The San Juan Islands are an absolute must-see in northern Washington. Orcas Islands is one of the larger islands in the San Juan Islands. If you camp at the Orcas Island campgrounds, you can see the giant orcas on the island. You may be wondering if you can bring your RV if you are an RV enthusiast like me.
If you want to camp at the Orcas Island campgrounds, there are a few things to keep in mind. One is that you can use the ferry, although there is no bridge. You also need to note that there are not many campgrounds that can accommodate RVs longer than 30 feet.
If you’re eager to visit Orcas Island, don’t let that dampen your spirits. I list places where you can rent a suitable RV if your RV is too long. I also list the six best campgrounds on Orcas Island in this article. Some campgrounds I have visited myself, others were recommended to me by my RV friends. Read to the end to learn how to make reservations on Orcas Island.
The 6 best campgrounds on Orcas Island
Now that you know you can RV camp on Orcas Island, what else should you know? Compared to the other San Juan Islands, Orcas Island is farther out, more remote, and has denser vegetation. Therefore, there are beautiful hiking trails, wildlife and breathtaking scenery.
Although you can’t pitch a tent on the beach, Orcas Island has several campgrounds right on the water. There are no RV sites near the water. However, there are rustic tent sites near the shore.
So which campgrounds on Orcas Island have the best reviews? I’ll give you my top six recommendations for RV-friendly destinations. Some of these places I have already visited, for the others I relied on the reviews of other camping enthusiasts.
Beach Harbour Resort
Old: Beach Haven Star Gazer cottage (photo from the resort’s gallery).
Beach Haven Resort is surrounded by the only remaining virgin forest on Orcas, home to numerous wild animals.
The following table lists the four different types of accommodations the resort offers.
|Type of accommodation||Features|
|Traditional log cabins||Located directly on the beach with direct access to the sea|
|Fully equipped kitchen|
|Standing showers, no bathtub|
|A cabin with the largest capacity, which can accommodate up to 10 people|
|Log cabins with one, two and three bedrooms|
|Beachcomber cabin||The cabin with the largest capacity, which can accommodate up to 10 people|
|Floor to ceiling windows offer an excellent view of the beach|
|A deck of more than 40 feet with a Weber BBQ grill, lounge chairs and a picnic table|
|Three bedrooms and two bathrooms downstairs|
|Large dining room and fully equipped kitchen|
|Wheelchair access, central heating and a fireplace|
|Provision of bed linen, towels, soap and paper products.|
|Stargazer Cottage||Modern pine cottage located 50 meters above the water in the forest|
|Well equipped kitchen|
|A skylight above the double bed with four supports for stargazing|
|Jacuzzi bathtub and heated tile floor in the bathroom|
|Stairs to the beach and a private Stargazer cabana across the driveway from the house.|
|Lodge building||A lodge apartment on the first floor with a maximum occupancy of six people|
|Two apartments with balcony on the second floor with a maximum occupancy of two people each|
- Activities: Kayaking, boating, horseshoe pitching, bird watching, beach walks, a playground, seasonal fishing and crabbing.
- Amenities: Community fireplaces and household appliances are available upon request.
Obstruction Pass State Park
At the southern tip of Orcas Island is a 76-acre rustic campground called Obstruction Pass State Park – one of the few public beaches on Orcas Island. From the pebble beach, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the ocean. You can also observe fantastic wildlife here. Fewer people live at Obstruction Camp than at nearby Moran Park.
Obstruction Pass State Park has ten campsites on a bluff overlooking the ocean coast. Campsites are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. One of the ten campsites is located along the Cascadia Marine Trail. Access to the Cascadia campground is only by foot or by wind-powered boat.
Since these are pack-in pack-out sites, you must bring everything you need to the campsites yourself.
- Activities: Some of the activities you can take part in are. Crabbing, fishing, hiking, bird watching, exploring the beaches and observing the wildlife.
- Amenities: Fire pits, restrooms (composting), picnic tables and three mooring buoys. There is no portable water.
Leanto Camp Orcas
If you are planning to camp with your RV, I am sorry to inform you that Leanto Camp does not have RV accommodations. However, be prepared to experience a unique glamping adventure at Leanto Camp. You can enjoy canvas tents on cedar platforms that are already set up, giving you more time for fun activities. You can choose from a range of sizes.
Leanto Camp is open annually from June 13 to September 4. The campsite has no water, electricity or mobile service. However, there is a common water tap a few meters away. You can use water filters to keep the water from the tap clean.
There are public toilets at some distance from the campsites.
Unfortunately, you cannot bring your tent, caravans, camping equipment or other camping utensils. The only thing the camp provides is a mattress. Bring your bath and sleeping utensils with you. Pets are not welcome at Leanto Camp.
Although meals are not provided at the camp, each campsite has a fire pit where you can prepare your meals. Alternatively, you can borrow a camp stove from the campsite. If you don’t want to cook yourself, you can also dine at one of the restaurants on Orcas Island.
Activities: 30 miles of hiking trails, fishing and kayaking.
Amenities: Coin-operated showers and flush toilets
Moran State Park Orcas Island
Moran State Park includes five freshwater lakes, 151 campsites and 5,424 acres. There are over 38 acres of hiking and biking trails in the park. From the park, you can drive, bike or walk to the top of Mount Constitution. From the top of the mountain you can see most of the San Juan Archipelago.
Climb the old stone tower at the top of the mountain for an even better view. Three campgrounds surround Cascade Lake in Moran State Park.
Find amenities and activities at each campground:
|The pitches are located on the hills overlooking the lakes.||The pitches are located directly on the water and on the right side of the road.||Offers a glamping experience with furnished canvas tents.|
|Biggest places – camper camping||Boat ramp||Campsites|
|Near the day use area||Campsites||Camper sites|
|Children’s playground||Camper sites||Electricity connections|
|Waste disposal station||Toilets/Showers|
|Shelters for picnics|
The Sugar Shack at Moran State Park is popular with campers. The shack sells drinks and treats such as homemade ice cream sandwiches and expresso.
Shellfishing and fishing are prohibited in Washington State Parks unless you have a recreational license.
West Beach Resort
West Beach Resort has beautiful cabins right on the water. However, there are no RV sites on the water here. If you want to save yourself the hassle of setting up your gear, the deluxe tent cabins are ideal. The glamping experience at West Beach Resort is fantastic.
According to Country Living magazine, West Beach Resort is one of the 32 most beautiful glamping sites in the United States.
- Activities: Nightly beach bonfires, whale watching, guided kayak tours, summer activities for kids, fishing and hikes to Turtleback Mountain.
- Amenities: Garden cabins, boat rentals, general store, marina, hot tub, WiFi, glamping cabins on site, marina, beachfront dining.
Doe Bay Resort and Retreat
Orcas Island is home to the Doe Bay Resort in a quiet location. The resort is located on 38 acres of stunning oceanfront property. You can choose from a variety of accommodation options, as seen below.
- Cabins: The resort offers group accommodations, luxury cabins and rustic cabins, the simplest cabins. Pets are welcome only in selected cabins.
- Yurts/Domes: There are several domes and yurts, but there is no water. However, some of the yurts in the complex have been renovated and now have electricity. Pets are welcome.
- Campsites: Doe Bay Resort is one of the campgrounds on Orcas Island that offers both waterfront and wooded walk-in sites. The resort has a drive-in campground where you can park your car nearby. Pets are welcome in the campgrounds.
- Activities: Kayaking, whale watching, yoga, open mic nights, yoga, massage
- Amenities: Hot tubs and spas, no fires allowed in campground, but you can use off-guest kitchen and bathrooms with showers
How to do it Orcas Island Camping Reservations
After you have decided on a campground, be sure to make a reservation. Different campgrounds have different reservation criteria.
Some campgrounds, such as Doe Bay and Moran State Park, require you to make reservations in advance. Others, like Obstruction Pass, operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
When reserving a spot on Orcas Island, keep the following in mind.
- The first thing to note is that you can only reach Orcas Island by boat. Online ferry reservations are available at the Anacortes Washington State Ferry Landing. You will need to book the ferry a few weeks in advance. The ferry staff will show you where to park your RV.
- It is easier to reserve a private campground. State parks, on the other hand, require you to call the reservation center or reserve online. Call 888-CAMPOUT (888-226-7688) to reserve a site at Orcas State Parks or another state park in Washington.
- You must make reservations for campsites, group campsites, rustic shelters and shelters by 8 p.m. the day before you arrive.
Orcas Island camping is an adventure not to be missed. Make reservations if you want to visit state parks like Moran and Obstruction on Orcas Island. You should make reservations 24 hours before visiting a state park in Washington.
Don’t miss a trip to West Beach Resort or Leanto Camp to experience glamping. Beach Haven and Doe Bay Resort are the best choices for cabin camping.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. what are the best rated campsites on Orcas Island?
Moran State Park, Obstruction State Park, Doe Bay Resort, West Beach Resort, Leanto Camp, and Beach Haven Resort are the top rated Orcas Island Campgrounds.
2. how can I reserve a campsite on Orcas Island?
Online reservations are the best way to reserve a site on Orcas Island. If the reservation is for a state park, call 888-CAMPOUT (888-226-7688).
3. What facilities are available at Moran State Park on Orcas Island?
Moran State Park on Orcas Island offers an RV dump station, restrooms, showers, fire pits, a boat dock, and basic restrooms.
4. Are there any special rules or regulations for camping at Leanto Camp on Orcas Island?
There are indeed certain rules and regulations for camping at Leanto Camp on Orcas Island. First, the camp management prohibits camping with a pet. You should not bring any unsafe, harmful or dangerous substances to the campsite and you should not litter.