Top 7 Things to do on Orcas Island

If you could take all the things we love about the Pacific Northwest and condense it down into one small area, Orcas Island would be it. Often called the “gem of the San Juans” with an artisan food culture along with endless outdoor activities, this island has it all! Replete with incredible hiking trails and viewpoints, serene lakes and campsites, idyllic forests and gardens, there is no shortage of things to eat, see, and do in the 57 square miles of beauty Orcas has to offer. 

Whether you want to hike in the 38 miles of trails Moran State Park has to offer, kayak in one of the lakes, go fishing or whale watching, cruise through the farmers market, or eat your way through the island, there is something for everyone here. This could easily be a “Top 30 things to do in Orcas” article because there are so many activities and restaurants that we are excited about on this island. But for the sake of readability, we’ve done the hardest part narrowing it down so you don’t have to. Trust me, it wasn’t easy. 

Without further ado, here is our team at Maple + Main’s Top 7 picks:

THE OUTDOORS 

INDIAN ISLAND

This is a lovely little 1.25 acre island, accessible only by foot in low tide. Fishing Bay, which surrounds Indian Island, supports a wide diversity of marine life, so here you can explore the sandbar and check out tide pools with colorful sea critters like crabs, sea anemones, and starfish. You can enjoy the views of the East sound and bird nests on the shore of the island. Indian Island is one of three Marine Health Observatories in the San Juans, so just remember to leave behind any treasures you find, living and otherwise, for others to enjoy and learn from.

 

ORCAS ISLAND TRAIL RIDES

A unique and exciting way to explore the backcountry and hidden beauty of Orcas is on horseback! Orcas Island Trail Rides offers guided tours through Moran State Park so you can enjoy everything from lush grassy meadows to idyllic ancient forests to mountain trails with views every step (or trot) of the way. This small business is a charming family-owned operation: just a mom, dad, and their daughters. They guarantee that no matter what your skill level is— from beginners to more seasoned riders, whether you have just an hour or half a day to spare—they can find the right horse and adventure for you! 

 

DISK GOLF AT MT BAKER FARM 

For those unfamiliar with the sport, disc golf is an unbelievably fun, all-ages activity that is exactly what you might guess from the title— golfing, but with frisbees, or disks, instead of clubs and balls. Mt Baker Farm is an 80-acre campground that offers this beautiful and secluded course featuring nine baskets, or “holes,” with natural obstacles like trees, stumps, and switchbacks, creating exciting technical challenges to navigate. At only $5 a round or $10 for the day, this is an outdoorsy family or group activity that won’t break the bank, either! 

 

CASCADE LAKE 

This serene land picturesque lake isn’t just for viewing— indisputably the most popular lake in Moran State Park, this lake has anything you could hope for— a beach, dock, picnic shelters, playground, BBQ pit, snack bar, paddle boats for rent, and even showers. There’s cliff jumping for the more adventurous and a fantastic 2.5 mile loop trail for a moderate hike with stunning views in all directions. You can come for just the day or rent a campsite and stay for a few! 

 

AFTER WE PLAY, WE EAT!

MIA’S 

Here, you can find elevated comfort food with an international flair, an accommodating staff, and a warm atmosphere. Locals love to use this quaint cafe as a meeting place and will argue that Mia’s has the best breakfast on the island. Try the lemon blueberry blintzes or a house-made bialy with lox and cream cheese and decide for yourself! 

 

HOGSTONE'S WOOD OVEN 

Everything we love in a Pacific Northwest Restaurant—farm to table, local, organic, sustainable, farmer-owned— this relaxed, wood-fired kitchen checks all the boxes.  They serve wood-fired pizza, as you would expect, but also seasonal and locally inspired vegetable and seafood dishes. The chef-owner here chooses not only to utilize the bounty of ingredients the island and surrounding Salish sea has to offer but make them the highlight of the food. 

Calling themselves an “ambitious” restaurant, they did something very unique by literally splitting the restaurant into two in the same space. Aelder is Hogstone’s upscale sibling restaurant and offers multi-course, experimental chef’s tasting menus. Reservations are recommended for both! 

 

THE BARNACLE 

This little cocktail bar in Eastsound may only be around 400 square feet, but what it lacks in space it makes up for in personality and a cozy vibe. Here you can find über creative cocktails made with house-made spirits, bitters, and elixirs, as well as a vast selection of local, Northwest beer and wine. Barnacle also features a small eats menu that goes above and beyond the average bar snack fare as they strive to feature locally sourced ingredients. They also host live performances and events and happen to be one of the few places on the island that are open relatively late, in case being out past 9:00 pm is something you enjoy. What we are trying to say is— this place is a real gem! 

 
 

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City Guide: Kirkland, WA

JUST ACROSS THE LAKE

Perhaps when we think of the Pacific Northwest, iconic Seattle might immediately come to mind. But just across Lake Washington is another beautiful, more relaxed waterfront city, gaining popularity in it’s own right.  Kirkland, Washington is an incredible place to live and there are countless reasons why it should be on your radar.

For starters— the views! Kirkland’s downtown runs along the scenic waterfront, meaning you have an incredible view of the lake and a sense of calm from being near the water at all times. You can enjoy the view of Seattle’s skyline across the lake—without having to be stuck in the traffic. The location is central and close to anything you could ever need. In addition to being close to the many corporate headquarters and campuses, it’s just a quick pop over to Bellevue for big city shopping or into Woodinville for wine tasting. The relaxed and approachable vibe in Kirkland seems to attract both young families and retirees alike, who form the building blocks of great neighborhoods and a tight-knit sense of community. Whatever your reason for coming to Kirkland, there’s no doubt in our minds you’ll enjoy the many restaurants and beachfront parks this charming city has to offer. Here are some of our absolute favorite places:

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TRENDY SHOPS & GREAT RESTAURANTS

Flatstick Pub

You will only find beer from independent Washington breweries being offered here. They are passionate about craft beer, supporting local breweries and mini golf—making this one of the most fun bars you’ll ever find.

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Lady Yum

Their logo says it all— macarons and mischief. This locally owned and operated store offers French style macarons with creative flavors like honey lavender or s’mores, plus rotating and seasonal offerings, like sour watermelon for July. They also offer a variety of champagne and house made shrubs, which are both bottomless on Tuesdays!

Zoka Coffee

With ample windows and seating, this popular spot has a bright, inviting atmosphere—perfect for a work day away from the home office or a meet up with friends. Grab an espresso beverage to go, or stay a while and enjoy some slow coffee. May we suggest a single origin pour over?

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Lizzy Kate Tea

Here you can find both hot & iced teas, tea lattes and even kombucha on tap! On the weekends, enjoy a thoughtfully crafted tea flight, sometimes even offered with food pairings including wagashi (Japanese sweets) or cheese.

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Purpose Boutique

Just as the name suggests, here is a place you don’t have to choose between reasonable prices, trendy clothes, or a good cause. A percentage of every sale is donated to a charity to fight human trafficking so you can feel even better about the clothes you’re in!

EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS 

Unlike living in Seattle and having to leave the city when you want to be in nature, in Kirkland, endless outdoor activities are literally in your backyard!  Did you know that no other city in the Puget Sound Region has as many waterfront parks and beaches as Kirkland? That’s right, parks make up over a quarter of Kirkland’s beachfront property— which means you get to enjoy the protected views and water activities anytime you want! Here are some of our favorite parks to check out: 

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MARINA PARK

Downtown and close to many restaurants and shops, Marina Park features a sandy beach with magnificent views of Lake Washington and the Seattle skyline. There is also an open air pavilion and amphitheater, making this park home to many of Kirkland's special events and outdoor concerts.

WAVERLY BEACH PARK 

This is another beautiful park with a protected swimming area, a playground, covered picnic area, and another beautiful view of downtown Seattle across the water. There's also a nice grass lawn where you can set up your chairs or picnic blankets and play structures for the little ones

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HOUGHTON BEACH PARK 

This scenic waterfront area attracts locals for swimming, kayaking, paddle board, and volleyball games in the sand! There’s also a well maintained lawn, walking trails, a playground, and a pier that is perfect for sunbathing and fishing.


JUANITA BEACH PARK 

This park features a nice long stretch of sandy beach, play structures for children, plenty of benches to sit and take in the views, a sand volleyball court, and nature preserve. Come here to go swimming, play some outdoor sports, walk on the jetty over the water, or even bird watch!


UPCOMING EVENTS

Maison DeLille

July 28, 2019 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Live Music in the heart of Kirkland. Join us for wine flights, by the bottle and glass, and light bites! Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m., and music from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. MAP IT

Kirkland Waterfront Car Show

August 11, 2019 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

The 2019 Car Show is rebranding and expanding! There will be hundreds of beautiful cars on display in Downtown Kirkland off the shores of Lake Washington. Live music, food, and fun for the whole family! MAP IT

Shop Local - Farmers Markets

One of our favorite things to do this time of year is to browse our local farmers markets.

It’s more than a grocery shopping trip, it’s all about the experience. 

Coming to the farmers market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. The farmers market is a community hub—a place to meet up with your friends, bring your children, or just get a taste of small-town life in the midst of our wonderful big city.  We like to take our time, meet the farmers, learn about their process, and and all about their farms.  It’s fun to connect with them and learn about the food you eat. It brings a sense of community and belonging.  Besides, wouldn’t you rather stroll along outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a summer day than roll your cart around a grocery store with artificial lights and piped in music? 

Shopping at your local farmers market is a great way to support our community. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy. 

We have put together a list of the local farmers markets including the day and time they are open and some of the special features of each. 

We hope you can make time to visit a few and perhaps, make it a regular part of your summer routine.

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SEATTLE

U-District: Saturdays - Open all year round | 9am-2pm | University Way NE (the “Ave”) between 50th & 52nd, 98105

Food: farm fresh, farmstead artisanal food, meat, poultry, seafood, wine, beer, cider, artisanal and market bites.

Pets welcome.

Parking is by-donation in the U Heights NORTH lot. Free tokens (for 1 hr. at nearby lots) are available at market manager booths. 2 Handicap spots available in the N. & S. lots at U-Heights.

EBT/SNAP accepted.

Capitol Hill: Sundays - Open all year round | 11am-3pm | Broadway Ave E and E. Pine Str.

Food: farm fresh, farmstead artisanal food, meat, poultry, seafood, wine, beer, cider, artisanal and market bites.

Pets welcome.

Street parking is free on Sundays - shopper loading zones available to pick up purchases.

EBT/SNAP accepted.

West Seattle: Sundays - Open all year round | 10am-2pm | California Ave SW & SW Alaska, in the heart of the West Seattle Junction, 98116

Food: farm fresh, farmstead artisanal food, meat, poultry, seafood, wine, beer, cider, artisanal and market bites.

Pets welcome.

Street parking is free on Sundays and in close by West Seattle Junction lots. on Sundays - shopper loading zones available to pick up purchases.

EBT/SNAP accepted.

Columbia City: Wednesdays - May 8 to October 9 | 3pm-7pm | 37th Ave S & S. Edmunds St, off Rainier Ave S., in South Seattle, 98118

Food: farm fresh, meat, poultry, seafood, wine, beer, cider, artisanal and market bites.

Pets welcome.

Street parking is available and most neighborhood lots offer free parking for market shoppers.

EBT/SNAP accepted.

Lake City: Thursdays - June 6 to October 3 | 3pm-7pm | NE 125th & 28th NE, next to the library off of Lake City Way, 98125

Food: farm fresh, farmstead artisanal food, meat, poultry, seafood, wine, beer, cider, artisanal and market bites.

Pets welcome.

Parking is free at the Lake City Library underground garage, entrance is on 28th St.

EBT/SNAP accepted.

Phinney: Fridays - June 7 to September 27 | 3:30pm-7:30pm | N 67th St & Phinney Ave N, in the upper lot at Phinney Neighborhood

Food: farm fresh, meat, poultry, seafood, wine, beer, cider, artisanal and market bites.

Pets welcome.

Parking is free in the lower lot of the PNA and on the street.

EBT/SNAP accepted.

Magnolia: Saturdays - June 1 to November 23 excluding August 5 | 10am-2pm | 33rd Ave W & W. McGraw St. in the Magnolia Village

Food: farm fresh, meat, poultry, seafood, wine, beer, cider, artisanal and market bites.

Pets welcome.

Parking is free on the street.

EBT/SNAP accepted.

Check out https://seattlefarmersmarkets.org for more information and a special events calendar for each market.

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BELLEVUE

Thursdays - May 16 to October 10 excluding July 4 | 3pm-7pm | 1717 Bellevue Way NE - parking lot of Bellevue Presbyterian Church

Food: farm fresh, artisan food, seafood, prepared food, wine, beer, cider.

Parking is free on the street.

More info: https://bellevuefarmersmarket.org

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KIRKLAND

Wednesdays - June to September | 2pm-7pm | Marina Park

Food: farm fresh, artisan food, seafood, meat, eggs, prepared food, processed food, wine, non-profits, food trucks and art.

Parking: https://www.kirklandwa.gov/Page620.aspx

More info: http://kirklandmarket.org

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REDMOND

Saturdays - May 4 to October 26 | 9am-3pm | Leary Way

Food: farm fresh, fish, meat, eggs, plants, gourmet pantry items, delicious lunch options, artisan crafts and entertainment.

More info: http://redmondsaturdaymarket.org

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DUVALL

Thursdays - May 2 to October 10 | 3pm-7pm | On Brown Ave. between NE Richardson & NE Ring

Food: meat pies, kettle corn, flowers, plant starts, fresh produce, mushrooms, berries, cheese, better meat, Georges - North Bend Bakery, baked goods, crafts and kids activities.

Parking is on Main next to Redemption Church (old) Union Bank.

More info: http://duvallfarmersmarket.org

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TACOMA

Eastside: Tuesdays - June to August | 3pm-7pm | 35th & McKinley

Broadway: Thursdays - May to August | 10am-3pm | September - October | 10am-2pm | 9th & Broadway

Point Ruston: Sundays - June to September | 10am-3pm | September - October | 5005 Ruston Way

More info: https://tacomafarmersmarket.com

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PUYALLUP

Saturdays - April 20 to October 12 | 9am-2pm | Pioneer Park and in the Pioneer Park Pavilion - 330 South Meridian Downtown Puyallup

Food: hanging baskets, fresh veggie and fruit starts, flowers, artisan crafts, specialty food vendors, non-profits and entertainment.

More info: https://www.puyallupmainstreet.com/puyallup-farmers-market/

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KENT

Saturdays - June 1 to September 28 - excluding July 13 | 9am-2pm | Town Square Plaza - at the intersection of 2nd Ave and Smith St in downtown Kent

More info: http://kentfarmersmarket.com

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MAPLE VALLEY

Saturdays - June 15 | 9am-2pm | Rock Creek Elementary School - 25700 Maple Valley Black Diamond Road Maple Valley, WA 98038

Food: farm fresh, prepared foods, non-profit, young entrepreneurs, artisan crafts, re-sellers and entertainment.

More info: http://www.maplevalleyfarmersmarket.com

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RENTON

Tuesdays - June - September | 3pm-7pm | Piazza Renton in Downtown Renton

Food: farm fresh, wine, beer, artisan crafts, prepared foods, goodies and food trucks.

More info: https://www.rentonfarmersmarket.com/index.php

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BOTHELL

Fridays - June 2 - September 29 | 12pm-6pm | Center parking lot of Country Village - 23718 Bothell Everett Hwy

Food: locally grown, farm fresh produce, fresh cut flower bouquets, homemade baked goods, artisan crafts and entertainment.

More info: https://www.facebook.com/Bothellfarmersmarket/

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EVERETT

Sundays - May 12 - October 6 | 11am-4pm | Boxcar Park in the Port of Everett

More info: https://everettfarmersmarket.com