Orcas Island

Orcas Island Claimed

3 days - summer 2019 Went with my mom to visit my daughter who was working on the island

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Full Itinerary

There is no place like the San Juan Islands.

The islands are stunningly beautiful with so many varied activities available.Getting to Orcas Island isn’t the easiest, but it is fun whether you choose to fly to the islands or take the ferry.

We flew to Seattle and spent the night there, leaving for Orcas the next day. Spending an afternoon in Seattle is so much fun, between Pioneer Square, Pike Pace Market, the Space Needle or the Seattle Art Museum, there is plenty to do and see.

To get to Orcas, you have two choices – take a sea plane to the island and rent a car on Orcas, or rent a car in Seattle and drive to the ferry station in Anacortes, and take a ferry. Note: reserve the ferry or plane ride early…Orcas is a very popular destination in the summer.

If you go by sea plane – reserve seats on Kenmore Air (kenmoreair.com) and be sure to leave out of the Lake Union location flying into either East Sound or Deer Harbor. Orcas Island Rental Car will have a car waiting for you at the marina, just arrange that in advance. The sea plane is small, so only carry-on luggage is allowed. They have strict weight requirements, so keep this in mind. But, flying by sea plane is so much fun and you really get to see Seattle and the Islands. The plane flies low and the ride felt very safe to me. It’s loud, but they provide ear plugs for you.

If you take the ferry – Make your ferry reservation at https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/Schedule. The drive from Seattle to the ferry station in Anacortes is about 1 hr 45 minutes. It’s a very easy drive. Once you arrive in Anacortes, they will ask for your reservation number at the booth and tell you how to cue up. We always arrive about 30 minutes before the ferry is scheduled to leave. Park, then head to the cafe for a coffee or snack. Once you get on the ferry, park and lock up your car and head upstairs for the stunning views of the San Juan Islands.

Where to stay:

Turtleback Inn – this B & B is exceptionally charming and the owners were so warm and fun to talk to. It’s in a fantastic location with beautiful views of a valley. We stayed in the guest cottage which has two guests rooms. Warning, the caretaker and his family live upstairs, but in two nights, we only heard them only once.

DO NOT stay at Rosario Resort – yuck, totally outdated and badly in need of a facelift.

Other options are to rent an AirBnB, which we are doing this summer. I’ll update after that trip.

There are plenty of places to stay, depending on your budget!

What to do:

1. Hike Turtleback Mountain – challenging with stunning views

2. Get on the water!Kayak – contact https://shearwaterkayaks.com/ to arrange a tour or rent kayaksWhale watching – contact https://deerharborcharters.com/

3. Hike Moran State Park – this is on the east side of the island and Bill and I hiked to the top and loved every minute of it.

4. Rent a nike and explore – Orcas is hilly, so be prepared for a good workout!

5. Visit East Sound where you will find cute shops, a nice bookstore, bakery, and restaurants.

Where to eat:

1. Do not miss eating dinner at The Inn at Ship Bay. innatshipbay.comOur meals there are creative delicious and very healthy. All seasonal with excellent seafood. Most of the herbs and veggies come from their own organic garden.

2. The Kitchen – don’t miss this hidden gem for a delicious lunch. Try one of their shrub drinks, a local favorite that is vinegar based. Sounds worse than it is, I promise!

3. Brown Bear Baking – great place for coffee and breakfast.

Oddly, restaurants and stores are closed on random days of the week. For example, The Kitchen is closed on Wednesdays. So, call ahead before you get your heart set on eating anywhere on the island



Type of Trip

Adventure/Active, Food/Culture/Arts, Nature


quick getaway/weekend

Who Went

Family with adult kids


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