Sucia Island Marine State Park

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Would you rather sail than drive on your next vacation? Check out Sucia Island Marine State Park.

Among the northernmost of the San Juan Islands, this horseshoe-shaped island is accessible only by watercraft. Boaters venturing into its coves and harbors quickly discover why Sucia Island is considered the crown jewel in the state marine park system and a boating destination that's world class.

The main island, surrounded by picturesque rocks and smaller islands, gave pause to the Spanish explorers who navigated its waters in 1791. They called it Sucia, which translates to "dirty" or "foul" in Spanish.

On April 10, 2012, part of a femur bone from a theropod dinosaur was discovered in a rock on the island. (Theropods are a group of meat-eating, two-legged dinosaurs, including T. rex and Velociraptor.) The 80-million-year-old fossil was spotted and excavated by paleontologists at Seattle’s Burke Museum.

Known for its emerald waters and forested trails, its magnificent sunsets and sandstone formations, Sucia Island is prized by locals for its off-season beauty and solitude.

So, pack up the boat, leave the car behind, and blaze a watery trail to this northwestern paradise.

Park features
Sucia Island Marine State Park is an 814-acre marine park with 77,700 feet of shoreline and abundant camping and moorage. The main island and several smaller islands comprise the "Sucia group." There are no services on this island, and fossil collecting is strictly prohibited in this and all Washington state parks.

Boating features

Located in Puget Sound in San Juan County, Sucia Island has 48 mooring buoys, two linear moorage systems and two docks. These are found at six locations around the island. Dock 2 is removed early October through early April to prevent winter storm damage. Mooring buoys remain in place year-round. Anchorage is available in all of the bays and coves, and there is no fee for boats riding on their own anchor. The bottoms are generally sandy mud, but in some locations eelgrass and seaweed may make setting anchor difficult. Moorage fees are charged between 1 p.m. and 8 a.m. All boaters must register and pay upon arrival. Boaters must also pay a fee for boats rafted to another boat. Rafting limits are posted on the buoys. Visit the permit page to purchase an annual moorage permit.

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Echo Bay

Echo bay has 14 buoys and two linear moorage systems (800 linear feet).

Latitude: 48 45' 47.89" N (48.7633)
Longitude: 122 54' 37" W (-122.9102)

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Ewing Cove

Ewing Cove has four buoys.

Latitude: 48 45' 55" N (48.7652)
Longitude: 122 53' 9" W (-122.8858)


Fossil Bay

Sucia Island State Park - Fossil Bay Opens in new windowFossil Bay has potable water, 16 buoys, and two moorage docks (640 linear feet). One dock is removed from late October through March to prevent winter storm damage.

Latitude: 48 45' 0" N (48.75)
Longitude: 122 54' 1.98" W (-122.9005)

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Fox Cove
Fox Cove has four buoys.

Latitude: 48 45' 9.97" N (48.7527)
Longitude: 122 54' 47.88" W (-122.9133)

undefined Opens in new windowShallow Bay
Shallow Bay has eight buoys.

Latitude: 48 45' 43.92" N (48.7622)
Longitude: 122 55' 2" W (-122.9172)


undefined Opens in new windowSnoring Bay
Snoring Bay has two buoys.

Latitude: 48 44' 55.67" N (48.7488)
Longitude: 122 53' 26.99" W (-122.8908)

this park offers phone in buoy registration

How it works:

  • When you arrive at a buoy, call the phone number on the mooring ball.
  • Provide your buoy number and length of stay (3 nights maximum).
  • Pay with a credit or debit card or provide your Annual Boat Moorage permit number.
  • There is a $4.50 convenience fee to register by phone.
  • All buoys are first come, first served and $15 per night.

Additional information

Boaters should use caution when in the waters around this park. The word "sucia" is Spanish, meaning foul or dirty in a nautical sense. It refers to the numerous rocks and reefs which surround the island. These rocks and reefs have grounded and sunk numerous boats since European explorers first named the island in the 1790s. Boaters should check their charts frequently and pay particular attention to Clements Reef on the north shore of Sucia, as well as the entrances to Ewing Cove, Fox Cove, and Shallow Bay. There is a long reef which extends to the west of Little Sucia Island. Reefs also extend outward from Ev Henry Point, North and South Finger islands, and the Cluster Islands.

  1. Activities
  2. Camping
  3. History
  4. Maps

Picnic & day-use facilities

The park offers 25 picnic sites, five picnic shelters, potable drinking water at Fossil Bay early April through September, Echo Bay and Shallow Bay May through September and composting toilets. Day-use areas may be reserved nine months in advance online or by calling (888) 226-7688.

Activities

Trails

  • 10 miles of hiking trails

Water activities & features

  • 640 feet of dock
  • Boating
  • Diving
  • Fishing (saltwater)

Additional information