Like San Juan Island, Orcas is a good departure point to motor or sail the outer islands in the San Juan archipelago. Based out of Rosario Resort, Orcas Island Sailing offers a good value with its charter sails on its small day sailboats. For $220–260, its captains will take your group out for three to four hours and teach you to sail; extend the trip to all day for $410.
You can also feel the wind whip up the sails (and your hair) aboard the Northwest Classic Daysails (360/376-5581, www.classicdaysails.com) sailing sloop, Aura. A three-hour sail for two is just $140.
If you prefer to motor out on your own, Orcas Boat Rentals (360/376-7616, www.orcasboats.com) rents runabout motorboats at Deer Harbor Marina for $250–275 per day.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition