Even amongst the incredible beauty of Washington State, the stunning natural wonders of the San Juan Islands remain second to none. The largest island by area, Orcas Island is a fantastic destination for those in search of small-town sights and gorgeous outdoor adventures. Where better to start than at Orcas Village itself?
Affectionately nicknamed "the landing" for the town's ferry terminal, Orcas Village is the main point of entry for exploring the island. As a result, the unincorporated community boasts a wide selection of restaurants to try, as well as several charming souvenir shops. The town also offers a public dock for taking in some fresh ocean air on walks from your vacation rental, as well as historical sights like the century-old Orcas Hotel.
Even though Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juans, traveling around the island is still a breeze with a car (though bikers who want to test themselves on hilly terrain are more than welcome to try!) Hikers are sure to enjoy the gorgeous vistas and stunning panoramic views of Turtleback Mountain Preserve's trails north of town. Even more hikes await at Moran State Park to the east, which also gives you access to swimming in Cascade Lake and Mountain Lake. Don't forget about Mount Constitution - Orcas Island's most famous landmark is topped with an observation tower that provides the best view in the San Juan Islands. Visit on a clear day for views of the other San Juan Islands, and even Canada in the distance!
On the way back to your lovely vacation home, be sure to stop in Eastsound! The largest population center on the island has plenty of restaurants and gift shops to try, as well as opportunities for kayaking, whale-watching, and boat tours. The town even has some family-friendly museums, like the scientific exhibits of Funhouse Commons, or the Orcas Island Historical Museum in the center of town.
When you finally head back to town, be sure to take advantage of the ferry landing to explore the rest of the islands! Lopez Island's low-key atmosphere, San Juan Island's bustling port towns, and the dining and sightseeing of Anacortes are all accessible via a short, scenic ferry ride.
Your vacation to Orcas Island should be as fun and relaxing as possible. With small town comforts, nearby natural beauty, and incredible access to the best northern Washington has to offer, Orcas Village is the perfect place for your next getaway to the San Juans.
Photo credit: trekkerkaren via Flickr