During the mid-1800s, Davis County was a series of agricultural settlements started by Mormon pioneers with farms dotting the south end of the county. By the 1870s, the area was clearly the garden spot of Northern Utah. These days the county is the state's smallest in size, it is currently the third most populated. A seven-mile causeway across the Great Salt Lake accesses Antelope Island State Park, home to big horn sheep, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyote, and a free roaming herd of more than 600 bison, as well as over 250 species of birds. The island also has 36 miles of trails for mountain biking and hiking, camping, beaches, and an educational visitor center.
Lagoon Amusement Park, in Farmington, is the largest outdoor amusement park west of the Mississippi River and east of California. Lagoon includes a water park, an historic pioneer village, camping, and live entertainment. Summer fun in Davis County also includes a visit to Cherry Hills Recreation Park, with pools, water slides, fountains and batting cages, miniature golf, and camping. In addition, Davis County offers hiking and biking in Wasatch Mountain Canyons, and numerous golf courses.
Just north of Salt Lake,Rodgers Memorial Theater and Bountiful Performing Arts offer live theater year-round. During the summer, the Davis Arts Council features a variety of ticketed entertainment and free Sunday night concerts.
Things to Do
Culture and Heritage
Davis County was named after Captain Daniel C. Davis, an officer in the Mormon Battalion. This group of 500 Mormon men volunteered in the mid-1800s to aid in the conquest of California during war with Mexico. The battalion, recruited during the Mormon Pioneer migration to Utah, participated in one of the longest marches in American military history, over 2,000 miles from Iowa to California.
Though historic accounts on the "discovery" of Great Salt Lake differ, it is certain that during the early decades of the 1800s, a variety of explorers and mountain men visited the briny lake. In 1843, John C. Fremont came to the lake on a mapping expedition, earning the honor of having one of the lake's islands named for him. In 1845, Fremont returned to Great Salt Lake with another expedition and explored the lake's four major islands, including Antelope Island, now a Utah state park offering many types of recreation and wildlife watching. History and Culture are also abundant in Davis County with art centers, railroad and aerospace museums, and many settlement-era collections.
Antelope Island State Park
Antelope Island State Park encompasses Great Salt Lake's largest Island. Wildlife and bird watching are popular activities, as are hiking, biking, and exploring the island. A visitor center offers information on the island's history, geology, biology, camping, and recreation. Explore the Fielding Garr Ranch House. Wander through the barn and blacksmith shop of old cattle and sheep ranchers. Don't miss the deer, bison, and birds of prey that often visit nearby springs. Check for additional seasonal pioneering activities. I-15 Syracuse Exit #332, (801) 773-2941, http://stateparks.utah.gov/park/antelope-island-state-park.
Eccles Wildlife Education Center
The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Wildlife Education Center lies on the edge of Farmington Bay and one of America’s richest wetlands. The center, sitting on the Robert N. Hasenyager Great Salt Lake Nature Reserve, is a prime habitat for songbirds, shorebirds and migrating waterfowl that spend the summer feeding and nesting in marshes, mudflats, ponds and grasslands in the surrounding wetland. (Read: Songbirds, Shorebirds and Migrating Birds, Oh My!)
Lagoon has been Utah's amusement park since the turn of the century, with wild rides, entertainment, food, and a historic pioneer village. It's open daily in summer and weekends in fall and spring. Lagoon-A-Beach, a waterpark, offers acres of water slides and swimming pools, just off I-15, in Farmington, (801) 451-8000, www.lagoonpark.com.
Cherry Hill Recreation Park/Fruit Heights
Cherry Hill Recreation Park has camping, batting cages, a water park, and miniature golf course, 1325 South Main, (801) 451-5379, www.cherry-hill.com.
Boondocks Fun Center/Kaysville
Boondocks Fun Center has miniature golf, bumper boats, go-karts, laser tag, and more. 525 S. Deseret Drive, (801) 660-6800, www.boondocksfuncenter.com.
Hike + Dine
Along with its incredible outdoors scene, Davis County has plenty of good eats. While it’s known for having arguably the most popular In-n-Out restaurant in the state, Davis County has around 400 other restaurant and food options to choose from, including plenty of local gems that have been recognized nationally for their quality and taste. Here are a few of Davis County’s best hikes and eateries to check out during your next visit.
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