RV Rental Shaw Island, WA

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Shaw Island, Washington, located between Victoria, BC and Anacortes, is the smallest of the four San Juan Islands that are accessible by ferry. The island is just under eight square miles and is home to less than 300 permanent residents. In 1841, the Wilkes Expedition named it after United States Naval Officer John Shaw.

Shaw Island has a county park, a historic general store, and a post office, but businesses related to tourism are prohibited in order to keep the rural small-town feel authentic. The University of Washington owns property on the island, and various institutes of Catholic nuns have made the island home as well. Book an RV in Shaw Island to experience true slow-paced rural Pacific Northwest living.

Discover Shaw Island

The Great Outdoors

Shaw County Park is a little-known gem on the small island. Just two miles from the ferry landing, it includes 60 acres of beautiful woodland and shoreline. The park has the best public access to the waterfront, and it has fire rings and grills, a baseball diamond, and picnic areas. This is a great place to explore with your RV rental in Shaw Island as they have both day use and overnight camping areas available.

The island is located in the relatively calm Salish Sea, which encompasses Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As such, opportunities for water recreation abound. Kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are all popular, with rental services available on the larger islands in the archipelago: San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island. Additionally, whale watching tours are available throughout the year. The majestic Southern Resident pod of orcas lives in the area and are frequently seen on these tours.

Biking is very popular on the San Juan Islands, and particularly on Lopez Island as it is the flattest. This is a wonderful way to see explore the islands and see all the beautiful farms, plus views of the ocean and native wildlife. Fortunately, ferries run between the islands so if you rent an RV in Shaw Island, you can easily island hop to explore further.

RV Parks

Although Shaw County Park does not have hookups, they do have reservable campsites that would be appropriate for small RVs. The park offers vault toilets, a group campsite, and seasonal water spigots--you will need to bring your own water if you come in the winter. If you’d like to camp with your motorhome rental in Shaw Island, this is the only publicly available campground.

For a more luxurious camping experience, hop on the ferry over to the Lopez Islander Resort. This resort offers spacious campsites that overlook Fisherman Bay. There is fresh water available and some spaces electric hookups. Amenities also include a pool and coin-op hot showers. This is a wonderful option for camping with the whole family in an RV rental near Shaw Island.

Shaw Island has a general store with a deli, but there are no grocery stores, restaurants, or gas stations on the island. Plan to stock up on fuel, groceries, and supplies on the mainland in Anacortes before heading to the archipelago.

Exploring the City

Tiny Shaw Island is perhaps best known for its nuns. Since 1977, Our Lady of the Rock Monastery has been operated by Benedictine nuns. The monastery is one of the island’s last working farms, and the nuns can frequently be seen milking cows, caring for their llamas and alpacas, or working in the vegetable garden. The nuns offer their hospitality and farm-to-table meals to travelers, in exchange for donations or work on the farm. This is a wonderful place to visit with your camper rental in Shaw Island, especially if you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty!

The library and historical society share a cedar log cabin home in the center of the island. These two organizations were started in 1966 and provide an amazing glimpse into the past of the island. Around 2,000 people visit the library and museum each year, and around 1,200 books and videos are checked out annually. Since there’s virtually no nightlife on the island, this is the perfect place to pick up a DVD or a book to read during your stay. The organizations have limited weekly hours, so check online before you go.

As mentioned before, there are no restaurants on the island. However, the other larger islands do have some eatery options that of course feature classic Pacific Northwest fare: fresh shellfish, salmon, and local berries. You expect farm-to-table dining as well as delightful locally crafted beer, wine, and cider.

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Popular nearby hiking trails and campgrounds

  • Hiking TrailLocation
  • Turtleback Mountain South Trail , WAShaw Island, WA
  • Jones Island, WAFriday Harbor, WA
  • Spencer Spit Trail, WALopez Island, WA
  • Obstruction Pass Trail, WAMoran State Park, WA
  • Cascade Lake Trail, WAMoran State Park, WA
  • Shark Reef Recreation Area, WASan Juan Island National Historical Park, WA
  • Mount Finlayson Trail, WASan Juan Island National Historical Park, WA
  • Cascade Falls Trail, WAMoran State Park, WA
  • Cattle Point - San Juan Island, WASan Juan Island National Historical Park, WA
  • Mountain Lake and Twin Lakes Trail, WAMoran State Park, WA

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