My family relocated to Vermont when I was in Elementary School. We lived in South Burlington for a short period of time, while we acclimated to our new state. When it was time to find the place we wanted to settle in, my mom made an interesting proposition. My little brother and I were just nine and ten years old at the time, and the idea of moving again was particularly daunting. To ease our fears, our mom offered to let us choose our new destination.
This was pretty risky on my mom’s part, but it made a world of difference to us. We felt some sense of control over the move, and that was reassuring. My mom drove all around for weeks to find the perfect place, from Vergennes to Milton, and everywhere in between.
The moment we drove into Colchester and saw Bayside Park, we knew that would be our new home.
I spent many summers at Bayside Park growing up. There were parties in the pavilion, tennis matches on the court, lazy beach days hanging out by the old rock wall. I even had my first kiss there. Many of our Chittenden County parks offer a variety of recreational opportunities, but this one was always special to me. That view of the bay… it is hard to beat!
On a recent (and rare) day off from my work, I had to venture into Colchester for an errand. While there, and with an iced-cold coffee in my hand, I decided to stop and take a few moments at the park I loved so much growing up. I remembered then how my mom’s interesting proposition had led us to this place, and I decided I had to share what made this place so special.
Yes, I love this park for nostalgia reasons. But it really has a lot to offer. If you haven’t been, I encourage you to check it out.
Bayside Park is located at the intersection of Malletts Bay Ave and Lakeshore Drive.
Here’s what you’ll find at the 22 acre park:
a pavilion (which you can rent)
a Little Free Library
On the bay side of the park, you’ll see the striking beauty of the bay.
First, the beach is FREE. No admission fee applies. Once there, you’ll find a long and sloping, well-groomed lawn. There are restrooms here as well, some picnic tables and benches (both in the shade and in the sun).
A stairwell leads you down a steep hill to the beach. The beach itself is fairly narrow. It is roped off to indicate the swimming area, and separated into two portions. The front portion is for swimming, and there are lifeguards on duty (during designated hours). In the deeper portion, in the back, is where you’ll find an Inflatable Water Park. Yep! An inflatable water park. This did NOT exist when I was a kid, so my inner child is pretty jazzed about this addition.
Some details about the Water Park:
for $5, anyone 48″ or taller can enjoy 30 minutes (check the website for current rates)
a Parks & Rec issued lifejacket is required
children ages 12 and under must be accompanied by a paying adult
children ages 13-17 must have an adult present at the beach
it is open 7 days a week, until August 19, from 11am-5pm (weather dependent)
Also at the beach, you can rent boats by the hour:
one hour rental is $15, or rent as long as six hours for $40 (check the website for current rates)
rentals include stand up paddleboards, kayaks, pedal boats
stand up paddleboard group lessons or SUP yoga is offered, as well as Sunset SUP & Sip Nights
you can rent any day of the week, until August 25 and Labor Day weekend, between 10am-8pm
Alas… my youth ship has sailed. But if I had my summers free again, you can bet your bottom I’d be spending it at this park. There really is something for everyone here. Check it out, and see for yourself.