The largest of Washington's San Juan Islands, Orcas Island is paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. Its 57 sq miles contain some stunning coastal scenery, ancient forests, and 2,409-foot-tall Mount Constitution, its highest point. You can explore the rustic trails that run through Moran State Park and Turtleback Mountain Preserve before heading for one of the villages that dot the coastline. Getting here is an adventure in itself, with the ferry trip from the mainland passing several scenic islands on the way. And there’s plenty for wildlife watchers to spy, including seals, dolphins, and—if you’re lucky—killer whales.
Where to stay on Orcas Island
There are several small villages and hamlets on Orcas Island, some of them located very close to Turtleback Mountain Preserve or Moran State Park. When deciding where exactly to stay on the island, you can consider the amenities you want nearby, such as restaurants or the island's ferry terminal, or the views you'd like to enjoy from your vacation home rental.
Cabins near the Orcas ferry terminal
Most visitors will arrive at the ferry landing in Orcas village, which is known simply as “The Landing” among locals. If you want to stay close by, there are cabins in the area where you can watch the ferries come and go from the comfort of your own deck. The village is small, but it has most of the amenities you’ll need during your stay on the island, including a restaurant, a post office, and a grocery store, plus live jazz performances on Friday nights.
Cabins near Eastsound
A few miles north from the ferry landing stands Orcas Island's largest settlement, Eastsound, a historic little town overlooking picturesque Fishing Bay. This is where you’ll find most of the island’s shops and restaurants, as well as several art galleries. There are regular music concerts during the summer months. Many of the town’s clapboard buildings date back to the 19th century, and the Orcas Island Museum guides you through the history of this place. There are also whale-watching trips from the harbor.
Deer Harbor cabins
The small village of Deer Harbor, with its sandy beach and a boating marina, is in the southwest portion of Orcas Island. You can rent cabins near the shore and take to the water on powerboats, guided kayak tours, or whale-watching trips. The village has a handy store for stocking up on provisions, plus a restaurant with a patio offering sea views.
Olga cabin rentals
Olga is a small community some 8 miles south of Eastsound. It features a quaint collection of buildings surrounding the picturesque inlet of Buck Bay. Here, you’ll find a cafe serving homemade dishes and great coffee, and there’s also a nearby shellfish farm where you can pick up fresh seafood—their oysters and clams are caught right here in Buck Bay. Olga is also home to an artists’ cooperative and gallery that's located in a historic building.
Cabins near West Sound
The village of West Sound is just 3 miles north of the ferry landing, and this is where you’ll find the Orcas Island Yacht Club. The marina is set in a pretty bay with a small private island just off the shore, and there are cabin rentals nearby with views of the bay and the boats bobbing around at their moorings. The village itself has a cafe and a couple of restaurants, as well as some scenic strolls along the waterfront.
Various Orcas Island cabins to suit your personal preferences
Cabin rentals on Orcas are mostly close to the shore—this is an island, after all. If you want to spend your vacation by the sea, you’ve come to the right place, and you can take your pick from dozens of cabins overlooking the ocean all around the coast. Nonetheless, there are a few Orcas Island cabins that sit further inland among the trees and hills with no neighbors nearby. Some vacation homes are close to the island’s villages, where you can stock up on supplies or eat out in local restaurants.
Cabins by the beach
The coast of Orcas Island is mostly made up of rocky outcrops, but beach lovers can still find a few sandy and pebbly stretches of shoreline to relax on. The north shore of the island, beyond Eastsound, has the longest stretch of beach. There are also small beaches in the villages of Olga, Doe Bay, and Deer Harbor. Away from the sea, there’s a compact beach on Cascade Lake in Moran State Park. A few Orcas Island cabins offer direct access onto sandy or pebbly shores.
Finding a cabin where you can take your dog with you is easier on Orcas Island than in most destinations—lots of vacation rentals here accommodate well-behaved pets, and they incude quaint cabins in the forest and coastal homes with sea views. The island itself is a perfect destination for long walks with your dog, whether you’re climbing Mount Constitution or just strolling along the coast.
Finding peace and seclusion is never a problem on Orcas Island—away from the main villages, there are lots of quiet cabin rentals catering to just that kind of mindset. Whether you want a private hot tub on the deck or simply the bare necessities for an island getaway, you’ll find some idyllic cabins hidden away on Orcas Island, from the coast to the inland forests.