Bay City State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Home of the Tobico Marsh, the Great Lakes largest remaining coastal wetlands, Bay City State Park is a must see for RV enthusiasts. The park, located on the Saginaw Bay, includes wetland woods, cattail marshlands, and a mile of Saginaw Bay shoreline that features a wide variety of bird species, along with wetland wildlife and plants.

Opened year-round, the 2,800-acre park attracts people who enjoy a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities including hiking, hunting, and ice fishing. And, since the park is just north of Bay City, campers can easily visit the city’s unique shops, eateries, and entertainment venues.

If you’re not sure what to do first or have any questions about the area, be sure to visit the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center. This award-winning facility is located in the park and helps visitors discover more about the Tobico Marsh and its abundant wildlife. RV visitors will love exploring the Jennison Exhibit Hall, shopping at the Wetland Wonders Gift Shoppe, and viewing wildlife from the Wildlife Observation Room and the Marsh Camera.

Bay City State Park has plenty of RV campsites and they all have electrical service. There are modern restrooms, shower buildings, and a sanitary dump station. Three observation towers, boardwalks, viewing platforms, and shoreline telescopes make wildlife viewing more accessible. Head to Michigan and enjoy your next RV adventure!

RV Rentals in Bay City State Park

Transportation in Bay City State Park

Driving

Bay City State Park is only five miles north of Bay City, Michigan and is easily reached by taking exit 168 off I-75. The park has a lot of RV campsites and four parking lots. Three of the parking lots are near the entrance on the east side of the park and one parking lot is on the west side. There are two restrooms and shower facilities. Each is centrally located, one on each side of the park. Recycling and sanitation centers are located on the east side of the park near the entrance.

After you park your RV and make yourself at home. You can enjoy hiking and biking around the park. There are three trails ranging from up to three miles long. The most popular trail, the Bay City-Andersen Nature Trail, takes you through the woods and to observation points in Tobico Marsh. Barrier-free trails lead to the shore of the Saginaw Bay, picnic shelters, and the Visitors Center. The three-mile trail follows a railway corridor and connects to the Bay City Trailway System to the south of the park. Bicycles are only allowed on established park roads and designated trails.

You can also take a short drive into Bay City to enjoy all this quaint city has to offer including unique dining and shopping experiences.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Bay City State Park

Campsites in Bay City State Park

Reservations camping

Bay City State Park's Modern Campground

Bay City State Park has one modern, all-season campground with 193 grassy sites. Most sites have electrical service. All sites are located in a lightly wooded area away from the bay. None of the sites have a view of the water but a short foot trail leads you straight to the bay. There are mini-cabins available for rent too.

Next to the campground is a large playground the kids will love. The nearby day-use area provides opportunities for picnics, sunbathing, and swimming. A volleyball court, basketball court, and horseshoe pits are also located in this area. There are two sanitation stations and a trash/recycling center located near the entrance to the park. Two modern restrooms and shower facilities are located centrally on each side of the park. Water is also available on both sides of the park.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Bay City State Park

In-Season

Hiking

Hikers can explore more than seven miles of trails through acres of marshland and past an inland lake. The most popular trail, the Bay City-Andersen Nature Trail, is an over two-mile trail that takes you through the woods and to observation points within the Topico Marsh, the largest Great Lakes coastal marsh. The barrier-free trails also take you to the shore of the Saginaw Bay and the award-winning Visitors Center. The Bay City-Tobico Lagoon Trail is one mile long and the Bay City-Tobico Marsh Trail is three miles long.

Play by the Bay

Families will love RV camping at Bay City State Park. They can enjoy a picnic at one of the many picnic tables and fire pits or grills along the sandy shoreline of the Bay or under the shelter of the large hardwood trees that border the Tobico Lagoon. There are also five picnic shelters available for rent that can be reserved up to one year in advance.

This area features a community-built fully-enclosed three-acre playground designed to resemble a castle. The playground includes swings, slides, and towers for climbing. There's even a splash park to help the little ones cool off on those hot summer days.

Take the boardwalk north of the picnic and playground area to reach the beach and designated swimming area.

Birding

Birding enthusiasts will find the best viewing during spring or fall migratory seasons. This birding hot spot has a documented collection of 235 species viewed. There are several prime viewing locations along the seven miles of groomed trails. Area shorebirds include willet, marbled godwit, and white-rumped sandpiper. You will also see gulls and terns. Due to its diet, the majestic bald eagle, known for its white head and brown body and wings, often nests along the Great Lakes shoreline.

Off-Season

Metal Detecting

A surprisingly addictive hobby, metal detecting is considered a recreational activity at Bay City State Park. However, metal detecting must be conducted in such a way as to not damage natural or cultural resources and is only allowed in designated areas. Finds include jewelry, coins, and historical artifacts. The park staff must review any items found and these items may be retained for further investigation. Metal detecting areas within the campground are limited to registered campers only.

Ice Fishing

Bring your shanty and winter gear out of the rig, drill a hole, and drop a line. Ice fishing is a very popular winter sport in Michigan and Bay City State Park is an ideal location. Never go on the water by yourself and try to set up your shanty by other shanties because there is safety in numbers. Layering outerwear is essential because it’s real cold on the icy water! And bring the right equipment including an auger for drilling your fishing hole. Now sit back, relax and enjoy the great, albeit cold, Michigan outdoors.

Hunting

The roughly northern half of Bay City State Park’s Tobico Marsh watershed area consists of areas used mostly by hunters and trappers. Hunting and trapping play an important role in the conservation of natural resources at the park. Area wildlife game include deer, waterfowl, muskrat, mink, raccoon, and beaver. Be aware, there are many rules and regulations about hunting on state land so be sure you have the proper license and know the rules before heading out.

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