|Low tide and still lots of water for anchoring, but open to swell from Rosario Strait.|
As with all gunkholing and exploring, you must be vigilant, watch for rocks, know your tide range and proceed dead slow or pay the price.
Speaking of paying >>> paying the price
Suggested backdoors, (none preferred over another) and places to get away from other boaters.
- Matia Island: Matia Cove is a fairly long indent (see pic) at the east end of the island and holds several boats. An unnamed cove is just around the corner from Rolfe Cove where Matias dock is located. Both these coves offer anchorage away from the usual hustle and bustle.
- Sucia Island: Snoring Bay is between Echo Bay and Fossil Bay on Sucia and Ewing Cove is accessed via Echo bay on the northeast side. Both coves offer access to the Sucia trail system, and may have anchor buoys still intact.
- Saddlebag Island: This state park is so little visited, you may consider the entire island a backdoor, but there is a second minor cove on the south side with a great view of Cap Sante should the northside be full up.
- Inati Bay on Lummi Island is located on the southeast side of Lummi Island. This medium size cove holds a handful of boats and is a perfect storm refuge when you are caught on your way to or from Squalicum Harbor.
- Cypress Head: The normally used cove with anchoring and buoys is on the north side of the isthmus and open to passing wakes, but the long cove on the south side of the isthmus is easily navigated and may be calm. Watch your depth here.
- Doe Island State Park: The last we looked (2015) the float was still gone but you can anchor here in relative peace and protection.
- East Sound: If you're at Eastsound (the city) and it gets dark, you can anchor in Judd Bay on the far north end (left side) of East Sound. You will be a dinghy ride from the Eastsound dock which does not allow overnighting. Anchoring near the county dock is liable to be rolly.
- Roche Harbor: If crowds drive you bonkers and you want to run away, just run two miles to Westcott or Garrison Bay. Anchor anywhere but watch your depth and don't block access. You wont be totally secluded or alone, but you will be away from the mob at Roche.
- Smallpox Bay: This small bay is on the Haro Strait side of San Juan Island just a few miles south of Roche Harbor (scoot through Mosquito Pass) it's a dinghy ride to shore at this San Juan County Park where campers watch for orca's.
- There are lots more hidden places, too many to list but you can use the search box the for them. Search - coves, bays, anchoring, camping, parks, things to do, places to go, etc.
You can anchor off to one side virtually anywhere but you may suffer wakes. I left out well known places like Blind Bay, Fisherman Bay, Parks Bay. which will all be crowded. I wanted to suggest mostly secluded easily overlooked locations that will be appreciated by the discerning recluse.