Saturday, February 19, 2011

Orcas Island: My Slice of Heaven

I may have found my own personal heaven, except that it isn't really mine, but I'd love to pretend that it is.  This summer, I visited the San Juan Islands with family, but only explored Friday Harbor, neglecting to make it to Orcas Island, which is just a stone's throw away (10 minutes by ferry).  Friday Harbor (or San Juan Island) is popular during the summer because pods of orca whales swim around the island, making it a very popular tourist destination.  However, Friday Harbor's scenery can't compare to Orcas Island.  

The views are incredible. A short drive (about 3 miles) up a windy road to Mt. Constitution, inside of Moran State Park, gives way to views like these.  Pictures just can't do it justice. At the mountain's peak, a breathtaking 360 degree view of the surrounding islands, Anacortes, Mt. Baker, and the Cascade Mountains are visible.  We actually had to go up on the mountain twice. The first time there was just too much cloud cover for a clear view, much less a decent picture.  But we went up later in the day and it most definitely paid off. 

I can easily imagine a retreat to the island where I get a room with a view, take lots of books to read, go on walks, write, and just relax.  But if you need a bit more excitement on your vacations, there are whale watching expeditions, kayak tours, trails for hiking and bicycling, lakes for fishing and other recreational activities, and dinner cruises.  

This was our view from our hotel room.  Not bad, right? Since we went in February, the weather was a bit chilly, windy, and at times overcast, which I didn't mind, but I can only imagine how wonderful the weather is during spring and summer.  I definitely want to add this to my "I-have-to-move-here-now" vacation list for the summer. 


I blame the coolness of this island on it's shape.  Because it isn't just a boring round island, there is a seemingly endless supply of waterfront property, thus providing a never ending myriad of spectacular views. 

And if you still don't believe me, check out this article that was written by the Travel Section of the New York Times titled, The 41 Places To Go In 2011.  Out of all the different countries, islands, mountains, desserts, and cities they had to choose from, they chose the San Juan Islands as their #2 destination.  

But if you still don't believe me, that's fine because I want the island all to myself the next time I visit anyway. 


  1. That is GORGEOUS!!! I absolutely have to go there someday, thanks so much for sharing that!

  2. What's the #1 destination?

  3. That's gorgeous!! Makes me **really** want a vacation...

  4. You put a big smile on my face! A lovely look at our island. I have re-posted your entry on the Chamber's website ( The Chamber is happy to help plan your next escape. Lance Evans, Executive Director.

  5. Wow, that is beautiful!! That would be a great place to take a relaxing vacation. Glad you had such a great time (and in incredible view)!

  6. I totally agree with everything you've said, but two things stand out - from my first visit over 10 years ago, I've had Orcas at the top of my "if I could, I would live there" list. And if no one else feels the same way, that's just fine with me, far from crowds is how I like to be! Thanks so much for sharing this special place in such an eloquent way.