Scott Stamnes Memorial Skatepark, Washington

Photo: Dan Hughes

The Scott Stamnes Memorial Skatepark—aka Orcas—resides on an island in the middle of Puget Sound. It is an unlikely location for one of the nation’s most famous skatepark and has become the destination for thousands of skatepark tourists. It is one of the nation’s “must visit” skateparks, particularly if the trip includes other Pacific Northwest destinations like Lincoln City (OR) and Burnside (OR).

Scott Stamnes was a local skateboarder—well-liked and energetic—that was hit by a stolen car driven by a 14-year-old. He was 30. The vision for the park was shared by a broad coalition of supporters including the Tony Hawk Foundation, Warren Miller, and others.

The skatepark is about 30,000 square feet. It was designed and built by Grindline Skateparks. Although they had a number of skateparks behind them, it was one of the first public skateparks to establish their reputation as a world-class builder. Until then the skatepark design environment was dominated by uninspired design, flawed construction, and small footprints. Orcas redefined what a skatepark could be.

Helmets are required and the locals are vigilant about reminding visitors to wear them. It’s a good idea; the park is gnarly and fun…why ruin a good day with a concussion?

Getting to Orcas Island requires a ferry ride from Anacortes, (north of Seattle about 40 miles), or Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The ferry is about $40 U.S. per car or a little over $10 per pedestrian but is free coming back. Check the schedules and latest fees at the Washington State Ferries website.