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.
Professional guided whale and wildlife tours. Boat departs next to the Orcas Island ferry landing. See abundant wildlife and 172+ islands. 56-foot Orcas Express offers heated cabin with seats and tables inside, and top and lower viewing decks. Historic guided lighthouse tours, too. Celebrating 25 years in the whale watching and wild life business! [more...]
Island Hoppin’ Brewery produces quality beers using only the best ingredients on beautiful Orcas Island, which serves not only as their home, but as an inspiration for their brewing mentality. Nate Schons, Becca Gray, and Jim Parker began brewing as a team in 2009, expanding to a larger space in 2012. Building on their mutual ardor and Nate’s extensive training under brew masters including Joe Nester of Cashmere Brewing, their combined 10 years of brewing experience soon drew the attention of friends all over the island. [more...]
The oldest pottery in the Northwest, it is located on West Beach only 3½ miles from Eastsound, in an area of old growth cedars and Douglas fir, on a 100-foot high bluff overlooking President's Channell. When you turn off the main road onto the long driveway into the woods, you feel like you are going into a fairyland. As you enter the parking lot you will notice a sign for the 'Foot Path' that leads you down into the yard. There you will find different pathways to go on to discover this magical place with its beautiful gardens and fountains. It's a whimsical adventure. [more...]
Studio Mierau & Co. -- a place of beauty. We offer professional hair design, special occasion styling, make-up consultation and application as well as natural nail care, aromatherapy and reflexology. We also offer tanning in our HEX tri-filtered stand-up booth. There is a strong sense of family in our salon and we look forward to including you! Please make your appointment in advance to ensure availability. [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...]
Visitors can create an artful vacation with a painting or drawing workshop on beautiful Orcas Island with it’s idyllic setting of Crow Valley pastures and glorious mountain and ocean views. Workshops are run by locally and nationally known art instructors, including Seattle's Gage Academy artists and teachers Terry Furchgott and Mitchell Albala. Location: 1286 Mt. Baker Rd., Suite A4; (360) 447-8387 Hours: Visit www.orcasartstudios.com for class times or to make an appointment to view the gallery [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...]
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...]
A father and son shared a dream to craft the finest wines that Washington has to offer, and that dream has become a reality in Orcas Island Winery. Randy and Alexander Schemkes are ready to share their fine-crafted wine with both Orcas Island visitors and those who call the island home.
Address: 2371 Crow Valley Rd.; (425) 314-7509
Hours: Thurs.–Mon., noon–7:00 p.m. [more...]
Come join in the farm fun! Orcas Moon Alpacas is a small family farm owned by Jen and Jeff Pietsch, located on beautiful Orcas Island. They raise alpacas and chickens, purebred Romney and Cotswold sheep. The onsite farm stand is open year-round and offers raw alpaca fiber, roving, yarn, grass fed lamb and sheepskins. They also raise chickens for egg and meat production. Bring your family and meet the animals up close and personal. Tours and farm classes are offered year-round.
Address: 329 Dolphin Bay Rd.; (360) 376-2707
Call for tours and information [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...]
The Orcas Island Farmers' Market is open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every Saturday from the first weekend in May to the last weekend of September on the Village Green in the heart of Eastsound.
During the fall, the Market meets from 1100 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Oddfellows Hall, loacted on Haven Street. [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...]
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...]