Pickett Lane
Friday Harbor , WA 98250


Every day Dawn - Dusk


People head to the San Juan Islands from other parts of the world to get away from it all. But if being on an island doesn't feel secluded enough, head for San Juan Island's South Beach. Located along the southern flank of American Camp on the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, this sand, rock, and driftwood haven of peace is the longest stretch of public beach in the San Juan Islands.

At 2 miles long, South Beach is perfect for those long, contemplative walks in the sand. Ponder life's possibilites while gazing at the wall of Olympic Mountains reaching up to tickle the sky. If you're lucky, a pod or two of Orcas might swim by and treat you to its leaping, spouting, spy-hopping show.

Heading west (right) from the South Beach Parking lot, the tide level will determine just how much sand and how much rock you'll be walking. If the tide's high, take advantage of the limestone rock formations that offer terrific viewpoints. Victoria and Vancouver Island beckon to the west; the Puget Sound, islands by the dozens and mainland U.S. to the east. Behind you to the north are the grassy fields of American Camp. Imagine if you can U.S. and British troops more than 140 years ago, passing the afternoons by racing horses on those hills. Walk the sand, rocks and easy trails west toward Grandma's Cove where tidepools provide whole universes to explore. Watch for seals, shorebirds and the occasional river otter.

From the parking lot, head east (left) along sandy beach toward the Cattle Point Lighthouse. If clouds cooperate, enjoy Cascade mountain views including the biggest of them all, Mount Rainier. Turn around at Cattle Point, the southeast tip of San Juan Island and seemingly a stone's throw across San Juan Channel from Lopez Island.

The parking lot is essentially at the center of South Beach. Those looking for peace can head east or west along the water. They'll find it in either direction.
Written By: Mike McQuaide
On: 10/23/2000


Head south from Friday Harbor on Cattle Point Road toward American Camp. About 2 miles past the turnoff for the American Camp Visitor Center, turn right on Pickett Lane and follow about 1/2 mile to the end. Park here or turn right and continue for 1/4 mile on a gravel road to a road-end parking lot.


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