Enjoying the Summer Afternoon



Information: Turn Island State Park is a 35-acre marine park with 16,000 feet of shoreline. The island is part of the San Juan National Wildlife Refuge.

Access: The park is accessible only by boat. The park is located 1.75 miles southeast of Friday Harbor in San Juan County . The closest access point is Jackson Beach on San Juan Island. The closest "mainland" access is Washington Park in Anacortes.

Comments: 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 land there.


CC"Do you suppose the map makers made a mistake?" El mused looking at the chart. "Seems it should be called Tern Island, after the beautiful small white 'swallow' of a gull that we have so enjoyed watching."

CCI checked various charts, and they all showed the name Turn for the small island on the horizon. So then I did some reading. "Yep, there was a mistake," I said. "The Wilkes Expedition, back in 1841, thought this was a point of land. He even named it Point Salsbury."

"Point Salsbury off the starboard bow, sir ... err ... Make that Turn Island, sir"

CC"Sure looks like an island from this perspective, doesn't it?"

CC"Yep. But after months at sea, I suppose sailors who saw mermaids could mistake an island for a point."

CC"Let's check it out," El said. "We need to go ashore, stretch our legs, and enjoy the wrestle with the dinghy."

CCAnd so we did ... well, we didn't enjoy the dinghy tussle, but that's just part of the day. We discovered that it is not only an island, but a delightful place to come ashore. There are delightful camping places and beautiful well-groomed trails.

CCAnd, Obviously, There is lots of Wildlife, Some Sit on the Sign

CCWe had come upon another of the gems in the State Park System, and we sure recommend it for others cruising in the Friday Harbor area. Here are some of the delights ashore:


A Great Wildlife Area, Fine Trails, and Campsites at the Beach

Watching the World Go By, From the Grassy Point

CCThe only drawback to a visit to Turn Island, that we could find, is the strong currents around the island that make anchoring overnight somewhat risky. There are three park buoys to use and then take the dinghy to shore. Or, drop off the kids with the dinghy, let them camp on 'their' island, and then the 'grownups' head off to Friday Harbor (only a few miles away) to do "there thing."

Swinging "On the Ball"


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