SAN JUAN ISLANDS
The Main Island
Also see . . .
Shaw Island is the smallest of the four San Juan Islands that are serviced by ferries from Anacortes, Washington. Nestled between the three other islands, Orcas, San Juan and Lopez, Shaw remains principally undeveloped, with almost no visitor amenities to speak of. Approximately 240 people reside on the island, comfortable in their resolve to keep Shaw pristine and quiet.
For those who enjoy tent camping, Shaw does offer camping services at the 64-acre Shaw Island County Park. Services for the 12 campsites are primitive but the view is worth the stay. Arrive early to ensure a spot, as there are no alternative lodging services.
The Shaw Island Historical Museum provides a birds-eye-view of the island's history. Visitors can peruse the museum's old photographs and displays which trace the community's lineage from its early days as a fishing camp. The island's one-room schoolhouse, which is on the Register of Historic Places, is not open to visitors but is worth admiring from the outside.
A country store provides a limited selection of amenities and artwork. Once run by a local Franciscan order of nuns, the store is the island's only commercial location other than the campground and the post office across the street.
Most visitors who come to Shaw are drawn by its exquisite views and peaceful setting. The San Juan Islands are known in general for recreational opportunities, which include kayaking, bicycling, beachcombing, sightseeing and kicking back. Ferry service is available between the neighboring islands, allowing for more choices in lodging, shopping, recreational tours and restaurants. For those who are self-equipped campers and enjoy experiencing nature however, the beauty of Shaw Island can't be beat.
Shaw General Store
Step back in time in this general store which was formerly operated by the Sisters, serving islanders and tourists at the ferry dock and features the Silver Bay Cafe, a deli and bakery. Phone: 360-468-2288.
The Franciscan Sisters
The Franciscan Sisters have served the people of the San Juan Islands starting in 1976 by operating Shaw Island's only general store and working as ferry agents. The Sisters' tradition of praying the Blessing of St. Francis for the people aboard each ferry as it departs the dock continued for 27 years. The ministry of the Sisters also included computer training, outdoor education for children's groups, counseling, and music instruction.
Shaw County Park
The only park on Shaw Island is located about 2 miles from Shaw ferry landing. There are 11 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings. This park is part of the Cascadia Marine Trail System. Beach access and a boat launch are also available.
Shaw Island Historical Society. PO Box 844, Shaw Island, WA 98286.
Writing and music/songwriting workshops and retreats held on waterfront property in the San Juan Islands, Washington
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Moon San Juan Islands: Including Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands. by Don Pitcher. Experience the San Juan Islands, from sea kayaking off Orcas Island to whale-watching near Victoria along with many other activities. Also includes information on dining, transportation and lodging. Order now...
The Essential San Juan Islands Guide by Marge Mueller and Ted Mueller. Twenty maps help you locate sites, and the Lodging at a Glance table saves you time and clarifies your overnight options. Information about how to get there and what to do once you arrive are categorized by island, and include icons. Order now...
Frommer's Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands by Chris McBeath. Insider tips from local expert authors including detailed maps, exact prices, directions, opening hours, and reviews of hotels and restaurants, plus sights, shopping, and nightlife, itineraries, walking tours, and trip-planning ideas. Order now...
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