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Orcas Island

From Academic Kids

Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands in the American state of Washington. It is the third stop on the four-stop Washington State Ferries ride that starts in Anacortes, Washington.

The island has several towns, none very large. Orcas is known as attracting the richest of the San Juan Islands residents, which has increased real estate prices and made it hard for the traditional residents of the island to continue living there.

Orcas is slightly larger but less populous than San Juan Island. Shaped like a pair of saddlebags, it is almost bisected by fjord-like East Sound (two words), at the northern end of which is located the village of Eastsound (one word), the second largest town in the county.

Eastsound has a number of stores, inns, and restaurants in addition to gift and souvenir shops, gas stations and other businesses.

There are other, smaller settlements at Orcas (where the ferry lands), West Sound, Deer Harbor, Olga and Doe Bay, each different and worth a leisurely sightsee. At Olga there is an attractive and popular cafe and store (the rustic building is a former strawberry barreling plant) where local artists hang out and sell their work.

Half mile (800 m) high Mount Constitution is a prime attraction. The easy drive to the top (except in the worst winter weather when park rangers close the road) provides a spectacular 360-degree marine view said to be one of the finest anywhere in the world. The mountain is part of Moran State Park, which also offers camping, swimming, fishing and hiking in its nearly 5,000 acres (20 km²) of woodland.

A long-time institution on Orcas Island's northwest shoulder is Camp Orkila for boys and girls, which has operated since 1906. It is operated by the Greater Seattle Area's YMCA.

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