Step onto horseshoe-shaped Orcas Island, drop your suitcase or backpack, and drink in the green paradise the locals call “the emerald isle” and “the gem of the San Juans” -- a happy combination of stunning shoreline, the highest mountain in the islands, and a handful of charming hamlets. Discover this beautiful island through a Scenic Byway driving tour.
Most of Orcas Island’s 57 square miles are rural and hilly, a challenge for cyclists and a pleasure for drivers, with curving roads that wind through forests and past artists’ studios, fields with old apple barns, and the occasional turn-of-the-century prune dryer.
Visit one of the nation’s most beautiful parks to hike, bike, swim, or go horseback riding through the forest—the 5,252-acre Moran State Park, with several lakes and more than 38 miles of hiking trails. There, you can drive, bike, or hike up Mount Constitution, the islands’ highest point, for a spectacular view of island-dotted sea and snow-capped Mount Baker.
Head out on the water on a kayak trip (guided or alone), whale-watching tour, or fishing or sailboat charter. You can book any of these adventures on the island, as well as rent bikes and check out guided horseback rides.
At the center of Orcas Island, at the top of a beautiful fjord, Eastsound is a walker’s village, alive with art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and visitor attractions. Enjoy strolling among historic homes and buildings from the 1880s and picnicking on the village green, summer home of the Saturday Farmers’ Market and live music performances. In the heart of town lies the not-to-be-missed Orcas Island Historical Museum, bursting with island artifacts and photos, with six settlers’ cabins on the grounds. The Funhouse Commons and Orcas Center are a short walk or drive just north of the village. Start your day with an invigorating yoga class at Orcas Mandala Yoga Studio. After a long day of fun, relax and feel rejuvenated with a massage overlooking the water at Massage by the Sea.
Olga, Doe Bay and Deer Harbor
South of Moran State Park, the little hamlet of Olga is famous for its artists’ co-op, Orcas Island Artworks, with an extensive selection of pottery, painting, jewelry, art glass, fiber and wood by more than 50 island artists. You’ll find it housed in a historic 1936 strawberry packing plant along with the popular Cafe Olga, a charming eatery renowned for its homemade cinnamon rolls and delicious fresh-baked pies.
Past Olga on the water, you’ll come upon Doe Bay Resort & Retreat, where you can dine over the water at the Doe Bay Café on mostly organic food, often harvested just hours earlier. A rustic Northwest icon, Doe Bay Resort & Retreat offers lodging, massage, yoga, sea kayaking, hot tubs and relaxing Adirondack chairs overlooking the spectacular water view.
On the other side of the island, at the farthest western point, Deer Harbor is a hub for all things marine — kayak (and bike) rentals, whale/wildlife tours, sailing excursions, power and sailboat rentals, and Deer Harbor Marina which features the Marina Barge Gift Shop — along with a wood sculptor’s studio, eateries and lodgings.
Potters, jewelers, painters, photographers, sculptors — Orcas Island draws artists like salmon draw orcas. Just a few examples (in addition to Orcas Island Artworks co-op in Olga) include Crow Valley Pottery, near the golf course south of Eastsound, features the works of more than 70 artists (there’s a gallery in downtown Eastsound, too), as well as Orcas Island Pottery, the oldest pottery in the Northwest.
From waterfront cabin resorts to elegant hillside B & Bs to a wide variety of vacation rentals, Orcas Island lodging can fit any need. With its many parks, shorelines, hamlets, and galleries to explore and its multitude of activities, make sure and plan your visit long enough to enjoy all Orcas Island has to offer.
Orcas Island is not named for the orca whale, but for Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo, the Viceroy of Mexico who sent an exploration expedition to the Pacific Northwest in 1791. "Orcus Island" or "Orca Island", visitors sometimes get confused. However you choose to spell it, you will be welcome here.
Cascade Lake is the center of outdoor fun in Moran State Park. Paddle boat rentals, a swimming area, picnic shelters and three campgrounds to choose from give you plenty of relaxation time after hiking or horseback riding. A great place for kids, Cascade Lake has a 3-mile trail around the lake, a wooden bridge and a quiet lagoon for paddling and swimming. Purchase day passes at the park entrance and enter a world of natural beauty. [more...]
In 1945, Joe and Marclay Sherman opened Orcas Island Pottery, establishing it as the oldest pottery in the Pacific Northwest. They traded a local farmer a set of 4 plates and 4 bowls for the now 150-year-old trapper's log cabin of old-growth fir, dismantled it and moved it to the property to become the showroom that it still is today. Three generations of potters have created a favorite destination for nature and art lovers visiting Orcas Island.
Location: 338 Old Pottery Rd.; (360) 376-2813
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., daily, except Christmas and Easter [more...]
Explore the San Juan Islands by sea kayak with Shearwater Adventures. Join one of our guided tours or design a custom trip for your family, friends or colleagues. Three-hour trips offer a taste of kayaking along the shores of Orcas Island. Day trips include an opportunity to venture further into the unique and beautiful environment of the San Juan Islands and explore a secluded island at lunchtime. We use stable two-person kayaks and provide all the gear and instruction you need. Bald eagles, great blue herons, harbor seals, river otters and porpoise are common sightings on our tours. [more...]
Sail aboard the classic 1948 Northwest-designed and built sloop "Aura" in the scenic heart of the San Juans. Steer and work lines to your heart's content as we glide around the Wasp Islands, Jones Island and elsewhere in search of whatever nature has to show us that day. Offering three- to four-hour, afternoon and evening excursions from Deer Harbor Marina. Picnics welcome. [more...]
Nest is a lovely floral and gift boutique located in the heart of Eastsound. Unique treasures with a focus on Island and Washington State artists as well as fresh flowers sourced both locally and from afar. We provide anything from simply a single flower to brighten someone's day, to arrangements delivered to your home, to weddings and events of all sizes. All arrangements are made with your specifications in mind. Take a moment to come in and smell the flowers while wandering through the shop. [more...]
Relaxed. Rejuvenated. Awed by nature.
Our unique eco-sailing charters will leave you transformed…
Discover the hidden side of the San Juan's away from the crowds. Experience the serenity of wildlife under sail! Gorgeous 54-foot sailboat with heated pilothouse-the only pilothouse charter sailboat in the San Juans. This boat is perfect for staying warm and comfortable if the weather is chilly, while still enjoying the panoramic view. [more...]
Opened in 1959 in a 1866 log cabin, Crow Valley Pottery continues to focus on artists creating original works in a variety of media. Potters Jeffri Coleman and Michael Rivkin anchor an exciting gallery known for its breadth of artists, and an ever-changing collection of works in diverse media. Their shop in Eastsound features art by many island and regional artists.
Location: 2274 Orcas Rd., Orcas Island; (360) 376-4260;
Hours: 10:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m., daily, Valentine's Day through New Year's Day (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas) [more...]
Outer Island Expeditions offers kayak tours and rentals from Orcas Island. We offer three-hour and full-day kayak trips. We also offer kayak rentals by the hour, day and week. Both our three-hour and full-day tours head to some of the best wildlife locations in the San Juans. We may encounter seals, porpoise, eagles, otters, sea birds and even the occasional orca whale. Our three-hour tours leave from Smuggler's Villa Resort and head to Pt. Doughty State Park. Our full-day tours head to Sucia Island State Park where you will enjoy some of the region’s best kayaking. [more...]
Outer Island Expeditions offers whale watching tours -- see whales or ride again free! -- from Orcas Island, Lopez Island, San Juan Island and the Bellingham area. Last year we saw orcas on over 95% of our summer tours, and whales on 97%. [more...]
We offer the highest quality fishing experience in the San Juan's. From the boat to the bait. We don't cut corners on your vacation. Pro anglers, families and first timers our mission is to give you the safest most memorable experience possible. We don't just take you fishing, we teach you to fish. Seasonal lodging specials and combination tours custom to suit your vacation desires. Over 25 years experience. 360-376-4855 [more...]
Escape with TerraTrek on a two- to six-day bicycle and multi-sport vacation through the San Juan Islands. Only a short drive from Seattle or Vancouver B.C., the San Juan Archipelago is an ideal getaway because of our long days of sunshine and plenty of activities. Enjoy cycling along quiet two lane country roads lined with wildflowers that wind down to spectacular vistas of neighboring islands and snowcapped mountain ranges, hiking around lakes that lead down to waterfalls, and kayaking past pebble stone coves and rocky islets in orca whale territory! [more...]
Enjoy an informative, narrated cruise through the San Juan Islands in search of orca whales and minke whales. The thrill of seeing one of these majestic creatures will be an unforgettable experience. Discover the other abundant marine life and wildlife that call these waters home. You'll pass by unspoiled, pristine islands and historic landmarks. Established in 1988. [more...]
A treasured Orcas Island destination for visitors and locals alike, the Artworks in Eastsound offers one of the finest selections of local art and crafts in the San Juan Islands. The co-op represents over forty Orcas Island artists and craftspeople, working in pottery, sculpture, jewelry, glass, wood, paintings, prints, wearable art, fiber and more. As the gallery is owned and operated by the artists themselves, there is the unique opportunity to meet one or more of them on any given day. Location: 217 Main St., Eastsound; (360) 376-4408 Hours: 10:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m., daily [more...]
Monkey Puzzle is a unique store in Eastsound on Orcas Island. Not only does the store offer custom made clothes and jewelry, and it features items that are designed by the owner, Sallie Bell. All the clothing is made in Portland and you can watch as Sallie designs her jewelry and the clothes in workshop. Visitors are welcome to select fabric for a vest or jacket and then create a piece of jewelry to go along with it. There are stations set up for people to create their own statement. [more...]
The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival is dedicated to the highest standards of musical excellence, through creative programming and Festival-related events throughout the year. It is our mission to share stimulating musical experiences with all midst the beauty of Orcas Island, creating Classical Music with a View!
Aloysia Friedmann, Artistic Director and Jon Kimura Parker, Artistic Advisor [more...]