Orcas Island is a quaint, beautiful island getaway destination in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state. These islands are stunning and feature the best of the pacific northwest from waterfalls to incredible food to whale watching! Orcas Island is the biggest of these islands with the best views. There is a feeling on this island of peace and rejuvenation that your just don’t get on the other San Juan islands.
There are so many things to do on this gorgeous island, but transportation to these things can be a bit of a hassle. And since it is the biggest island, you definitely need transportation of some sort to get from one end of the island to the other. Fun places on the island are located several miles apart, making walking the island pretty difficult! Luckily, there are several options for getting around to enjoy this beautiful area of the Pacific Northwest’s San Juan Islands.
Orcas Island Taxi
When it comes to getting around on the island without your personal car, there are a few options for traveling the island. You can rent a car from the car rentals on the island and explore the island at your own pace, or take a taxi from place to place. The taxis are often booked up, however, and there are only two taxi services to choose from.
The Orcas Island Scenic Shuttle has two vehicles with a driver that can shuttle you around ; a minivan and a 15 person bus. The minivan is 125 dollars an hour and the bigger shuttle bus is 175 dollars an hour. They also taxi, but the rates depend on how many people and where you’re going. Calling to see about a price is the best way to figure out what it might cost for your trip.
The Orcas Island Taxi Service however has their rates posted on their website so you can plan a little better. Their minimum for a trip is 10 dollars and their average cost for a ride is about thirty dollars for a trip, with going to Doe Bay being the most expensive ($60). These prices are for two people however, so there is an added fee of five dollars more for every extra person.
Orcas Island Taxi also rents out scooters! They are basic, fun scooters that get up to the maximum speed on the island (35-40 miles an hour). They are 25 dollars an hour or 99 dollars for the whole day ( 9am to 6pm). What a cute way to scoot around the island! When I was on San Juan island just the other day, I saw lots of these cute little scooters running around the country roads and along the coast roads. Maybe not the most practical way for getting around the island, but for just a day of adventure, it looked like a whole lot of fun!
Orcas Island Water Taxi
Why wait to take a taxi till you get to the island? Getting from the mainland to Orcas or island to island doesn’t have to be a ferry affair! There are a few different water taxi boats that will take you where you need to go. Simply book a boat with one of three water taxi services and be on your way to Orcas!
Outer Island Excursions has many different sized boats to take as many as 49 passengers to some of the smallest islands from just about anywhere! They even do custom charters, fishing and whale watching tours. The taxi prices range from 200 dollars an hour for a six person boat to 1000 dollars an hour for the 49 passenger boat. Their charter prices range from about 1000 dollars to 4500 dollars with additional amounts per hour depending on the size of the boat. They are also a local island business located in the North Beach area just inside Smugglers Resort.
Island Express Charters is another water taxi located in Anacortes. Their prices seem geared toward just a few people rather than large groups. So if you’re looking for a more intimate sailing, maybe this is the charter for you! Their prices are around 100 to 200 dollars round trip per person depending on where you are going.
San Juan Safaris specialize in charters, whale watching and kayak sea tours. They water taxi with three different sized boats, starting with an 18 person boat at 250 dollars an hour and going up to 49 people boats at 750 dollars an hour. They also have a nice flight from Seattle and whale watching package!
Ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island
Getting to Orcas via the ferry in Anacortes is, as I’ve said before, easy! Make a reservation for your car on the ferry you’d like online, and then fly, or drive up to Anacortes. Follow the signs through Anacortes towards the ferry dock. You’ll buy a ticket (all tickets are round trip) and get into line to wait for the ferry. After driving onto the ferry, relax upstairs and enjoy the views! You might even see an eagle if you look closely! The ferry ride from Anacortes to Orcas Island is about an hour to an hour and a half. Once the captain announces your destination it’s time to disembark!
Orcas Island Car Rental
Coming out to Orcas Island can be quite the journey by car. Driving up to Anacortes and then waiting for the ferry can be a whole days work! An easy way to sidestep this process is to fly or take a private charter to Orcas and book a rental car for your time on the island.
Renting with Orcas cars is simple! Just go to the homepage on their website and put in what dates you need the car for and where on the island. The car will be waiting where you need it, and all you do is text Orcas Cars that you have arrived. They’ll unlock the car with its satellite technology and you are free to get going on your island adventure!