Just a hop, skip and a jump from Bellingham, Padilla Bay is one of the hidden wonders of this area. Filled with lots of aquatic and aerial life, this ecosystem is bursting at the seams. The perfect place for an afternoon stroll, birding, and learning about local marine life; it’s definitely a must go #pnwmicroadventure.
From Bellingham, head south on Interstate 5. Follow for 20 miles and then take Exit 231 for John Wilson Road. Follow this road for little over 7 miles and then the road will take a slight curve to your right. You will then see a sign for the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
When you’re feeling educated enough about the local ecosystem, head out and see it for yourself via the trails of Bayview State Park. It’s only a few minutes down the road!
The Research Center
The Research Center here at Padilla Bay is SO cool. It doesn’t cost anything to enter, but you can leave a donation in the box if you wish. Inside you will find a wide variety of information pertaining to the local aquatic life including shellfish, the dungeness crab, and the octopus! This is also a great place to learn about oceanic sustainability, seeing as the research center is run by the Department of Ecology.
With nearly 4.5 miles of level trails this is the perfect place to bring the whole family (even the dog!). There are picnic benches at the trail-head and at random places along the way so you have a good place to stop and snack. There are also just benches placed at the more scenic viewpoints; great for you and your lover, or for you and your friends to sit back and enjoy the view. Take some time to really observe the living things around you, for there are so many crabs, great blue herons, mallard ducks, and many many others. I know that I personally like getting down in the mud to find cute little crabs. So, saunter down to Padilla Bay, and #maketrails where the Skagit River meets the Salish Sea.