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San Juan Island Parks & Shorelines

San Juan Island is full of beautiful parks and beaches — perfect for a picnic, a hike, or beachcombing. As you explore these favorite parks and shorelines, be sure to Leave No Trace and obey all park signage. Thank you for helping protect and preserve the Islands for future generations.

Stop 1
Jackson Beach
Stop 2
John O. Linde Park
Stop 3
Cattle Point Lighthouse
Stop 4
South Beach, San Juan Island National Historical Park
Stop 5
American Camp, San Juan Island National Historical Park
Stop 6
Jakle's Lagoon & Mt. Finlayson, San Juan Island National Historical Park
Stop 7
English Camp, San Juan Island National Historical Park
Stop 8
Young Hill & Bell Point, San Juan Island National Historical Park
Stop 9
San Juan County Park
Stop 10
Lime Kiln Point State Park & Lighthouse
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Jackson Beach

Jackson Beach is a long, sandy beach just two miles from downtown Friday Harbor - 5 minutes by car, or a 20-minute walk. Take a stroll among the driftwood, enjoy a picnic, or make a bonfire and watch the sunset. A boat launch and small dock make it an easy place to get a small boat in the water.  

To get to Jackson Beach from downtown Friday Harbor though a Spring Street and take a left onto Argyle Street ( the main three way intersection in town ) and follow it up and down a hill past the fairgrounds. Take a left onto Pear Point Road and follow it for roughly one half mile... you will see Jackson Beach and Peninsula on your right hand side. If you don't turn off to Jackson Beach you can continue on the scenic drive around the point which will put you back in Friday Harbor.

Large beach with picnic tables and a shelter
Close to Friday Harbor, ample parking
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John O. Linde Park

John O. Linde Community Park is an extensive community project consisting of athletic fields, a playground, and a one-mile loop walking trail. The park is open for public use from 7:00 am until dusk. During summer months, 9:00 pm is the latest time the park may be occupied. Dogs must always be on a leash! Please pick up after your dog.  

No BBQ use is allowed at John O. Linde Community Park unless attached to an already occurring event and with proper paperwork.  Private BBQ Use Form 

1 mile paved walking loops
Playground and sport fields open 7am — dusk
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Cattle Point Lighthouse

The Department of Natural Resource's Cattle Point Interpretive Area is just past the Cattle Point Lighthouse. Cattle appeared at the point in 1853, when the Hudson's Bay Company established a ranch on the southern end of the island. This lighthouse was built in 1935, but a navigational lantern has been on watch here since 1888. Look for deer, eagles and marine mammals such as seals and sea lions from the shelter, picnic area and beach below.

Narrow, easy trails to the lighthouse
Limited parking
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South Beach, San Juan Island National Historical Park

South Beach in San Juan Island National Historical Park is the longest public beach in the islands, with views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains. All along this pristine two-mile pebble-and-sand beach, a wide swath of massive driftwood has washed up and been bleached in the sun for decades. A wonderful place to take photos, enjoy a brisk walk for exercise, or a slow stroll for beachcombing, South Beach also has broad golden hills where eagles and hawks reel, rabbits forage and red foxes hunt at sunset, a historic “redoubt” or temporary fortification made during the Pig War conflict between the American and English troops from 1859 to 1871—a standoff during which no shots were fired. Now, the only flames you’ll see are the summer bonfires at sunset as locals and visitors gather to enjoy this stunning and special place.

2 miles of walkable beach
Driftwood & pebble beach
Picnic tables & fire rings available
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American Camp, San Juan Island National Historical Park

At the south end of the island lie the prairie and forest of American Camp, home to U.S. soldiers during the U.S./British occupation in the mid-1800s.

As of September 2019, the 42-year-old visitor center closed in preparation for the construction of a new, permanent facility on the site. Now, a new, lasting facility greets visitors with books and guides to island history and wildlife. Ranger-led nature and history walks take place on weekends from June through August. Here you’ll find some historic points of interest, including an earthen fortress/lookout called the Redoubt, historic buildings, and stunning prairies.

Several miles of trails take you through grassy prairies scattered with rocky outcrops, and down to South Beach, the longest public beach in the islands, with views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains. Other trails lead up 285-foot Mount Finlayson with views of Cattle Point Lighthouse, and down to Jakle’s Lagoon and 4th of July Beach.

A seasonal residence of more than 200 species of migratory birds, American Camp is home to a nesting pair of bald eagles, an abundance of red foxes, orcas and other marine mammals that are frequent visitors to the waters off South Beach. The park is located about a 15-minute drive south of Friday Harbor.

Multiple trails of varying difficulty
Visitor Center & ample parking
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Jakle's Lagoon & Mt. Finlayson, San Juan Island National Historical Park

Named after the first Cattle Point lighthouse keeper, George Jakle, Jakle's Lagoon is located just south of the Fourth of July Beach on Cattle Point and is part of the San Juan Island National Historical Park. A forest loop hike takes you to the top of Mt. Finlayson, with a beautiful view of Cattle Point Lighthouse towards Lopez Island.

With expansive views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, lush forests, and lagoon beaches, these trails feature a variety of ecosystems that make San Juan Island unique. Options for shorter or longer routes make this an ideal destination for hikers of all ages and skill levels.

Multiple trails of varying difficulty
Limited parking
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English Camp, San Juan Island National Historical Park

Spend a little time on San Juan Island and you’re almost certain to hear about "The Pig War," which in 1859 led to a 12-year joint British/U.S. occupation of the island while the two nations argued over who owned the San Juans. The Royal Marines lived at English Camp, at the north end of the island, and a few buildings, a formal garden, and a cemetery remain from their time here.

Today, this beautiful day-use park on the shores of Garrison Bay includes a small, seasonal visitors’ center and trails that range from a fairly strenuous hike up Young Hill to the cemetery and beyond to an easy 45-minute loop through woodland and along the bay. On Saturdays from June through August, park rangers and volunteers recreate some of the skills of military and civilian life during the island’s early pioneer period; for an entire weekend in July, the park hosts a reenactment of life in the mid-19th-century camp. The park is located about 9 miles from Friday Harbor, 5 miles from Roche Harbor; served by San Juan Transit shuttles late May through early September.

National Historical Park with summer visitor center
Multiple trails of varying difficulties
Adjacent to Young Hill hiking trails
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Young Hill & Bell Point, San Juan Island National Historical Park

If you want to wear hiking boots, experience some history, and see views that take your breath away, tackle Mount Young. Situated at the north end of the island, the 650-foot summit offers unmatched panoramas of San Juan, Canada’s Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, and beyond. Pick up the trailhead across the road from English Camp, occupied by the British in 1860 and find traces of its history on Mount Young itself—watch for the 1860s Royal Marine Cemetery.

The trail rises at a steady gradient, with plenty of places for you to stop, catch your breath, and drink in the views, which get more and more rewarding as you climb. The forest of evergreens, madrones, and oaks thins to a clearing at the summit. You’ll see several varieties of wildflowers in the spring. If you’ve brought lunch, settle down and enjoy some of the best views in the area. You have the world at your feet.

Young Hill features steep trails to scenic look-outs
Bell Point Loop features flat trails with water views
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San Juan County Park

On the island’s west side, about 10 miles from Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor, you’ll find the popular 12-acre San Juan County Park, where you can camp on the coast of Haro Strait and enjoy views of the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island. Find your own rocky bluff, explore the gravel beaches and tide pools, watch for whales, picnic and play in the meadow or the short cliffside trails, or launch your kayak in the waters of Smallpox Bay, where First Peoples waded to cool their fevers. In 1998, Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock used the beach for the film Practical Magic. There are twenty campsites, with amenities including water, flush toilets, a small picnic shelter, picnic tables, a beach, and boat launch. Reservations are strongly recommended from May to September.

Beach access & picnic tables
Camping available with reservation
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Lime Kiln Point State Park & Lighthouse

Also known as Whale Watch Park, Lime Kiln Point State Park is a 36-acre day-use park with an iconic lighthouse set on the west side of San Juan Island. The park is considered one of the best places in the world to view whales from land. The shoreline viewpoint is about a 300-yard walk from the parking lot, restrooms, and seasonal interpretive center. Orca whales are common in the waters off Lime Kiln. The park, which features a richly diverse environment, includes the remnants and landscapes of a history filled with change, along the rocky shoreline and through the wooded uplands. Minke whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions, otters and bald eagles also cruise the shoreline. The lighthouse was built in 1919 and still serves as a navigational beacon for ships in the Haro Strait. Interpretive programs, an interpretive center with gift shop and lighthouse tours are available during the summer months.  For more information on weddings and special events at Lime Kiln Point State Park, contact Friends of Lime Kiln Society. Revenues generated from the Lighthouse Special Events Program contribute to the maintenance and support of the lighthouse and the park.

Multiple hiking trails of varying difficulties
Historic kilns & educational wayside panels
Summer marine interpretive center
Jackson Beach
John O. Linde Park
Cattle Point Lighthouse
South Beach, San Juan Island National Historical Park
American Camp, San Juan Island National Historical Park
Jakle's Lagoon & Mt. Finlayson, San Juan Island National Historical Park
English Camp, San Juan Island National Historical Park
Young Hill & Bell Point, San Juan Island National Historical Park
San Juan County Park
Lime Kiln Point State Park & Lighthouse
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San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
info@visitsanjuans.com
1-888-468-3701 | (360) 378-9551
P.O. Box 1330, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250
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