Address

http://portfridayharbor.org/jackson...
Off Pear Point Road, about a mile south of Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor , WA 98250
360-378-2688

Hours

Every day Dawn - Dusk

Review

Jackson’s Beach offers visitors an interesting contrast in recreation and wildlife viewing. As you drive into the park, the isolated Argyle Lagoon on your right (see article this website) is a wildlife preserve. On the seaward side is a long continuous strip of sand and driftwood offering plenty of opportunities for beach play: picnics, volleyball, paddle sports, boat races, windsurfing and in the warmer summer months, swimming. At the bottom of the sand spit is a public boat launch with a floating dock.

The bottom of the spit was actually part of what was once a separate island, appropriately named Little Island. This location saw many uses over the years. At one time or other you could find an active cannery, fishery support including the historic net shed, and small boat launching and landing facilities. Now recreation rather than commercial interest is the focus. Even nature has been somewhat subdued with the Port of Friday Harbor stabilizing the spit and maintaining the paved road that now connects it with the former island.

The beach faces fully on Griffin Bay which is somewhat protected but still it manages to catch just about everything that the prevailing southerly winds throw up this way. Great for kite-flying and sail-boarding it can also be a boon for beach walkers looking for treasures freshly deposited on the sandy beach or up in the driftwood border marking the high tide and storm line.

During the summer months and the generally calmer weather, local paddle clubs hold evening races here. Launching from Jackson’s Beach they race round nearby Dinner Island winning vouchers for free meals (mostly dinners of course) at local restaurants. The protected cove near the boat launch also means that fishing boats and paddlers alike can get in and out of the water with some protection from whatever is happening in the larger bay. The Cascadia Marine Trail lists this as an official trailhead and you’ll often see day trippers departing or returning to this site. The short distance to Griffin Bay Marine Park, the northern beaches and lagoons of American Camp, and Turn Island just around the point make this a popular launch site.

While not known for the wildlife viewing of neighboring Argyle Lagoon, this is in fact a wonderful place to observe the many seabirds rafting on the calmer waters of Griffin Bay. Among these don’t be surprised to find the legendary Marbled Murrelets. These dark feathered bullets gather up fingerling fish and then fly up to 50 miles inland to their young perched high in the giant trees found only in old-growth forests. After only a few moments of quality time with their young, it’s back to the sea again and another 50 miles. What a day.

While the beach park is for daytime use only, the port of Friday Harbor generously accommodates after-hours users for special events providing they obtain the necessary permits beforehand. The closest beach to Friday Harbor and a favorite for many residents, you’ll usually find some kind of activity here yet in the shoulder seasons don’t be surprised if you have the beach all to yourself.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 9/10/2009

Directions

One way to reach Jackson’s Beach from Friday Harbor is to make a scenic loop of the drive. From Friday Harbor, follow Harrison Street east which soon merges with Warbuss Way and then becomes Turn Point Road. The road winds around the Madrona Peninsula eventually becomes Pear Point Road and at about 4 ½ miles from Friday Harbor turn left into the obvious and signed park entrance.

Features

Bathrooms | BBQ Grills | Parking | Picnic Area | Picnic Tables | Sandy Beach

Map

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