Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands, is located in northwestern Washington. It’s 57.3 square miles and is home to just over 5,000 residents. But tourists love visiting Orcas Island, too.
There’s so much to do. According to Orcas Island’s Chamber of Commerce website, it considers itself a “magical mix of arts and culture, lush forests, placid lakes, and endless outdoor possibilities.”
The island’s crown jewel is the beautiful Moran State Park. Its 5200 acres are bound to excite enthusiastic hikers everywhere. You can either hike on your own or choose to take a guided tour.
There’s also plenty of opportunities to rent kayaks or boats to cruise the surrounding waters to sightsee and fish. Or you can hop on a bike to tour the countryside. You can even take a whale-watching tour! So, it’s an outdoorsy person’s paradise.
But there’s also plenty to do for “indoor cats” as well. You can visit spas or explore the island’s fine dining opportunities. And there are tons of activities, restaurants, and entertainment in Eastsound. There’s really something for everyone!
But how do you actually get to Orcas Island? Let’s find out!
How to get around Orcas Island?
There are many modes of transportation available on Orcas Island once you arrive.
If you prefer to drive yourself, Orcas Island Rental Car has sedans, mini-vans, convertibles, and large vans available for rent year-round. If you would rather have someone else drive you around, Orcas Island Taxi is a great option. They are family owned and operated and available 24 hours. New Orcas Taxi Tours also offers rides, including vans.
OrcasCars.com, the latest addition to the thriving transportation market on the island, is also a great option. With a fleet of brand new Hyundai Elantras – which have leather interior and some cool premium features – they’re the first to offer a fully digital transaction from booking to pick up and drop-off.
If cars aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of ways to get around by water. North Shore Charters offer the highest quality boat tours within the San Juan Islands. It’s perfect for fishing and day cruises to Canadian destinations. Orcas Boat Rentals & Charters has a variety of 14- to 24-foot boats.
Maybe you’re more into a little bit of luxury. Good thing San Juan Airlines has you covered. With flights to five different locations in the San Juan Islands, you can charter one for business or pleasure. Kenmore Air also provides an easy and quick way to fly from Seattle right to the San Juan Islands.
And if you’re looking to get up close and personal with Orcas Island, Wildlife Cycles is a full-service bike shop that offers bike rentals as well as suggested rides. If you brought your own two-wheeled bike to the island, they even offer repair services.
What is Kenmore Air?
Kenmore Air offers flights to and from San Juan Islands, Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria so you can reach your destination quicker than by boat or car.
Another great way to take advantage of Kenmore Air is by taking one of their adventurous tours. They offer scenic tours of Seattle, Mount Rainer, and Mount Saint Helens, and a San Juan Islands Ride-Along.
How do I get to Orcas Island from Downtown Seattle?
Getting to Orcas Island from Seattle is easy! You have two different airlines to choose from: Kenmore Air and San Juan Airlines. Kenmore Air provides land and seaplanes from Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Boeing Field. You can also charter a plane from San Juan Airlines from Boeing Field or SeaTac.
You can hop on the Bellair Airporter Shuttle from downtown Seattle and take it to the Anacortes ferry terminal.
And finally, the Greyhound Bus is another option. They provide service from Seattle to Mount Vernon. From there, you would need to transfer to a Skagit Transit bus or the Number 208 bus to Cascade Mall and then transfer to the 410 route to the Anacortes ferry terminal. But that last bus is unavailable on the weekends. So, you should stick with a less-complicated option.
Does Orcas Island have a taxi service?
There are two different taxi services on Orcas Island. Orcas Island Taxi is a family-owned and operated business and is available 24 hours a day. New Orcas Taxi Tours also offers rides, including vans.
Can I take the Washington State Ferry to Orcas Island?
Yes, the Washington State Ferry provides over a dozen daily sailings to the San Juan Islands from the ferry landing in Anacortes. You can either walk-on or drive-on. You should check the schedule to ensure that the ferry you’re riding on is actually visiting Orcas Island at that time.
If I want to drive to Anacortes, how do I do it?
You can definitely drive to Anacortes, get on a ferry, and drive with your car onto Orcas Island. But remember, you will need to plan ahead. You need to make a reservation to drive on to the ferry and will need to pay for your ticket and your car.
However, consider walking on the ferry and renting a car when you get there. It’s so much more simple!
How do I get rental cars on Orcas Island?
If you prefer to drive yourself but don’t want to bring your own car, check out one of the few options for rental cars we mentioned above.
You can walk on to the ferry in Anacortes and rent a car when you get there. You can also take Kenmore Air from Seattle and rent a car, too.
Where is Rosario Resort?
You will find Rosario Resort and Spa on Cascade Bay, near Eastsound village. It includes The Mansion Restaurant, which offers gourmet-quality breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
You can also take advantage of their on-site spa, which includes a sauna, treatment room, mirrored exercise, and weight rooms, a whirlpool, and indoor therapeutic pool – not to mention fantastic views of Cascade Bay. You can get a spa treatment or take a fitness class.
The Moran Mansion at Rosario was built by Mayor Robert Moran between 1906 and 1909 and houses original, turn of the century photographs, furnishings, and ships built by the Moran Brothers Company in Seattle.