The San Juan Islands are a must-see destination in northern Washington. The Orcas Islands are one of the larger islands in the San Juan Islands. By camping at the Orcas Island campgrounds, you can watch the enormous orcas on the island. You might be wondering if you can bring your RV if you’re an RV enthusiast like me.
If you are going to camp at Orcas Island campgrounds, remember a few things. One is that you can use the ferry despite there being no bridge. You’ll also need to be aware that there aren’t 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 will include locations where you can rent an appropriate size if your RV is too long. I also list the top six campgrounds on Orcas Island in this article. Some campgrounds I’ve visited and others my RV buddies recommended. 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 do Orcas Island camping in your RV, what else should you know? Compared to the other islands in San Juan, Orcas Island is farther out, more secluded, and has denser vegetation. As a result, it has beautiful hiking paths, wildlife, and stunning landscapes.
Although you can’t set up a tent on the beach, Orcas Island campgrounds have several waterfront spots. There aren’t any RV parks close to the water. However, there are rustic tent camping sites close to the shore.
So, which campgrounds on Orcas Island have the best reviews? I’ll provide my top six recommendations for RV-friendly destinations. I have visited some of these destinations and relied on reviews from fellow camping enthusiasts for those I haven’t.
Beach Haven Resort
Alt: Beach Haven Star Gazer cottage (photo from the resort’s gallery).
Beach Haven Resort is surrounded by the only old-growth forest still standing on Orcas, home to various wildlife.
In the table below, I display the four different types of accommodations the resort offers.
|Traditional log cabins||Situated on the beach with direct access to the ocean|
|Fully furnished kitchen|
|Stand-up showers, no bathtub|
|A largest capacity cabin that can accommodate up to 10 people|
|Log cabins with one, two, and three bedrooms|
|Beachcomber cabin||The largest capacity cabin that can accommodate up to 10 people|
|Floor-to-ceiling windows provide an excellent view of the beach|
|A deck of more than 40 feet with a Weber BBQ grill, deck chairs, and picnic table|
|Three bedrooms and two bathrooms downstairs|
|Large dining room and fully equipped kitchen|
|Wheelchair access, central heating, and a fireplace|
|Provision of linen, towels, soaps, and paper products|
|Stargazer Cottage||Modern pine cabin that sits 50 yards above the water in the forest|
|A skylight above the four-post queen bed for stargazing|
|Jacuzzi tub and a heated tile floor in the bathroom|
|Stairway to the beach and a private stargazer cabana located across the driveway from the cottage|
|Lodge building||A ground-floor lodge apartment with a maximum occupancy of six people|
|Two second-floor balcony-view flats with a maximum occupancy of two people each|
- Activities: Kayaking, boating, horseshoes, bird watching, beach walks, a playground, seasonally available fishing and crabbing
- Amenities: Community fire rings and household appliances are available upon request.
Obstruction Pass State Park
On the southern tip of Orcas Island is a 76-acre rustic camping spot called Obstruction Pass State Park—one of the few public beaches on Orcas Island. You’ll enjoy some breathtaking views of the ocean from the pebbly beach. Additionally, you should see some fantastic fauna. Fewer people live in the Obstruction camp than at Moran Park, nearby.
Obstruction Pass State Park has ten campsites perched on a cliff overlooking the seashore. The campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. One of the ten campsites is along the Cascadia Marine Trail. Accessing the Cascadia campsite is only possible if you arrive on foot or a wind-powered boat.
Since these are pack-in, pack-out sites, you must carry with you whatever you bring to the campsites.
- Activities: Some of the activities you can participate in are crabbing, fishing, hiking, bird watching, beach exploration, and wildlife viewing.
- Amenities: Fire pits, toilets (composting), picnic tables, and three moorage buoys, and there is no portable water available.
Leanto Camp Orcas
If you plan to go camping using your RV, I am sorry to inform you that Leanto Camp has no RV accommodations. However, be ready to experience a glamping adventure unlike any other at Leanto camp. You can enjoy canvas tents on cedar platforms already set up, giving you extra time for fun activities. You can choose from the range of sizes that are offered.
The Leanto camp is open from June 13 through September 4 annually. The campground has no water, electricity, or mobile service. However, a few meters away is a shared water spigot. You can use water filters to keep your water from the spigot clean.
A little distance from the tent campsites are public restrooms.
Regrettably, you cannot bring your tent, trailers, camping equipment, or any other camping setup. The only thing the camp offers is a mattress. Bring your bathroom and sleeping necessities. Pets are not welcome at Leanto camp.
Although no meals are provided at the camp, each campsite has a fire ring for you to make your meals. Alternatively, you can borrow a camp stove belonging to the camping site. If you want to avoid cooking, you can also dine at any 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
The Moran State Park comprises five freshwater lakes, 151 campsites, and 5,424 acres. Over 38 acres of hiking and bike paths are in the park. You can drive, bike, or trek to the top of Mount Constitution from the park. You can see much of the San Juan archipelago from the mountain’s crest.
Climb the old stone tower on the hilltop for an even better view. Three camping places surround Cascade Lake in the Moran State Park.
Here are each camping area’s amenities and activities:
|Sites are on the hills overlooking the lakes.||Sites are directly on the water and the right side of the road.||Provides a glamping experience by offering canvas tents that are furnished.|
|Largest sites- RV camping||Boat ramp||Tent sites|
|Near the day-use area||Tent sites||RV sites|
|Kids playground||RV sites||Electric hookups|
The sugar shack at the Moran State Park is popular with campers. The shack sells drinks and treats like homemade ice cream sandwiches and expresso.
Shellfishing and fishing are prohibited in Washington state parks if you don’t have a recreational license.
West Beach Resort
The West Beach Resort has lovely waterfront cabins. However, it does not feature waterfront RV camping spaces. If you want to avoid the hassle of setting up your gear, their Deluxe Tent cabins are perfect. The West Beach Resort’s glamping experience is fantastic.
According to a popular magazine, Country Living, West Beach Resort is one of the 32 most stunning glamping locations in the United States.
- Activities: Nightly beach-front bonfires, whale watching, guided kayak tours, summer kid’s activities, fishing, and hiking to the Turtleback Mountain.
- Amenities: Garden cottages, boat rentals, general store, marina, hot tub, WiFi, onsite glamping cabins, marina, beachfront food service
Doe Bay Resort And Retreat
On Orcas Island, the Doe Bay Resort is in a tranquil location. The resort is situated on 38 acres of breathtaking seaside property. You can choose from various lodging options, as seen below.
- Cabins: The resort offers group accommodations, deluxe cabins, and rustic cabins, the most basic cabins. Pets are only welcome in select cabins.
- Yurts/domes: There are several domes and yurts, but no water is available. However, some of the yurts at the resort have been renovated with “on-grid” electricity. Pets are welcome.
- Campsites: Doe Bay Resort is one of the Orcas Island campgrounds that offer waterfront and forested walk-in campsites. The Resort has a drive-in campground where you can park your car nearby. Pets are welcome on the campsites.
- Activities: Kayaking, whale watching, yoga, open mic nights, yoga, massage
- Amenities: Hot tubs and spas, no fires allowed in the campsite, but you can access the off-guest kitchen and bathrooms with showers
How To Make Orcas Island Camping Reservations
Making reservations is essential after choosing the campground you wish to stay at. Different campgrounds have different reservation criteria.
When making reservations 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’ll need to book the ferry a few weeks ahead of time. The ferry staff will show you where to park your RV.
- You’ll find it easier to make reservations for a private campground. On the other hand, state parks require that you phone the reservation line or make an online reservation. Call 888-CAMPOUT (888-226-7688) to make reservations at Orcas State Parks or any other state park in Washington.
- The day before your arrival, you must make bookings for campsites, group camps, rustic lodging, and shelters by 8 p.m.
Orcas Island Camping is an adventure you shouldn’t miss. Make reservations if you plan to visit state parks like Moran and Obstruction on Orcas Island. You should make reservations 24 hours before visiting any state park in Washington.
Don’t miss a West Beach Resort or Leanto Camp trip to experience glamping. Beach Haven and Doe Bay Resort are the best choices for some cabin camping.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the top-rated campgrounds 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 make camping reservations on Orcas Island?
Online booking is the best option for making reservations on Orcas Island. If the reservation is for a state park, call 888-CAMPOUT (888-226-7688).
3. What amenities are available at Moran State Park on Orcas Island?
Moran State Park on Orcas Island provides an RV dump station, restrooms, showers, fire pits, a boat launch, and primitive toilets.
4. Are there any specific rules or regulations for camping at Leanto Camp on Orcas Island?
There are, indeed, specific rules and regulations for camping at Leanto Camp on Orcas Island. First, camp management prohibits camping with a pet. You shouldn’t bring any unsafe, harmful, or dangerous substances to the campsite—no dumping trash.