Orcas Island in Washington State is one of the San Juan Islands. This scenic island located northwest of Seattle is only 57 square miles.
After seeing the San Juan Islands on TV several years ago, I added it to my bucket list. After researching the different islands, I decided Orcas was the best fit for us.
The only way to get to Orcas Island is by ferry or small plane. We opted for the ferry.
Orcas Island Itinerary
We started our trip to Orcas Island by flying into Seattle. Our flight arrived around 7 pm, so we spent the night near the airport. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Tukwila, about 10 minutes from Seattle Tacoma International Airport.
I figured grocery selection could be limited and expensive on Orcas Island. So I placed a Target pickup order (near the Holiday Inn Express) for non-perishables. I’m glad we did!
The following day, we left early to visit Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and see the fish ladder. This stop was worth the time!
The Washington State Ferry to Orcas Island leaves from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. So after the locks, we drove to Anacortes, which took about 1.5 hours. We enjoyed lunch at Bob’s Chowder Bar and BBQ Salmon.
We queued up for the ferry about 1.5 hours before departure. (I was not willing to take the chance of missing the ferry!) Fortunately, there are restrooms available by the car line.
The ferry ride to Orcas Island was about an hour. It was raining, so we stayed inside but enjoyed plenty of seating with great views. A snack bar is available for snacks, coffee, hot chocolate, or a light meal.
The ferry terminal on Orcas Island is on the southern part of the island. After disembarking the ferry, we drove to our vacation rental near Rosario (about 30 minutes).
After unloading our bags, we went to Orcas Island Market in Eastsound to get groceries.
The plan for this trip was to relax and explore the island at a slow pace. Our VRBO was a spectacular treehouse, and we enjoyed spending time there. So, you may notice that we didn’t do much each day.
Monday – Orcas Island
It was nice to sleep in on Monday and have a leisurely breakfast at the treehouse. Then, we drove to North Beach public access.
North Beach is small, but it offers stunning views. We just sat on the beach and hunted for sea glass.
Orcas Island doesn’t have many public beaches. However, Obstruction Pass State Park has a beautiful stretch of coastline accessible by foot. We hiked to the beach and enjoyed an ocean view picnic.
Later, we headed to Moran State Park to catch a glimpse of the 4 waterfalls along Cascade Creek.
Tuesday – Orcas Island
Cascade Lake is a lovely place in Moran State Park. It is a fantastic spot to spend the day swimming, boating, or hiking. We hiked the Loop Trail around the lake.
On Tuesday afternoon, we went whale watching with Outer Islands Excursions. It was a wonderful trip. We watched 2 playful humpback whales and spotted other wildlife as well.
We returned to Moran State Park on Wednesday to hike Little Summit Trail from Mountain Lake. This trail is 1.4 miles each way and is rated difficult. If you’re not up for the hike, there is a parking area near the viewpoint.
Typically, we packed picnics for lunch, but on Wednesday, we had a delicious meal at Buck Bay Shellfish Farm.
We spent a relaxing evening beachcombing at Judd Cove Preserve. This beach is in Eastsound and offers public access.
It rained most of the day on Thursday, so there was no need to get up early. We slept in, watched movies, and went to Eastsound to tour the Orcas Island Historical Society museum.
On Friday, we finally had the opportunity to drive to Mount Constitution and enjoy breathtaking views of Sucia Island State Park and the Canadian Coast Range.
To end our week, we took another tour with Outer Island Expeditions. Our guided kayak tour took us to Point Doughty. This area is inaccessible by car.
Unfortunately, it was time took to leave. So we rode the ferry back to Anacortes. We ended our trip to Washington with 2 nights in downtown Seattle.
Our week on Orcas Island was the perfect mix of relaxation and outdoor adventure. The scenery was spectacular, and the weather was fantastic. This corner of the country is a great place to escape from it all!