Hike and Camp at James Island

Rate this Adventure Washington James Island State Park

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Kayaking, Hiking, Diving

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

Family Friendly
Picnic Area

Hiking, camping, and kayaking. Wake up in your tent on a bluff above the waters of Rosario Straight with views of the San Juan Islands and Mount Baker! Boat-in only, 13 campsites available on first come first serve basis. 1.5 miles of hiking loop trails.

If you're looking for a weekend camping getaway to a small San Juan Island and you have a boat of substantial size or experience sea kayaking, this is the adventure for you!

Launch your boat from Washington Park in Anacortes and cruise or sea kayak across Rosario Straight to James Island. There is one dock on the west side of the island that fills up quick, so plan to arrive early to guarantee a dock space! On the east side of the island, there are three mooring buoys you can tie up to as well.

The 1.5 mile hiking loop provides dramatic views of Mount Baker, North Cascades, and the San Juan Islands. Keep an eye out for whales and sea otters while you're hiking!

If you're interested in fishing or shellfish harvesting from this island, make sure to pick up your recreational license and check regulations at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife before the trip.

There are 13 campsites located at 3 different places around James Island. Sites 1-4 are located in the East cove where there is one pit toilet. Sites 5-10 are located between the West and East cove. You will find a picnic shelter, two picnic sites, and composting toilets here. Sites 11-13 are located above West cove are are specifically reserved for those arriving by human or wind-powered watercraft. There is a pit toilet at these sites, too. There is no potable water on the island or garbage service, so plan to pack it in, pack it out! For more information regarding camping at James Island, check out: Washington State Parks

Happy exploring!

Pack List

Hiking Gear:

  • Osprey Mira 26 Hydration Pack
  • Lowa boots
  • Extra clothing layers (waterproof shell, fleece)
  • Headlamp
  • First aid
  • Extra food & hydration (reminder: there is no potable water or garbage services on this island! Pack it in, pack it out!)
  • Camera!

Overnight Camping Gear:

  • Tent, tarp, stakes, hammer
  • Sleeping pads, sleeping bags, pillows
  • Extra blankets!
  • Lantern
  • Flashlights
  • Extra sleepwear for chilly nights on the island!
  • Personal items: toilet paper, sunscreen, lip balm, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, & sunglasses

Camp Kitchen Essentials:

  • Cook stove, fuel, skillet, utensils, aeropress french press, percolator, plates, cups, cooler & ice, biodegradable soap, sponge, & wash bucket.
  • Food for the trip & extra snacks!

Boating Gear:

  • Map & compass
  • Flotation devices for all aboard
  • Anchor
  • Extra rope to tie up at dock
  • Emergency supplies
  • Other boating equipment for 2 day adventure (this is not a complete list)
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