There’s plenty to do on Orcas – but me being me, I have to start with the important stuff: eating.
- Rose’s Bakery Cafe is one of our absolute favorites. Amazing baked goods, but their whole lunch menu is great (especially if there’s halibut). They also have a bunch of interesting snacks in the bakery – one worth calling out are the crackers. They’re these slightly thick crackers with nuts and raisins, and they’re totally delightful. For lunch they also have a provolone sandwich that sounds like “c’mon really?!” but it’s FANTASTIC every time.
- Voyager Sandwiches is phenomenal: we get the tofu banh mi and it’s outstanding; my father-in-law does the roast pork sanguche on baguette and sings high praise for it.
- Hogstone’s is also so good. We’ve probably been there 15+ times, and we did have one bad pizza where I think they accidentally salted it twice and Asia was like “I’m eating seawater”. Literally every other pizza we’ve had there has been out of this world delicious.
- Clever Cow Creamery: make sure to get a waffle cone, because they make them on site. The london fog (earl grey) and peanut butter chocolate are my faves; the fruit flavors are also outstanding.
- Doe Bay Cafe’s brunch is top-notch; if you can get in there sunday morning or afternoon for brunch, you should 100% do it. I assume their other meals are just as delightful, but we’ve only ever been for brunch.
I haven’t tried these, but they look promising:
- There’s a new place called Matia that we haven’t had a chance to try yet but I think is going to be insanely good. (c’mon “Strawberry Toast, Cherry Tomatoes, Whipped Sheep’s Cheese, Chili Honey” how could that be anything but magic?)
- There’s a bakery called Seabird whose insta speaks for itself.
- There’s a salvadoran taco stand that sets up next to Ray’s pharmacy, but I haven’t had a chance to go. My father in law went once and said the tacos were great, but the tamales were amazing.
We’re never really on Orcas for more than a day trip, so we almost always get some mix of the places above and don’t have time to explore. That said, you can’t go wrong with any of these:
- The Kitchen: I had one quick lunch here with my then-6-year-old and we both came away happy.
- Wild Island: we ended up getting this to go once when Voyager was closed and it was a crowd pleaser.
- Brown Bear Baking: if you moved Brown Bear to most other towns, it’d be an easy favorite, but it’s got stiff competition with Rose’s just down the street. The kouign-amann is my go-to; the pastries tend to be a little sugarier than I’d like.
- The Mansion Restaurant at Rosario: we had a stellar dinner here one night, with particularly good fish.
I mean, you’ve gotta do something between meals, right?
- Moran State Park is one of my favorite parks anywhere. I would definitely say the Cascade Lake Loop (~3.5 mi, hilly at the end) and the Mountain Lake Loop (~4.5 mi) are can’t miss, for any age. If there’s a sunny+clear day, going up to mount constitution is an unforgettable view.
- Darvill’s Bookstore is small but outstanding; it’s what every small town bookstore wants to be.
- Asia and our then-10-year-old did https://www.orcasescaperoom.com/ and they said it was fantastic. The guy who runs it is also a magician – on the off chance he’s doing a show, it’d be worth your time.
- Indian island: so there’s this little island you can see from town – when the tide is REALLY low, you can walk out to it! It’s only walkable for short windows, so if you see the path, don’t wait.
- Forest Ceramic Gallery: if you’re looking for a random-but-gorgeous gift, https://www.forestceramic.com/ may have you covered.
- Turtleback Mountain: if you somehow run out of hikes in Moran, Turtleback is supposed to be great. I’ve heard most of the hikes are kinda steep, so we haven’t tried with the kids, but I’m looking forward to it as they get older.
- Crescent Beach Preserve: this is a really short hike, but it’s right next to town, so if you’re looking for a short stroll after breakfast or something, it’s an easy choice. The eponymous beach (just south of it) is a cool walk when the tide is way out.
- Printshop Northwest: if you want a fun souvenir, they do custom screen printing on-site – I have a shirt that’s a ridgeline plot of orcas in rainbow and I freaking love it.