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.Want to support Washington State Parks? Get involved by joining a friends' group. For more information, visit the Friends' Group web page.
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.
The park is open year round to camping and day use.
Winter Schedule for all Washington State Parks
Don't move firewood: Please protect the Pacific Northwest from invasive species by obtaining or purchasing your firewood at or near your camping destination (within 50 miles). Firewood can carry insects and diseases that threaten the health of our western forests. You can make a difference by buying and burning your firewood locally. For more information, visit online at www.dontmovefirewood.org or the Washington Invasive Species Council website.
The Discover Pass now can be used on either of two vehicles!Annual pass: $30
One-day pass: $10
(Transaction and dealer fees may apply)
A Discover Pass is required for motor-vehicle access to state parks and recreation lands managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Exemptions:
Your purchase of the Discover Pass supports recreation on state lands. However, the Discover Pass is not required if you are camping or renting overnight accommodations, for the duration of your stay at that state park. For additional exemptions and more information, please visit the Discover Pass website
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.
2013 camping fees:
Please note that the following general fee information is not customized for each individual park, so not all fees will apply to all parks (for example, primitive campsite and dump station fees listed apply only to parks that have primitive campsites and dump stations).
May 15 – Sept. 15 (peak season)
Primitive campsite and water trail camping: $12
Standard campsite: $23 non-premium site, $26 premium site
Partial-utility campsite*: $30 non-premium site, $35 premium site
Full-utility campsite*: $32 non-premium site, $37 premium site
*Please note: Camping fees during the 2013 peak season are $28 for partial-utility sites and $29 for full-utility sites at Beacon Rock, Lewis & Clark and Schafer state parks. These parks are first come, first served.
Jan. 1 – May 14 and Sept. 16 – Dec. 31 (off-peak season)
Primitive campsite and water trail camping: $12
Standard campsite: $22 for non-premium and premium sites
Partial-utility campsite: $28 for non-premium and premium sites
Full-utility campsite: $29 for non-premium and premium sites
Maximum eight people per campsite.
Second vehicle: $10 per night is charged for a second vehicle unless it is towed by a recreational vehicle. Extra vehicles must be parked in designated campsite or extra vehicle parking spaces.
Dump stations (if available): Year-round dump station fees are $5 per use. If you are camping, this fee is included in your campsite fee.
More about park hours
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 from April 1 through Sept. 30; the stay limit is extended to 20 days between Oct. 1 and March 31.
James Island is located three miles west of Anacortes and half-mile east of Decatur Island on Rosario Strait in San Juan County.
N 48.30' 47" W 122.46'24"
James Island State Park is reachable only by boat. The nearest access is Washington Park and Skyline Marina in Anacortes.
List of all downloadable Washington State Park maps
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."
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.
There are currently no interpretive opportunities at this park.
|• 1.5 mi. Hiking Trails||• Boating (saltwater)|
• Fishing (saltwater)
James Island offers 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.
A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website.
Free days at state parks
: Visit Washington state parks for free. The Discover Pass is not required to visit a state park on ten designated free days in 2013.
The 2013 State Parks free days are as follows:
Jan. 21 – In honor of Martin Luther King Day
March 30 – In honor of Washington State Parks' 100th birthday on March 19
April 27 and 28 – National Parks Week
June 1 – National Trails Day
June 8 and 9 – National Get Outdoors Day and Department of Fish and Wildlife Free Fishing weekend
Aug. 4 – Peak season free day
Sept. 28 – National Public Lands Day
Nov. 9 through 11 – Veteran's Day weekend
Please note: A Discover Pass is still required to access lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife during State Parks free days. For more information, please visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov
Full list of events
at Washington State Parks
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). Dock removal begins in October and installation begins the end of March. All floats will be installed no later than May 1.
No boats more than 45 feet are permitted on buoys. Please observe rafting limits posted on each buoy.
Salmon and bottom fishing is good in waters adjacent to James Island State Park.
Picnic and Day-use Facilities
West Cove has a composting toilet, while East Cove has one pit toilet.
|Mammals||Birds||Fish & Sea Life|
|• Deer or Elk|
|Physical Features|| ||Plant Life|| |
Park photo gallery