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Frequently Asked Questions

Click here San Juan County Park Odlin County Park or here Shaw County Park to get information on those parks.

General Parks Questions

Q.: Can I still reserve a campsite by phone?
A.: We can only take phone reservations from  those people who do not have access to the Internet. With our online reservation system, you can make your reservation any time of the day or night with no busy phone lines. It will help us do our jobs more efficiently, if you can take advantage of this online booking system.

Q.: I want to get married at San Juan County Park this summer. Can I do that?
A.: We are able to allow some small personal private events at some of our parks. Please contact our main office at parks@sanjuanco.com (please put "Special Event" in the subject line) or by phone at 360-378-8420.

Q.: I live in San Juan County and have appreciated being able to reserve my campsite early in the year. Can I do that again in 2013?
A: We are pleased to announce that we will again accept summer camping reservations from San Juan County residents between January 14 and February 28 for a resident form. Proof of San Juan County residency will be required.

Q.: How do I get from Friday Harbor to County Day Parks on San Juan Island?
A.: Reuben Tarte Memorial Day Park is located on the north end of the island (near Roche Harbor). Take Roche Harbor Road, onto Rouleau Rd, right on Limestone Pt., then right on San Juan Drive. The park will be on the left side of the road. Park at the top and walk down to park. (GPS N48˚ 36.743, W123˚ 5.914). Eagle Cove County Park is located in the southern part of the island just before American Camp. Head south on Cattle Point Road. Turn right on Eagle Cove drive (located at the entrance to American Camp). Park is on the left side of the road ~¼- ½ mile. (GPS N48˚ 27.809, W123˚ 2.027). Turn Point County Park is located just off Turn Point road near the town of Friday Harbor (adjacent to Pinedrona Lane). (GPS N48˚ 31.718, W122˚ 58.827).

Q.: How do I get to County Day Parks on Lopez Island?
A.: Agate Beach Day Park – Located at the southern end of Lopez Island approximately 20 miles from the ferry landing. Take Center Road past the school, turn left on Lopez Sound Road then right on Mud Bay Road. Just past the Islandale store/rest area, turn right on MacKaye Harbor Road and follow it to the end. (GPS N48˚ 25.749, W122˚ 52.614)

Blackie Brady Day Park is on Hughes Bay. Take Aleck Bay Road, Turn right on Huggins, follow Huggins to the end. . (GPS N48˚ 25.607, W122˚ 50.542)
Lopez Skate Park is located next to the Community Center in Lopez Village. (GPS N48˚ 31.560 W122˚ 54.636)
Mud Bay Beach is at the southern end of Lopez Island on Mud Bay. Go down Islandale Road all the way to the end. (GPS N48˚ 26.887, W122˚ 50.547)
Otis Perkins is located south of Lopez Village. Take Fisherman Bay Road south away from town. Turn right on Bayshore Road and follow it around the spit to the park (sign on left). Small gravel parking area. (GPS N48˚ 30.030, W122˚ 56.260)
Shark Reef Sanctuary
is located on the west side, south of Lopez Village. Take Fisherman Bay Road south away from town. Turn right on Airport Road then left on Shark Reef Road. Park is on the right side. (GPS N48˚ 27.775, W122˚ 56.233)

Q.: How do I get to County Day Parks on Orcas Island?
A.: Eastsound Village Green is located in the heart of Eastsound Village on North Beach Road, immediately north of the Orcas Historical Museum. (GPS N48˚ 41.753, W122˚ 54.378) Eastsound Waterfront Park is on the waterfront facing Indian Island at the entrance to the Village of Eastsound, located on Main Street. (GPS N48˚ 41.682, W122˚ 54.585) Library Park is in Eastsound below the Library. (GPS N48˚ 41.802, W122˚ 54.326)

San Juan County Park

Q.: Where can I get driving directions from the ferry to the park?
A.: Glad you asked! For the more scenic route, follow the main flow of traffic off the ferry, through downtown Friday Harbor. About a mile from downtown, take the first left (Douglas Road) after you enter farmland. Continue on this main road to a righthand bend in the road; at this point the road name changes to Bailer Hill Road. Follow this road to Lime Kiln State Park, and turn right (uphill) before the park entrance. Drive another 2 miles to the park entrance; you'll enter to your left. Signs along the road will alert you to the upcoming entrance. This route is about 12 miles (20 minutes).

Q.: Where is the nearest grocery store?
A.: Friday Harbor has two grocery stores: King's and Market Place. Snug Harbor Resort has camp sundries and limited food supplies. Roche Harbor also has a small grocery store.

Q.: How far is it to _____?
A.: From San Juan County Park:
Friday Harbor = 10 miles (via Beaverton Valley)
Friday Harbor = 12 miles (via Bailer Hill Road)
Snug Harbor = 2+ miles
Roche Harbor = 9 miles
Lime Kiln State Park = 2+ miles
English Camp = 4+ miles
American Camp = 12 miles

Q.: Where can I go for a hike?
A.: Mount Young above English Camp; South Beach, Jakles Lagoon; Mt. Finlayson at American Camp; Cattle Point Lighthouse; and the Limestone Quarry at Roche Harbor. Look here for more trail information.

Q.: Are there other places to camp on this island?
A.: Lakedale Resort: showers, lake, boat rentals, and cabins.

Q.: What about camping on other islands?
A.: We also operate Odlin County Park on Lopez Island and Shaw Island County Park on Shaw Island. There is also a State Park (Spencer Spit) on Lopez. San Juan County Parks doesn't operate any overnight camping facilities on Orcas Island, but Moran State Park and some private resorts offer camping.

Q.:  No showers! Where can I take a shower?
A.: There are coin-operated showers at the Port of Friday Harbor Marina in Friday Harbor and at Roche Harbor Marina.

Q.: Where can I park?
A.: "Thank you for asking."
Please check with the Park staff for the most suitable location for your vehicle and/or boat trailer. There is no charge for day-use parking, but overnight vehicle parking for kayakers/boaters is $20.00 per night.

Q.: Where can I rent a kayak?
A.: We don't rent kayaks or other craft at any of our parks. Check the phone book under Canoes & Kayaks or the information kiosks around town. The local Visitors Bureau also lists kayak operators, www.visitsanjuans.com. There are a number of different kayak tour companies who operate out of our County Parks.

When selecting a company, check the company's history, ask if they have the proper permits needed to launch their trips and where they launch from; ask if the company has liability insurance and in what amount. Ask to talk to people who have been on trips with them before.

Due to the potentially challenging weather and tidal situations in the San Juan Islands, we encourage those with little or no kayak or open water experience to go on a guided tour rather than rent.

Q.: Where can I find tide and current predictions for the area?
A.: Here's a link to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration National Ocean Service portal.

Q.: What time of day do the whales come by?
A.: Please remember that Orcas are wild animals and they have travel and feeding patterns that we humans are still studying. Based on scientific observations there is a 'greater likelihood' that you will see Orcinus Orca here as the tide is coming in. The incoming tide pushes fish against the island shelf (which drops 400'-600' a 1/4 mile offshore).

This creates a large buffet table for them and they work their way up the shelf while feeding. This is also why we tend to see them at approximately the same distance from shore day-in, day-out. Usually they'll be around from four hours before high tide up until high tide. Occasionally they will travel back south with the ebb, but tend to be moving fast and spread over a greater distance.

We are frequently visited by three resident pods of orcas (J pod = 19 whales, K = 20something, L = 50something). Sometimes the pods will intermingle, giving a rare opportunity to observe a 'super pod'. Occasionally, there may be distant sightings of mammal-eating transient orcas, though usually further from shore. Our resident orcas generally dine on salmon and other fish species.

Summer observations sometimes yield Dall's porpoise (most common sighting), harbor porpoise, Humpback whale, Pilot Whale, Northern Right Whale, Pacific white-sided Dolphin, and others. Also sightings of Minkes are common in late summer (usually solitary).

We also encourage people to visit Lime Kiln State Park (2-½ miles south) as Orcas frequent the area between Cattle Point and Lime Kiln a bit more than here. There are also good interpretive panels available there.

While in Friday Harbor, make time to visit the Whale Museum, www.whalemuseum.com. Admission rates are very reasonable and they offer a wonderful exhibit area, art gallery and gift store. You can also check on recent marine mammal sightings.

Q.: What should I know before I plan to launch my vessel/kayak at San Juan County Park?
A.: To help protect Southern Resident Killer Whales and other marine animals, San Juan County Parks is working with NOAA Fisheries, The Whale Museum, and local kayak tour operators to educate all boaters on regulations affecting Killer Whales. From the Friday preceding Memorial Day to Labor Day Monday of each year, all vessel operators launching from San Juan County Park with the intention of leaving the immediate cove area must have a valid permit. To obtain a permit, vessel operators will attend a short educational presentation on whale watching regulations & guidelines and pay the applicable permit fee. Vessel operators agree to follow prescribed whale watch guidelines and regulations. Vessel operators who return annually may attend the training every other year upon presentation of the previous year’s permit to park staff.

Q.: I've heard a bit about the Marine Stewardship Area in the islands. How can I get more information?
A.: The County established the Marine Resources Committee that has produced a map showing this protected area, including National Wildlife Refuge sites and other sensitive marine areas. You can find more information here www.sjcmrc.org.

Odlin County Park

Q.: Where can I get driving directions from the ferry to the park?
A.: Glad you asked! The park entrance is located about 1 mile from the ferry landing. Follow the main flow of traffic away from the ferry ramp. A blue boat ramp pictorial sign alerts you to the park entrance; you'll turn right to enter the park. Follow the park road down to the Manager's office; day use area, boat ramp, and campsites are further down this park road.

Q.: Where is the nearest grocery store?
A.: Lopez Village Market is located in Lopez Village, about three miles from the park. The Village also has a bakery, espresso, restaurants, and gasoline.

Q.: How far is it to _____?
A.: Ferry Landing = 1 mile
Lopez Village = 3 miles
Spencer Spit State Park = 3.6 miles

Q.: Where can I go for a hike?
A.: The beach at Odlin provides a peaceful walk at low tide. We have carefully built a few forested walking trails within Odlin Park. You can also walk the sandy spit at Spencer Spit State Park, less than four miles away.

Q.: Are there other places to camp on this island?
A.: The State Park at Spencer Spit offers overnight camping.

Q.: What about camping on other islands?
A.: San Juan County Park is located on the west side of San Juan Island. It's popular for its scenic views across Haro Strait and its summertime visitor, the Orca.

We also operate Shaw County Park on quaint and quiet Shaw Island.

San Juan County Parks doesn't operate any overnight camping facilities on Orcas Island; Moran State Park and some private resorts offer camping.

Q.: No showers! Where can I take a shower?
A.: In Lopez Village, there are seasonal public coin-op showers at Lopez Village Park, across the street from Lopez Village Market.

Q.: Where can I park?
A.: "Thank you for asking."
Please do check with the Park staff for the most suitable location for your vehicle and/or boat trailer. There is no charge for day-use parking, but overnight parking for kayakers/boaters is $10.00.

Q.: Where can I find tide and current predictions for the area?
A.: Here's a link to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration National Ocean Service portal.

Shaw Island County Park

Q.: Where can I get driving directions from the ferry to the park?
A.: Glad you asked! Follow the main road (Blind Bay Road) away from the ferry landing. Turn left on Squaw Bay Road (the first public road; Shaw Island Community Center building will be on your right, once you make the turn.). Turn left again on Indian Cove Road, and look for the park entrance sign on your right.

Q.: Where is the nearest grocery store?
A.: On Shaw Island, the Shaw General Store at the ferry landing offers a surprisingly good variety of grocery and small hardware items.

Q.: How far is it to _____?
A.: Ferry Landing = about 2 miles

Q.: Are there other places to camp on this island?
A.: No. Aside from the County Park and the Little Portion Store, there are no other guest services available on the island.

Q.: What about camping on other islands?
A.: We also operate Odlin County Park on Lopez Island and San Juan County Park on San Juan Island. There is also a State Park (Spencer Spit) on Lopez. San Juan County Parks doesn't operate any overnight camping facilities on Orcas Island, but Moran State Park and some private resorts on the island offer camping.

Q.: No showers! Where can I take a shower?
A.: There are no shower facilities available on Shaw Island.

Q.: Where can I find tide and current predictions for the area?
A.: Here's a link to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration National Ocean Service portal.

Q.: Where can I park?
A.: "Thank you for asking."
Please do check with the Park staff for the most suitable location for your vehicle and/or boat trailer. There is no charge for day-use parking, but overnight vehicle parking for kayakers/boaters is $7.00 per night.