Facilities and Location

Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory Map

The Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory is located on Rosario Beach, tucked away next to Deception Pass State Park in the northwest corner of Washington state. Rosario property includes more than 40 acres of timberland, hills, wetlands, and beachfront on the beautiful Rosario Strait. From our cabins you can view the Straits of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountains, Vancouver Island, and The San Juan Islands.

Multiple marine habitats of the Salish Sea ecosystem are just outside the classrooms and labs -- tide pools, rocky shorelines, sandy beaches, mudflats, and deep water. Diverse ecosystems are within easy reach, including temperate rainforest, coastlines, high mountains, rivers, and estuaries. Students go on field trips to the Olympic and North Cascades National Parks, the Olympic Peninsula National Marine Sanctuary, Mt. Baker Wilderness Area, and the San Juan  Islands National Wildlife Refuge. 

You won't be stuck in the boonies, though. Anacortes and Oak Harbor are only 15 minutes away. Less than an hour's drive takes you to Bellingham or Everett. In just a bit longer you can be in Seattle or Vancouver B.C.  Ferry transportation will get you to Friday Harbor, Port Townsend, and Victoria B.C.

The campus can be divided into three major areas: 1) the beach, 2) the upper area, and 3) the "backwoods".  Eight  teaching and research laboratories are located in two buildings on the beach. These buildings also include a library, computer room (with full internet access), photographic darkroom, scuba facilities, staff offices, and boat storage. Many classrooms and labs offer natural running seawater, essential for the study of marine organisms. Other campus facilities in the upper area include a cafeteria, storage building, wood and machine shops, and an assembly hall for seminars and religious services.  Wireless internet is available in most areas and buildings. View the Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory Map.

Housing facilities include four cabins on the beach (constructed in 1994), six newer cabins (constructed in 2000 and 2001) in the upper area, 14 older cabins in the upper area, and a seven-room dormitory in the upper area.  Single students at Rosario live in smaller cabins or the dormitory and eat in the cafeteria. Married students, staff, and families stay in larger cabins with cooking facilities; occupants need to provide their own dishes and cookware.

Boats include one 22' Boston Whaler with a 200 hp outboard engine, two 17' Boston Whalers with 90 hp outboards, three inflatable boats with outboards (15', 14', and 12'), several 10' and 12' rowboats with outboards, and canoes.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS ("Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory" in Google Maps)

  1. The Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory is about halfway between Seattle WA and Vancouver BC.
  2. Take exit 230 off Interstate 5 (sign reads "Route 20, Burlington, Anacortes").
  3. Go west on Highway 20 (toward Whidbey Island and Anacortes).
  4. About twelve miles from the interstate exit (after passing an oil refinery on your right, and just after passing a golf course on your left) turn left at the stoplight (sign says "Oak Harbor, Port Townsend Ferry"). If you go straight instead of turning you will end up in Anacortes.
  5. About 5 miles later, after passing Pass Lake on the right (this will be the SECOND lake that you will drive by on this road), turn right onto Rosario Road, toward the "Rosario Beach Area" of Deception Pass State Park. Be careful! This turn can be easy to miss. If you do miss the turn, you will end up at the Deception Pass Bridge.
  6. After driving about 0.8 miles on Rosario Road, look for a sign that says "Rosario Beach Area". Turn left onto Cougar Gap Road which slants down (this road which slants down can be hard to see). After just a few seconds you will come to a "Y" in the road; keep left. After a few more seconds you will find the entrance to Rosario n on the right (and the entrance to the state park straight ahead).


LOST? call toll free 866-ROSARIO (866-767-2746)

Page maintained by David Habenicht
Last update on October 31, 2013