Hope Island is a Washington State marine campground that is easily accessible by sailboat, power boat, kayak or canoe. The trip from Boston Harbor is the long way. This one is the short way. And by "short" I mean less than one statute mile paddle in waters so protected that they might as well be a lake.
Launch at Arcadia Point (see driving directions). This launch is maintained for the members of the Squaxin Island Indian Tribe but it is free to use for anyone. Unload your boat at the ramp and then park in the parking lot. Porta potties are available. There are no fees for launching.
From the ramp facing the water you can see Squaxin Island to the left and Hope Island on the right, about 1nm away. The water is clear and warm enough to swim in if you're tough. But it's part of Puget Sound so it's salty.
The north and west periphery of Hope Island has mooring buoys for larger boats spending the day or night. The campsites are located on the southern side of the island and there are handy shelves for your kayaks along the trails above the high tide mark. The shallow beach is a mixture of rocks and old oyster shells so exit in the water and carry your boat if you want to keep the bottom nice.
Camping is primitive with a toilet but no water. There is an apple orchard with ancient trees so you can pick your own fresh fruit (in season, of course). There is a limit and the signs advise you what it is. An old homesteader's cabin adjoins the orchard and is now the year-round home for the caretaker (who had a nice cedar-strip kayak when I was there).
Squaxin Island is a convenient side trip. This is native American tribal land so you may paddle around the island but you may not go ashore without permission. Squaxin is mostly deserted with eagles, ospreys, otters, raccoons and other critters. Kelp beds abound at the eastern tip and watch the currents here because the area is drained through the Tacoma Narrows.
The camping areas offer picnic tables and nice spots for tents. I made this a day trip and befriended a group of kayakers who were camped; perhaps 15 of them. Plenty of room for their tents and gear. They were kind enough to accompany me to Squaxin and it made for an interesting paddle. I put a total of about 7 nm on the GPS.
While I was on the island there were some local teens in canoes who paddled from the housing developments in the area. I think you could get to Hope Island on a log raft if you planned it right.
The trip from Boston Harbor is great in good weather but if the weather is not so great just detour around to Shelton and Arcadia Point and launch from there.
Porta-potties at the launch parking lot and on Hope Island. No facilities at Squaxin and do not land without permission. Tent sites at Hope Island.
This is a Washington Water Trails Association campspot as well as a State Marine Park. There is an overnight camping fee, but no charge to land and walk around (or pick apples).
Interstate 5 to the intersection of US 101 at Olympia and go west. Take the exit (continuation of US101) north (the highway turns into State Route 8 headed to Westport). Continue north to State Highway 3 and veer right towards Shelton. Turn right on SE Arcadia Road and follow it to the "T" at the end, left to the parking lot and launch ramp.
Charts would be handy. A tide table is nice to help plan the excursion to Squaxin. You can practically hit Hope Island with a rock from Arcadia Pt. so if this is the only place you are going, you don't need much.
- Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: Open Water/Ocean