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San Juan County Day Park + Campground

San Juan Island

Northern Puget Sound, Washington

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San Juan County Day Park + Campground

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  • View to the south with the Olympic Mountains in the distance.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Day use picnic shelter on the bluff.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • There is an abundance of benches from which to watch the beautiful sunsets.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Sunset on north beach, which is gravelly and frequently filled with logs.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • The view south from San Juan County Day Park.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Sunset on the rocky stretch of coast.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • A colorful sunset from the grassy day use area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Deer frequent the park.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • A family of Canada geese swim out of Smallpox Bay.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Geese make their way out to Haro Strait.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • One of the views along the short bluff walking path.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Sunset over Low Island, a wildlife refuge just offshore from the park.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Evening light on the bluff to the south of San Juan Island County Day Park with the Olympic Mountains in the distance.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Colorful sunset over Haro Strait with Vancouver Island in the distance.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • A perfect viewpoint at the entrance to Smallpox Bay.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Colorful sunset over the distant Olympic Mountains.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Vibrant sunset as viewed from the short bluff walking path at the south end of San Juan County Day Park.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Smallpox Bay vessel launch.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Park entrance and headquarters.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Viewpoint overlooking the entrance to Smallpox Bay.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Smallpox Bay from the short bluff walking path.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Bench on the short bluff walking path.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Inside the day use shelter.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • View from the day use shelter.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • View south from the grassy day use area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • No shortage of benches in the grassy day use area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • The clear waters of the north beach area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Steps down to the north beach swimming area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • North beach swimming area in San Juan County Day Park.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Rocky coast at the end of the grassy day use area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Rocky coast at the end of the grassy day use area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • The clear waters of the north beach area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • "Human powered" campsites are available to bikers, kayakers, and hikers.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Historic Brann Cabin behind campsite #13.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Historic Brann Cabin.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Typical campsite.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • "Human powered" campsites are available to bikers, kayakers, and hikers.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Steps down to the north beach swimming area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Container ships frequently pass by in the Haro Strait.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • The clear waters of the north beach area.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • The grassy day use area with vast water views.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Water view from campsite #19.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Kayaking out of Smallpox Bay.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Returning to Smallpox Bay.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Fauns grazing near the entrance of the park.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • The day use shelter.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Sunset view from the Short Bluff Walking Path.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • A container ship cruises through the Strait of Juan de Fuca beneath the Olympic Mountains.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
  • Kayakers on an evening paddle in Haro Strait as seen from the meadow of San Juan Island County Park.- San Juan County Day Park + Campground
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Expansive water views from nearly every campsite. Variety of wildlife. Clear water swimming. Small vessel launch.
Cons: 
Potential for crowds. Noise from frequent large watercraft traffic.
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Region:
Northern Puget Sound, WA
Managed by: 
San Juan County
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Reservations possible: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
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Campground Description

Campground Description

Pro Contributor

Possibly the best waterfront views of any front country campground in the Pacific Northwest are available from nearly every campsite in the San Juan County Day Park and Campground in the San Juan Islands. Open, panoramic views of the Haro Strait and nearby Vancouver Island extend to the west as well as distant views of the Olympic Mountains to the south. The availability of activities in this fairly small campground is sure to keep an active camper occupied with your favorite hobby, whether it be kayaking, wildlife viewing, swimming, walking, or even just relaxing on a bench. 

The campground has the potential to be crowded and full, and reservations can be made up to 90 days in advance from May through September. Each site is comfortably sized, though there is no privacy separating the sites save the long logs that act as a sort of fence. Campers who arrive mid-week may find some solitude. There are basic amenities available, and while there are not any showers, pay showers are available in nearby Roche Harbor, a 7.5-mile drive to the north. Or you can take a dip in the cool, gentle waters of the north beach swimming area! There are no RV hookup sites available, but RVs and trailers are still allowed with dimension restrictions of 20 feet in length and 9 feet in height. Firewood is also available for $5 per large bundle, and ice is $3 per bag. The park staff reminds visitors to keep food and scented items locked in your vehicle (or in the available food lockers for the walk-in sites) because raccoons frequent the area.

Many different types of wildlife can be seen here - including many deer, various species of birds, foxes, and even the occasional orca or humpback whale! Remember to keep a safe distance from wildlife. Small vessels must keep a distance of 200 yards from any whale. There are two areas from which to launch a small vessel: Smallpox Bay at the south end of the park, and the north beach. Smallpox Bay is the most convenient launch location given the proximity to a parking area and the gradual grade to the water. North beach is accessed by many stairs, but it is closer to the walk-in campsites. A free permit is required to launch a vessel, and these can be obtained at the main entrance building. Many kayaking guiding companies offer trips from Smallpox Bay, and some companies store their kayaks here in the park.

There is no shortage of wildlife viewing points here. A short trail follows the bluff above Smallpox Bay and over the shore waters of Haro Strait into the grassy day use area. There are many signs indicating that the park follows the Leave No Trace principles and reminds you to stay on the designated paths. However, in the wide-open grassy day use area there is no such restriction.

A historic building exists in the center of the campground. The tiny one-room cabin, complete with loft, was built by Levi Brann in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Brann homesteaded 92 acres in the area, which included the land occupied by San Juan County Park. The cabin was restored in recent years, but the interior is not accessible. 

There are many nearby adventures to check off your to-do list such as Lime Kiln State Park, which is a short 2.6-mile drive to the south. This park is popular for whale watching and is used for whale study. You can also enjoy watching the sunset from here and photographing the beautiful lighthouse. There are two national historic parks on the island as well, English Camp and American Camp, each filled with historic buildings and accounts of a 12-year standoff on the island between American and British military occupants. 

While the journey to San Juan Island can take some planning and time (remember to make a Washington state ferry reservation!), the culture of the island is laid back and easy going, and the unmatched beauty of these islands is an obvious reason for such a culture. The gentle waters, unique wildlife, and consistent panoramic ocean views are sure to relax any weary adventurer.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

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(86 within a 30 mile radius)

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