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.
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...]
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...]
"To preserve, enjoy, and interpret the natural history of Orcas Island.”
Enrich your stay on our amazing island with a guided kayak tour. Beginners are welcome, gear and instruction are provided. Our rates are reasonable; our equipment is top-notch. Our goal is to provide you with a safe, enjoyable experience that will leave you more knowledgeable about our local environment and about kayaking. [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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
Buck Bay Shellfish Farm offers fresh locally caught crab, prawns, salmon, halibut and other seasonal seafood. We also offer our own gourmet oysters and clams as well as our organically grown vegetables.
Come and enjoy yourselves on our picnic tables overlooking Buck Bay. Pick up our freshly made sauces, salads and desserts to go along with your fresh seafood feast. [more...]
Orcas Center is the focal point on Orcas Island for community theater and the performing arts, presenting both local and professional artists. More than 40 performances a year has this center teeming with artistic activity. The facility features a 213-seat theater and a beautiful lobby that functions as a gallery for the visual arts. Location: 917 Mt Baker Rd., Eastsound; (360) 376-2281 Hours: Visit www.orcascenter.com for showtimes and gallery hours [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...]
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...]
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...]