Header Image: Observation Tower on Mt. Constitution at Moran State Park, Orcas Island, Washington
WHERE TO BEGIN?
Whether you plan your trips minute-by-minute, or allow spontaneity to help guide your path, here are some helpful resources during your trip to Orcas Island.
TOP THINGS TO DO ON ORCAS ISLAND
and how to find them...
Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
The Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce does a great job providing an updated agenda of what's going on each week around the island. Whether there's a festival, musician or artist on the island, or other fun things to do, you're sure to know about it through the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce weekly one-page guide to what's happening on Orcas Island.
The San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau has information on the other nearby islands if you're venturing off to San Juan Island or Lopez
Visit Moran State Park and Mt. Constitution
Visit Moran State Park is a 5,579-acre camping park with five freshwater lakes and over 30 miles of hiking trails. One of the most popular destinations on Orcas Island, Atop the 2,409-foot 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. Learn more about the 4th largest State Park in Washington here for more information on activities, history, and maps.
Mt. Constitution Video
Hiking on Orcas Island - Get Your FREE Guide Here
There are so many great hikes on Orcas Island for visitors to enjoy, it might be hard to fit them all in during your stay.
Located on Orcas Island's east side, Moran State Park boasts over 30 miles of hiking trails with varied difficulty levels, but nearly all with fantastic views or unique surroundings. You can find hikes around lakes and waterfalls, as well as old-growth forest as a protective canopy.
Turtleback Mountain Preserve is located on Orcas Island's west side, and has 2 locations where trailheads begin. The North Trailhead is located on Crow Valley Road. Hikers can expect to see great views of Crow Valley at the lookout while the south trailhead is located just off Deer Harbor Road and fantastic views to the south and west during your hike.
Not sure which hike you would like to take? Be sure to grab your FREE Insiders Guide to Amazing Hikes on Orcas Island to see our picks.
The Beaches of Orcas Island, Washington
Cascade Falls Video - New Years Day
Top Spots for Sunsets On Orcas Island
This topic is so popular, we wrote a blog post a couple years ago with some of our favorite spots to catch sunsets here on Orcas Island.
Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall - you'll find beautiful sunsets (and sunrises) across the island.
Check out our full post and information at the link below:
Cycling and Mountain Biking on Orcas Island
If you're a cyclist or mountain biker, check out the great information about riding on Orcas provided by Wildlife Cycles.
Here, you'll find maps and routes for cyclists with mileage and turnoffs.
From September 15 through May 15, many hiking trails in Moran State Park are opened for mountain biking. Wildlife Cycles also offer a nice selection of bikes for rent and are also a great repair shop (speaking from experience) should you need service of your own bike while on the island.
Explore Obstruction Pass State Park
Obstruction Pass State Park is an 80-acre camping park on the South end of Orcas Island, south of Moran State Park past the village of Olga. The park is one of the few spots on Orcas Island with access to more than one mile of publicly-owned saltwater shoreline.
A half-mile trail leads visitors from the parking area to the campground and beach access. The beach is unique to the area as it's a stretch of fine gravel pockets as opposed to most of the islands rocky shoreline. And, the views are fantastic! Learn more about Obstruction Pass State Park here.
Enjoy Various Water Activities and Tours
Water activities are always a hit around the islands, with such beautiful scenery and so many protected coves.
Whether you're interesting in guided excursions like whale watching or kayaking, or exploring as your own guide, you're sure to find a mix of activities you'll enjoy.
Whale Watching Tours
Whale watching tours are very popular in the spring and summer. Be sure to book well in advance as spaces fill up quickly. The San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau has a listing of 3 highly-rated tour operators here on Orcas Island - click on the button below for more information.
Private Fishing & Wildlife tours
Whether this is your first time to the San Juan Islands or you’re a long time resident, taking a private boat tour is the best way to experience the majestic San Juan Islands.
North Shore Charters has over 25 years experience and an extensive knowledge of the San Juan Archipelago. They work hard to offer you a truly memorable experience.
Join them for Island Hopping, Fishing, Crabbing and Private Wildlife Tours. They also offer Harbor Tours, Sunset Cruises and Marine State Park Adventures.
Be sure to check out El Jefe, their 30-foot boat made specifically for the San Juan Islands. It's comfortable, swift, stable and uses the latest navigation technology. El Jefe uses pure bio-diesel fuel, so no toxic fumes, and they're United States Coast Guard certified for 6 passengers.
Salish Sea Tour Co.
Salish Sea Tour Co. offers an intimate, educational and engaging experience with a focus on the heart and soul of Orcas Island. Featuring local perspectives they'll take you on an adventure behind the scenes where you’ll eat, drink and explore the places and ideas that make this island one of the most magical places on earth. They offer two tours (9 AM and 1 PM) with different focus in a comfortable and roomy Mercedes Benz Sprinter van.
9AM: Art, History and Local Legends or 1PM: Fresh, Fermented and Flying High
Learn more about each tour and book online at: www.salishseatourco.net
Kayak Rentals on Orcas Island
Kayak Rentals are available in several areas of the Island, including the popular location on the picturesque Crescent Beach and Cascade Lake in Moran State Park. If you're looking for guided tours, there are several choices available from different guides. Pick your area, and there's bound to be a guided operation. Some include: the Ferry Landing, North Beach, Rosario, Doe Bay and Deer Harbor, just to name a few.
Freshwater Lakes and Swimming on Orcas Island
If you're looking for some freshwater activities, Cascade Lake at the entrance of Moran State Park also offers rentals right from the main beach area. There, you'll also find trailheads and other day-use features in the park, including a large swim area for public use. During the summer, the Sugar Shack
Note: You'll need a Discover Pass for day use at Moran State Park. Passes can be purchased for $10/day or $30/year, and Moran State Park has automated pay stations at the entrance. Just look for the "Purchase Discover Pass" sign.
Shop Eastsound Village, the Heart of Orcas Island
Eastsound serves as the central hub for commerce and civic life on Orcas Island.
Take your time to stroll through town, taking the amazing waterfront views (Eastsound Waterfront Park) and enjoy the local shops, bakeries, restaurants and artists galleries while enjoying the laid-back pace of this small island town.
The Village Green
There are often community actives taking place in the Village Green in Eastsound village. For instance, on Saturdays (May-September) you can visit the Farmers Market from 10am-3pm. Here, you'll find local organic produce, crafts, art, jewelry, clothing, pottery for sale - all of which is grown or crafted by Orcas farmers and artisans. You'll also be able to find a great selection of food vendors offering lunch to help replenish the energy you've used and will need to continue on through the day! There is no admission fee to the Farmers Market, and leashed dogs are always welcomed.
If you're looking for a great bottle of wine for your special dinner, be sure to stop by the Doe Bay Wine Company's bottle shop in the heart of Eastsound. Here, you'll find a curated selection of wines with friendly and educational service on your selections. Cole and Stephanie also produce a series of wines under ‘The Orcas Project’ umbrella. The Orcas Project is a collaboration between acclaimed Winemakers and Vineyards in the Pacific Northwest, featuring labels designed by Orcas Island Artists. These wines are limited in production and available at the bottle shop in Eastsound, as well as online at www.theorcasproject.com, or at select restaurants around the Puget Sound.
Island Hoppin' Brewery features seven of their beers on tap, available in pints or taster flights. There's an indoor seating area with ping-pong table to escape the winter cold. The tasting room and snug have board games, and bartenders with a wide musical variety for your listening pleasure. While they don't schedule official tours, but love talking about beer and the brewing process, and occasionally give casual tours if the brew schedule allows. Be sure to stop by and visit the brewery and try one of our favorite brews, Old Madrona.
Golf on Orcas Island
Spend a part of your day relaxing on the local 9-hole golf course. Orcas Island Golf Course welcomes all to play and even has a great selection of golf club rentals (Callaway or Top-Flite) if you didn't bring yours to the island. There is a practice range and even the ability to have swing lessons by appointment.
Explore Orcas Village
There are several shops, restaurants, and gift shops available for you to visit if you have some time back at Orcas Village while waiting for your scheduled ferry sailing.
You can explore Orcas Village while you're waiting at the ferry terminal, and be sure to take back that souvenir to remind you to come back and visit!