Orcas Island Washington

Orcas Island Washington is the largest of the San Juan Islands, at just over 57 square miles, with San Juan Island second largest, at just over 55 square miles. Orcas has about 4500 year-round residents, as compared to about 7000 year-round residents on San Juan. The island has Washington State Ferry service, a public airport, and a public boat launch.

Often mistakenly thought to be named after the area's resident whale pods, Orcas is actually a shortened form of the name, "Horcasitas," from Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo, the Viceroy of Mexico who sent an exploration expedition under Francisco de Eliza to the Pacific Northwest in 1791.

Eastsound, at the north end of the island, is the largest town on Orcas, followed by Deer Harbor, and Olga and Doe Bay on the east side. Olga has a cafe (Cafe Olga) and gallery of local artwork. Doe Bay is mostly known primarily for their rustic resort of the same name, Doe Bay Resort.

Tower at Mount Constitution, Moran State Park

Orcas has fabulous Moran State Park, with more than 5000 acres of forest, camping, freshwater lakes, waterfalls, and 30 miles of hiking trails. The highest point in all the San Juan Islands is the Park's Mt. Constitution, at a towering 2,409 feet high. The mountain is a popular place for both residents and visitors, with a summit tower that provides an exceptional 360-degree view of the island and its surroundings.

Three miles past Moran State Park is Obstruction Pass State Park, an 11-campsite marine park for hike-in or boat-in camping. There is a half-mile trail leading to a public beach and campground area. Lieber Haven Resort and Marina has a guest dock with short term boat moorage and a sandy beach area designated for passing kayakers to land. Plus, the resort has WiFi!

The Orcas Island Historical Museum, located in Eastsound, is an interpretive heritage museum with a permanent collection of 6000 items.

There are so many wonderful places to see and visit at Orcas Island Washington! Be sure to visit Rosario Resort, Orcas Spa and Athletics, and Orcas Island Historical Museum.

Click the following links to read about some of the other San Juan Islands. Jump to Lopez Island Washington, Crane Island, Cypress Island, Sentinel Island, Yellow Island, Canoe Island, Lummi Island Washington, Saturna Island, Sinclair Island, or Strawberry Island.

Jump back to San Juan Islands Washington from Orcas Island Washington, or return to Simply San Juan.