Surrounded by spectacular scenery of the Moray Firth, Spey Bay is a magnet for wildlife lovers.
Lying on the eastern side of the River Spey, the small settlement of Spey Bay marks the point when the Speyside Way long distance footpath finally reaches the sea and turns along the shore towards the end point in Buckpool a few miles to the east. The settlement has a rich history of salmon fishing and to this day you can see the striking Tugnet Ice House where ice was once stored. Spey Bay is also home to a wildlife reserve with the largest shingle beach in Scotland. You can spot a variety of wildlife, including arctic and common terns, in its varied habitats, from coastal grasslands to saltmarsh and woodland.
A 10-minute drive south, Elgin’s main attraction is the ruined Elgin Cathedral, home to a Pictish cross slab. There are also a handful of distilleries to explore. Nearby accommodation options include the chic pod run by Glampods, which is located in a rural area and surrounded by Highland cows and Valias Blacknose sheep.
A 30-minute drive west of Spey Bay, Findhorn is the starting point for the Moray Coast Trail, a 50-mile (80-kilometre) walking route that travels along the Moray coastline. Overlooking the water, Findhorn Bay Holiday Park has pitches for tents and tourers, as well as glamping pods, cabins and static caravans.
A 30-minute drive south of Spey Bay, the village of Aberlour lies along the southeast bank of the River Spey and is a gateway to Cairngorms National Park. Nestled within a Victorian walled garden within a short walking distance of the river, Speyside Gardens Caravan Park has pitches for tents and tourers, as well as static caravans for hire.
For the best chance of warm and sunny weather, and enjoying the extended daylight hours, the best time to explore Spey Bay and its surroundings is from May to August. This is peak season, however, so it’s a good idea to make reservations for campsites in advance. The nature reserve is a great place to visit year-round. Visit between spring and summer to see butterflies; in winter for ducks and divers, and all year for dolphins.