Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Visit to Orcas Island is Something You'll Never Forget

Orcas Island circa 1868

Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands, which are located off the northern coast of Washington State. Approximately an hour and twenty minutes from the mainland city of Anacortes by ferry, Orcas is home to an eclectic community of artisans and small cottage businesses. Its diverse landscape of mountains, wooded countryside and spectacular vistas make it a popular destination for both day trips and extended vacations.

Rosario Resort, the island’s largest hotel, is the former estate of shipbuilder Robert Moran and offers first-class dining and accommodations, as well as sweeping views of sound. There also are a number of bed and breakfast inns located throughout the island.

Moran State Park is located near Eastsound and is a favorite camping location. Mount Constitution, which towers 2,409 feet, affords a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding parklands and islands. At sunset, you can stand on top of the observation tower and slowly spin around enjoying the magical iridescence of the sea that surrounds you. I promise you, you'll never forget it.

Orcas Island can be reached from the mainland via a leisurely ferry ride from Anacortes or by seaplane from Seattle or Portland, Oregon. Visitors should plan visits ahead of time and check ferry and plane schedules. Not all of the ferries stop at Orcas Island and travel times vary according to the time of day. Orcas Island also makes an ideal lunch or dinner stop from any of the adjacent San Juan Islands. In the photo above, Mt. Baker can be seen in the background.

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