15 Best Things to Do in Orcas Island, WA

Orcas Island, WA
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Towards the northwestern corner of San Juan County is Orcas Island.

Known as the largest among the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest, the horseshoe-shaped island is a prime spot to enjoy an island adventure.

You can easily visit Orcas Island via the Washington State Ferries system, but you can take other travel options.

Orcas Island gained its name in 1847 and currently features a share of parks and other natural sights for you to explore.

Whether you want to explore the waters or want to hike through the natural sights, you can discover plenty of beauty on this island.

Bearing that in mind, here are the 15 best things to do in Orcas Island, Washington:

Check Out Orcas Island Pottery

Pottery displayed outside Orcas Island Pottery
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Discover even more local art by heading for Orcas Island Pottery.

Orcas Island Pottery is a pottery studio known as one of the oldest studios on the island and has its share of unique features.

Colorful pottery at Orcas Island Pottery
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Unlike other places you can visit on Orcas Island, Orcas Island Pottery is not a single store featuring different types of pottery pieces.

Rather, the pottery studio is an open area in the woods with varying structures, including an ornate treehouse.

The garden and pottery of Orcas Island Pottery
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You can find all kinds of ceramic pieces displayed throughout the grounds, and many of them are open for purchase.

To find this open space shop, head west of the island and look for Old Pottery Road.

Exterior of Orcas Island Pottery
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Ride Horses with Orcas Island Trail Rides

There are plenty of ways to explore Orcas Island, but for a more memorable experience, you need to book a ride with Orcas Island Trail Rides.

With Orcas Island Trail Rides, you can find different hidden gems throughout the island via horseback.

No matter your experience with horses, you will receive accommodation and can choose between three trail rides featuring different sights and times lengths.

You can find the service by heading down south of Moran State Park, or you can make a reservation by contacting the staff via their phone number.

Either way, by booking Orcas Island Trail Rides, you have the chance to enjoy a horseriding experience with fun sights.

Go Camping at Moran State Park

Road arch of Moran State Park
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For more recreational activities to enjoy in nature, check out Moran State Park.

At Moran State Park, you can find hundreds of campsites and facilities to enjoy different outdoor activities.

The park first opened in 1921 and currently spans 5,424-acres in size and features different sections you can explore.

For those interested in doing outdoor activities, you can find trails that go as long as 30 miles for you to hike or cycle through.

Trees reflecting on water at Moran State Park
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In addition, there are five freshwater lakes for you to sail around.

As for those interested in camping in the park, there are spaces where you can set up a tent or park an RV.

You can also choose to book a luxury platform tent.

Another benefit you'll find with specific campgrounds is them being near Eastsound Village, where you can check out different shops and eateries.

To find this park, you need to head for Olga Road.

Watchtower at Moran State Park
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Take a Hike around Turtleback Mountain Preserve

Orcas Island holds various sights for you to admire, and one of the best places to explore them is the Turtleback Mountain Preserve.

The Turtleback Mountain Preserve is a preserve you can find on the northwest end of Turtleback Mountain and spans 1,578 acres.

When visiting this preserve, you have a chance to see not just gorgeous mountain views but also raptors flying around.

With the mountain, you can see it on the west side of the island, and it features a series of trails you can explore during the day.

The trails vary from broad to narrow and take you to different landscapes.

Some of the landscapes you can find when exploring the trails in this preserve include open meadows and other gorgeous sights.

If you want to check out the preserve, you can use either the north or south trailhead of the mountain through Crow Valley Road, but it will be a challenge.

Overall, the Turtleback Mountain Preserve is a top spot to explore natural sights.

Climb Mount Constitution

Aerial view of Mount Constitution
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If you're looking to find the best views while on Orcas Island, then Mount Constitution is where you need to go.

Mount Constitution is a mountain known for being the highest peak among the San Juan Islands and rises nearly half a mile above Orcas Island.

Historically wise, the mountain is also known as the base of a stone tower replica of Russian watchtowers.

Aerial view of Mount Constitution
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The stone tower was built in the 1930s and currently offers some of the best views of the mountain's surrounding area.

The mountain area is open for visits at any time.

You can easily access the mountain through Moran State Park and hike or cycle to the summit.

Stone tower of Mount Constitution
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Meet the Farm Animals at the Once In a Blue Moon Farm and Lodging

The Once In a Blue Moon Farm and Lodging venue is an ideal spot to visit for anyone a fan of animals.

When it comes to the lodging spaces at Once In a Blue Moon Farm and Lodging, there are five options you can choose from, each one offering its share of features and people limit.

With the farm side of the venue, you can take different tours with different features.

There are three types of tours you can book in Once In a Blue Moon Farm and Lodging, and they can span from 30 minutes at least to 1 and a half hours at most.

Depending on the type of tour you book, you can experience farm activities ranging from feeding the animals to helping out with farm work.

You can find the farm on Eastman Road, but reservations are required if you want to explore the venue.

Get Fresh Shellfish at the Buck Bay Shellfish Farm

A boat near Buck Bay Shellfish Farm's dock
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Anyone who is a fan of shellfish needs to visit the Buck Bay Shellfish Farm.

Located at EJ Young Road, the Buck Bay Shellfish Farm is a prime spot for fresh seafood and gourmet shellfish.

More than offering seafood, the farm has organically grown vegetables.

If that isn't enough, the farm also has a bistro menu plus a selection of wine.

In addition to all this, Buck Bay Shellfish Farm also provides a lodging space called the Buck Bay Getaway.

Unfortunately, the farm is only open during certain seasons, and you will need to check online for the best time to visit.

Discover Hidden Gems with Salish Seacrets Adventures, LLC

Enjoy even more adventures on the water by booking a ride with Salish Seacrets Adventures, LLC.

Compared to other boating services, Salish Seacrets Adventures, LLC offers various services for you to enjoy.

If you're interested in enjoying a relaxing boat ride with gorgeous views, Salish Seacrets Adventures, LLC offers yacht rides that can last for 4 hours.

When it comes to the other services you can book with Salish Seacrets Adventures, LLC, you can either experience fishing in secret spots or indulge in some fresh shellfish.

You'll find no shortage of boating options with Salish Seacrets Adventures, LLC.

To find this charters service, you need to head to Brandt-Landing Road.

Sail around the Lakes with Orcas Adventures

Boats on Cascade lake
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While there are plenty of services that'll provide you with options to explore the ocean waters, Orcas Adventures is one of the few services that let you explore the lakes in Orcas Island.

Orcas Adventures is a boat rental service that provides access to Cascade Lake and Mountain Lake.

Compared to other rental services you can find on Orcas Island, Orcas Adventures also provides a sweets area called The Sugar Shack.

At The Sugar Shack, you can enjoy 12 ice cream flavors, plus drinks and bistro dishes.

The rental service opens during specific times of the year sits by Olga Road.

Sample the Products at Girl Meets Dirt

Orcas Island has multiple shops you can peruse, but if you want to try out local treats, make a stop at the Girl Meets Dirt kitchen and shop.

At Girl Meets Dirt, you can find no shortage of organic products ranging from jams to alcohol.

If you are interested in their food products, you are free to sample any of the shop's products any day of the week.

For those curious about the process behind their jams and other staple items, you are free to take a peek at their kitchen to see the staff's progress.

By visiting Girl Meets Dirt, you'll find a tasty experience with multiple different organic products.

Enjoy a Glass of Wine at the Orcas Island Winery

One of the local delights you can find on Orcas Island is wine, and to sample it, you need to check out the Orcas Island Winery.

The Orcas Island Winery is the first and only of its kind and has been around for over ten years.

You can find the winery close to the base of Turtleback Mountain and within a modern farmhouse.

The winery spans 16 acres and features a picnic space and outdoor seating.

More than offering a selection of red and white wines, the winery provides different bites for you to pair with your drink.

Overall with Orcas Island Winery, you can indulge in a delightful glass of wine while enjoying a gorgeous view.

Explore The Orcas Island Historical Museum

Exterior of The Orcas Island Historical Museum
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Check out local history by visiting The Orcas Island Historical Museum.

The Orcas Island Historical Museum is a facility that dates back to the 1870s in terms of structure.

It was in the 1950s that the facility became a museum.

The facility comprises a series of cabins that feature collections of artifacts in each one.

Entrance of The Orcas Island Historical Museum
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There are thousands of historical pieces you can find in this facility and tours you can choose to book.

Depending on the season, there are different times you can visit the museum, which is by North Beach Road.

If you want to know the best time to visit the museum, you can contact the staff via their contact number or check the schedule online.

The Orcas Island Historical Museum's totem pole
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For those interested in checking out local art, the Orcas Island Artworks Gallery is the place to go.

At the Orcas Island Artworks Gallery, you can find a series of art pieces done by local artists ranging from pottery to paintings and other handcrafted items.

Before becoming an art gallery, the building was the home of the Olga Strawberry Barreling Plant.

The building was first developed in 1938 and ran as a strawberry barreling plant until 1981.

Unfortunately, the building received fire damage at one point and ended up renovated in 2012.

Currently, you can purchase a selection of pieces online, and if you're lucky, you can meet with different artists.

Stroll around Eastsound Village

Outlook Inn at Eastsound Village
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Scratch any shopping itch by making your way to Eastsound Village.

Set by the edge of Fishers Bay, Eastsound Village is a prime spot to explore the various shops and eateries available on the island.

Exterior of a shop at Eastsound Village
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Whether you want to enjoy local bites or stroll around window shopping, there is plenty for you to see in this downtown district.

If you're looking to sit back and take a break, Eastsound Village is the place to go.

Spot Marine Life with Deer Harbor Charters

Explore the waters and seek out local wildlife by booking a ride with Deer Harbor Charters.

Deer Harbor Marina is a charter service that offers different tours and cruises where you enjoy a ride around the island while looking for whales.

The charter service has been running since 1988 and offers tours that run from 3-4 hours while their sailing services span from 2-3 hours.

If you want to locate the service, you can head to either the Deer Harbor Marina or the Rosario Resort.

When booking with Deer Harbor Charters, six people are allowed per ride.

Aside from tour and cruise services, Deer Harbor Charters offers rental services.

Whatever you choose to do with Deer Harbor Charters, you get to experience a fun ocean ride.

Final Thoughts

Orcas Island is a prime place to visit if you're looking to enjoy an adventure by the sea.

When visiting this island, there is no shortage of options of what you can choose to do.

For those looking for some fun by the water, there are plenty of charter services where you can enjoy a cruise, seek out marine life, or experience fishing.

If you're interested in exploring nature, there are numerous trails and campgrounds for you to check out.

More than outdoor activities, Orcas Island offers plenty of shops and other fun spots for you to peruse.

With Orcas Island, you'll find plenty of fun and adventure waiting to happen.