Bay View State Park is a playground for people wanting a plethora of watersports, fires on the beach, and nature viewing, along with 76 campsites including 30 that feature electricity and water hookups. Located a half mile north of Bay View, Washington, the 66-acre park is situated along the shoreline of Padilla Bay overlooking the San Juan Islands. Bay View State Park was created in 1925 by the donation of 25 acres from the Skagit County Agricultural Association to the state of Washington with additional acres purchased through 1968.
The area surrounding Bay View State Park was once the ancestral homelands of the Swinomish, Samish, and Noo-Wha-Ha Indian Tribes. In 1840 the Hudson Bay Fur Trading Company brought many fur traders to the area where many of the fur traders married Swinomish and Samish women. Chief Pat-The-Us of the Noo-Wha-Ha tribe signed the Point Elliott Treaty in 1855 which confined the tribes to several of the San Juan Islands.
Bay View State Park shares open waters with the 11,000-acre Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The reserve is one of five that exists in the western United States. Activities within park are generally geared toward watersports. There are ample opportunities for you to go windsurfing, water skiing, fishing, and kayaking. Other options for recreation include beachcombing, kite flying, and the bird watching.
The weather at Bay View State Park is pleasant in the summer months from May to September with temperatures in the high 60s to 70s accompanied with minimal rainfall. Winter brings temperatures in the mid-40s along with up to five inches of rain per month. You're sure to create a lifetime of memories no matter what time of year you take an RV trip to Bay View State Park.
You can access Bay View State Park from the Bayview Edison road that runs south to north along the shoreline of Padilla Bay. The road cuts through the park and bisects the beach area from the campground. When you are traveling south to north from Whitney, you will encounter steep terrain and a few tight curves before entering the town of Bay View. When you are going east to west from Burlington along the Josh Wilson Road, you will find navigating easy on a straight road until you reach the town of Bay View. Be patient because the terrain is steep at some locations along this road.
Once inside the park, driving is limited to the one road that connects all four loops within the campground. There are several parking areas for day use which can be congested. Bayview Edison Road allows beach access, and there is a parking area for day use at the entrance of the park.
Bicycling or walking is the preferred mode of traveling in the campground. When driving within the campground, please adhere to all posted speed limits.
The Bay View State Park Campground is situated along a one-way road that connects four distinct loops. The campground contains 76 campsites including 30 with electricity and water hookups. The campground offers some shady sites with Douglas fir trees, but RV and trailer sites may be tightly crowded, especially if you stay in sites one through nine. Each campsite offers a picnic table, fire ring, and a gravel parking pad which may require some leveling.
RVs and trailers are limited to 50 feet in length, and not all sites can accommodate larger rigs. There is a dump station located near the entrance of the campground. Other amenities within the campground include flush toilets, showers, drinking water stations, and a playing field. There are plenty of places within the campground to park a second vehicle if needed. Generators may be used between the hours of 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets are welcome, but must be restrained by a six-foot leash at all times.
Fishing at Bay View State Park is a great way to spend a day during your RV vacation here. You will find better conditions during high tide when the mudflats and eelgrass beds of Padilla Bay are flooded with nutrient-rich sea water. While shore fishing you can expect to catch a variety of fish species feeding in the extensive eelgrass beds including herring, three-spine stickleback, surf smelt, longfin smelt, and Chinook salmon. Make sure you check the regulations for licensing, bag, and size limits. Clamming is not allowed at any time on the shoreline of Bay View State Park.
Don’t forget your watersport equipment in your trailer or camper when you visit Bay View State Park. You will be delighted with the easy access to the waterfront and Padilla Bay. Kayaking, water skiing, and windsurfing are popular. You can always go swimming, although keep in mind there is no lifeguard on duty. If you have a smaller watercraft, there is a boat launch three blocks from the park. Larger boats can launch at the ramp located eight miles west of the park.
Bird watching at Bay View State Park is superb. Bring a pair of binoculars to view more than 50 species of birds that feast on the 11,000 acres of mudflats in Padilla Bay during low tide. Stellar species to watch for include peregrine falcons, bald eagles, flocks of dunlin, and great blue herons. Other wildlife to watch for include seals and otters that feed on shrimp, clams, and oysters.
There is plenty to see when the sun sets at Bay View State Park. As you gaze out over Padilla Bay, you will spot the San Juan Islands to the west and the twinkling lights of Seattle to the east. A great way to spend an evening is to sit on the beach at one of the fire rings. Don’t forget to roast some marshmallows as you relax while watching the stars and lights of the Great Northwest.
Bay View State Park is an ideal place for beachcombing. With 1,285 feet of shoreline along Padilla Bay, you will find hundreds of sea shells. The mudflats at low tide are perfect for shell hunters. Make sure you bring an extra pair of boots because the hard packed mud flats can give way to some muck that may engulf your shoes. You can extend your walk on the shoreline by taking the two-mile Padilla Bay Shoreline Trail which you will find on the most southern part of the shoreline.
If beachcombing along the mudflats of Padilla Bay is not your thing, then you should bring your kite or metal detector. The 1,285-foot shoreline offers plenty of space for you to maneuver your kite in the constant winds of the bay. Metal detecting during low tide is superb too. You can hunt for treasures under the mucky mud, so bring a good shovel and leave all the clams as well as oysters you find in place. Clamming is illegal at Bay View State Park.