The following Destination Inspiration about Orcas Island is courtesy of Just 5 More Minutes.
An archipelago situated in the mountainous Pacific Northwest and comprised of 175 islands, the San Juan Islands are a place of rich, deep history and awe inspiring landscapes. I’m happy to be able to take you along with me on this island exploration as we enjoy non-stop outdoor adventures and unique culinary discoveries.
Of the three major islands (Lopez, San Juan and Orcas), we will be traveling to Orcas Island, which is the largest of them all.
We begin our trip at the Washington State Ferry Landing in Anacortes, Washington. For peace of mind, booking a sailing time via the “Save-a-Spot, Vehicle Reservation,” is highly recommended as the summer months tend to get busy and wait times can be longer than desired.
When boarding the ferry with an RV, the friendly and helpful traffic attendants are there to help direct you to your spot. Once onboard, explore the ferry’s upstairs quarters and enjoy the views of the islands and wildlife during the cruise. Before you know it, you will have arrived on Orcas Island, where your campground at West Beach Resort awaits.
Doe Bay Resort
Start off the day at the Doe Bay Resort to enjoy an early morning sunrise before having breakfast at the Doe Bay Café. The Café’s meals are prepared using organic fruits and veggies grown in the “Seed to Table,” on-site organic garden with plenty of fresh eggs from the resident hens and ducks as well. Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll around the resort grounds and have a soak in the tubs that overlook the Salish Sea (note: clothing optional).
Hike Turtleback Mountain
If you’d rather get away from the crowds and hike in relative solitude, Turtleback Mountain is a great choice and long favored by the locals. Wander about in the rare Garry oak woodlands, conifer forests, and wetlands with sweeping views at the top. Be sure to linger as the view is ever changing.
Directions: Orcas Island ferry landing, follow Orcas Road for 3.4 miles. Turn left on Nordstrom Lane and continue for 4 miles. Turn right on Crow Valley Road. After 5.7 miles follow the sign directing you to the parking lot on the left.
Buck Bay Shellfish Farm
Nestled along the ocean shore is the town of Olga, home to Buck Bay Shellfish Farm. Shellfish doesn’t get fresher than this. Pull oysters straight out of the ocean fed tanks inside the shucking shack, and enjoy an afternoon treat at the picnic tables overlooking the Salish Sea. Be sure to take some clams and other shellfish back to camp with you to cook up over the campfire. It’s a treat like no other!
Wildlife Boat Tour
Get ready for a thrilling adventure with Outer Island Expeditions where Captain Paul will whisk you away to outer islands and educate you on island history and teach you about the plethora of wildlife you will see. Watch eagles soar high above, sea lions feasting on salmon and so much more. Make sure to bring a warm coat as time spent out on the water, even on the hottest of summer days, can be quite chilly.
Brown Bear Bakery
Pick up a sweet treat to go from the Brown Bear Bakery. Located in the heart of Eastsound Village, this is a great place to grab a coffee, a loaf of freshly baked bread and other culinary delicacies. Definitely a place not to miss!
Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park
Drive to the top of Mt. Constitution and climb the stairs to the top of the stone observation tower patterned after a medieval watch to enjoy 360 views. Find a picnic table and enjoy a sweet treat from Brown Bear Bakery as you sit at the highest point in all of the San Juan Islands and revel in the views. An easy hike to the Cascade waterfalls awaits you at the bottom of the mountain and is a hike not to be missed.
Known as Orcas Island’s downtown, historic Eastsound Village is a visitor’s dream of galleries, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and a history museum to name a few. Be sure to visit Darvill’s Bookstore for their unique selection of books (and great prices) while enjoying a hot cup of coffee from the Straight Shot coffee stand located in the back of the store.
Orcas Island Farmer’s Market
This is a farmer’s market not to be missed. Here you will not only find fresh fruits and veggies, much of which are organic, but also delicious jams and preserves, plant starts, crafts, art, jewelry, clothing, pottery and yummy food vendors. For fun, chat with the local crafters and farmers to learn about their trade. It’s truly something to understand how their hard work brings such goodness to the table.
New Leaf Cafe
While exploring the historic village of Eastsound, be sure to stop by the New Leaf Café to experience Chef Steve Debaste’s culinary creations. For breakfast I recommend the Smoked Salmon Benedict (the hollandaise sauce is one of kind) and for dinner, the grilled filet mignon will leave you longing for more. Enjoy a meal with locally sourced goodness and be forever spoiled.
Sunset Kayak Trip
Let Shearwater Kayak Adventures guide you on a kayaking trip to remember. Glide silently over the water in a sleek sea kayak while experiencing the San Juan Islands from the best vantage point. Kayaking experience is not necessary for the three-hour sunset tour, as professional and experienced guides teach all necessary instruction.