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8 best water vacation spots in Utah

One of the most talked about lakes in Utah is Lake Powell. This man-made body of water is located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and spans over 186 miles.

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This story is sponsored by Robert J DeBry and Associates. Learn more about Robert J DeBry and Associates.


With summertime nearly upon us, many Utahns are hanging up their long johns and snow pants. They are storing away snow skis, snowboards and snowmobiles to follow the spring run-off to the many lakes and reservoirs the state has to offer.

With over 100 bodies of water considered boatable, as well as many smaller bodies of water, Utah is a fantastic place to spend time vacationing on the water.

Here are eight of the best water vacation spots in Utah.

Lake Powell

One of the most talked about lakes in Utah is Lake Powell. This man-made body of water is located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and spans over 186 miles.

Visitors can park a houseboat on one of the countless beaches and then ski, wakeboard, kayak, go fishing, swimming or even explore the many canyons and coves on a personal water craft.

Just remember to brush up on your boater safety skills before you head out by taking Utah’s Boater Safety Course.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Flaming Gorge

If houseboating is your thing, but you prefer to be surrounded by forest instead of red rock, Flaming Gorge may just be the place for you.

Located right on the border of Utah and Wyoming, and is one of the most widely known areas in the state.

This reservoir has 207,363 acres of land and water, making it a perfect attraction for boaters, various water sports, camping, hiking and fishing.

With the consistently cool water, even in the summer months Flaming Gorge provides a fantastic habitat for its trophy lake trout — many weighing in at over 30 pounds.

If you need a break from the water, you can visit the Flaming Gorge Dam or go see the many petroglyphs and artifacts by the Fremont, Comanche, Shoshoni and Ute Indian tribes.

Photo credit: http://www.trailerlife.com

Strawberry Reservoir

If your idea of fun on the water includes fishing, then Strawberry Reservoir is the place for you.

Known as Utah’s premier trout fishery, Strawberry offers a consistent flow of large rainbow and cutthroat trout, as well as kokanee salmon.

According to Utah.com trout as long as 24 inches are caught regularly with the largest cutthroat ever caught weighing in at a whopping 27 pounds.

Photo credit: http://cdn.wideopenspaces.com

Sand Hollow Reservoir

Located in southwest southern Utah in Sand Hollow State Park, this reservoir offers warm sandy beaches, majestic red rock and spectacular water.

Tourists and locals, alike, visit the reservoir to take advantage of its boating, water sports, fishing, camping, picnicking and even ATV riding on one of the many nearby sand dunes.

With warm southern Utah temperatures, the cool water is a welcomed refresher. Even so, don’t forget to bring fresh water and hydrate early and often to avoid dehydration.

Photo credit: http://www.motorhome.com

Toquerville Falls

Located just 20 miles northeast of Sand Hollow Reservoir, Toquerville Falls is a great little place to take the family for a few hours.

Coined, “A swimming hole for the soul” by many visitors, Toquerville Falls is filled with many cascading falls that empty into majestic swimming holes below.

After swimming, you can lay back and relax in the sun in one of the attraction’s natural rock recliners.

Beware, however, the cliffs surrounding the waterfalls are slippery and brittle. It is not uncommon for visitors to fall from these cliffs, resulting in several serious injuries.

Make sure to stay away from the edges of the cliffs and avoid jumping off the cliffs.

Photo credit: AllTerrainPics Photobucket

Bear Lake

Affectionately known as “brrr lake,” Bear Lake is located on the Utah/Idaho Border, just northeast of Logan. At nearly 6,000 feet of elevation, this lake has cooler water than most lakes in the state.

Bear Lake is also often called the Caribbean of the Rockies for its deep turquoise-blue water. When visitors first see the lake, they wonder what gives the lake its color.

According to Utah.com, the unique color is due to the reflection of the limestone deposits suspended in the lake.

Visitors can enjoy boating, water sports, camping, fishing and sailing, while taking advantage of the cool winds in the area.

Photo credit: http://www.go-utah.com

The Great Salt Lake

While this Utah landmark is the largest body of water in the state, it is often not thought of as a place to spend time in. Maybe it’s the salty nature of the water (salinity of the water averaging about 12 percent salinity — much saltier than the ocean), but this lake is every bit as capable of providing great water recreation as any other lake in the state.

Swimming and sunbathing in and on the clean, white sand beaches at Antelope Island State Park is something visitors can take advantage of. In fact, the water is so buoyant that people can easily float.

And boating? While the water may be shallow, it is great for sailboating, and even powerboating, which operate just fine, if operators take the time to flush salt water from their engines when they are done.

Some say that The Great Salt Lake is perhaps Utah's most underutilized playground.

Photo credit: http://proof.nationalgeographic.com

Green River

If powerboating is not your thing and you prefer riding the rapids, Utah has many rivers to choose from with one being the Green River.

Going from Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area near Vernal, Utah, to Dinosaur National Monument, eventually connecting with the Colorado River at Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah, the Green River offers hundreds of miles of fun for all levels of expertise.

Photo credit: http://adrift.com

But even the most seasoned of rafters will tell you to best enjoy the rapids, safety must always come first to avoid any form of personal injury.