Orcas Island Getaways

Ferry reservations for summer sailings almost here.

2019 Summer Ferry Reservations to/from the San Juan Islands!

Beginning April 23rd at 7AM, the first 30% allotment of space will become available to reserve for sailings for the busy summertime in the islands. Reservations will be available for sailings between June 23rd through September 28th, 2019.

Reservation space is released in 3 tiers:

Ferry Sailing to the San Juan Islands

Ferry Sailing to the San Juan Islands

San Juan Islands 30/30/30 tiered release of space occurs at 7AM 2 months prior to each season start date, then 2 weeks, and then 2 days prior to each sailing date. Reservations for the Summer 2019 sailing schedule will be available for the San Juan Islands beginning April 23, 2019 in the 1st tiered release.

Helpful Hints about ferry reservations in the San Juan Islands:

There’s no charge to reserve your sailing, but a credit/debit card number is required to hold your reservation (there is a no-show charge based on vehicle size)

  • You are not pre-paying for your ticket when you make a reservation, you're simply securing a spot on your desired sailing.

  • Your ferry ticket will still be purchased at the ferry terminal in Anacortes. Your ticket will be for a round-trip sailing, so you won’t need to purchase another ticket on Orcas Island heading back to Anacortes

  • Reservation holders have priority and limited spaces per sailing are available for drive-up travelers. If you don’t have a reservation, at busy times you may wait multiple sailings for a space.

  • Arrive to the terminal at least 30 minutes before the scheduled sailing. Arriving up even a few minutes late will lose your reservation and you’ll be placed in the “standby” queue.

    • Insiders tip: Don’t arrive late! :)

  • Reservations are easily modified and/or canceled up to the day before your travel reservation if your travel plans change. Remember 30% of capacity is released 2 weeks and another 30% is released 2 days before the sailing date.

So now what?

Below are some screenshots from the Ferry Reservation Website.

When you visit the site, you’ll want to click on the green RESERVE NOW button in the middle of the page. From there, it’s pretty straightforward to complete a reservation on your dates of interest.

Visit www.takeaferry.com and click the “Reserve Now” button to begin.

Visit www.takeaferry.com and click the “Reserve Now” button to begin.

ENTER YOUR TRAVEL DETAILS

Selecting all of your details and adding the reservation to your card for checkout.

Selecting all of your details and adding the reservation to your card for checkout.

NEED MORE HELP?

If you have any questions, you can call a Washington State Ferry agent toll-free at 1-888-808-7977 from 7:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Pacific, seven days a week.

We hope you found this helpful and we look forward to having you stay at Orcas Island Getaway! As always, we’re happy to help answer any other questions that might come up.


P.S.  Follow us on Instagram for fun photo's around the islands! http://www.instagram.com/orcasislandgetaway
 

Insider Tips for Amazing Sunsets on Orcas Island

The natural beauty of the San Juan Islands offers visitors some of the most breathtaking views I've ever seen. The wonderful color of sunset transforms the landscape from an island paradise to something nearly impossible to describe with words. 

In this article, we'll share a few of our favorite spots so you can catch some amazing sunsets while you're on Orcas Island.

Whether you're looking for a spot to take in the beautiful scenery with friends or loved ones, or if you're looking to capture that perfect sunset photo to share with friends and family back home or on your social accounts - we're sure to send you on the right path to accomplish those quests. 

We hope you enjoy the post. Let us know what you think and be sure to share your photo's with us too! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter & other social sites here.

 


Sunset Spot #5: 
On a Washington State Ferry sailing

Sunset while on a ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island.

Sunset while on a ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island.

Hopefully, you're not the type to sit in the car the entire trip to or from the San Juan Islands face glued to your phone/tablet or book. Get out and enjoy the trip across some of the most amazing scenery around. 

If you're lucky enough to catch a sailing during a sunset (or even sunrise), then you're in for a treat. Some of the best views I've experienced have been either sunset or sunrise ferry sailings. The amount of change in the sky in just 30-45 minutes can be truly breathtaking. 

Best time of year for sunsets:
If you're on a ferry heading to the San Juan Islands, it's a great time of year anyway! Enjoy the trip!

Orcas Island Getaway Tips: If you have a chance to plan your sailings, sunrise and sunset trips often offer fantastic views. Sometimes framing in the boat, the wake or even people (as in the image here) can create a more visually compelling photo. 


Sunset Spot #4: Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach at sunset - Orcas Island, Washington

Crescent Beach at sunset - Orcas Island, Washington

Crescent Beach offers islanders and visitors beautiful views of Ship Bay. The 3/4 mile long public beach might not capture sunsets directly (as you'll be facing south instead of west), but you will be able to have some amazing sunset effects as demonstrated in the image here. 

Best time of year for sunsets:
All year long, but Fall through Spring will offer a little more color as the sun will set further to the south at this time of year. 

How to get there:
Crescent Beach is easy to access. It's just a short walk from Orcas Island Getaway, or you can drive and park in one of 3 parking areas across the street from the beach. 


Sunset Spot #3: Mount Constitution & the Observation Tower

From the top of Mt. Constitution

From the top of Mt. Constitution

If you're looking for breathtaking views from the highest point in all of the San Juan Islands, then look no further than the top of Mount Constitution and the Observation Tower. From here, you'll see some breathtaking views, no matter the tim of day! Note that it can be much more cloudy at the top limiting views. You'll be able to catch some amazing light shining on Mt. Baker across the Salish Sea, creating some memorable photo's. 

Best time of year for sunsets:
Anytime - you're sure to be amazed! Just make sure there aren't too many clouds that could obstruct your views down.

How to get there:
Travel into Moran State Park past Cascade Lake. Turn onto Mount Constitution Road and follow it all the way to the top. (Note: Discover Pass or Day Use Pass is required for visitors to all Washington State Parks)

Orcas Island Getaway Tips: If you plan on going to the top of the Observation Tower, get there well before sunset and stake your spot. There isn't much room. Also, note that there are some pesky (radio/cell towers) at the top of the Mountain that can creep in your shot. If you're handy w/ photo editing software, this won't be an issue. 

Rays of light from sunset highlighting the face of Mt. Baker.

Rays of light from sunset highlighting the face of Mt. Baker.


Sunset Spot #2: West Beach

Sunset from West Beach (December 2014)

Sunset from West Beach (December 2014)

Since the sun sets in the west, it's no wonder West Beach is such a great location to capture beautiful sunsets. Here, you'll find great views of sunsets during the fall/spring months as the sun is further south during this time of year - so it's an ideal location during off-season. Expansive views across the bay to other islands shape the horizon line, creating a dynamic depth. If you're fortunate enough to have great clouds creating additional layers of color and texture, you're sure to have some memories of a lifetime!

How to get there: from Eastound, follow Enchanted Forest Road westbound until the very end of the road. Stay straight as Enchanted Forest turns left into West Beach Road, and follow the paved road to the very end. One parking spot on the left near the beach and about 3-5 spots on the right side street parking.

Best time of year for sunsets: 
Fall through Spring due to sun setting further south on the horizon.

Orcas Island Getaway Tip: There's very limited parking at West Beach, and there are private homes to the south and a private resort to the north. Trespassing on either side for capturing your photo is frowned upon, so be sure to stay off of private property.


Sunset Spot #1: North Beach

Sunset Views from North Beach - Orcas Island, Washington

Sunset Views from North Beach - Orcas Island, Washington

North Beach is our favorite spot for capturing sunset photos, hands down. It's easy to access and North Beach offers a lot of variance in the types of photos you can capture from here.

You'll be able to look north to Sucia and Matia Islands, westward will be Saturna Island and the sunset. 

During evenings with a lower tide, you'll be able to make your way further out on the beach and look east to spectacular views of Mt. Baker. From here, you'll be able to capture the sun casting it's final rays of the day on the mountainside. It'll be a hard choice on which direction you want to look!

Boats entering Brandt's Landing Marina, North Beach, Orcas Island, Washington.

Boats entering Brandt's Landing Marina, North Beach, Orcas Island, Washington.

How to get there:
From Eastsound, take North Beach Road traveling north to the end of the road (about 1/2 mile past of the airport). There, you'll find enough parking for approximately eight vehicles, so you'll want to get there early to stake your spot. 

Best time of year for sunsets: 
Summer is the best time to view sunsets from North Beach as the position of the actual sun setting will make it's way over the waters edge past the piers. 

Orcas Island Getaway Tip: Spend at least one sunset at North Beach during your stay - you won't be disappointed!

 


BONUS:

When sunsets turn from great to AMAZING, you need to know how to spot it before it happens! So be sure to check out this bonus article from Digital Photography School.

...check out your detailed weather report for cloud cover percentages between 30 to 70 percent at sunset.
— Bruce Wunderlich, DPS article

Predicting Dramatic Sunsets

Bruce's five ingredients to successfully identifying when your sunsets can become AMAZING include:

  1. Mid to high-level clouds

  2. 30 to 70 percent cloud coverage

  3. Clean air

  4. Lower humidity

  5. Calm winds

Hopefully, you've found this article helpful in both navigating areas of Orcas Island, as well as some tips on knowing when sunsets will be breathtaking.

Good luck and be sure to share your amazing captures with us - we'd love to see them.

- Orcas Island Getaway

Before you go… Join our Newsletter by texting ORCAS to 345345
… or you can just use the form below. Thanks for reading!

Top eats on Orcas Island for foodies

Our Top "must-eat" locations on Orcas Island

If you love good, quality food made with passion, you'll enjoy sampling some of the many places you can eat on Orcas Island.

We're often asked, "What is your favorite place to eat on Orcas Island?". Trying to narrow down the amazing restaurants and eateries on Orcas to our top choice is just way too difficult. There are so many talented chefs and "food magicians" on this Island that bring their culinary creativity to their dishes. There are different types (breakfasts, dinners, coffee houses) as well as styles of food; you'll be hard pressed to find a clear winner.

To save ourselves from that impossible choice, we'll instead share two of our favorite spots on the island, and why we like them so much.  Let us start with a few characteristics we've found in common with both of our recommendations.

  1. Quality: As you could imagine, quality ingredients in, quality meals out. The choice to use high quality, fresh ingredients helps transform ordinary dishes into memorable experiences. 
  2. Creativity: Orcas Island is known for its eclectic mix of artisans, and you won't be disappointed with the creative dishes you'll find here. Flavor Explosion!
  3. Consistency: Knowing you can come back and get a great experience, both in the food and the service, is crucial. These places deliver time and time again, without disappointment.

Without further delay, below are our top two (different and unique) selections for you to make sure you hit while on Orcas Island!

Brown Bear Baking

If you like fresh out of the oven, hand-baked pastries, then look no further than Brown Bear Baking. Located in the heart of Eastsound on the corner of Main Street and North Beach Road, you'll often find a line out the door with guests willing to wait for their fresh-baked treats. Don't let that discourage you... stand in line! (Hint: it's well worth the wait).

Open case has different items on a daily basis, with some staples you'll find on a regular basis.

Open case has different items on a daily basis, with some staples you'll find on a regular basis.

With various items prepared throughout the day, you're sure to find these handcrafted pastries to be some of the freshest around, and the quality of the ingredients and care in preparation is apparent with your first bite. The bakery has an open and cozy vibe, with the owners having their input on the design and decor of the place. I love the design and style of their baking kitchen, with a lot of wood and steel - sort of an industrial meets woodsy theme that works well. 

Savory Scone in the foreground, hard at work in the background

Savory Scone in the foreground, hard at work in the background

Take some to go - you'll thank me later!

Take some to go - you'll thank me later!

While there is limited seating inside, they have a few spaces on the patio and picnic tables outside. If you get a chance to hang around and grab a seat inside, our favorite place is at the bar with the glass-wall partition looking in on the team of artisans creating various treats for all to enjoy.

Orcas Island Getaway Tip:
Stop in Brown Bear Baking a couple times in the same day while you're in town shopping. You'll find 
their display case is constantly changing with amazing new treats baked fresh (and selling out) throughout the day.

Location: Main Street & North Beach Road, Eastsound, WA 98245
Some of our favorites: Ham & Leek Quiche, Croque Monsieur, Monkey Bread and Savory Scone


Hogstone's Wood Oven Pizza

It's quite an honor to be even be mentioned by a Seattle Times food critic when you're a pizza joint - there are SOOOO many around - but to be named the best pizza in the state is quite the accomplishment. Hogstone's Wood Oven Pizza here on Orcas Island has done just that.

One of the many award-winning pizzas with 'fresh from the field' ingredients.

One of the many award-winning pizzas with 'fresh from the field' ingredients.

Visiting their website will help you understand how truly unique this place really is. Farmers by day, rock-star-caliber chefs by night, you'll find a cozy environment serving the freshest of ingredients, many grown and raised by the owners. Inside only seats ~2 dozen, but there's a bit more outdoor seating during the summer months. With their ever-changing menu, you can rely on a friendly staff to help with your selections. Easy to access in the heart of Eastsound, and offers local Island Hoppin' Brewery on draft, as well as other selections.

Appetizers that are great for sharing and exploring

Appetizers that are great for sharing and exploring

Unique dishes and desserts created on a regular basis with the ever changing menu

Unique dishes and desserts created on a regular basis with the ever changing menu

Orcas Island Getaway Tip: 
If you tend to stay with food items you know and recognize, we encourage you to explore the 'unfamiliar' ingredients that are sure to be on the menu. We've yet to have a meal that we have not absolutely loved at Hogstone's. 

Location: 460 Main Street, Eastsound, WA 98245
Some of our favorites: An Island Hoppin' beer + any pizza they're serving!

So there you have it. Two of our must-visit locations during your next visit to Orcas Island. Believe us, you won't be disappointed.

We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences as well as other locations you found worthy of top honors. Enjoy!

Helpful link: Yelp Reviews for Eastsound restaurants
Google+