Spencer Spit State Park
Looking for an island camping park you can get to by car? Spencer Spit, on Lopez Island, may be just what you had in mind.
One of the few auto-access state parks in the San Juan Islands, Spencer Spit provides dramatic, east-facing views of Decatur and Blakely islands and features a rare sand spit enclosed by a salt-chuck lagoon.
The park offers crabbing, clamming, saltwater fishing, swimming, diving, bird and wildlife viewing and 2 miles of hiking trails. Families visiting this kid-friendly park between July 5 and Labor Day can enjoy a Junior Ranger interpretive program. The park, which is on the Cascadia Marine Trail, caters to boaters off all kinds. Amenities include kayak rentals and moorage for those who prefer to sleep in the comfort of their vessels, as well as large private campsites and primitive sites for hikers, bikers and kayakers.
You can either go minimalist, or pack all those car or boat-camping luxuries, and head for your next island getaway at Spencer Spit State Park.
Ferry reservations: Washington State Ferries accepts reservations for the San Juan Island routes. Reservation information can be on found their website.
Spencer Spit State Park is a 200-acre marine and camping park on Lopez Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The park has a reputation for excellent crabbing, clamming and car-top boating.
Use our interactive ADA recreation map to search for other state parks with ADA amenities and facilities
Picnic & day-use facilities The park provides three picnic shelters without electricity. One shelter is reservable and includes four picnic tables, a barbecue grill, fire pit and water spigot. The other two picnic shelters include two picnic tables each.
- 2 miles of hiking trails
Water activities & features
- Fishing (saltwater)
Other activities & features
- Beach exploration
- Bird watching
- Fire circle
- Wildlife viewing
- Outdoor Adventure Center rents sea kayaks, SUP boards, and bicycles as well as everything that goes with it (paddles, helmets, PFDs, etc). They are available for rentals and tours from May through Labor Day and weekends in September. For pricing and tour reservations, visit their website.
- 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.
- Printable park brochure (PDF).
- San Juan Islands state park brochure (PDF).
Located in San Juan County on San Juan Islands, Spencer Spit offers 11 moorage buoys on the Cascadia Marine Trail. There are eight buoys on the north side of the spit and three on the south side of the spit.
Moorage fees are charged year round for mooring at docks, floats, and buoys from 1 p.m. to 8 a.m. Moorage permits are available at parks offering moorage.
Latitude: 48º 32' 23" N (48.5397) Longitude: 122º 51' 15.84" W (-122.8544)
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 a 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 37 standard campsites, seven hiker/biker sites, one dump station and two restrooms. There are no showers or hookups. There are Cascadia Marine Trail sites available to those arriving to the park by wind- or human-powered watercraft.. Most of the park's tent sites are large and private. Seven walk-in beach sites have limited privacy. Campers may enter the grounds until 10 p.m.
Check-in time is 2:30 p.m.
Check-out time is 1 p.m.
The park provides three group camps. G1 is for tent camping only and accommodates up to 24 guests and has three walk-in sites, one of which is an Adirondack (three-sided) shelter with eight bunks. G3 is for tent camping only and accommodates up to 24 guests. The site includes a kitchen shelter with electrical outlet, water spigot, and three picnic tables. There is a pedestal barbeque and a fire pit. This site accommodates a kitchen trailer, six tents and four vehicles.
Reservations & fees
Services & supplies
The island is serviced by Lopez Island Medical Center.
Spencer Spit State Park sits on the traditional territory of the Central Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Samish tribe, which originally hunted and fished in the area and used the abundant cedar wood for clothing, shelter and canoes.
The spit was originally homesteaded in the 1870s by Katherine and Franklin Troxell. The Spencer family acquired the area in the late 1800s. Spencer Spit was sold to the state of Washington by the Spencer family in 1967. The log cabin on the point was built between 1913 and 1920. The cabin was patterned after the pioneer cabins used by early settlers. In 1976, it was removed due to extensive rot, and rebuilt then and again in 2009. It now serves as a picnic shelter with tables and interpretive panels.