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Shaw Island is in San Juan Islands in Washington State.

Harbor near Shaw Island ferry dock


Shaw Island is the smallest of the four San Juan Islands served by the Washington State Ferries. The island has a land area of 19.952 km² (7.7037 sq mi) and a small year-round population of 240 (2010 census). Summer time weekends swell with other residents and the occasional tourists. The Wilkes Expedition, in 1841, named the island after John Shaw, a United States Naval Officer.

There are two Catholic religious institutes of nuns on Shaw Island. Benedictine nuns established a monastery on 150 acres in the 1970s; while the Sisters of Mercy have owned an unofficial retreat on the island since the 1980s. Nuns of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist ran the island's only store and the ferry terminal for more than two decades until 2004 where they could be seen in full habit directing ferry traffic.

Get in[edit]

  • 1 Washington State Ferries, 12 Blind Bay Rd. Washington State ferries services the island from Anacortes, Lopez, Orcas, and Friday Harbor. Five daily Inter-Island roundtrips. Service to Shaw from Anacortes can be limited with many stops; arrive early and check the schedules; reservations are accepted for vehicles.

Get around[edit]

Shoreline access is best at the Shaw County Park. There are 11.5 miles (18.5 km) of asphalt and 2.37 miles (3.81 km) of gravel public roads on Shaw. The primary roads are three loops in the interior of the island, with branches to the ferry dock, Shaw Island County Park, Neck Point, and Broken Point.


Shaw Island has a County park, a historic general store, and a post office at the ferry landing. A library and museum are located near the middle of the island.

the historic Little Red Schoolhouse

Shaw Island has an operational historic one-room school (although a second room was later added), with classes for elementary and middle school students. Known as the Little Red Schoolhouse, it has been in continuous use since it was built in 1890 and is the longest- running school in the state of Washington. The building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.



  • 1 Shaw Island General Store, 37 Blind Bay Rd (To the left as you get off the ferry), +1 360-468-2288. 10AM-5PM Mon-Sat from Oct to May and 10AM to 6PM June to Sept. Only store on the island. They sell groceries, hot coffee, nails, toiletry items and anything in between to the residents and visitors on the island. They also operate the ferry ramp and sell the ferry tickets as well as fishing licenses for the state.




  • 1 Shaw Island County Park, Squaw Bay Rd & Parkway Rd (South side of island at the shores of Indian Cove). Basic campground with 11 camping spots at the shores of Indian Cove. Only "accommodations" available as a campground as there are no hotels or hostels on the island. Reservations are recommended during the summer from Memorial Day weekend through Labor day; otherwise, it is first come first served.


the old hand-made road signs have been salvaged

Go next[edit]

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