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Washington State Parks

USA Parks
The Islands Region
James Island State Park
Keep On Leash ©
Campfire and Hotdogs ©
Roasting hot dogs over an open fire.
c/o San Juan Marine Area
Olga, Washington   98279

Phone: 360-376-2073
James Island State Park is a 113-acre marine camping and moorage park with 12, 335 feet of saltwater shoreline on Rosario Strait. The park features a beautiful western view of the San Juan islands from a high bluff along the loop trail. Much of James Island has been designated a Natural Forest Area and is closed to public access, except for designated recreational areas and trails. Loop trails around the central and southwest portions of the island offer 1.5 miles of hiking trails.

The informal trail around the north part of the island is not open for use. Please do not hike in the northern half of the island."

Park hours/updates:

The park is open year round to camping and day use.Summer hours: 6:30 a.m. to dusk.Winter hours: 8 a.m. to dusk.Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. No generators in operation from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Nature of the Area
Mammals? Deer or Elk? Raccoons
History of the Area
The Wilkes Expedition named the island in 1841 to honor the earlier heroism of an American sailor, Reuben James. The federal government acquired the island and transferred it to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission in 1964.
A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to Washington state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
James Island has 13 campsites at three locations on the island.The Water Trail Site is on a hill above a pocket cove of the West Cove and has three campsites (sites 11-13) and a pit toilet. These campsites are part of the Cascadia Marine Trail and are strictly reserved for use by boats arriving by human- or wind-powered watercraft.

The Saddle area spans from the West Cove shoreline across the island to the East Cove. There are six campsites (sites 5-10), a picnic shelter and two picnic sites, composting toilet facilities, pay station and moorage dock. A trail leads to the East Cove where there are four offshore mooring buoys. The loop trail system starts and ends here. The bottom structure at the West Cove is rocky and steeply sloped. It is not a good anchorage site.

The East Cove campground is a short walk from the Saddle area and has four campsites (sites 1-4), one pit toilet, bulletin board and pay station. From here, the loop trail leads southwest to the Water Trail campsites on the southwest side of the West Cove. Boaters moored in the East Cove are exposed to wakes from boat traffic in Rosario Strait.

There is no potable water on the island and no garbage service. Visitors need to pack-out what they pack-in.

Boats may not use dinghies to reserve moorage space on the dock or buoys. Campers and boaters must self register and pay fees at the bulletin board/pay station.

The nearest fuel and groceries are at Anacortes.

Check-in time is 2:30 p.m., and check-out time is 1 p.m.Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.Engine-driven electric generators may be operated only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.Length of stay: You may stay up to ten consecutive days in any one park during the summer; the stay limit is extended to 20 days between Oct. 1 and March 31.
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The park has five mooring buoys (four in East Cove and one in West Cove). Mooring buoys remain in place year round. Moorage fees are charged year round from 1 p.m. to 8 a.m.

West Cove has a dock with a 44-foot moorage float (88 linear feet). The float is removed from October through March, to protect it from winter storm damage.

No boats more than 45 feet are permitted on buoys. Please observe rafting limits posted on each buoy.

Salmon and bottom fishing is a good in waters adjacent to James Island State Park.

Day Use Area
West Cove has a composting toilet, while East Cove has one pit toilet.
Area Attractions
Trails Water Activities Other? 1.5 mi. Hiking Trails? Boating (saltwater)? Diving? Fishing (saltwater)? Crabbing? Oysters

James Island offers great short hikes with dramatic views from high bluffs. Hikers with children should be aware of fall hazards due to rocky high banks and cliffs and surrounding waters that are deep and swift.

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Area Campgrounds
Fidalgo Bay Resort
4701 Fidalgo Bay Road
Anacortes, WA
Pioneer Trails RV Resort & Campground
7337 Miller Road
Anacortes, WA

James Island is located three miles west of Anacortes and half-mile east of Decatur Island on Rosario Strait in San Juan County.

James Island State Park is reachable only by boat. The nearest access is Washington Park and Skyline Marina in Anacortes.


Washington State Parks