7 Most Charming Lake Towns in Utah

Sharing a border with states like Colorado and Nevada, Utah is known for its breathtaking landscape and rugged terrain. Encompassing landmarks like the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau, Utah is famous as a premier ski destination and has breathtaking state parks. Plus, the landlocked state is known for its extensive network of water bodies, from the shimmering waters of Great Salt Lake to the tranquility of Mirror Lake. What's more, several charming towns across Utah are close to these famous lakes.

Garden City

Aerial View of Garden City, Utah on the shore of Bear Lake

Situated near Bear Lake, Garden City straddles the border between Utah and Idaho. The town enjoys an expansive view of the green-blue waters encompassing Bear Lake, hence its nickname, "the Caribbean of the Rockies". The stunning lake offers an array of activities year-round, whether jet skiing during the summer or ice fishing between the cold months. Garden City also hosts the annual Raspberry Days Festival, a celebration that pays homage to the raspberries grown around Bear Lake. 


The town of Willard, with Willard Bay and the Promontory Mountains in the background, via Wikipedia

Lying between Ogden and Brigham City, Willard overlooks a corner of Willard Bay, a man-made freshwater reservoir popular for fishing, swimming, camping, and boating. Visitors and locals alike flock to Willard Bay State Park to enjoy an array of water activities or enjoy the calm waters of Pelican Beach. Otherwise, visitors can enjoy other sites like the waterfalls at Willard Canyon or the dramatic mountains atop Willard Peaks.


Looking south at the Jordanelle Reservoir from Utah State Route 248 in Hideout, via Wikipedia

As its name suggests, the Utah town of Hideout is hidden among 2,500 acres of the mountainous landscape, overlooking the nearby Jordanelle Reservoir. With only 800 residents, Hideout makes for a tranquil escape from the bustle of Salt Lake City. Situated in Wasatch County, Hideout is known as a family-friendly ski destination in the winter. At the same time, many nature enthusiasts adore the nature-filled landscapes in the town during the warmer months. Specifically, hikers can enjoy a variety of trailheads and paths surrounding the quiet town.


Spring snow in Huntsville, Utah

Situated in Utah's Weber County, Huntsville is nestled amongst the state's Ogden Valley. Visitors will adore the expansive landscape of rolling hills and the sandy shores of the local Cemetery Point Beach. However, Huntsville boasts a collection of attractions, from local restaurants to a state-of-the-art observatory at the Compass Rose Lodge. Now, visitors of Huntsville can admire the shores of Pineview Reservoir while observing the cosmos at the observatory. Plus, the town is a great escape into tranquility and nature, away from the city's busy streets.


Mantua Reservoir in Utah

Taking on nicknames like Little Copenhagen, Hunsaker Valley, Little Valley, or Box Elder Valley, the quiet town of Mantua was established in the late 19th century by Danish settlers in an area that cuts through a trail well-known by the local Shoshone tribe. Nestled among dramatic mountains, Mantua is home to several wildlife species that may be safely viewed at a distance, from the majestic moose to the meek white-tailed deer. Additionally, Mantua sits near the Mantua Reservoir, a small water body known for fishing and boating in the warmer months. 


Desert vegetation in Sand Hollow State Park in Utah

Situated in Washington County, the Utah town of Leeds sits only 139 miles away from Las Vegas, Nevada. With a population of fewer than 1,000 residents, Leeds enjoys the vibe of a small town teeming with dramatic landscapes, from the sandy shores of Sand Hollow State Park to the warm waters at Quail Creek State Park. Established in 1869, Leeds also has its fair share of historical landmarks for visitors' viewing pleasure, including the ghost town of Silver Reef, a life-sized museum.

Salt Lake City and Saratoga Springs aren't the only picture-worthy destinations in Utah. The state is studded with small towns that carry their cozy charms, with a picturesque landscape to match. From Leeds to Willard, these small towns make for a memorable road trip across the Beehive State.

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