Turn Island is a kayaker’s dream. With its pebble beaches and shoreside campsites, this marine state park is a social destination for the paddling crowd, or a quiet place in the off-season.
After beaching your kayak (or tying up to a mooring buoy and bringing your dinghy ashore), take some time to discover this interesting park.
The island’s perimeter trail, best taken counterclockwise, starts in a stand of madrone trees above a rocky beach, where blue herons share space with raccoons. The path goes up and down (trekking poles are recommended), boasting water views around every turn. A field of fuzzy mosses and lichens makes an excellent rest stop before rounding the final bend.
Set up camp on a small butte above the beach (first come, first served), or enjoy some chill time before paddling on through the islands, or to the nearby shops and eateries of Friday Harbor.
Turn Island is a 35-acre marine state park in the heart of the San Juan Island chain. The island is part of the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
Accessible only by boat, Turn Island is best reached via Jackson Beach on San Juan Island, or via Anacortes.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife owns the land, and Washington State Parks manages campsites and restrooms. Therefore, no pets or fires are allowed on this island.
There is no potable water on the island and visitors must pack out what they pack in.
Located on Puget Sound in San Juan County, Turn Island State Park offers three mooring buoys.
The main area to access the island is on the cove on the northwest harbor, near the mooring buoys. The cove to the west has a reef that extends out from the small island. It is not recommended to use this beach.
Latitude: 48° 32' 1.96" N (48.5338) Longitude: 122° 58' 27" W (-122.9741)
Moorage fees are charged year round from 1 p.m. to 8 a.m. All boaters must register and pay upon arrival. Boaters must also pay a fee for boats rafted to another boat.
Turn Island has 12 campsites and three buoys. This island is a wildlife refuge. Visitors should stay on designated hiking trails. Fires are not permitted. Camp stoves are allowed. Please do not disturb the wildlife.
The island was originally mapped as a point of land on San Juan Island by the Wilkes Expedition in 1841 and was named Point Salsbury. It was later found to be an island at a turn in San Juan Channel and was named Turn Island on British Admiralty charts of 1858-59. The island is part of the San Juan National Wildlife Refuge.