get on the horseshoe highway
Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands. At low tide, the San Juan archipelago contains more than 740 islands, reefs and rocks. At high tide, the number decreases to around 430. 128 of them have names.
The island is 57 square miles with a population of 5,500 people. Orcas is larger than San Juan Island but less populous.
Mount Constitution, with an elevation of 2409 feet, is the highest point in the San Juan islands. It's part of Moran State Park and encompasses over 5,000 acres of woodland filled with lakes, waterfalls, hiking trails and campgrounds.
Getting to orcas
There are a few ways to get to Orcas Island. The most cost-effective way is by the Washington State Ferries that run out of Anacortes several times a day. Orcas is one of four San Juan Islands served by the ferries.
A reservation system was established at the beginning of the year to make your travels easier. You can book your trip up to two months in advance. We'd recommend this as traveling to the islands during this time of year is very popular.
We would also recommend walking onto the ferry and taking local transportation once you get here. This makes getting on the ferry less stressful than driving on. Some local transportation options include Orcas Island Rental Car, Orcas Island Taxi, San Juan Transit & Shuttle, and New Orcas Taxi Tours.
You can also get to Orcas by a private boat, airplane or seaplane.
Where to Stay
Orcas has a variety of lodging options. You can visit the Chamber of Commerce, for a full list of lodging options on the island. You can rent an entire house or cabin for all of your friends on VRBO. If being outdoors is your thing, you can also camp in Moran State Park or rent a yurt on the island.
Book your lodging early. This time of year is a very popular time to visit Orcas.
Things to do
Well, besides going to the Cider and Mead Festival.
You can browse the Farmers Market. It's right next door to the Festival. How's that for convenience? Rent bikes, mopeds and boats to tour the island. Hike around Cascade Lake or up Turtleback Mountain to take in the lovely views. Play a round of golf or go fishing. If you can imagine it, you can do it.
Places to eat & Drink
Orcas restaurants offer something for everyone. Grab a bite at one of our local pubs or coffee shops. If you're looking for fine dining, we've got that too. Local and organic food proudly finds it's way onto plates at many of the local establishments. Need a cocktail or a beer? Along with the pubs in town, you can also visit a quaint 19 person cocktail bar or the local brewery just outside of town.