Orcas Island is one of approximately 175 islands located north of Seattle in the San Juan Island archipelago of Puget Sound. Orcas has 125 miles of salt water coastline, and its 57+ square miles offer a variety of terrain with lush valleys, mountain peaks, and fresh water lakes. About 4,400 full time residents are scattered throughout the Island’s village, pastoral, mountain, and marine settings. Orcas Island is known as the “Gem of the San Juans,” and accessible from the mainland by Washington State Ferry, by airline from Sea-Tac airport or Lake Union at Seattle, or by private boat or plane.
Located in the banana belt of northwest Washington, Orcas enjoys over 260 days of sunshine and receives only about 22 inches of rain per year, much less than the surrounding mainland. Flourishing gardens bloom in the endless days of spring and summer sunshine. Wildlife is abundant including eagles, otter, whales, dolphins, seals, deer, raccoons, squirrel and mink. Some of the west coast’s best fishing is at our doorstep with abundant salmon and rock cod.
Orcas Island residents enjoy a surprisingly sophisticated lifestyle. Many fine restaurants, and all manner of business and services catering to every need make island living comfortable. Schools, churches, and a lively cultural environment at the Orcas Center add to the community.
This is the place for hiking trails through unspoiled forests or boating, sailing, and fishing. Orcas is an interesting demographic mix from young families to active retirees. We are well traveled, educated and independent people who share a love of nature and relaxed island living. This makes for a healthy growing community in a pristine natural setting.
Folks ask, “What is there to do on Orcas Island?” We don’t have big shopping malls or extensive night life. We do have many quaint artisan shops located all around Orcas Island. We do have a theater/community building that hosts plays, lectures, movies, dances and musical events. Perhaps you could take in a performance at Orcas Center or The Grange during your visit. We also have a movie theater and several stores rent movies. We do have two museums – Eastsound Historical Museum and the old Crow Valley School House Museum.
Orcas has a nine-hole golf course where the public may play a hilly and challenging course. Clubs and carts are available to rent. Tennis courts and the Orcas Skateboard Park are available at Buck Park in Eastsound. Playground equipment is available at Buck Park and Moran State Park.
The hardy can scuba dive, snorkel, bottom fish and salmon troll, sail with skippered charters, take a whale watch or nature cruise, rent a kayak or go crabbing. If you bring your own boat you can launch at Bartwood Lodge on the north shore, Olga county ramp at Obstruction Pass, by sling at West Sound Marina, Lieber Haven Resort or on buoys at Rosario Resort – all with advance reservations.
Nothing beats a walk on the trails of Moran State Park. There is an assortment of trails with different difficulty levels. You can see waterfalls, lakes and fish for trout and bass. Don’t miss the summit of Mt. Constitution! A great walk is also available at Obstruction Pass Trailhead Park and Turtleback Mt. Preserve. There are several end-of-the-road public beach accesses where you may stroll on the beach. After a day of hiking perhaps you would enjoy a massage from the Healing Arts Center or Orcas Spa. Please make appointments. Adults & children alike can enjoy a day at the Eastsound Fun House.
Orcas is known as the restaurant island. You can dine out on Mexican, American, Italian, seafood, Oriental, gourmet, vegetarian, burgers or pizza.
Island Market in Eastsound, Orcas Food Co-op, and The Orcas Store at the ferry landing will offer you a large selection of foods including a bakery, deli, and large meat and seafood market. The Orcas Food Co-op specializes in herbal, vegetarian/organic and locally grown fare. Eastsound has several bakeries, coffee, and wine shops; Tide Pool Cafe, Olga Rising, Brown Bear Baking, and The Country Corner. In addition, The Village Stop and Country Corner will provide nearly all the groceries and condiments you will need during your stay. A Laundromat is also at the Country Corner. There is a Saturday Farmer’s Market in Eastsound on the Village Green next to our office.
We hope you do not need dental or medical assistance while here, but in case you do we have medical doctors, chiropractors and natural healing doctors as well as dentists and optometrists.
Our weather May to early October is typically sunny with daily highs in the 70’s F. Evenings can be quite cool and jackets may be necessary. Locals dress very casually. Jeans are common attire. Suits and dresses are rarely seen. You may wish to follow our practices and relax your wardrobe while here. It should never rain on anyone’s vacation, (but it sometimes does.) It’s a good idea to bring rain gear. Most importantly, one should sloooooooooooow down when here! We’re not in a terrible hurry. Allow yourself time to soak in the gorgeous scenery and perhaps visit the other ferry-serviced islands, too. We look forward to your visit