If you’re looking for an exotic island vacation without leaving the Pacific Northwest, look no further than the San Juan archipelago in Washinton’s Northwest corner!

And in particular, check out Orcas Island, a hilly, 57 square mile, horseshoe-shaped Island that’s just a hop, skip, a few hours drive and an hour-long ferry-ride from downtown Seattle.   The locals call it the “emerald isle” and the “gem of the San Juan” for good reason.

Orcas Island is the perfect place to be sans agenda. The Island’s seclusion seems to bring time to a stop, leaving plenty of opporunity to hike  and explore the waterfalls of Moran State Park, climb to the summit of Mt. Constitution (the highest peak in the archipelago), sea kayak with the seals and starfish, or spend a lazy day exploring  the shops and amazing restaurants in one of the island’s hamlets, or

My wife and I spent a relaxing Memorial Day Weekend on Orcas Island, and I of course brought my camera along.  Here’s a peak into the culture and beauty of Orcas Island (click on the images to see larger versions).

Photograph of a harbor seal swimming near Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington.