Orcas Island Washington State: Details about the island – history, transportation, attractions, restaurants, hotels, photos, so you can easily make your plans and reservations.
Welcome! Whether you’re on the island for the entirety of your trip or just stopping by on the way to or from another of the San Juans, there is plenty to do and see.
Here’s what you WON’T see: traffic lights, tall buildings, fast food, and chain businesses (aside from a lone Chevron station.)
You WILL see miles of beautiful coastline, picturesque villages, native wildlife, beautiful vegetation, and lots of relaxed, smiling people. Also known as the Emerald Isle, Orcas Island has much to offer: hiking, scenic drives, cycling, swimming, horseback riding, kayaking and whale watching, to name a few popular attractions.
See Orcas Island Vacation for our list of recommended Orcas Island Washington State attractions.
Orcas Island is shaped like a horseshoe, with Eastsound located at the top of the horseshoe, right in the middle. It takes just 35 minutes to drive the 20 miles from Deer Harbor, on the western side, to Doe Bay on the eastern side.
The center of the island is home to rolling farmland. Sheep and horses graze in many fields.
The western side of the island is dry and rocky with scrubby vegetation. On the eastern side, Mount Constitution (elevation 2,409 feet) in Moran State Park is the highest point in the San Juan Islands.
Arrival by Washington State Ferry at Orcas Village (one hour sail from Anacortes, WA) is typical, or schedule a private air or sea charter. Details are here: San Juan Islands Transportation
During the summer tourist season (late June through early September), a San Juan Transit bus shuttles passengers between the ferry landing in Orcas to several main destinations on Orcas Island, and back again, on weekends - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Nevertheless, many tourists find an auto, whether personal or rented, useful on this, the largest of the San Juan Islands.
Island enjoys mild summers with temperatures typically in the high 60s and low 70s from mid-May to September.
Contrary to popular thought, Orcas Island is not named for the orca whale population so often seen in the area. “Orcas” is short for the Viceroy of Mexico, Juan Vicente de Guemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo, who financed the exploration of Francisco de Eliza in 1791. The name originally applied to part of the San Juan Archipelago, not the island in particular. Orcas Island’s name was made official as applying specifically to the island when the British Admiralty charts were reorganized in 1847.
New Leaf Cafe
171 Main St., Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA 98245
New Leaf Cafe is located inside Outlook Inn, which is on the main drag entering Eastsound from the west side of the island. You can't miss it.
Be sure to check the hours (serves breakfast/brunch and dinner) and make a reservation at this top spot to eat. Savor delicious food with outstanding service while enjoying views of the bay. They also offer outdoor seating when the weather accommodates.
Rose’s Bakery Café
382 Prune Alley, Eastsound WA 98245
Cafe: 1-360-376-4292. www.rosesbakerycafe.com
Cafe Hours: 8:30a-4p Tue-Sat
Bakery and Shop Hours: 10a-5p Mon-Sat
123 N Beach Rd, Eastsound WA 98245
Hours: 8a-3p Mon-Tue, Thur-Sat (closed Wed and Sun)
Eclectic little place with incredibly tasty menu choices.
Brown Bear Baking
Main & North Beach Rd., Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA 98245
Hours: 8a-4p, Thursday-Monday
310 A St, Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA 98245
Hours: 4p-8:45p Tue-Sun (closed Mon)
For Mexican cuisine, this is the place to go!
The Inn at Ship Bay
326 Olga Rd., Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA 98245
Fresh, local ingredients cooked to perfection. Only open for dinner. Seasonal hours, call ahead.
11 Point Lawrence Rd., Olga, WA 98279
Hours: Wed-Sun 9a-3p
This highly rated cafe offers fresh island grown meat and produce, and house-baked bakery goods. Drink fine coffee, tea, beer and wine.
If you're here on a Saturday, you can grab fresh local ingredients from the Saturday morning Farmers Market in Eastsound and make your own meals or brown-paper-bag lunches. Or, you're likely to find many prepared meals. Eat and run, or take it to-go!
Orcas Island Farmer's Market (Eastsound)
N Beach Road, Village Green, Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA 98245
May through September Hours: Saturdays, 10a-3p, at above address.
October through April Hours: Saturdays, 11a-2p, at the Oddfellows Hall on Haven Street just south of Main Street on the way to Madrona Point.
From renting a house to pitching a tent and everything in-between, there are many options for overnight stays at Orcas Island!
171 Main St., Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA 982451-360-376-2200. http://www.outlookinn.com/home
Check the website if you're traveling in winter - they tend to take a 2-month break during December and January.
Buck Bay Getaway
117 E J Young Rd, Olga, WA 98279
Getaway cabin at the Buck Bay Shellfish Farm. 1 bedroom, many amenities, complimentary dozen oysters. Details at the website. Book through the website or through AirBnB: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4039937
More Cabin Rental Options:
these charming and comfortable cabins? http://www.cabinsonthepoint.com
For rustic cabins right on the beach:
(Note: Cabins are completely booked for June-September of 2018. Perhaps you can call now for space in the summer of 2019, or visit before or after the busy season.)
Rosario Resort and Spa
1400 Rosario Rd, Eastsound, WA 98245
Be pampered at Rosario Resort and Spa, the island’s largest hotel/resort. It is the former estate of shipbuilder and former mayor of Seattle, Robert Moran.
Doe Bay Resort & Retreat
107 Doe Bay Rd, PO Box 437, Olga, WA 98279
Office: 1-360-376-2291; Cafe: 1-360-376-8059
Doe Bay Resort and Retreat offers a variety of accommodations (cabins, yurts, domes, campsites). Rich in views and in amenities. Open year round.
Pebble Cove Farm:
3341 Deer Harbor Rd, Eastsound WA 98245
Four suites in the middle of an organic farm sleep either 3 or 4, and a "garden cabin" with loft sleeps 2. Facilities look upscale-rustic and comfortable.
Mount Baker Farm and Camping:
706 Mt. Baker Rd, PO Box 2065, Eastsound WA 98245
This nice campground is situated on 80 acres just north of Eastsound. Bring your tent or rent their "lotus bud" or smaller "lotus belle" 13' or 16' tents.