What Orcas Has to Offer
Orcas Island has so much to offer. This list is by no means an exhaustive one but should help you get started as you plan your trip. A bit closer to your time of travel, you can peruse the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce’s Weekly Blast to get a feel for what’s happening while you will be on the island. Each week, the Chamber of Commerce publishes two lists: one of the week’s events on Orcas and one that lists the seasonal hours of all the restaurants, both of which are super helpful!
Whale Watching – Without exception, we recommend Orcas Island Eclipse Charters. We mention them in the Our Neighborhood section as well and they’re just wonderful. They have 25 years of experience, a knowledgeable staff, and they leave from just down the hill by the county dock. The Orcas Express, their boat, has snacks and coffee on board, books and crayons for children, nuts and other snacks, a full length viewing top deck, a walk-around main deck, and professional naturalists that go along for every tour.
Kayaking – There are a lot of options for kayaking but we suggest Shearwater Adventures, whose office is in Eastsound. They have a variety of tours available from April through September with no previous kayaking experience required. Whether you’re looking for a sunset tour, a moonlight tour, a tour around beautiful Sucia Island, or a custom adventure, they have an experienced staff that will make sure you have a fun, safe excursion.
Hiking – Moran State Park is an absolute gem and has over 38 miles of foot trails. Whether you want to mosey along the flat, 2.7-mile trail around Cascade Lake or you want to tackle the 2,058 foot ascent from Cascade Lake to the summit of Mt. Constitution, you can find the perfect trail for you in the Trail Map and Guide to Moran State Park here (a copy of which will accompany the Welcome Book at the cottage at check-in).
If you want a hike a bit closer to Orcas Landing, Turtleback Mountain is a wonderful option. While its peak doesn’t reach as high as Mt. Constitution, the views are similarly breathtaking. Check out a map and guide to Turtleback Mountain Preserve here. The South Trailhead is big more rugged than the multi-use North Trailhead but both offer stunning vistas.
Horseback Riding – Whether you’re an experienced rider or a novice, whether you have a half an hour or a whole day, Orcas Trail Rides will find the perfect trip for you.
Orcas Island Winery – If you like wine and you like drinking local, head to the Orcas Island Winery tasting room. Not only is the tasting room adorable, the wine is also delicious. If you aren’t here when they’re open, you can sample some of their wines by purchasing them from the Orcas Village Store just down the hill from the cottage.
Island Hoppin’ Brewery – If you like beer and drinking local, head to Island Hoppin’. Tasting this beer most definitely does not have to be done at their tasting room as you often find the IPA or Kolsch on tap at local restaurants, but the awesome people who run it and the atmosphere make it worth a visit!
Token Herb – Orcas Island is home to the only dispensary in the San Juans. Token Herb sells marijuana grown locally from San Juan Sun Grown and NW Connoisseur’s as well as a variety of edible goodies and vaporizing gear.
Art/The Arts – From pottery to jewelry, from paintings to plays, Orcas Island is rich with art. Can you blame artists for coming here and being inspired? Picking a favorite artist or gallery would be like picking which limb you wouldn’t want cut off so we will instead send you to this list of local art, artists, galleries, and performance centers.
Locally Made Goods – One of the coolest parts of Orcas Island is how much of the goods on the island are grown or made here. There are gourmet chocolates made, coffee beans roasted, crops grown, animals raised, spirits distilled, and jewelry made on-island. A great way to check out all these locally made goods is by going to the Farmers Market on the Village Green in Eastsound on Saturdays from May thru September. We’re huge fans of Local Goods (who makes the coffee, hot sauce, and chili sauce we provide for our guests).