Orcas Island: The View Is Worth It


For the best view on the island head up to the lookout on Mt. Constitution

The one thing everyone told us to see on Orcas Island was the lookout tower on Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park. If it were even moderately clear, the view would be spectacular. We could not have listened to better advice.

Big rocks required a hand from daddy but didn’t dampen the fun

The drive up Mt. Constitution was full of twist, turns and switchbacks. Trees blocked the view for a good portion of the drive. White clouds filled most of the blue sky, but it was still partially sunny. Anytime the trees broke, the scene was something to behold. You had no idea just how fast you were climbing until you were suddenly hundreds of feet above sea level looking down at the islands surrounding Orcas. I couldn’t wait to get to the top.

Deer lined the road as we made our way through Moran State Park

When we reached the summit parking lot it was only a short hike up a hill to the stone lookout tower. Nothing Dek couldn’t handle. We hopped around the large rocks and picnic tables around the tower taking pictures and just having fun. Dek tried to throw himself over the side of the mountain while trying to peek over the low wall. Mike kept a firm hold on his jacket just in case Dek was successful.

Lookout tower on Mt. Constitution got you above tree level in most spots providing an unobstructed view of the water and islands below, and if you were lucky, a few mountains too

At 2,409 feet, the wind was blowing something fierce, but we still decided to climb to the top of the tower to get past the last of the tree line. We could see many of the surrounding islands and Mt. Baker in the distance. On a very clear day it’s said that you can even see Vancouver and Mt. Rainier. We were not so lucky on this visit but we didn’t mind at all. If it had been any clearer, I think I might have hyperventilated from marveling at Mother Nature’s beauty. Our visit to Mt. Constitution was proving to be the best stop on our 24 hour whirlwind tour through Orcas Island.

Handy signs at the top of the tower told visitors what they were seeing in the distance

Fuel For Empty Bellies

Our stomachs started to growl as we made our way back down the tower; food was calling. Back in Eastsound we stopped at another CascadiaKids guest post recommendation, Madrona Bar and Grill. The menu was a bit fancier (and pricier) than we anticipated, but it was delicious nonetheless. I had a refreshing mixed green salad with duck. Mike enjoyed a steak topped with blue cheese and fries. Dek had a little steak and fries too, because after all, that’s what daddy was eating.

Dad and boy quality time together made the view even better that day

Even with a belly full of dinner I still needed something sweet. It was getting a little late for dessert out, plus we wanted to save a little money. We popped over to the market to grab a pint of ice cream.

Mike was a bit wary of a pint since we would probably have to throw most of it out. He didn’t think we could tackle the whole thing in one evening. Lopez Island (another island in the San Juans) Creamery Raspberry Lemonade sorbet proved to be a challenge we were up for. While reading back in our cabin, we suddenly noticed the spoon scraping the bottom of the container. Let me tell you, it was not me who was doing all the eating, and Dek was fast asleep. If Mike has one weakness in the dessert department it’s sorbet. For once you can not blame the missing treats on me.

For more photo adventures head on over to Photo Friday at Deliciousbaby.

Mom Note: I find it important to know where bathrooms are when visiting a sight. I am happy to report that at the summit of Mt. Constitution there are halfway decent restrooms. No changing tables, but there were flushing toilets at least.

Pregnant women, moms and potty training toddlers everywhere love to see this sign

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Showing 16 comments
  • Jessica

    You take the best water/sky pictures!

    • Reply

      Well look out cause Hawaii is up next. I seem to do better with still bodies of water, but here’s hoping my water photo luck holds out with the ocean.

  • More Kids Than Suitcases

    Absolutely beautiful water shot at the top.
    And good job Dad keeping a hold of the little one!

    • Reply

      I often find it a good thing when my husband can travel with us. I get so caught up in taking pictures that someone sure has to watch the kid!

  • Becca@R We There Yet Mom?

    Man – your pictures are always so beautiful – I feel like I am there with you experiencing the chilly air!!!


  • Laurel

    Beautiful views. I’ve never heard of Orcas Island, but looks like a wonderful trip!

  • Lisa

    Stunning photos! What did Dek think of the deer??

    • Reply

      I’m not sure Dek really even processed what the deer was. We saw it, pointed it out to him (we were in the car), he said “deer!” and then continued to play with his truck. Maybe if we had been out of the car when we saw it he would have reacted differently. It was definitely his first deer sighting though. I was just happy I didn’t hit it with my car. They are everywhere!

  • Sonja

    Yes, I too like to mention the restrooms in my posts. Always helpful advice! 🙂

  • f-stop mama

    What a wonderful quick weekend trip and what an awesome experience for Dek! It’s amazing all of the sights he is able to see at such a young age. His life will be greatly enriched by it (even though it may cause some headaches along the way for mom and dad). Keep up the travels and enjoying all of the wonderful sights along the way!

    • Reply

      Have no fear, there is no end to our travels in sight. Right now I have trips booked every month through January. Most of them are short, but we are headed to Hawaii in 1.5 weeks. We can’t wait to get our little guy on the Big Island.

  • Lance Evans

    The Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce loves your blog … and how you captured our island! Lance Evans, Executive Director http://www.orcasislandchamber.com

    • Reply

      Thank you so much for stopping by. We had a truly wonderful time once we got on the island. Our next trip will definitely have to be longer than a weekend so we can discover even more.

  • eckids

    Love your note about the bathrooms. My hubby is into outdoor adventures, and me not so much, so bathrooms and ice cream help:)

    • Reply

      Ha ha ha! Yes, my hubby has been asking me to camp since Dek was born. I keep asking him where the bathroom and shower is. I’m willing to do it, I just have to suck up my nerve. I grew up camping, so it’s not that foreign, just different with a toddler.

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