How to Get to Orcas Island

Are you planning a trip to Orcas Island? This scenic destination in the San Juan Islands of Washington State offers a tranquil retreat filled with natural beauty.

Nestled among the other picturesque islands in the Salish Sea, Orcas Island promises stunning landscapes and endless outdoor adventure, but before you embark on your journey, it’s essential to know the best ways to get there. 

To make your journey as seamless as possible, we have compiled a comprehensive Orcas Island guide that explores various transportation options, including land, sea, and air routes. 

water view at orcas island

Where is Orcas Island?

Orcas Island is positioned in the Salish Sea in the northwest region of Washington State, nestled within the San Juan Islands. This archipelago is situated to the east of the Haro Strait, which separates the islands from Vancouver Island, Canada, and to the north of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This locale offers a unique blend of American and Canadian influences due to its proximity to the international boundary, making it an interesting point of convergence between the two regions.

Orcas Island is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders. Lush forests, rugged cliffs, and pristine beaches create a stunning backdrop against the clear blue skies. Beyond its natural beauty, Orcas Island also boasts vibrant communities and charming villages. With its idyllic setting and unique blend of natural wonders and small-town charm, Orcas Island welcomes travelers from near and far to experience its tranquil and enchanting beauty. You can check out our Orcas Island visitor information page to learn more about this remarkable island.

By Land

To reach Orcas Island by land, you have several options, starting from SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). One convenient choice is taking a shuttle from SeaTac to Anacortes. From Anacortes, you can catch the Orcas Island ferry, which offers frequent service to the island. The shuttle service from SeaTac to Anacortes provides a hassle-free journey, allowing you to relax and enjoy the scenic drive. This transportation option is particularly convenient for those who prefer not to drive or have no vehicle access. The shuttle handles the logistics and ensures a smooth transition from the airport to the ferry terminal in Anacortes.

If you prefer driving, you can reach Anacortes by taking Interstate 5 north from Seattle or south from Vancouver, British Columbia. Once you arrive in Anacortes, you can park your vehicle in one of the available parking facilities near the ferry terminal. It’s advisable to arrive early, especially during peak seasons, to secure a parking spot and avoid any potential delays.

By Sea

Another picturesque way to reach Orcas Island is by sea. You can opt to travel by private boat, a water taxi, or a ferry to Orcas Island. The journey by sea offers a unique perspective of the San Juan Islands and allows you to soak in the beauty of the Salish Sea. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or looking for a scenic cruise, arriving by sea can enhance your Orcas Island experience.

Washington State Ferry

One of the most popular ways to get to Orcas Island is by taking the Washington State Ferry. Departing from Anacortes, this ferry offers regular service to Orcas Island. There is no ferry from Seattle to Orcas Island, so this will be your closest ferry option if you visit Seattle. Be sure to check the Orcas Island ferry schedule to plan your trip accordingly.

Island Express Water Taxi

Consider the Island Express Water Taxi for a quicker and more direct route. This service operates from various regional locations and provides a convenient option to reach Orcas Island.

Plan Your Visit

Our wide range of options for lodging on Orcas Island ensures there’s something for every traveler, from cozy cabins nestled in the woods to luxurious waterfront homes with panoramic views.

By Air

Flying to Orcas Island is an excellent option for a quick and convenient mode of transportation. Orcas Island Airport, also known as Eastsound Airport, is located on the eastern side of the island. This small airport accommodates private planes and scheduled flights from Seattle and nearby cities.

Flying to Orcas Island not only saves time but also offers breathtaking aerial views of the surrounding San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea. You can enjoy the convenience of direct flights, allowing you to reach the island without any additional ground transportation. Upon landing, car rentals and taxis are available at the airport, enabling you to explore Orcas Island at your own pace easily.

San Juan Airlines

If you prefer flying, San Juan Airlines offers scheduled flights to Orcas Island. With their reliable services, you can reach your destination swiftly and enjoy the breathtaking aerial views along the way.

Kenmore Air

Another excellent option for air travel is Kenmore Air. They specialize in seaplane flights, offering a unique experience to reach Orcas Island from Seattle or other destinations.

Point to Point Airline Charter

For those seeking a customized travel experience, Point to Point Airline Charter is a fantastic choice. They provide private charters, ensuring a convenient and efficient journey to Orcas Island.

Book Your Orcas Island Vacation with Northwest Vacations

Now that you know how to reach Orcas Island, it’s time to find your perfect Orcas Island lodging. Look no further than Northwest Vacations, the most experienced vacation rental provider on the islands. When you stay with Northwest Vacations, you can trust that your Orcas Island vacation rental will be well-equipped with top-notch amenities, including in-house linen services.

Your Orcas Island adventure awaits! Experience the magic of this captivating destination, immerse yourself in the welcoming island community, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Book your Orcas Island vacation rental with Northwest Vacations today and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey.