Marine Parks

Sucia Island Marine Park, San Juan Islands
Sucia Island Marine Park, San Juan Islands
How many marine parks would you expect to find in the San Juan Islands? More than you might think - twelve! One of them is accessible by car and the others are treasures waiting to be discovered by those who travel by sea.
Spencer Spit Park on Lopez Island has ample campsites and services for motorists and RV'ers. In addition, Lopez has walk in sites on the beach and in the forest and mooring buoys on both sides of the extensive spit for boaters. The 130 acre Spencer Spit park is a beauty, with historical buildings, a salt water lagoon that attracts many birds, picnic spots, boat launching, lots of walks, and rabbits everywhere.
Spencer Spit State Park, Lopez Island
Spencer Spit State Park, Lopez Island
Other popular marine parks for boaters include 114 acre James Island State Park, with trails and primitive camping; tiny Turn Island State Park near Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, and 145 acre Matia Island, which offers a few mooring buoys in largely unprotected waters. By contrast, the remote but popular Sucia Island State Park, 562 acres, has many mooring buoys in two separate and sheltered anchorages, lots of trails, interesting rock formations and the best sunset viewing anywhere! Another popular marine park is Stuart Island, claimed by many boaters to have the most protected anchorage of any of the islands. Here, countless mooring buoys can be found in two harbors, as well as camping facilities and walks through to the small community, the old school house, and the lighthouse.
Patos Island Lighthouse, San Juan Islands
Patos Island Lighthouse, San Juan Islands
Idyllic Jones Island is also a gem, with deer that eat out of your hand, clamshell beaches at either end, and a trail encompassing the island. The problem is getting here early enough to snag one of the few buoys or a place at the dock, as anchorage is limited to only a few boats. Other marine parks are Patos, Clark, Doe and Blind Island. And if that isn't enough, you can add Skull and Victim Islands to the list. They are both undeveloped state parks, and with names like these, not too encouraging to visitors.