Know Before you Go
Anyone visiting the island should be aware of the entry/camping fees, avoid the gnats from April to June and bring extra water in case you go for a hike! My key travel tips would have to be similar to what I follow on every trip:
Pick your non-negotiable must-see activities, plan 1-2 activities each day, and let everything else happen naturally! Of course you can have a list of back up activities in case you run into more time, but make sure you get to experience what was at the top of your list. By doing this, anything extra is a bonus and you won’t feel stressed by trying to follow a strict itinerary.