Orcas Island

It’s no wonder travelers flock here to Orcas Island, one of 172 named islands in the San Juan archipelago located about 15 miles off the coast of Washington State.

Often called the “gem of the San Juans” and the “emerald isle,” Orcas is 57.3 square miles of rugged coastline, lush green forests, small mountains, farm valleys and charming hamlets tucked in the lee of Canada’s Vancouver Island. Surrounding Orcas Island is the Salish Sea, where marine life includes magnificent killer whales, giant Pacific octopus, Stellar sea lions, harbor seals, salmon and Dungeness crab. Bald eagles, osprey and black oystercatchers make Orcas their home, and a wide variety of birds can be appreciated at any time of the year.

Otters Pond Bed and Breakfast is located on the eastern side of this horseshoe-shaped island, at the foot of Mt. Constitution, the highest point on the San Juans at 2,409 feet. Moran State Park covers most of this part of the island with 5,252 acres, five freshwater lakes, delightful waterfalls and more than 30 miles of hiking trails. A journey up the steep winding road to the top of Mt. Constitution provides panoramic views of the surrounding islands, Cascade Mountains to the east, Olympic Mountains to the southwest, and various cities including Vancouver.

From outdoor adventures to arts and culture, there is always something – actually many things – to do on and around Orcas Island. Whale-watching, hiking, biking, kayaking, sailing, fishing and birding are just a few of the many possibilities. Picturesque villages such as Olga, Westsound, Deer Harbor and Orcas Village are hubs of dining, arts and culture. Otters Pond B&B is just four miles from Eastsound, the largest town and center of activity, filled with boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, museums and other visitor attractions.

To permanently protect precious lands in the San Juans, portions of the islands this year were set aside as a U.S. National Monument.

lots to do on orcas island

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