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I think my entire Utah road trip was actually inspired by a single Instagram picture. I saw Sand Hollow State Park on the A-Team Family Adventures account and knew I had to go. Once our summer travel plans began unraveling, Utah seemed like a realistic option that we could safely drive to so we planned and booked our trip. I had been looking for info on the park but was only finding info on camping and boating, neither of the activities I had planned to do there. Read on for everything you need to know to plan your outing to Sand Hollow State Park.
When to Go & Where To Setup
It is pretty dang hot in Southern Utah in summer (the day we arrived was 115 degrees!). But, you can still go and have an enjoyable time with some preparation. While you’ll get milder temperatures in the spring and fall, the water does feel incredible with the warm temps. The park does get quite busy on the weekends and they will limit capacity and turn people away (based on my research, it seemed to fill up from midday to later afternoon on weekends). They do offer the ability to pre-book online for Monday-Thursday for a small surcharge via Eventbrite. This ticket guarantees entry to the park.
Since we had some open time on a Monday, I planned Sand Hollow for this day and it was the best decision! We arrived at 9am, no line to get in, plenty of parking and our choice of all the spots on the beach. By noon, there were significantly more people around but everyone did keep a safe distance away from each other.
Once you pull into the park, there are two directions to go. We turned right towards the Beach at Sand Hollow and pulled into the lot there. We went a little further down away from the boat launch and got a spot with a picnic table. We had 3 groups in this stretch of the sand where it was more concentrated closer to the boat launch.
What to Bring
This is definitely a day trip where making a list is super helpful to make sure you have all the essentials and can enjoy your day. First and foremost, something is provide shade is a MUST. We dragged our EZ-Up Canopy all the way from California and didn’t regret it for a second. It provided a nice, large zone for everyone to stay cool in and also gave us an area to hang wet towels and suits to dry. If bringing a canopy is not possible, a more basic umbrella like this would also be a great option. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of trees. Some other items to bring:
- Sand toys
- Floaties (we love Puddle Jumpers for kids who are not yet swimmers)
- Larger floaties for adults and kids (huge alligator for the win!)
- Snacks & drinks
- Bag for trash (trash cans were not on the beach itself so bring something to collect everything in)
- Flip flops or water shoes (the sand is HOT!)
- Beach chairs (there are a few picnic tables but they are metal and can get quite hot)
- Disinfectant wipe (for wiping down any shared surfaces like picnic tables)
And one thing to consider is that the sand is red and it gets everywhere! I purposely put my kids in darker colored swimsuits (or older ones) knowing that it may stain a tad bit. Likewise, with towels, we brought older ones that we didn’t care if they took on a darker hue.
Other Things to Do
We kept our day simple by setting up our beach spot early and staying for a few hours, enjoying a picnic lunch and playing in the water. There is a small beach shop and snack bar and they do rent things such as kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, boats and ATVs. There are limited quantities so reserve early or be prepared to wait. My husband got a kayak for $30 (for 2 hours) right away but he heard others waiting for hours to get a boat. They do provide life jackets.
On the other side of Sand Hollow, there are some large rocks that people will use to jump off and go for a swim to the little red rock island (there is a swim platform about halfway as well). We didn’t do this as we have three young kids along but it looks pretty cool. Many people will also use ATVs in the dunes surrounding the reservoir.
Another tip to keep in mind: your ticket is for full day use (6am – 10pm) and includes in/out privileges should you need to run out to get anything. We left mid-afternoon to come back to our rental house and then I came back after 8pm to watch the sunset with my daughters. It was absolutely stunning and there were just a few people around.
I definitely would recommend Sand Hollow State Park to anyone looking for a day trip with kids. The calm, fairly warm water is inviting in the hot Utah sun and the sand is quite soft (just mind the large rocks scattered on the shore). Pack your essentials to have a shady spot and you will have a fantastic day!
Do you have any other tips for visiting Sand Hollow State Park?