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5/02/2020

Beach Camping in the San Juan's

     Beach camping is alive and well in the San Juan island area but let's be clear,  it is not the same as camping in the dunes along the Oregon or Washington coast, it's much better. Except if you want to hear the surf lolling you to sleep or be mesmerized by endless rows of breaking waves or have your entire body sandblasted from nonstop winds.  Instead, in the islands you will find gentle winds or none at all, still and flat water unless the wind pipes up against the tide. Of course it is always warmer (not) with less clouds and no crowds in the San Juan's.

    There are no approved places that you may pull up your boat or park your car, or ride your bicycle to and then pitch a tent.  That leaves parks and resorts and there are plenty to choose from including those with waterfront or beach camping sites.

     County, City and State  Parks:
     These are the parks that are accessible by vehicle, bicycle or hiking, reservations are a good idea.

  • Washington Park in Anacortes
  • San Juan County Park on San Juan Island
  • Odlin County Park on Lopez Island
  • Shaw Island County Park on Shaw Island
  • Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island
  • Moran State Park on Orcas Island
  • Deception Pass State Park near Anacortes
  • Obstruction Pass State Park on Orcas island, (requires short hike)


Moran State Park entrance arch
Moran Park entrance on Orcas Island

Cornet Bay dock San Juan Islands Deception Pass
Cornet Bay transient dock and launch ramp at Deception Pass park

       Washington State Marine Parks:
       These parks are only accessible by boat or kayak, most are entire island. All have campgrounds with beachfront sites. None may be reserved or provide garbage service.

  • James Island
  • Jones Island
  • Clark Island
  • Doe Island (possibly still closed)
  • Pelican Beach on Cypress Island
  • Cypress Head on Cypress Island
  • Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island (anchor buoy field only)
  • Matia
  • Patos
  • Sucia (campground reservations are availalbe)
  • Stuart Island  (Prevost & Reid Harbor)
  • Saddlebag Island
  • Sidney Spit Marine Park (Canada)

Jones Island marine park dock and campground in the San Juan Islands
Jones Island State Park
For detailed descriptions, maps and charts and pictures for all the parks in the San Juan Island area, click here.  maps and charts and pictures





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