In the Puget Sound, Bainbridge Island is a city and an island in Kitsap County, Washington, United States. Bainbridge Island is a Seattle suburb connected to Poulsbo and the Suquamish Indian Reservation by the Washington State Ferries system and State Route 305, which traverses the Agate Pass Bridge.
One of the best day trips from Seattle is a trip to Bainbridge Island, which includes a brief ferry journey across the Puget Sound. You don’t have to leave at the crack of dawn to make the most of a day on Bainbridge Island because the ferry station is in downtown Seattle and the ferry voyage is only 35 minutes. When it’s not summer, you have more freedom to be spontaneous, so consider visiting Bainbridge Island in the spring.
The ferry voyage from Seattle to Bainbridge Island provides one of the most stunning views of Seattle and the surrounding area. The Seattle skyline may be seen from the ferry if you look east. The Olympic Mountains can be found to the west. On a clear day, you might even be able to see snow-capped Mount Rainier if you look south. The boat voyage is spectacular, and the town of Winslow, where the ferry docks, is full of hidden jewels for foodies and shoppers.
What is the best way to get to Bainbridge Island?
The most convenient way for visitors to come to Bainbridge Island is to walk aboard the boat from Seattle to Bainbridge. If you’re traveling on a game day, keep in mind that the ferry may fill up quickly with walk-on people. You can also bring your car, bicycle, or other vehicle with you, however because you cannot make a reservation, you may have to wait for one or two ferry trips, which is common on weekends and during the summer.
The last alternative for arriving to the island is to drive around, but depending on where you’re coming from, this can take a long time. The single bridge connecting the island is at the north end, so if you’re going from the west or south, you’ll have to drive across the Olympic Peninsula, past Tacoma, and then all the way back north.
Keep in mind that prices alter with the seasons, with a spike in the summer. Passengers on foot only pay one way, but drivers in automobiles pay both ways, and there is a charge for each person in the car for drivers. Check the times here for schedules, and keep in mind that route times vary seasonally.
Things to do in Bainbridge Island
The lovely “Main Street” of Bainbridge Island is the first left turn on Winslow Way after exiting the ferry. Many people come here for the shopping and restaurants, which is why they take the brief 35-minute boat ride from Seattle.
Both sides of the street are lined with local cafés, booksellers, and sporting goods stores. People always pour out onto the pavement hoping for a seat at popular destinations like Streamliner Diner. Blackbird Bakery and Coquette Bake Shop are two other popular restaurants worth visiting.
With people flowing in and out of the stores, this central shopping and dining strip exudes a lively Saturday afternoon ambiance. Benches provide a comfortable area to relax, perhaps with a cup of coffee and a croissant.
On Bainbridge Island, Washington, the Bloedel Reserve is a 150-acre woodland garden. It was influenced by the conservation movement as well as Asian philosophy. Its goal was to “capture the essence of the Japanese garden – the attributes of naturalness, subtlety, reverence, and tranquility – and develop a Western interpretation of it.” Despite the presence of a traditional Japanese garden on the Reserve, the Bloedels’ approach to the remainder of the property differs from that of ‘Japanese gardens,’ which rely on adornment to accomplish their effects. Lakes, pristine lawns, woods, a stone garden, a moss garden, a rhododendron glen, and a reflection garden are all part of the Bloedel Reserve. The Bloedels’ French Chateau-style home has been preserved as a visitor center, with many original furniture.
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
The Bainbridge Museum of Art is open everyday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is free to visit. Fantastic exhibits rotate every three months at the museum. Check out their book collection and take a stroll down the halls to see more artwork. A patio with a water feature can be found outside. If you are hungry, the BIMA Bistro, which has both indoor and outdoor seating, is located inside the museum.
Fay Bainbridge Park
Fay Bainbridge Park is a locally owned public leisure area on the northeast extremity of Bainbridge Island, Washington, located just south of the Point Monroe sandspit. It is open from sunrise to sunset. The park has 17 acres of land, including 1,420 feet of Puget Sound shoreline. In addition to vistas of Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains, and two volcanoes, Mount Rainier and Mount Baker, the park offers beach activities and camping.
The Grand Forest is the most popular hiking location on Bainbridge Island. This centrally located and suitably named park spans three properties and spans over 240 acres. Grand Forest East and Grand Forest West are the two most popular parcels to visit.
Grand Forest East and West both offer about three miles of paths to explore, with the 0.7-mile Hilltop Trail connecting them. Within either lot, the environment is a magnificent second-growth forest that feels remote.
At most trailheads, maps are provided, and useful checkpoints line the paths to assist in navigating the twisting and connecting trails. The Grand Forest has no considerable elevation change, yet the trails do undulate for a modest uphill exertion.
The Waterfront Trail and Eagle Harbor Waterfront Park
The Eagle Harbor Waterfront is a great place to get some fresh air and exercise. Relax in the shade of huge trees, take in the views of the sea, or take one of their walking trails. The east circle is 1.5 miles long while the west loop is 2 miles long. Both routes take around an hour to complete, depending on your walking speed. The west loop receives more traffic because it passes through restaurants and museums, as well as the Waterfront Park, distinctive trees, and marinas. The east loop passes primarily through a residential neighborhood, as well as along the shore and through the forests. Both of these routes take you past historical buildings or structures.
Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
Another excellent destination near the Bainbridge Island ferry station is the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. Admission is free, as it is at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.
The Historical Museum’s major display, “An Island Story,” begins with the native Squamish peoples once inside. The story of the island continues with key milestones such as the arrival of the first European explorers, the beginning of the logging industry, and the socioeconomic consequences of World War II. The museum also commemorates the 1965 invention of pickleball, which took place on the island.
It is made up of artifacts, images, and immersive history. Although curious visitors may wish to spend more time, a half-hour walk through the museum is plenty. The museum is only open on weekends, from Friday to Sunday.
Heyday Farm is a family-owned farm, café, and event venue located on the island’s south side, just 15 minutes from the ferry station. The 25-acre property has been restored to its original “heyday” of agriculture on the island, including the meticulous restoration of a Pederson farmhouse from the early 1900s.
Heyday Farm’s harvest can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. The weekly Community Dinners on Thursdays and Fridays have to be one of the most popular. The cuisine for these festive gatherings change every week, depending on what the farm has to offer. But, without exception, expect superb dining and expertly prepared meals.
Eagle Harbor Books
There’s nothing better than getting lost in a nice bookstore on a rainy day trip to Bainbridge Island. Eagle Harbor Books is a locally owned and operated bookshop with a wide selection of secondhand and new books.
They’ve been selling books since 1969, when they were known as “Betty’s Books,” and they’ve always been the place to go. You can also save time by ordering from them online and picking it up when you arrive. It’s one of the nicest tiny towns in Washington to visit because of bookstores like this.
From April to December, the Bainbridge Island Farmer’s Market is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is one of the most popular Bainbridge Island attractions, located near Bainbridge City Hall. During your day trip to Bainbridge Island, they offer around a dozen different merchants to pick from.
Woodwork, seasonal fruits and veggies, flowers, cider, and other items are available. I recommend bringing your own bag so that you can carry them around more easily after you’ve purchased them. Because you can walk here from the ferry, this is one of the easiest things to do on Bainbridge Island without a car.