Girlfriend and I are flying out the end of September to Seattle, renting a van with stowaway seating (so we can sleep in it) and then driving up to the ferry to Orcas Island. I've lived on an island before (Block Island, RI) and I know that particular municipality didn't allow camping and would also give people a hard time if they were living in a van for the summer. They had their own spots they could rotate around to, but not knowing the area I'm wondering if anyone can give some insight into areas of either island that would be a good place to park and sleep for the night?

  • Ultimately, the landowner where you park is going to have to give you permission to sleep there (most jurisdictions don't let you sleep in street parking, because if it's common, it can cause issues in neighbourhoods). The safest bet is going to be to rent campsites, which will also give you access to showers and bathrooms in most cases. Jul 17, 2018 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


The islands are all within San Juan County, Washington and there are plenty of options, including parks, farms, resorts, and only on private or commercial property with the owner's permission. You won’t be spoiled for choice.

Camp in designated campsites only No camping is allowed in San Juan County, other than in places set aside and posted for such purpose. There is no camping in County Day Parks or on Land Bank property.

[R]efer to an island's specific San Juan, Lopez or Shaw page for campsite maps, fees, information on RV Camping and additional charges. There are no County Campgrounds on Orcas Island.

The San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau Camping & Glamping lists sites, public and private, on San Juan, Lopez, and Orcas islands.

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