The Marine Center is located within a 78 acre wooded campus that is covered in a mature Pacific lowland forest that is dominated by Douglas fir and Cedar trees. The campus is a biological reserve that protects sizeable small mammal and bird populations, and includes a freshwater pond that expands the considerable diversity of wildlife present.
The beach in front of the SPMC abuts the marine ecosystem known as the Salish Sea, a name given in honor of the Coast Salish tribes and first nations that were the original inhabitants and stewards of the region. Scientists and students can access the approximately 1000 m of cobble and bedrock shoreline at the SPMC. This shoreline supports a diverse marine biota that includes numerous species of macroalgae, cnidarians, crustaceans, echinoderms and molluscs as well as other invertebrates and finfish. There are also many protected birds and marine mammals inhabiting the local waters and shores.
The Shannon Point Marine Center resides in Anacortes, a town of approximately 15,000 residents, and located on Fidalgo Island in Skagit County, Washington, USA. Within the town of Anacortes, there are approximately 12 miles of marine shoreline, four freshwater lakes, and over 3000 acres of forestlands and parks.