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San Juan Island
A rural gem where the pace is slow, the locals are friendly and the crowds are minimal.
Orcas Island, a scenic and mountainous landmass split by two fjord-like bays, is both the largest of the San Juans at 58 square miles and home to their highest point: 2,409-foot Mt. Constitution.
The picturesque village of Eastsound is Orcas’ commercial and geographic center. Myriad shops, eateries, guides and outfitters make it an ideal starting point for your Orcas adventure. Treat yourself to a gelato and walk to nearby Crescent Beach for a swim or enjoy a pint and a burger at Lord’s Tavern. Sip an espresso from Teezer’s Cookies and Coffee House while you peruse rare finds at several highend boutiques.
Orcas Outfitters provides clothing, footwear and gear for every outdoor pursuit. Suit up and head out to explore a surprising variety of landscapes.
Moran State Park on the east side of Orcas comprises 5,000 acres of clear mountain lakes, streamside trails and old growth forest. The crown jewel of the park is Mt. Constitution, with its stunning panoramic views of the San Juan islands, Mt. Baker, Victoria and Mt. Rainier. Take the scenic 20-minute drive to the summit or, if you’re so inclined, hike or bike to the top.
The park offers numerous campsites from primitive to RV-ready, but the inns of
Eastsound (including worldfamous Rosario Resort) are a short drive away for those who prefer not to rough it.
Breakfast at Olga’s Café, a mile and a half south of Moran State Park, is sure to satisfy. Try the smoked salmon baked eggs with capers, tomatoes, cilantro and dill, paired with a homemade scallion biscuit and coffee. Kaleidoscopic flavors are matched by the colors,
textures and compositions on display in the adjoining art gallery, which features an impressive selection of jewelry, woodwork, paintings, sculpture and art glass from more than 45 artists.
With its dramatic coastlines and dozens of island neighbors, Orcas brings out the nautical wanderer in everyone. Rent a kayak to explore the bays and inlets, or join a whale watching cruise or fishing charter.
To rent a sailboat or powerboat, head to Deer Harbor on Orcas’ west side. The marina is a popular stop for summer cruisers, and the historic village offers restaurants, shops and lodging options.
Deer Harbor Inn was established in 1910 and has charming rooms with vis-
For more info, visit orcasislandchamber.com.
The locals know:
IT’S BEST TO GET OFF TRAIL: Follow the dirt roads to Obstruction Pass State Park to find affordable ocean-side camping and interpretive trails that meander through madrona trees and
A CLOSE ENCOUNTER IS COOL: Get up close
to the wildlife – otters, eagles and the
occasional Orca whale – on a wildlife tour with Shearwater Kayak Tours in Eastsound.
GRAB A BREW: Sample the artisanal microbrews at Island Hoppin’ Brewery, located just north of