Vacation on Orcas Island

We love to travel, and the way we would want you to see Orcas Island and the San Juans is to establish a base and use the convenient ferry system to see the other islands—whether you stay with us or not (of course we hope you will stay with us!!). A three to four-day stay is an optimum length of stay (two nights minimum to have one full day) allowing either two or three full days to relax and see and do most of Island’s offerings including kayaking, whale watching, sailing, hiking, nature photography, and birding. We offer this advice also based on the guest comments you will see in our room guestbooks.

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To Orcas Island by Washington State Ferry from Anacortes, WA

The ferry service from Anacortes to Orcas Island is on a reservation basis. We highly recommend making a reservation, especially from May through September and for holiday weekends. If you can’t get a reservation on your desired day or sailing, no worries. Reservations are released in three tiers to accommodate long and short-term planning by visitors and residents.

  • The first 30% are released two months before the start of each of the four seasonal sailing schedules for all sailings during that season, meaning these reservations may be available up to five months in advance. (Reservations for summer sailings from now to Sept. 19 are available.)
  • The second 30% are released two weeks prior to the specific sailing date.
  • The third 30% are released two days prior to the specific sailing date.
  • Each tier release of space opens online at 7:00 AM.
  • The remaining 10% on each sailing is set aside for emergency vehicles, customers with medical documentation, and drive-ups. (Drive-up/stand-by space is often available on many ferries, so if you don’t have a reservation don’t let this stop you from visiting. See this Best Times to Travel chart from last summer.)

Arrive in line for your reserved sailing 60-90 minutes in advance of the sailing departure time due to staging requirements, and bring your printed reservation sheet with barcode for easy scanning.

There is no extra charge for a reservation, however, to secure a reservation you must provide a debit or credit card which will only be charged $10 if you are a ‘no show.’ Ferry tickets are purchased separately at the Anacortes terminal or online. Tickets include round trip.

To Victoria (Sidney B.C.) from Orcas Island by Washington State Ferry from Orcas Island

Reservations must be made for travel to Sidney (Victoria) B.C. We recommend that you stay first on Orcas Island and then travel on to Victoria (Sydney, B.C.). The Victoria to Orcas sequence isn’t as user friendly because of an intermediate stop, need to change ferries and the timing of the ferry schedules.

To Orcas Island by Air from Seattle

Kenmore Air flies in by seaplane to the Rosario marina, just a mile from our B&B. This is a fabulous and affordable way to get here. We partner with Kenmore Air to offer periodic discounted rates.

To Orcas Island by Walking onto the Ferry and Renting a Car on Orcas Island

Rental cars are available by reservation with Orcas Island Shuttle


For a small, rural island we are fortunate to have many good dining opportunities. Island restaurants are small but high quality by mainland standards. Reservations are suggested for special dates, most weekends and holidays and during times of special events. We will gladly assist you!

Breakfast at Otters Pond

Otters Pond Bed and Breakfast’s sumptuous multi-course breakfast is served at 9:00 AM.  Please keep that in mind when scheduling early activities. If you must make an early departure, coffee/tea to go are available.

Relying on your bicycle?

Otters Pond Bed and Breakfast is approximately 20 minutes from the ferry landing and a few hundred yards from Moran State Park.  The closest restaurants are 3 miles away, a challenging up-hill climb if arriving by bicycle.  Other forms of island transportation are the Orcas Island Shuttle from late June-Labor Day, a taxi, a shuttle service and hitchhiking.

Performing Arts

Orcas Center has FANTASTIC year-round performing and visual arts events featuring local and visiting artists most weekends. Please see our useful links page for activities, restaurants and additional information.

Weather and Clothing

Pack light! Orcas Island is a place where casual attire rules. Comfortable sportswear is all you will need. Think layers—with a light rain parka included. Summers are warm (temp. range 68-80 degrees F with very little rain—80 to 85F are considered hot days here). Spring and Fall are mild (45-65F with rain not so predictable and generally not lasting more than a few hours intermittently—again, we advise clothing layers). Winters are quiet and beautifully cold (30-50F) with some snow and pond freezing. For hiking and general browsing, good, all-purpose trail shoes (low-cut casual hiker or cross-trainer) are fine all-around.