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Orcas Island: where to stay, what to do, where to eat

Orcas Island: where to stay, what to do, where to eat

Jun 26th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 458
Orcas Island: where to stay, what to do, where to eat

We will be staying on Orcas Island for a few days in mid-July.
Right now I have a reservation at the Cascade Harbor but I am rethinking this decision based on mixed trip advisor reviews. Outlook inn and Elemts have also been suggested. My priorities (will rent a car) are to be able to sit outside in a beautiful surrounding (view wise), have a good night's sleep, private bath, clean.

I don't want to have to drive more than 10 minutes for a meal.

Any recommendations for good, scenic dining? Activities for the fairly out of shape ie easy kayaking, whale watching etc.

hellokittie is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 11:20 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Cascade Harbor is a good value for the price (especially given the water views) but definitely nothing fancy.

I'm not wild about the location of Outlook, to me being right in town is not why I go to the San Juans.

I'm not familiar with Elemts--do you mean Elements in Friday Harbor? Different island if so.

Have a look at Inn at Ship Bay; it's a bit more than Cascade Harbor but still reasonable for the islands and you're right at the best restaurant on Orcas(which has a nice view btw).

No view, but my favorite place for lunch on the island is the Olga Cafe at the Artworks--it's located in a gallery with all sorts of local arts and crafts. Everything there is good but their blackberry pie in particular is stellar!

And yes, those activities are available on the island and are good things to do.
NWWanderer is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 03:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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There are a lot of great b and b's and inns on Orcas--have you looked at Trip Advisor? That should help:


You probably want to be somewhere near Eastsound if you don't want to drive more than 10 minutes for a meal; look at Bartwood Lodge or Inn at Ship Bay.

I think Rose's is the best food on the island, but there's no view. Inn at Ship Bay is on the water and is good, but it's been dark when I've dined there, so I don't know if the whole restaurant has a view.

I think Eclipse Charters does a nice job with whale watching. You can do 2 hour or half day kayak trips from a number of operators.
christy1 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 03:38 PM
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How about Rosario?
lennyba is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 05:52 PM
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Rosario isn't open to the public for overnight stays as yet since being sold at auction and taken over by new owners.
NWWanderer is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 06:09 PM
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Wow, missed that - happen over the winter?
lennyba is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 08:07 PM
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The auction was last September I think.
NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 09:12 PM
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We just returned from Orcas Island. I think you've already had your vacation, but for future reference I thought I'd put in my two cents. . .

We stayed at the Outlook Inn, which is a nice little hotel located in Eastsound. We had 3 rooms - two were great (one had a porch with a wonderful view of the water) but the one room on the back of the hotel overlooked the parking lot and was very loud. There is no air conditioning, and we were there during a heat wave so our rooms were very warm. Opening a window didn't help much because there was no cross breeze. I think the weather we had is unusual, and it is probably very comfortable most of the year. The main part of the hotel has shared bathrooms, which is not a huge deal to me except for the man in the room next to me kept using the ladies' room and refused to put the seat down. The men's room was another 10 feet down the hall - guess he didn't want to walk that far.

The best part of the Outlook Inn is the restaurant. We had absolutely delicious breakfasts and one dinner there. I highly recommend their food. Everything was fresh and well prepared. We also had dinner at LuLu's Italian cafe and it was delicious. We tried to eat at Rose's but were told they do not serve dinner. We did buy some wine and cheese at Rose's to take back to our hotel. All in all, I would definitely recommend the Outlook Inn. I loved that it was located in the very charming little town and we had lots of great restaurant choices within walking distance.

A word of warning about the ferries - even though we arrived an hour early for the scheduled ferry departure, the lines were so long that we had to wait for the next ferry. Be prepared to spend lots of time waiting for the ferry - we took the ferry 4 times and each time we had to wait for the next ferry or the ferries were running behind schedule. We waited for a minimum of an hour and a half each time. Plan ahead - especially for the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas because there is not much to do/see at that ferry terminal. Bring snacks, a book and a sunshade for your car to block the sun if you plan on waiting in your car.
Attnymom is offline  
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