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Clark Island Marine State Park
Are you craving a day at the beach on your San Juan island vacation?
Head out to Clark Island for your choice of fine-grained sand or warm gray pebbles.
Midway between Orcas and Lummi islands, this long stretch of land is the perfect napping, camping or relaxation spot after a big day of boating or paddling.
First-come, first-served campsites sit on the east side's pea gravel strand. A short walk to the island's west side leads to a sandy beach bookended by large rocks.
Sunsets here are spectacular, even on partly cloudy evenings, and watching the sunrise from your tent on the beach cannot be beat.
Once you've had a restorative visit, whether for an afternoon or a night, you'll be reinvigorated and ready to sail or paddle forward on your San Juan island adventure.
Accessible only by boat, Clark Island Marine State Park is a 55-acre marine camping and moorage park with 11,292 feet of saltwater shoreline on the Strait of Georgia. Boaters anchoring offshore or using the park moorage buoys should be aware of the strong currents on the west side of the island. The east side moorage area is subject to large waves created by passing commercial shipping in Rosario Strait.
Bug repellent is recommended into September, particularly for those using the more shaded camp spots. Cellular phone service is often available here, as Clark Island is close to a cell tower on Orcas.
Picnic & day-use facilities
There are two picnic sites on the west side of the island with a sandy beach area.
Water activities & features
- Fishing (saltwater)
- A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- San Juan Islands state park brochure (PDF).
Located in San Juan County on Puget Sound, Clark Island features nine moorage buoys, six on the east side of the island, three on the west side. No vessels over 45 feet long permitted on buoys.
Moorage fees are charged year-round from 1:00 PM to 8:00 AM on a first come, first served basis. All boaters must self-register and pay required fees upon arrival. Boaters must also pay for boats rafted to another boat. Boaters need to obey rafting limits posted on mooring buoys.
There is no garbage service at any of the state parks marine parks. Park visitors need to pack out what they pack in. Additional information can be found in the Boating Program.
Latitude: 48º 41' 50.99" N (48.6975) Longitude: 122º 45' 49.96" W (-122.7638)
This park offers phone in buoy registration
How it works:
- When you arrive at a buoy, call the phone number on the mooring ball.
- Provide your buoy number and length of stay (3 nights maximum).
- Pay with credit or debit card or provide your Annual Boat Moorage permit number.
- There is a $4.50 convenience fee to register by phone.
- All buoys are first come, first served and $15 per night.
The park has 15 campsites, one composting toilet and two vault toilets. Camping is available on a first come, first served basis. The nearest fuel and limited groceries are at Blakely Island Marina. Campsites are open year round. Campsites 1-6 and 14 and 15 accommodate up to eight campers, campsites 7-13 accommodate up to four campers.
For fee information, check out our camping rates page.
Clark Island was first charted by Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza in 1791. In Eliza's map, Clark Island and neighboring Barnes Island were named Islas de Aguays after the Viceroy of Mexico.
The present name was established by Charles Wilkes during the United States Exploring Expedition of 1841. Commander Wilkes, an American explorer and naval officer, named the island for midshipman John Clark, who was killed in Perry's Battle of Lake Erie.
Clark Island was briefly homesteaded beginning in the late 1800s before being set aside by the federal government as a lighthouse reservation in 1932. The island was acquired by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission in 1964 from the Bureau of Land Management.