Moran State Park on Orcas Island is considered the gem of the San Juans, in Washington state's far northwest corner in the Salish Sea. It's also the fourth largest state park in Washington, encompassing 5,424 acres of woodland area, lakes, 151 campsites, nearly 40 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, and Mount Constitution at 2,409 feet above sea level.
Because Moran State Park is on an island several hours away from any major hub, it's best to plan to stay overnight. The easiest way to access the park is by taking the ferry to Orcas Island via the Anacortes ferry, about two hours north of Seattle.
Planning on camping at Moran State Park? Make sure to book your campsite early, or you may find yourself out of luck. These days, the Washington state ferry service allows you to reserve your spot in advance, which we highly advise due to the popularity of the area. The park does offer a few first come, first served hiker/biker spots. Alternately, nearby Obstruction Pass State Park has 10 walk-in sites only 0.6 miles from the parking lot (and even a few sail-up sites), and is amazingly peaceful and beautiful. Get here early, and snag a Salish Sea-view campsite for only $12 bucks a night. And if you're lucky, you may even see a pod of orcas from your tent door.
Once you've set up camp, choose from some great local hikes. Kids will love Cascade Lake and the easy loop trail. Head up to Mount Constitution either by car or by foot, and be treated with spectacular views of the islands below from the lookout tower. On a nice day, don't miss the chance to take a swim at Mountain Lake, with some great swimming spots on the opposite shore along the trail.
Get more information about the park, reservable kitchen shelters, 'glamping' opportunities and phone numbers, here.
When to Go
Because of the low elevation of Orcas Island in general, visit Moran State Park any time of year, though June through September offer the best weather.
Make sure you have a Discover Pass clearly visible from the dash of your car, which can be purchased in advance, or pick one up from the automatic pay station at the park.
Washington State Parks are dog-friendly (on leash), though they are not permitted on the small public beach at Cascade Lake.