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.
The cottage Gift Shop has the best selection of t-shirts on Orcas Island. The shop is full of quirky, weird and fun gifts as well as souvenirs, jewelry and toys for young and old. We are located near the Orcas ferry dock so you can browse while waiting for the ferry. [more...]
Voted #1 Eco-Adventure in Western Washington 2010-2012-2013 by Evening Magazine and King5 News! Join us on a sea kayaking adventure to the most rewarding destinations in the San Juan Islands. We offer tours departing from San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Anacortes. We offer Half Day, Full Day, and Overnight sea kayaking expeditions. Anacortes Kayak Tours prides itself on being a family friendly kayak company, with dedicated family tours departing Deception Pass State Park. [more...]
Experience the hidden back-country of Orcas Island on horseback. Explore an enchanting old-growth forest as you meander through grassy meadows and climb a mountain trail to the top of Mt. Pickett for a breathtaking view of the San Juan Islands. Orcas Island Trail Rides offers a wide range of authentic guided horseback adventures through old growth forest. Whether you have an hour or half a day, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned rider, we have the perfect adventure for you and your family. Ride through an old growth forest-the best ride in the Northwest. [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...]
Yachting for the afternoon or evening for a couple or small group. Cruise the North Shore of Orcas Island on our beautiful 50-foot yacht Capricorn. Have lunch or our wonderful four course dinner on the glassy waters of Sunset Cove. Specializing in the scenic beauty of Matia, Sucia, and Patos Islands. Take a walk, take a nap, enjoy the wildlife, drive the boat - you are our new guest captain. Be it business or pleasure, we will show you sunsets that you could only imagine. [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...]
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...]
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...]
Orcas Boat Rentals and Charters is located in sunny Deer Harbor on Orcas Island, and in downtown Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We also service Lopez Island. We offer power and sailboat rentals and custom-skippered charters.Great for fishing, sailing, exploring outer islands and wildlife sightseeing. Let us get you on the water. [more...]
Step aboard a famous ex-ocean racer for a fantastic sail in the San Juan Islands. Kruger Escapes is ready to create the right sailing experience for you! We offer 3 hour day and sunset sails, multi-day trips, or adventure sails combining sailing with skiing or surfing. We also love sailing with you for surprise engagements, weddings, elopements and photo shoots.
Our sailboat Tomahawk hails out of Deer Harbor on Orcas Island, but we can arrange for pick up from and transport to other islands as well, We’re real people and we know you are too. Call us, we’ll talk. [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...]
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...]
Bicycle Adventures, Inc is one of North America's premier bicycling and adventure vacation companies, offering fully supported cycling and multi-sport tours in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. Tours feature deluxe lodging and dining, equipment, luggage service, full van support and expert World Outfitters and Guides Association certified tour leaders. [more...]
The Funhouse Commons, just a few blocks north of the Eastsound Village is a youth focused community center where you will find all sorts of fun activities all summer long including drop in day camps, art and crafts classes, supervised free play - daily, Friday night hangout for teens and much more! [more...]