Sucia Island State Park
Covering 564 acres, Sucia Island State Park is the largest and most popular marine state park, and with good reason. The U-shaped park sits three miles north of Orcas Island and contains numerous protected anchorages, 50 mooring buoys, 55 primitive campsites ($10), and six miles of trails.
The shoreline has delightful sandy beaches for sunbathing, exploring, clamming, and crabbing, plus bizarre water-carved sandstone formations. Offshore, you can scuba dive on sunken wrecks.
Don't expect to be the only visitor on Sucia Island; on a summer weekend the waters around the island are jam-packed with U.S. and Canadian vessels of all description. The island is about 2.5 miles away from Orcas, perhaps putting it out of the reach of some beginning paddlers. Hire a guide if you are unsure of your abilities.
Outer Island Expeditions (360/376-3711, www.outerislandx.com) offers a once-daily ferry to Sucia from Orcas Island for $45 round-trip per person, plus $10 for a mountain bike or camping gear and $20 for a small kayak.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition