James Island Marine State Park

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James Island Marine State Park sits low on the horizon, small and unassuming next to its neighbors in the San Juan archipelago. This tiny marine state park, accessible only by boat, may be the ideal retreat.

Remote as it seems, James Island is not to be missed. Featuring emerald coves, forested trails, spectacular views and an isthmus with two white sand beaches, the park offers only 13 primitive campsites – three for travelers arriving by human- or wind-powered watercraft and 10 sites clustered in two areas on opposite sides of the isle, and moorage is available on both sides.

You've worked hard to get here. Now it is time to relax and experience the lightly touched beauty of this watery paradise.

Park features

James Island Marine State Park is a 581-acre, marine camping and moorage park with 12,335 feet of saltwater shoreline on Rosario Strait. Much of James Island has been designated a Natural Forest Area and is closed to public access, except for designated recreational areas and 1.5 miles of high bluff trails with extraordinary views.

Boating features

Located in San Juan County on Puget Sound, James Island has four mooring buoys in the East Cove. Mooring buoys remain in place year-round. Moorage fees are charged year round from 1:00 PM to 8:00 AM on a first come, first served basis. All boaters must self-register and pay required fees upon arrival. Boaters must also pay for boats rafted to another boat. Boaters need to obey rafting limits posted on mooring buoys. West Cove has a dock with a 128-foot moorage float (256 linear feet). The dock remains in place year-round. 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.

James Island Moorage Thumbnail Opens in new window

Boat moorage

Latitude: 48º 30' 46.98" N (48.5130) Longitude: 122º 46' 23.88" W (-122.7733)

This park offers phone in buoy registration

How it works:

  • When you arrive at a buoy, call the number on the mooring ball.
  • Provide your buoy number and length of stay (3 nights maximum).
  • Pay with 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.
  1. Activities
  2. Camping
  3. History
  4. Maps

Picnic & day-use facilities

West Cove has a composting toilet, while East Cove has one pit toilet.



  • 1.5 miles of hiking trails

Water activities & features

  • Boating
  • Crabbing
  • Diving
  • Fishing (saltwater)
  • Oyster harvesting

Additional information

  • 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 and Wildlife.
  • San Juan Islands state park brochure (PDF).