Orcas Island, Washington
Orcas, one of the San Juan Islands located in Puget Sound off the coast of Washington state, is home to the group's highest mountain, and its rolling terrain and scenic waters make hiking, cycling, and kayaking the top activities. Cruisers can also explore the historic village of Eastsound where a quaint and lively downtown offers shopping, dining, and microbrew sipping.
What We Love
Moran State Park: It's here where you can tackle 2,409-foot Mount Constitution with an eight-mile hike to the summit, offering incredible views of neighboring islands, including Sucia and Waldron. Climb the stone observation tower — a replica of a 12th-century Russian watchtower — to reach the island's highest point and enjoy a 360-degree panorama that includes Mount Baker and more of the San Juan archipelago.
Best Known For
Eastsound Village: Stroll the town's quaint three-block Main Street area to check out jewelry shops, craft boutiques, and artist studios, and enjoy ice cream, coffee, or lunch. Beer lovers take note: Eastsound is also home to Island Hoppin' Brewery.
Rosario Resort and Spa: This early 20th-century Arts and Crafts mansion built by Robert Moran, a prominent Seattle shipbuilder and the city's former mayor who retired here, attracts visitors with its scenic setting, nautical museum, and spa.
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Who It's Best For
Nature and Nurture Lovers: Orcas is ideal for cruisers wanting to spend time communing with nature — choose the full hiking outing or a short hike plus ride up to the mountain peak — or a day simply relaxing during a massage or chatting over coffee or a flight of craft brews.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Layer up: Hiking up the mountain? Dress in layers, hope for the best, and plan for the worst (rain and wind — a fact of life in the Pacific Northwest). There is plenty of tree cover in the forest, but overlooks along the way and at the summit are exposed, meaning you might be taking off and putting back on your jacket or windbreaker throughout the hike.
John Roberts is a New Jersey-based writer for ShermansCruise who worked at The Virginian-Pilot.