Friday, August 3, 2018

Orcas Island, Washington - Things To See - (Photo Rich)

Orcas Island - Places to See

We recently posted a blog entry about Orcas Island,  but it didn't include everything we did. I've been too lazy to start writing again and frankly needed the down time.   Today I decided it would be a good day to start again.

Since we were on an island we thought we would be limited in what we could do.  Our hosts and good friends Michael and Datura planned to insure we would see the best the Island had to offer.  One of those activities included going to West Beach Resort and RV Park for sunsets. The sunsets there were spectacular.

West Beach Resort and RV Park

West Beach Resort and RV Park offered cabins and RV spaces as well as an excellent coffee shop where the baristas really new how to brew an excellent cup o java. They also served wine, liquor, beer, great milk shakes and on Fridays they have free popcorn at sunset.   But the real kicker is that the sunsets there were so beautiful.

Sunset was a fairly big deal at West Beach.  The resort provided wood for fires while watching the sunset and their clients would gather en mass to enjoy the evening.

If you get to Orcas make sure you ask how to get there. You won't be sorry (Friday is free popcorn night).

Moran State Park - History Lesson

The park was originally the estate of Seattle mayor and shipbuilder Robert Moran  Due to poor health, Moran moved to Orcas Island and between 1906 and 1909 built his estate, which included a large mansion named Rosario. Wood and stone material found on the island were used to construct the estate's houses and buildings. Now the estate is a world class hotel and spa.  

In 1921, Moran gave a large portion of his property to the state of Washington for the creation of Moran State Park. The mansion and its grounds remain in private hands, operated as Rosario Resort and Spa.

In August 1935, 28 men from the 4768th Company of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began constructing a stone observation tower atop 2,409-foot (734 m) Mount Constitution. Designed by noted Seattle architect Ellsworth Storey, the tower became the literal and figurative high point of eight years of work by crews from the CCC's Camp Moran.

Moran State park is now a public recreation area on Orcas Island in Puget's Sounds San Juan Islands in the state of Washington. The park encompasses over 5,000 acres of various terrain including forests, wetlands, bogs, hills, and lakes. It is the largest public recreation area in the San Juan Islands and the fourth largest state park in the state of Washington. The park's focal point is the observation tower atop Mount Constitution.  In 2013, the state park was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Sources:, National Register of Historic Places, Wikipedia

Cascade Falls and Cascade Lake - Moran State Park

We also visited was "Cascade Falls" in Moran State Park on Orcas Island. The hike is relatively short,  albeit steep and full of roots to trip on.  However, if you make the hike you will be rewarded by this beautiful site.

Mountain Lake

Among other beautiful views you will find Mountain Lake. It is a very peaceful place despite the the number of people who are drawn here to picnic and swim.

Mt. Constitution

Also within Moran State Park is Mt. Constitution. This mountain rises 2,398 feet above the Salish Sea. This affords spectacular views of Orcas and surrounding Islands as well as of the Olympic Peninsula and Mt. Baker on the Mainland of Washington.  The views from the top of the mountain and in particular the Storey Tower were beautiful. 

We had a great time camping/glamping at our friends farm (thanks, Michael and Datura) and plan to go back to this relaxing island retreat.  

If you plan to go to Orcas, make sure that you book passage on the Washington State Ferry System in advance. Plan to arrive one hour ahead of departure where you will be staged in a queue to be boarded.
Martha and Datura

Rates are not cheap as passage for our 40' Coach, dolly and toad was $344.00. This was/is a round trip fare.  You will need to schedule your return trip using the same resources but won't be charged for going back.

We hope you have enjoyed our two part blog on Orcas Island and encourage you to take the time for some island vibes.

For our Campsite Reviews please visit our Campground Review Page

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