A camping forum for VW bus and camper owners.
I am in the process of planning our first family camping road trip for this summer to the San Juans from SF. I've done considerable camping in the Olympics but never made it up to the islands... any other thoughts? Camping with two small children so I suppose showers and stuff like that would be better.
I read the previous post and looks great..
Any other ideas? Places to avoid?
Ferry Logistics? ( was thinking of launching from Port angles without going to Canada, Passports for the Babies and such sounds like a headache, but looks impossible)
Moran State Park is good. I remember the ferry schedules being easy to deal with and very peaceful. Fun to sit and drink and watch the boats go by. We went to Lopez Island as well which is pretty sparse but awesome. Not sure about camping there - we stayed in a little cabin.
I posted this to the facebook page. There are a few links there: http://www.facebook.com/VWCamperFamily
Adam, I live right here in Seattle and travel up to the islands regularly. It depends on the time of your trip. You can make it to the San Juans from Port Angeles, but be aware you will be traveling to Canada no matter what if you do it that way. You'll also be traveling on two separate Ferry systems, the Black Ball line from Port Angeles is not a traditional Washington State Ferry - which services the islands. Once you arrive in Victoria B.C. (which is very beautiful) you'll then head north on Vancouver Island to the town of Sidney where you can catch a WSF. Both times you'll be doing customs and they frankly don't like Vans for some reason. (I get stopped every time I cross the border, and TSA will want to know why you are traveling this way too). If you do go this route I strongly urge you to think about traveling west along the South shore of Vancouver Island (Hwy 14) they have extremely nice campgrounds and the parks and shoreline are simply stunning. Juan De Fuca Provincial Park is one of my favorites - out of the way and spectacular rugged beaches. Point no Point resort (just outside of Victoria) is small provincial and rates high for its cuisine all grown in the gardens at the resort.
Your best bet for the islands is to leave from Anacortes, Wa which is the central point for all inter-island ferries. The summer is VERY crowded most any time of the week. Weekends are near to impossible. Don't be surprised by a 4 - 6 hour wait to get on a ferry. If a ferry leaves at 2:00 be in line by 10:00 - no joke. Last summer I got in line at 10:15 for a 2:00 (on a weekday) and missed it. The next ferry was at 6:00. The islands (especially Orcas) are spectacular so I don't wish to put you off on them! Just be prepared and expect to wait. Moran State park is nice but usually crowded - try to avoid weekends. Drive to the top of Mount Constitution on Orcas - at 2,400 feet above the islands they are set like jewels on the strait. Amazing and a must see. There are a couple of lesser trod places if you wish to avoid the crowds. Lopez island is nearly deserted it seems in comparison. It has a county and a state park on it. It is less served by the ferries but worth the peace and quite. Also in Anacortes there is Quemes Island served by a small non-WSF county ferry. There is no camping on the island but a small resort at the north tip is quite and quaint. I hope that helps you in your travels! -P
So I just reserved the campsites.. 3 nights in the Olympics 4 nights on Orca at Moran and 3 nights on Lopez @ spencer spit.
Amazed how full the island sights were, only 2-3 sights left for the end of July.
also only travleing on Ferries on the week days..
thanks for all the feedback.
here is the Route i will be taking if anyone is interested.
I know this is an old thread, but in case others wander to it, I'd like to offer two more San Juan Island camping possibilities. Reservations are difficult to get in the summer, but even in "off-season" months these are worth visiting:
1. San Juan County Park, San Juan Island -- gorgeous views of Haro Strait, a main thoroughfare for resident Orca pods and (sometimes, if you're lucky) their babies. The park is popular for kayaking, and if you arrange ahead of time, you can rent a kayak and paddle around the Strait and nearby shorelines. Nice beaches, beautiful sunsets, close to Roche Harbor for good restaurants and supplies.
2. Shaw Island County Park, Shaw Island -- the smallest of the state ferry-served islands, Shaw is quiet and lovely. There is no gas station and very few cars. The County Park is beachside, south-facing, with a good kayak landing. Waterfront campsites are $20/night. While you're there, travel west a mile or two to the Cedar Rock Biological Preserve, owned by the University of Washington. This property is 370 acres of pure bliss and beauty, with very few tourists. Trails, beaches, views, quiet. Simply amazing.
There are other San Juan camping venues but these are the best, IMHO.