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. After a long day of fun, relax and feel rejuvenated with a massage overlooking the water at Massage by the Sea.
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).
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, birdwatching 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...]
"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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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 Ola offers one of the finest selections of local art and crafts in the San Juan Islands. The co-op represents forty-five 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: Olga Rd. at Pt. Lawrence Rd., Olga; (360) 376-4408
Hours: 10:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m., daily [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...]
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 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Oddfellows Hall, located on Haven Street. [more...]
At Christina Orchid’s Red Rabbit Farm, a dirt road takes diners to this small historic farm and orchard on beautiful West Sound on Orcas Island. Orchid’s cookhouse kitchen is just steps from her open-air dining room with doors that look out onto views of fields, apple trees, a small garden, down to the West Sound marina and the water beyond. [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...]
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...]
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...]