Orcas Island Activities

Some people come to the San Juans so stressed from their day-to-day lives that they’re content to lounge in the sun and listen to the sweet sound of the phone not ringing. Others want to fill their vacation to the brim with activities of every possible kind. Most of the visitors we meet are somewhere in between… they want a balanced diet of activity and therapeutic rest. Below are some options for a good time on Orcas, with our suggestion that you mix and match them according to your idea of what makes for a fun vacation.


Kayaks are a light, quiet and self-contained mode of travel, so it’s not surprising that many cyclists find them appealing. They’re great for poking around shallow, secluded coves and getting a close-up view of seals and other marine animals that generally avoid motor-driven craft. A number of small outfits on Orcas offer kayak tours and rentals.

Shearwater Adventures offers tours out of Doe Bay Resort, Rosario Resort, and Deer Harbor. Call Shearwater at 360-376-4699.

Whale watching

Deer Harbor Charters offers whale-watching tours. Bring your binoculars, camera, and warm clothing.


Orcas Island Golf is a regulation nine-hole course with alternate tees that give it the feel of an eighteen-hole course. The public is welcome. Call (360) 376-4400 for rates and tee times.


The waters around the San Juan Islands are perfect for swimming… if you’re a seal. Most humans, however, are distinctly put off by the water temperature, which is cold even in the summertime. If you want an invigorating tonic after a sweaty ride, by all means take the saltwater plunge, but for sustained aquatics, you’ll probably want to visit one of the excellent recreational lakes in Moran State Park. Cascade Lake, Mountain Lake, and the Twin Lakes all have waterfront access for swimmers, and in the prime summer months – July and August – the water is just right for a good splash.

The Twin Lakes swimming area is especially appealing for those who like to get away from crowds, because you can only reach it by foot . For a map of the park, refer back to our discussion of Moran State Park and Mount Constitution under Bike Routes.

Evening entertainment

The Orcas Center is a community theater located just outside Eastsound, and throughout the summer months it offers a steady fare of plays and concerts featuring local talent and visiting artists. The quality of these events is usually very good, because the San Juans tend to attract people with a creative flair. Sometimes big-name acts show up to do a concert. Call the Orcas Center at (360) 376-2281 to find out what’s on tap. Also, the Living Room is an Eastsound venue that hosts music performances and art openings on a regular basis.