Washington state's San Juan Islands are getting increasingly popular locally, nationally and internationally as hotspot travel destinations, and each offers a unique experience that lets the island's varied personalities shine through. Orcas Island is the largest, and second-most populous of the San Juans, and takes about a 90 minutes drive and one hour ferry to arrive at from Seattle.
Once there, here are our favorite spots for good coffee, wine and a plate of locally grown food.
Girl Meets Dirt
208 Enchanted Forest Rd, Eastsound, WA 98245
The name may be puzzling- but founder Audra Lawlor gets her hands dirty in an effort to preserve Pink Pearl apples and Orcas pears planted in the late 1800s (and then abandoned in the early 1900s when fruit from Wenatchee and Yakima began coming to market). The result is a variety of cutting and spoon preserves made from fruit of the 100-year-old Orcas orchards, bottled in in copper pots and in small batches. Some of their favorites are the Pink Bartlett Cutting Preserve, the Shiro Plum with Mint Spoon Preserve and if you are lucky the limited edition Fig Bay Preserve. You can stock up on tree bitters and apple shrubs handy for your cocktail nights.
Wild Island Restaurant and Juice Bar
18 Urner Street, Eastsound, WA 9824
For fresh vegetarian and vegan foods, Wild Island will nourish and satisfy your healthy palate. Go for the avocado or hummus toast, the Kale Sesame rice bowl, and the Choco Hazelnut Power Up smoothie. Golden Lattes made with superfoods are also available, and the lovely spot situated just a few blocks away from the main Eastsound commercial area is very popular during lunch hours- so expect a long line! Grab your plate, sit at the outdoor tables and enjoy the clean marine air, and the summer laughter of vacationers.
Clever Cow Creamery
109 N Beach Rd, Eastsound, WA 98245
For an ice cream stop and sweet tooth fulfillment, Clever Cow Creamery won’t disappoint you. With 30 rotating flavors, be assured that you will find one that you like. Try a scoop or two in a homemade waffle, sugar or cake cone. You can even top up with salted caramel for a grown-up experience. If you are nostalgic, go for the retro Old Fashioned Root Beer Float and wake up your inner child.
Enzo's Italian Caffe
365 N Beach Rd #202, Eastsound, WA 98245
For a cup of Joe, Enzo’s is a well-known establishment popular with both locals and out-of-towners. It's the best location to refuel, have your daily caffeine fix and use the free wifi to catch up with your social media. If you’re still hungry and need more energy, you can get a bagel with cream cheese too.
Doe Bay Cafe
107 Doe Bay Rd, Olga, WA 98279
If you are willing to drive a little further to Doe Bay on Orcas’s far eastside, Doe Bay Café is a must stop. The “Seed- to-Table” café with its own garden and adjacent farmers serves locally grown in-season ingredients. The menu changes often due to the season but you will always find something tasty and fresh. For dinner, go for the Buck bay oysters paired with the Libertarian cocktail will while enjoying the view of lovely Doe Bay below you. Better yet, stay overnight at the Doe Bay resort, take a yoga class or relax at the outdoor soaking tub.
Champagne Champagne & Bodega
8292 Orcas Rd, Orcas, WA 98280
Just before catching the ferry back home, make your final stop at the Champagne Champagne for a glass of bubbly at the bar. The former ice cream parlor is also a bodega selling an eclectic selection of some of the best international wines like Gruner Veltliner, Crémant de Loire, Provencal Rosés, Cava, and of course Champagne. This is a great way to say farewell to the picturesque island.
- Bellair Charters & Airporter is a private bus company that will get you to Anacortes ferry landing from downtown Seattle and from SeaTac. Check ticket prices and schedule online
- Kenmore Air flies to Eastsound, Orcas Island, three times a day. Check their website for ticket prices and schedule
- For Ferry information, check the Washington State Ferries website