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.
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
Ever wondered what allows a sailboat to sail into the wind? Do you enjoy learning new and exciting activities? Orcas Island Sailing offers hands-on lessons where you sail the boat! No experience is required. We calmly offer encouragement while explaining the how and why of sailing.
Every charter is an affordable private lesson for you and yours only, no crowds. Bring your family (max. 6), your sweetheart or come alone for one-on-one instructor time. [more...]
On Orcas Island, come by Pawki's for healthy, natural foods and treats, toys to amuse and exercise your pets (and yourself!), items for pet care and grooming, travel supplies and a wide variety of accessories and gifts. We love to share info about local pet resources. Our shop is in Eastsound, across from the water, just east of the Outlook Inn. Pets welcome! [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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
Walk in Beauty. Orcas Mandala Yoga & Bodywork Studio is Orcas Island's premiere yoga studio located in the heart of Eastsound. Study with inspiring, compassionate Certified Instructors in a variety of yoga styles. We offer Private Yoga Instruction and Bodywork Sessions tailored to your needs. Deepen your personal practice or inspire your vacation, wedding, or event with a specialized yoga or bodywork session. [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...]