Washington State Ferry Service
More San Juan Islands
Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands, which are located off the northern coast of Washington State. Approximately an hour and twenty minutes from the mainland city of Anacortes by ferry, Orcas is home to an eclectic community of artisans and small cottage businesses. Its diverse landscape of mountains, wooded countryside and spectacular vistas make it a popular destination for both day trips and extended vacations.
Orcas Island, is not named after the Orca whales as one might expect, but rather, named after Don Juan Vincente de Guemes Pacheco Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo Conde de Revilla Gigedo;(!!), the patron of a Spanish explorer and viceroy of Mexico.
Eastsound is the largest town on the island and is home to a variety of accommodations and restaurants. Four other small communities, Olga, Deer Sound, West Sound and Doe Bay are scattered across the horseshoe-shaped island and have a range of galleries, artist studios and shopping amenities.
Rosario Resort, the island's largest hotel, is the former estate of shipbuilder Robert Moran and offers first-class dining and accommodations, as well as sweeping views of sound. There also are a number of bed and breakfast inns located throughout the island.
Moran State Park is located near Eastsound and is a favorite camping location. Mount Constitution, which towers 2,409 feet, affords a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding parklands and islands.
Many people however, come to Orcas to tour the countryside by bicycle or to kayak the fjords and coastal waters. Day tours are available through several local companies on the island.
Orcas Island can be reached from the mainland via a leisurely ferry ride from Anacortes or by seaplane from Seattle or Portland, Oregon. Visitors should plan visits ahead of time and check ferry and plane schedules. Not all of the ferries stop at Orcas Island and travel times vary according to the time of day. Orcas Island also makes an ideal lunch or dinner stop from any of the adjacent San Juan Islands.
Orca sightings 90% of the time, Heated cabins, padded outdoor seating, Certified Naturalist Guides.
360-378-6636 or 800-80-Whale
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Moon San Juan Islands, 4th Edition (Moon Handbooks) by Don Pitcher. Learn about the best of the San Juan Islands' details on everything from accommodations, dining and activities. This guide has all the information needed to plan a fun-filled trip to this popular destination. Order now...
The Essential San Juan Islands Guide by Marge Mueller and Ted Mueller. Twenty maps help you locate sites, and the Lodging at a Glance table saves you time and clarifies your overnight options. Information about how to get there and what to do once you arrive are categorized by island, and include icons. Order now...
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