Exploring Orcas Island
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.
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 explore—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.
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, and the Lambiel Museum, a private collection of works by San Juan Islands artists.
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.
"Orcus Island" or "Orca Island", visitors sometimes get confused. However you choose to spell it, you will be welcome there.
Cherie L. Lindholm Real Estate (est. 1968) is one of the oldest full service real estate companies on Orcas Island.
We're family; not a franchise! Serving this island for over a quarter century, our company offers a full line of real estate services. [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...]
History lives here! Exhibits - Archives – Historical Day Fair- Summer Beach Barbecue – Winter Membership Dinner – 6 real log cabins built by Orcas pioneers – Native Coast Salish room – and the biggest, oldest prehistoric Bison in town!
Oct – May 22
Office: Wednesday – Saturday, 10:30 – 4:30
Museum: 12:00 – 3:00, and by appointment
May 22 – September
Office: Wednesday – Saturday, 10:30 – 4:30
Museum: Wednesday – Saturday, 11:00 – 4:00
Sunday 12:00 – 3:00, and by appointment [more...]
Orcas Island Realty began over 60 years ago as a pioneer in Orcas Island Real Estate Sales and remains one of the strongest and most respected brokerages in the islands. Then as now, people were drawn here by the island’s stunning beauty, relaxed lifestyle, and self-reliant neighbors. The infectious charm can be felt with the first step off the ferry. [more...]
Orcas Chamber of Commerce invites you to explore our home. Relax, feel the worries of a fast-paced life melt away as the beauty and wonder of Orcas Island offers a therapeutic touch on your life. With many choices of places to stay click here for Lodging availability. [more...]
Moran State Park on Orcas Island is a 5,252-acre camping park with five freshwater lakes and over 30 miles of hiking trails. Atop the 2,409-foot-high Mt. Constitution, the highest point on the San Juan Islands, there stands a stone observation tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. The tower offers panoramic views of the surrounding islands, the Cascade Mountains and a variety of Canadian and American cities. The park is open year-round for camping and day use. Some campsites are closed in winter. Reservations necessary Memorial Day through Labor Day. [more...]