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Facilities and Location

Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory Map

The Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory is located on Rosario Beach,  next to Deception Pass State Park in the northwest corner of Washington state. The lab 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, 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.

The cities of Anacortes and Oak Harbor are 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 is 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 study hall, computer lab, academic scuba facilities, staff offices, and boat storage. Many classrooms and labs offer natural running seawater, essential for the study of marine organisms. Facilities in the upper area include a cafeteria, storage building, maintenance shop, and an assembly hall for seminars and religious services.  Wireless internet is available in most areas and buildings.

Housing facilities include four cabins on the beach,  21 cabins in the upper area, and a seven-room residence hall in the upper area.  Single students at Rosario live in smaller cabins or the residence hall and eat in the cafeteria. Married students, staff, and families stay in larger cabins with cooking facilities.

Boats include two 22' Boston Whalers with 200 hp outboard engines, two 17' Boston Whalers with 90 hp outboards, two 14' inflatable boats with outboards for academic scuba diving, 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

Last update on February 12, 2018