San Juan County

Orcas Island


Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands at nearly 57 square miles, but had only 4,920 people scattered on it in Orcas Island real estate in 2006. However, with the appealing Pacific NW real estate offered, the number may just grow.

Orcas Island, shaped like a horseshoe, is almost completely bisected by the fjord-like East Sound. The Pacific NW community of Eastsound, the largest on Orcas Island, is at the end of the sound and therefore at virtually the middle of the island. Eastsound offers casual to fine dining, a performing arts center, a first-run movie theater, The Funhouse (a children's discovery center) and a world-class skate park. These amenities make it the perfect place to search for Orcas Island real estate on the Pacific NW MLS.

The number of people on Orcas Island soars during the summer months, fueled by tourism and summer camps for children. Many talented artisans reside in Orcas Island real estate, resulting in a variety of studios that feature paintings, pottery and glass art. Island life has a much slower pace during non-summer months when the number of tourists falls dramatically.

Orcas Island's Moran State Park, five miles south of Eastsound, is the most popular attraction in the San Juan Islands. Moran State Park encompasses over 5,200 acres of woodland and includes five freshwater lakes, which are ideal for swimming, fishing and non-motorized boating, especially kayaking. The park also features numerous waterfalls that are accessible from miles of walking, hiking and biking trails.

Moran State Park also includes 2,409-foot-high Mt. Constitution, the highest point on the San Juan Islands and accessible by vehicles. Visitors can climb the stairs of a stone observation tower, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936, and be rewarded by panoramic views of the surrounding islands, the Cascade Mountains and a variety of Canadian and American cities. If you would enjoy living near this area, Pacific NW realtor, Susan Stecher can help in your Orcas Island home search.

Orcas Island's state and county parks, miles of shoreline and a small year-round population all contribute to an abundance of wildlife. It's not rare to see whales breach, eagles soar and deer graze -- all in the same day.

Visitors who like to be pampered during their stay have numerous options, ranging from the historic Rosario Resort & Spa to quaint B&B's, most of which are along the shoreline. Any visitor wishing to become a resident can conduct a Orcas Island MLS Search to find an ideal property.

Weather for all of the San Juan Islands is drier than its stereotypical image. Islanders see the sun an average of 247 days each year. The Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges limit both rain clouds and cold fronts that reach the islands. The surrounding ocean waters contribute to the mild climate, with temperatures rarely rising above 80 degrees in the summer nor falling below 30 degrees in the winter.

Most people reach Orcas Island via the Washington State Ferries system. The ferry docks within several blocks of most shops, restaurants and lodging establishments in Friday Harbor. A non-stop trip between Orcas Island and Anacortes on the mainland takes approximately 75 minutes. Several full-service marinas are available for boaters. The Orcas Island Airport in Eastsound is served by commercial flights and pilots also may land at seaplane docks at Rosario, Westsound and Deer Harbor.

The Orcas Island School District serves K-12 students on Orcas Island and several smaller islands. The district operates a high school, middle school and elementary school in Eastsound on Orcas Island and a K-8 school on Waldron Island. The Eastsound campus covers 59 acres. Its 17-acre Buck Recreational Park includes baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds and walking trails. Orcas Island High School was built in 1993 and the Orcas Island Elementary School was enlarged and renovated in the same year.
 
The time is right to contact a Pacific NW realtor. Orcas Island real estate expert, Susan Stecher, is ready to assist you in your search on the Pacific Northwest MLS to locate the perfect Orcas Island home to meet all your needs. Contact Susan today to get started on your search.

Westsound

The hamlet of Westsound, located at the end of West Sound on Orcas Island includes a marina with a seaplane dock for pilots. Restaurants, a community hall for weddings and events and several bed-and-breakfast establishments are available in Westsound, which also is home to the Orcas Island Yacht Club.

Olga

Olga is a hamlet on the east side of Orcas Island, just a few minutes from the island's largest community of Eastsound. Olga residents enjoy the quiet nature of their area while being just a short drive away from restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses. However, a former strawberry-processing plant has been transformed into a home for artist studios featuring pottery and glass art.

Eastsound

Eastsound, the largest community on Orcas Island, is at the middle of the horseshoe-shaped island. Eastsound offers casual to fine dining, a performing arts center, a first-run movie theater, The Funhouse (a children's discovery center) and a world-class skate park. Orcas Island's public schools also are located in Eastsound.

Many talented artisans reside in the Eastsound area, resulting in a variety of studios that feature paintings, pottery and glass art.

Orcas Island's Moran State Park, five miles south of Eastsound, is the most popular attraction in the San Juan Islands. Moran State Park encompasses over 5,200 acres of woodland and includes five freshwater lakes, which are ideal for swimming, fishing and non-motorized boating, especially kayaking. The park also features numerous waterfalls that are accessible from miles of walking, hiking and biking trails.

Most people reach Orcas Island via the Washington State Ferries system. A non-stop trip between Orcas Island and Anacortes on the mainland takes approximately 75 minutes. Eastsound is just a 20-minute drive from the ferry terminal. Also, the Orcas Island Airport in Eastsound is served by commercial flights.

Doe Bay

Doe Bay is located on the southeast edge of Orcas Island, about a 40-minute drive from the island's ferry terminal. The primary commercial establishment is Doe Bay Resort and Retreat, which has undergone a significant renovation since 2003.

Moran State Park, just minutes away from Doe Bay, encompasses over 5,200 acres of woodland and Mt. Constitution. It also includes five freshwater lakes, which are ideal for swimming, fishing and non-motorized boating, especially kayaking. The park features numerous waterfalls that are accessible from miles of walking, hiking and biking trails. Also, the Peapod Rocks Underwater Recreation Area is just offshore.

Deer Harbor

Deer Harbor, located at the southwest corner of Orcas Island, offers a protected haven for boats and many amenities for visitors, including a post office and variety of lodging and restaurants. Boats, yachts and kayaks may be rented from businesses at the marina. The area's quiet nature is enhanced by the adjacent Frank Richardson Wildlife Preserve.

Most people reach Orcas Island via the Washington State Ferries system. A non-stop trip between Orcas Island and Anacortes on the mainland takes approximately 75 minutes. Eastsound is just a 20-minute drive from the ferry terminal. Pilots may land at Deer Harbor's seaplane dock or the Orcas Island Airport in Eastsound, which is served by commercial flights.

Quick Links:

Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
Orcas Island School District
Washington State Ferries
Moran Point State Park

Direct: (360) 319-4939
Email Susan

Susan Stecher

Broker, CFP, CRS, CDPE, RFC, SRES, CHLMS, Realtor® Direct: (360) 319-4939
Phone: (888) 319-4939
Susan@RealEstatePacificNorthwest.com

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Photography & Information Courtesy of: Photography Magic, Lawliss Creative, Scherrer Photography, Jon Brunk Photography, Getty Images, iStock and the following Chambers of Commerce's and Visitor Bureau's from: Bellingham/Whatcom County, Birch Bay, Blaine, Bow, Everson-Nooksack, Ferndale, Mt. Baker Foothills, Point Roberts, Sumas, Anacortes, Burlington, Concrete, La Conner, Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley, Camano Island, Central Whidbey, Coupeville, Langley, The Greater Oak Harbor, San Juan Island, Lopez Island and Orcas Island.