North Shore Cottages

Take time out to rediscover the reasons you live.

Orcas Island

The San Juan Islands, that fascinating group lying close to the northwest boundary between the United States and British Columbia, are famous not only by reason of their romantically interesting history but even more for the extraordinary degree to which Nature has favored them. Set against a background of vast national forest preserve, stately mountain ranges and snow-capped peaks, topped by majestic Mt. Baker; blessed with a delightful, mild, healthful climate, tempered by the Japan Stream, and the happiest of weather conditions; with land ever green and of a fertility in which flowers, fruit, vegetables and other crops flourish to perfection; where salmon, trout, deer and other game abound, the region well deserve its nicknames of SUNSHINE BELT and LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING. Deep, winding channels and safe cruising, waters make it a paradise for yachtsmen, canoeists and vacationers in general. Ample transportation facilities by auto ferry and paved highway provide ready access to mainland points Bellingham, Holland's American rival for tulip-growing industry, just to the east: Seattle, the metropolis, 80 miles by water or some 2 hours by motor to the South but it is their placid seclusion and enchanting loveliness that combine with these other beneficences to give the San Juan's a charmed existence as a haven of utter peace and tranquility.
-an excerpt from Country Life, July 1934, p. 3

Looking for a unique, unprecedented escape experience? Washington State's Orcas Island is the perfect place for that special, private getaway. The wild waters of the northern Puget Sound surround the rugged beauty of the San Juan's most geographically diverse island. Mountains, beaches, woods, parks...all combine to provide breathtaking views, unspoiled trails for hiking or biking, encounters with orcas, seals, dolphins, otters, herons, and eagles while kayaking or sailing.

Orcas Island is accessible only by boat or air. The Washington State ferry system serves the four largest of the San Juan Islands with car ferries that sail back and forth many times a day (a current ferry schedule is one of the "must haves" for your trip). Orcas Island, the largest in land mass (though not in population), is about an hour's ride out of Anacortes. The ferry ride to the island is itself part of your escape experience.

Once you reach Orcas Island you'll find it still has a small-town, unspoiled feel. No touristy glitz here! But that doesn't mean you have to rough it. There are unique local restaurants, fun shops, art galleries and lots to see and do. The IslandCam and FerryCam Web sites have almost-live photos of the San Juan Islands and ferries.