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Old 11-29-2016, 10:03 PM   #1
T&R
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San Juan Islands

Has anybody camped in the San Juan Islands? Any suggestions on where to camp and what to see?

Thanks
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Old 11-29-2016, 10:50 PM   #2
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Has anybody camped in the San Juan Islands? Any suggestions on where to camp and what to see?

Thanks
If you are going to the San Jaun's, this is the time of year to do it. The ferry fare jumps significantly late spring.

On Orcas Island, camp at Morain State Park. It is on a lake and at the base of Mt. Constitution. Take your tow vehicle to the top and climb up the lookout tower made by the CCC in the 30's. The stone work, and historical displays on the way up are worth pausing to catch your breath. But then at the top, (assuming a clear day) the views are amazing! Mt. Baker to Mt. Rainier, Vancouver Island, Victoria, Bellingham and if not hazy, the Olympic Mountains. Well worth the trip. Back down at camp, it is a short drive to the town of Eastsound. Lots of little shops and restaurants. Some may be closed as this is the off season, but for local color, stop into the Lower Tavern for brews and decent pub food.

San Juan Island has many cultural attractions but not many camping facilities. I would suggest that you keep your base camp on Orcas, then drive to the ferry, park, and walk on for a day trip to San Juan. The Wale Watching museum is worth a visit. Cafes, shops and a busy marina are all within walking distance of the the ferry dock.

Lopez Island is more laid back. Spencer Spit State Park as camping. It is quiet and laid back with trails and beach walks. Lopez Island is rural without a town to speak of but that is its charm.

Good luck!
Arnie
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Old 12-03-2016, 01:21 PM   #3
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Thank you for the reply. We're actually planning for September of next year. Unfortunately we'd be inside the peak season and ferry pricing. We'd like to stay on Orcas Island at Moran State Park but campsites there look less developed with mostly tent sites that may not accommodate a trailer. There are some (at least one) "resorts" that are RV friendly but we'd prefer not to be stacked in like cord wood. Also I've read that loading/unloading of the ferry at low tide may be problematic regarding approach angles of loading ramps.

Overall there doesn't seem to be a lot of information online (posts/blogs) about people RV/trailer camping on the San Juan's.

Lots to consider.

Otherwise it sounds great with lots to see and do.

Trenton

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Originally Posted by arniesea View Post
If you are going to the San Jaun's, this is the time of year to do it. The ferry fare jumps significantly late spring.

On Orcas Island, camp at Morain State Park. It is on a lake and at the base of Mt. Constitution. Take your tow vehicle to the top and climb up the lookout tower made by the CCC in the 30's. The stone work, and historical displays on the way up are worth pausing to catch your breath. But then at the top, (assuming a clear day) the views are amazing! Mt. Baker to Mt. Rainier, Vancouver Island, Victoria, Bellingham and if not hazy, the Olympic Mountains. Well worth the trip. Back down at camp, it is a short drive to the town of Eastsound. Lots of little shops and restaurants. Some may be closed as this is the off season, but for local color, stop into the Lower Tavern for brews and decent pub food.

San Juan Island has many cultural attractions but not many camping facilities. I would suggest that you keep your base camp on Orcas, then drive to the ferry, park, and walk on for a day trip to San Juan. The Wale Watching museum is worth a visit. Cafes, shops and a busy marina are all within walking distance of the the ferry dock.

Lopez Island is more laid back. Spencer Spit State Park as camping. It is quiet and laid back with trails and beach walks. Lopez Island is rural without a town to speak of but that is its charm.

Good luck!
Arnie
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Old 12-03-2016, 03:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by T&R View Post
Thank you for the reply. We're actually planning for September of next year. Unfortunately we'd be inside the peak season and ferry pricing. We'd like to stay on Orcas Island at Moran State Park but campsites there look less developed with mostly tent sites that may not accommodate a trailer. There are some (at least one) "resorts" that are RV friendly but we'd prefer not to be stacked in like cord wood. Also I've read that loading/unloading of the ferry at low tide may be problematic regarding approach angles of loading ramps.

Overall there doesn't seem to be a lot of information online (posts/blogs) about people RV/trailer camping on the San Juan's.

Lots to consider.

Otherwise it sounds great with lots to see and do.

Trenton
There is plenty of room for trailers at Moran as long as you have a reservation. You have to "boon dock" as there are no hookups but with an escape trailer that is not really an issue. There is a dump station at the park entrance so you can easily dump your tanks as you leave.

Loading off and on the ferry is also not an issue with your 21' Escape and a Tundra. The only folks that have loading issue are those with 30' or larger trailers. My sister lives on Orcas and I go up there all the time. Never had an issue with bottoming out. Granted, I park my trailer on her land, but love to go to Moran for hikes and swimming in the lake.
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Old 12-03-2016, 06:21 PM   #5
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I have taken the Washington State Ferry system with my trailer, on the short hop from Coupeville to Port Townsend. I didn't have any problems with entry/exit angles. The ferry people did measure the total length of my truck+trailer, though; it was 39 feet, one inch. Forty feet or longer merits a higher fare.

I've been to the San Juan Islands several times, but without my trailer. I wondered about how feasible it is to camp at Moran State Park. Now that I know, I may have to give it a shot sometime.
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:08 PM   #6
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Depending on your inclinations, Doe Bay Resort may be an attractive destination on Orcas.
https://doebay.com

Bob-o
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:46 AM   #7
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Few of our favorite places in San Juans

We have visited San Juans many times. First as bicycle tourist and tent camping in primative campsites at Spencer Spit on Lopez. Lopez island is our favorite. Odlind County park and Spencer Spit state park both lovely spots to camp. On Lopez check out Sharks Reef, bicycling, beachcombing, restaurants and.farmer market.

Orcas has Mt Constitution, Moran St Park but but also check Doe Bay, a old hippie resort.

San Juan has shopping at Friday Harbor and good vistas for seeing Orca whales.

All islands are picturesque, offer opportunities for bicycling, sea kayaking, beach combing, and exploring, Every visit we discover new places and things to do.

Consider staying at Washington Park near the Anacortes ferry landing and taking ferry out to islands as day trip in your tow vehicle or as foot or bicycle passengers.
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Old 12-04-2016, 12:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by NellieFlower View Post
We have visited San Juans many times. First as bicycle tourist and tent camping in primative campsites at Spencer Spit on Lopez. Lopez island is our favorite. Odlind County park and Spencer Spit state park both lovely spots to camp. On Lopez check out Sharks Reef, bicycling, beachcombing, restaurants and.farmer market.

Orcas has Mt Constitution, Moran St Park but but also check Doe Bay, a old hippie resort.

San Juan has shopping at Friday Harbor and good vistas for seeing Orca whales.

All islands are picturesque, offer opportunities for bicycling, sea kayaking, beach combing, and exploring, Every visit we discover new places and things to do.

Consider staying at Washington Park near the Anacortes ferry landing and taking ferry out to islands as day trip in your tow vehicle or as foot or bicycle passengers.
Gotta get there sometime... sounds lovely.
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Old 12-04-2016, 02:04 PM   #9
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On 1974 we stayed at Rosario's Resort & Spa on Orcas Island and enjoyed it so much we came back another time. Great food, dancing and relaxation, surrounded by the beauty Orcas has to offer. I remember driving up Mt. Constitution in my Datsun 510 after a snow storm, plowing through almost a foot of snow with my chains.
Then came a mortgage and kids, and we haven't been back. I was just checking reviews on TripAdvisor and it appears they still offer a great experience. If we pull our Escape to Orcas one of these days, I would be inclined to book a dinner there (they no longer offer dancing) and see if they might offer a day pass to their pools.

Bob K
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Old 12-05-2016, 01:47 AM   #10
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Has anybody camped in the San Juan Islands? Any suggestions on where to camp and what to see?

Thanks
We picked up a 21 last April and our first and second trips were to the San Juans. We stayed at the Fildago Bay RV Resort. It is a very nice park located on the waterfront just outside of Anacortes. The sites are level and well groomed. There's a paved bike/walking path from the park into Anacortes. Due to the high cost of taking a trailer on the ferry we stayed at the park and rode our bikes to the ferry for day trips to the islands. Note, Guemes Island is also part of the San Juans and is a great place for a bike ride or a hike up Guemes Mountain and the ferry is only about $5 round trip for a bike. I checked out Washington Park Campground and would not go there. Most sites are difficult to enter and many are rutted dirt. If you go to the Fidalgo Bay Resort take the route going just into Anacortes then back (east) to the park. The first exit off hwy 20 requires a hairpin right turn most trailers can't make.
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