We recently took a day trip up to Orcas Island, and it is one of my new favorite places! My parents were visiting a few weeks ago and the weather was beautiful, so we made a last-minute decision to go explore for a day.
We drove up to Anacortes and took the ferry out to Orcas Island. I highly recommend making ferry reservations ahead of time! It makes things go so much smoother. Head over to the WSDOT ferry site to see the schedules and make your reservation. You do have to show up 30 minutes early, but it’s worth it to be able to plan your schedule and know which ferry you’ll be on.
The ferry ride itself is gorgeous,
and we loved this view of Mount Baker on the way!
It was a little over an hour from Anacortes to Orcas Island. There were a few brief stops at two of the other islands.
We stopped for lunch in the main town of Eastsound and ate at The Madrona Bar and Grill, which had this gorgeous view.
Afterward we wandered down to the beach and spent some time climbing on the driftwood.
After lunch we headed over to Moran State Park. It’s the fourth largest state park in Washington and has 38 miles of hiking trails!
Mount Constitution is inside the park, and it’s the highest point in the San Juan Islands. There is a trail that you can hike up to the top, but since we only had one day on the island and wanted to see as much as we could, we chose to drive up to the top rather than hike. It’s definitely a hike on my list to come back and do another time though!
We parked at the top and walked up the last little hill to the lookout area. We were completely amazed at the gorgeous views of Mount Baker and the rest of the islands. I could’ve stayed there all day taking a zillion photos. (Instead I only took half a zillion, and then narrowed it down to 14 for you 🙂 )
Here’s the tower at the top of Mount Constitution that we climbed up to get an even higher view.
On our way down we stopped at a turnout to take some more photos of the view, and we hiked a little ways along a trail there.
Next we headed over to the Cascade Falls trail, near the entrance to Moran State Park. This is a great, short hike and would be great for kids! It’s probably only about a mile total to see several different waterfalls.
First up was Rustic Falls. I loved the giant tree sitting on top of it!
And just a little bit further down the trail was Cascade Falls.
Our next stop was at the Rosario Resort. There’s a great museum here with a lot of history! Robert Moran was a shipbuilder in Seattle in the early 1900’s. He built the Moran Mansion here on Orcas Island in 1904. The museum here is open to the public and features a 1913 Aeolian pipe organ (free concerts on Saturday afternoons!), a 1900 Steinway grand piano, gorgeous stained glass windows and huge libraries on the second floor. Make sure you stop here and explore on your trip to Orcas Island!
Obstruction Pass State Park is another great place to do some hiking. We were pressed for time because we still wanted to get dinner before our ferry back, so we just hiked a short way down one of the trails. The views from Orcas Island are incredible no matter where you look!
I thought these little plants were so cute!
A Madrona tree – I love how these trees look, and they’re so easy to spot because of the way they shed their bark.
Dad found a hiding spot 🙂
We headed back into town and had dinner at New Leaf Cafe – it was so delicious. I recommend sharing several of the small plates. We did this and loved getting to try a little bit of a lot of different things! Make sure you get dessert too – you won’t be disappointed!
We caught the ferry back just in time to watch the sun set. It was a beautiful day trip that I can’t recommend enough!
Looking for other day trip ideas in the Seattle area? Check out these ideas:
I love this post! The pictures are gorgeous and I can’t wait to see Orcas Island for myself one day. I enjoyed your comment about taking half a zillion photos! How did you ever choose only 14?!
Susannah Dyson says
Great post and I love the pictures! This was such a fun day and we were lucky to get those amazing views of Mt. Baker!
I just went to Orcas Island to whale watch. The San Juans are gorgeous, I love having such easy access to them!