Ultimate Things To Do On Orcas Island This Summer

Exploring Orcas
Orcas Island Summer Getaway

A towering peak, protected pebble-covered beaches, and a thriving farm-to-table food scene has earned Orcas Island a cult-like following. Visitors and locals alike rave about the horseshoe shaped gem, where the sun is more likely to shine than not and the views abound. While it’s hard to go wrong with any activity, the following showcase some of our favorite things to do on Orcas Island this summer. 

Cessna Caravan flying over Eastsound on Orcas Island

Getting to Orcas Island

Want to maximize your time on-island? Fly to Orcas Island. Regularly scheduled flights depart year-round from Boeing Field to Eastsound Airport, making the trip quick and easy. Direct flights from Kenmore Air Harbor and Lake Union are also available to Deer Harbor, West Sound, and Rosario Resort

40 Things To Do On Orcas Island This Summer

Top Orcas Island Hiking Trails

1. Hike at Turtleback Mountain Preserve

One of Orcas Island’s most popular hiking destinations, Turtleback Mountain spans 1,578 acres and features roughly nine miles of trails. While you can’t go wrong with any of the trails, if you’re looking for a view, stick to the Ship Peak Loop. This three-mile hike features roughly 850 feet of elevation gain and stunning shoreline views. 

Mount Constitution Observation Tower

2. Summit Mount Constitution

The tallest peak in the San Juans, Mount Constitution stands at an impressive 2,410 feet. If you’re looking for a workout, the 6.6 mile summit loop  is the hardest trek on the island. Would you rather sip the hike, but don’t want to miss out on the view? Unlike most mountains, you can drive to the top of Mount Constitution!

Pebble Beach on Orcas Island

3. Wander to Pebble Beach

Located in Obstruction Pass State Park — a 76-mile gem on the southern tip of Orcas’ east side — Pebble Beach is arguably the most beautiful stretch of public shoreline on the island. The path from the parking lot is short and mostly flat. And the beach itself is secluded enough to feel like cars and cellphones don’t exist. 

Cascade Falls on Orcas Island

4. Chase Waterfalls at Cascade Falls

Under a shelter of Douglas fir trees, a clear-water stream cascades through a sunlit initial forest, flowing down a 40-foot rocky precipice. Getting to this lovely spot isn’t an all-day affair (unless you want it to be). You can reach Cascade Falls in just a half-mile round trip!

Best Places to Eat & Drink on Orcas Island

Dinner at MATIA on Orcas Island

5. Relish Farm-to-Table Dining at MATIA

The ‘hyper seasonal’ fare at MATIA earned Chef Avery Adams a place on the The New York Times’ 2022 ‘The Restaurant List’ and a 2024 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific. Located in Eastsound’s old firehall (formerly home to Roses Bakery Cafe which stood as an island institution for 30 years), the 3,900-square-foot space sports an open kitchen and a seven-seat counter reserved for tasting menus. 

Menus change daily, crafted the evening before based on what’s available from local farms and fishermen. Making reservations in advance is strongly encouraged.

Seafood dish at New Leaf Cafe

6. Delight in One of the Best-Loved Dinner Destinations at New Leaf Cafe

At the historic Outlook Inn, located just beside Fishing Bay in downtown Eastsound, New Leaf Cafe’s inventive menu and elegantly casual space has been wowing diners. Led by Executive Chef Andrew Martin, the menu features seasonal ingredients. Steak is generously seasoned with housemade worcestershire. The whole fried branzino is spiced with bright Thai chili sauce. And the steakhouse worthy burger is made with beef from Lum Farm right on Orcas Island!

Buck Bay Shellfish Farm by Lisette Wolter McKinley

7. Get Fresh Oysters at Buck Bay Shellfish Farm

A three-generation oyster farm, Buck Bay Shellfish Farm has been cultivating oysters in their 26-acre tidal flats since the 1940s. In addition to selling freshly harvested oysters and clams, the farm’s Bistro dishes up an impressive seafood-driven menu. Open Friday through Wednesday from 11:30 AM – 6 PM, diners can expect classics like raw oysters and fish ‘n chips. The grilled salmon tacos are also delightful, as is the indulgent crab mac.

Brown Bear Baking
From savory to sweet, it’s hard to go wrong at Brown Bear Baking.

8. Indulge at Brown Bear Baking

Just follow your nose. The intoxicating scent of Brown Butter Toffee Cookies, aux amandres, and seasonally-flavored gallettes perfumes Brown Bear Baking’s corner of Eastsound. Opened in 2013, the scratch-made menu has been an instant hit. Both breakfast and lunch are available.  

9. Eat Lunch at Olga Rising

Delicious sandwiches and a beautiful outdoor garden make Olga Rising a favorite spot to grab a bite. Located on an old island homestead, the quirky cafe serves both breakfast and lunch. Particularly delightful is the tuna sandwich, made with locally caught and smoked wild tuna!

10. Savor Smoked Meats at Matthew’s Smokehouse

Originally a steak and seafood restaurant, owner Matthew Carpenter turned the family restaurant into a smokehouse in 2020. The menu features tender brisket and pulled pork, along with sausages and ribs. Classic comfort food sides are also available, like mac and cheese. Despite the change to smoked meats, the menu still includes a juicy cheeseburger and fish tacos!

11. Visit Jay Blackinton’s Houlme

Six-time James Beard nominated Jay Blackinton returns to the restaurant scene on Orcas Island with Houlme. The exquisite menu is seasonally derived, focused on local produce and seafood. 

Top Places to Drink on Orcas Island

Orcas Island Winery

12. Sip Wine at Orcas Island Winery

Established in 2011, Orcas Island Winery is the only winery on Orcas. A boutique and family vineyard and winery, it’s nestled at the base at Turtleback Mountain. The 16 acre estate features a cozy tasting room, spacious patio, and sprawling lawn perfect for a picnic. The selection ranges from reds and whites to natural sparkling wines and rosés. Concerts are occasionally held on the grounds. Check the winery’s website for upcoming performances. 

Making cocktails at MONTI on Orcas Island
Photo provided by MONTI.
MONTI on Orcas Island
Photo provided by MONTI.
Cocktails at MONTI on Orcas Island
Photo provided by MONTI.

13. Raise a Toast at MONTI

The sultry sister of Orcas Island’s renowned MATIA restaurant, MONTI is well-known for its craft cocktails. Those with children will want to sit on the patio (it’s the only place kids are welcome). For a more date-night reprieve, head inside to the 21-and-over establishment where bewildering chandeliers hang and blush seats wait. 

The food menu here is also rave-worthy. Created by Chef Avery Adams, it features locally sourced ingredients, featuring simple preparations and exquisite flavor profiles. 


14. Sample Cocktails at The Barnacle

When The Barnacle opened in 2015, King 5 reported that the intimate craft cocktail bar ‘blends city and island life.’ And it’s still shaking up the same swanky speakeasy ambiance today. The space is limited. There are a few dozen seats at best. But the menu is thoughtful, filled with house-infused bitters made from island-sourced ingredients. 

15. Have a Pint at Island Hoppin’ Brewery

The first — and only — microbrewery on Orcas Island, Island Hoppin’ Brewery, was established in 2012. Situated just a stone’s throw away from Orcas Island Airport, this cozy brewhouse and tasting room presents a diverse range of robust beers. Patrons looking to pair their brews with a snack can choose from a modest menu of bites. Plus, the brewery is dog-friendly, welcoming four-legged companions!

Top Activities on Orcas Island

16. Sample (and buy) Local Jams & Cider at Girl Meets Dirt

Buckle up for some of the best jam of your life. Girl Meets Dirt’s heirloom preserves are made with local fruits and whole lot of love. Their collection of jams, shrubs, and bitters are the perfect pop of flavor for any occasion. The headquarters is located just outside of Eastsound, near the Friday Harbor Airport. And, they recently added a new selection of bright and bubbly wine!

Decorative pieces at Orcas Island Pottery

17. Shop for a New Plate at Orcas Island Pottery

Founded in 1945, Orcas Island Pottery was originally housed in a log cabin that’s more than 150 years old! While the studio has expanded substantially, the cabin remains. It’s located near the treehouse and you’re welcome to explore both!

A working-studio, the shop is run by the artisans themselves. You can often find them turning pots and firing plates. Beyond the indoor space, you’re invited to wander through the open gardens where additional wares are on display. 

Orcas Island Artworks Gallery

18. Explore Local Art at Orcas Island Artworks Gallery

Located on the east side of Orcas Island, the Orcas Island Artworks Gallery features an extensive collection made by Orcas Island artists and craftspeople. Works include paintings, prints, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, glass, wood, fiber and wearable arts. The building itself is intriguing. Built in 1938, it was originally a strawberry barreling plant. A small display about the building’s history is located just inside the front door. 

19. Swim in Mountain Lake

Want to cool off? Head to Moran State Park for a dip in the beautiful Mountain Lake. Don’t feel like taking a dip? Orcas Adventures offers rentals for canoes, kayaks, row boats, and SUP boards!

North Beach Sunset Orcas Island

20. Watch the Sunset

A calming and awe-inspiring experience, sunsets on Orcas Island are breathtaking. Bursts of burnt orange, a dusting of magenta, and splash of gold — no two are the same and each one is magical. Discover the six best Orcas Island sunset destinations. 

21. Play a Round at Orcas Island Golf

Orcas Island Golf, a public golf course situated on the outskirts of Eastsound, offers a variety of water hazards across its terrain, including a lake, three ponds, and a stream. Despite its nine-hole layout, the course provides a robust experience akin to an 18-hole course due to the multiple sets of tees available at each hole.

22. Work on Your Short Game at Orcas Island Mini Golf

An 18 hole mini golf course, Orcas Island Mini Golf is themed around the San Juan Islands! It features a ferry boat, orca whales, and more!  

23. Wander the Shoreline at Judd Cove Preserve

Considered a ‘hidden gem,’ Judd Cove Preserve is one of the best places on Orcas to explore tide pools, enjoy a picnic, and savor views. The 12-acre easement has 1,250 feet of shoreline and features a historic lime kiln that’s in surprisingly good condition. 

Despite being one of the few public waterfront beaches on Orcas Island, Judd Cove Preserve is coveted by locals as a bit of a ‘hidden’ gem. The 12-acre easement features 1,250 feet of saltwater shoreline — making it an idyllic spot to explore tide pools, picnic, and savor the views. 

24. Go for a Bike Ride

Cycling on Orcas Island isn’t a gentle ride. It can actually be quite a strenuous workout due to the varied terrain. Thankfully, an electric bike can transform any tough outing into a more relaxed adventure. With numerous breathtaking views to discover on two wheels, renting a bike and exploring at your own speed is an experience you shouldn’t pass up.

Discover the Best Orcas Island Bike Routes

25. Find a New Bag at Orcas Island Leather Goods

Orcas Island Leather Goods features extremely unique and customizable leather goods perfect for souvenirs or gifts. Want to try your hand at leather-making? They offer fun DIY kits too! 

26. Soak in a Hot Tub with a View

situated just beyond Olga on Orcas Island, Doe Bay Resort & Retreat offers a secluded escape nestled on the island’s eastern tip. The lodging leans towards rustic, often featuring shared bathrooms that encourage a refreshing stroll outdoors. However, the views are breathtaking, especially from a private hot tub.

The hot tubs are exclusively for guests at Doe Bay. If you prefer to explore the resort without a soak, Doe Bay’s farm-to-table restaurant serves delightful seasonal cuisine.

27. Walk to Indian Island

Indian Island is located in Fishing Bay, at the edge of Eastsound. During low tide, you can walk all the way to the island, just be sure to come back before the tide comes in! You’ll also want to wear shoes you don’t mind getting muddy (or go barefoot). 

28. Look for a New Book at Darvill’s Bookstore

This independent bookstore has an impressive curated collection of local author’s works and classics alike. The cookbook section is particularly intriguing, filled with inspiring titles and fun cookware. But the real gem at Darvill’s is the coffee bar tucked in the back. The windows overlook Fishing Bay, offering stunning views. And the coffee is exceptional. 

Andrew Youngren Printing Shirts

29. Design Your Own Shirt at Printshop Northwest

This locally owned apparel shop screen prints their swag on demand. You pick the stencil you want, designed by local artists. You pick the gear (t-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, ect.) You pick the color (or colors) of ink. And then they print it while you wait! 

Not feeling inspired? Printshop Northwest also has a selection of pre-printed favorites you can buy. 

30. Take a Trail Ride with Orcas Island Trail Rides

Among the numerous ways to discover Orcas Island, riding on horseback stands out as one of the finest options. Orcas Island Trail Rides offer trail rides that unveil hidden treasures across the island.

31. Meet Farm Animals

Do you love animals? The Once In a Blue Moon Farm and Lodging offers an idyllic way to meet pigs, ducks, goats, and more!

32. Learn About the Island at Orcas Island Historical Museums

The Orcas Island Historical Museums consist of six ancient log cabins from the late 1800s and the 1888 Crow Valley School Museum. These structures and the relics they contain are regarded as historical treasures, capturing the narratives and lifestyles of the island’s Native Americans and the initial European-American settlers.

33. Orcas Island Farmers Market

A seasonal farmers’ market, Orcas Island Farmers Market runs from May through September. It’s held on the Village Green in the heart of Eastsound and features a wide array of local artists, farmers, and food purveyors

Top Orcas Island Summer Events

34. 2024 Orcas Island Cider & Mead Fest — Sat., July 13

This annual event features a multitude of ciders and meads. Held at the Eastsound Village Green, the festival will include live music and food will be available at the farmers market. 

35. Music, Arts, & Ideas (MAI) Fest — July 17-22

The MAI festival held at Doe Bay Resort will feature the following artists: Rory Van James, Desert Fantasy, Nik Kemmer, Charles Wicklander, Kate Dinsmore, Good ‘ol Souls, Hyaline, Hannah Ransom, Abe Curran, and Will Morgan. 

36. Orcas Island Fly-In — August 2 – 4

Sponsored by the local Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 937, this annual Orcas Island Fly-In will feature a variety of aircraft ranging from homebuilds to warbids. You might even see a Kenmore Air plane on the runway!

37. Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival — August 2 – 17

This annual festival will feature ten concerts performed on the Orcas Center Main Stage. It will include five repeated concerts performed on back-to-back evenings with the same repertoire and artists. 

38. Explore the Sea on a Kayak Adventure 

Exploring the land is wonderful, but venturing onto the water presents a whole new viewpoint. It reveals shorelines hidden from typical views. Orcas Island boasts various guided kayak expeditions, offering a chance to join seasoned guides who share insights about the distinctive ecosystem.

39. Look for Whales

Arranging a whale watching adventure in Seattle usually involves a full-day excursion aboard a boat departing from Elliott Bay. But when you’re on Orcas Island, you’re already by the Salish Sea — giving you more time to see wildlife and enjoy the island!

40. Take a Fishing Charter

Fishermen tend to be protective of their favorite spots and when you book a fishing charter — the fisherman lets you in on their secrets! You’ll be treated to some of their favorite places to catch crabs, spot prawns, salmon, halibut, long cod, and other bottom fish.