Bainbridge Island - Seattle Travel (2022)

Seattle Island Paradise, A Ferry Ride Away

Bainbridge Island - Seattle Travel (1)

Bainbridge Island Ferry Dock.

Contributing Editor: Lynn Marshall, Seattle Washington

(Video) Bainbridge Island Day Trip from Seattle | Ride the Washington State Ferry for Views of Seattle

A great way to get on the water in Seattle is to take a 35 minute ferry trip across Elliott Bay to Bainbridge Island. The view of the city skyline from the ferry deck is well worth the price of your trip and the island itself has a lot to offer.

Bainbridge is unquestionably a bedroom community for Seattle, but it has worked hard to curb development and retain its rural character. The island covers almost 28 square miles, and has a population of just over 20,000. If you have the patience to bring a car over on the ferry you can explore the island’s back roads and more remote nooks and crannies. If you walk on, there is little need to plan ahead, and you will still find plenty to see in the town of Winslow, just up the hill from the ferry dock. The best compromise is to bring a bike, or rent one in Winslow – as long as you don’t mind some hills, Bainbridge is a great place to explore by bike and you get to work off some vacation calories.


Catch the ferry at Pier 52, on Alaskan Way. For summer 2008, a car and one driver will pay ~$15, in both directions, while a walk on adult passenger will pay ~$7 island bound only with an additional dollar surcharge for a bicycle. Check out the official ferry schedule and prices here. Note that if you are planning to drive on, especially on a weekend, go early and be patient; you may have to sit through a boat or two to get aboard. Also, be sure to approach Pier 52 from the south – if you approach from the north you will not be able to make a right turn into the terminal and will have to go a frustrating distance just to get into the ferry lane. On foot, you simply enter the terminal, go upstairs, buy your tickets and wait for the boat.

The trip is wonderful; the ferry has great views, both inside and outside on the upper decks. The 35 minute trip passes very quickly.

Once you arrive in Winslow, by car, follow everyone else up the road, and into the center of town. Find a parking place and get your bearings. You can rent a bike right off of the ferry dock from Classic Cycles Bike Barn (206) 842-3434. Bicycle rentals (Summer 2008) are $25 for 2 hours or $35 for the full day from the helpful folks at Classic Cycles Bike Barn. Bainbridge Island Taxi at 206 482 1041, can arrange car transportation to more outlying spots via taxi cab.

Bainbridge Island - Seattle Travel (2)

Docking at Bainbridge Island near Seattle.

(Video) Bainbridge Island | Washington Day Trip from Seattle


Bainbridge was named by an 1841 Navy survey team for Commodore William Bainbridge, a frigate captain in the war of 1812. The island had several towns in the early years (all of Bainbridge is incorporated together today), and a thriving economy based on the timber industry. By 1900, the island had a shipyard and a large wood preservative plant. Most people traveled by boat, and few roads actually crossed the island. Bainbridge was home to many Japanese farmers by the start of World War II, and the island was the first place to be effected by the interment order of 1942. Snow Falling on Cedars, by Bainbridge based writer David Gutterson, brings this time vividly to life. A effort is underway to create a memorial on the Winslow waterfront honoring the 227 island residents who were forced from their homes and into the interment camps.

In the 90’s the island’s city government worked hard to develop a plan that would allow for growth, but focus development in the area of Winslow, leaving the rest of the island as rural in character as possible. You see the results of this plan today. There are big houses along the shorelines, but the condos and other dense development is found only in town. A new village green, city hall, performance center, and waterfront park have given the island a commercial and social center that help attract people to the art galleries, coffee shops, and restaurants. These days, traffic is heavy on route 305, the main drag crossing the island, but turn down any side road and you recapture the spirit of Bainbridge.

Bainbridge Island - Seattle Travel (3)

Seattle Views from Bainbridge Island Ferries


As always, the best advise is to explore. There are many galleries, shops, and restaurants to catch your eye. The village green is a great spot for people watching, and for food it is hard to go wrong at the Bainbridge Bakery, Nola cafe, or the Pleasant Beach Bistro just to name a few eateries. If you want to tour Bloedel Reserve, remember to call them (see below) and make reservations a day or two in advance.


(Video) Bainbridge Island Day Trip | Day Trips from Seattle | Things to do near Seattle

As always, the best advise is to explore. There are many galleries, shops, and restaurants to catch your eye. The village green is a great spot for people watching, and for food it is hard to go wrong at the Bainbridge Bakery, Nola cafe, or the Pleasant Beach Bistro just to name a few eateries. If you want to tour Bloedel Reserve, remember to call them (see below) and make reservations a day or two in advance.

In Winslow:

In Winslow:

Eagle Harbor Books – 157 Winslow Way East

This bookstore is a wonderful literary oasis. Serving the Island since 1970, Eagle Harbor Books always has something that won’t have seen anywhere else and a knowledgeable staff who will be glad to help you find the perfect book, or tell you about their favorite spots on the island.

Pegasus Coffee House and Art Gallery – 131 Parfitt Way SW

Pegasus is a little bit out of the way from downtown Winslow, but worth the extra effort. Pegasus is housed in a brick building, covered with ivy, said to be one of the oldest building on Winslow’s waterfront. If you walk up Winslow Way from the ferry, turn left on Madison Ave and follow it to the end, you will find Pegasus, and see why it has been a Bainbridge institution since opening in 1979.

Waterfront Park – Across from the Bainbridge Commons, on Brien Drive

(Video) Exploring Bainbridge Island - Pizza, Ice Cream, Ferry Rides And More!

This 5.5 acre park along the Eagle Harbor waterfront makes a great place for a picnic. It has a kids’ play area, and public restrooms; it is almost always a quiet and relaxing spot.

Bainbridge Island - Seattle Travel (4)

Bloedel Reserve – 7571 NE Dolphin Dr. (206) 843-7631

The Bloedel Reserve is one of the most beautiful gardens open for public touring in the greater Seattle area. The cost of admission for adults is $15 as of June 2016. Seniors 65+ & Military w/ ID are $10. Students 13-18 are $8 and children 5-12 are $5. Tykes 4 and under are free!!! Bloedel’s 150 acres are tranquil and orderly, even though a little more than half of the property is undeveloped forest land. The hard working gardeners who cherish the reserve work very hard to keep the gardens tranquil and lush. The self-guided walking tour takes about two hours, and includes the family house, a Japanese guest house, (set in a Zen garden), a waterfall overlook, a reflecting pool, and much more. Bloedel is a must stop for gardeners, and a joy for others as well.

Bainbridge Island Winery – 8989 E. Day Road

After 26 years in a blue building close to the ferry dock, the Bainbridge Winery has moved onto the vineyard. All the grapes and fruits that go into the wine are grown on the island, and while not world-class, the wine is certainly respectable, and the staff friendly. The strawberry wine is reputed to be fantastic, but has been unavailable for the past few years do to a limited strawberry crop on the island. Though the new facility is not quite finished, the tasting room is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 am – 5 pm.

Fay Bainbridge State Park15446 Sunrise Drive NE

Fay Bainbridge is a 17 acre park, on the beach with picnic areas and a children’s play area. The outstanding thing about this park are the views. On a clear day you can see Mt. Rainer, Mt. Baker, and the Seattle skyline. This is a great picnic destination for bike riders.

(Video) Seattle Travel VLOG | Pike Place, Bainbridge Island ferry, & lots of food 😜 | Traveling Musician


Is Bainbridge Island worth visiting? ›

A day trip to Bainbridge Island, which includes a short ferry ride across the Puget Sound, is undoubtedly one of the best day trips from Seattle.

How do you get to Bainbridge Island from Seattle? ›

Washington State Ferry. Drive down to the waterfront in Seattle and take a ferry across to Bainbridge Island. You can park your car under the Alaskan Way Viaduct and just “walk across” on the ferry. It costs to go from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, but the return is free.

How long is the ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island? ›

The crossing time to Bainbridge lasts about 35 minutes and offers a spectacular view of Seattle's skyline across Elliott Bay.

Can you explore Bainbridge Island without a car? ›

Bainbridge Island is a unique destination and one that is easy to visit without a car. In fact, the majority of shops and restaurants are located within an easy 15-minute walk from the ferry terminal, and the broader community is bike-friendly and easy to navigate.

How do I spend a day on Bainbridge Island? ›

How to Spend a Day On Bainbridge Island
  1. 8:45 AM: Leave for the ferry. ...
  2. 10 AM: Explore downtown Bainbridge. ...
  3. 12 PM: Get lunch. ...
  4. 1 PM: Go wine tasting. ...
  5. 3:30 PM: Stroll Grand Forest. ...
  6. 6 PM: Explore parks in south Bainbridge Island. ...
  7. 7:30 PM: Get dinner back in downtown Bainbridge. ...
  8. 9 PM: Take the ferry back to Seattle.
Oct 1, 2020

Is the Bainbridge ferry worth it? ›

Seattle to Bainbridge ferry is worth the trip on nice days for visitors from land locked areas. I live on Bainbridge. I would not bother to do this ride if it is pouring down rain because you just won't get the view that is offered on nicer days.

Does Bainbridge Island have Ubers? ›

There are also a few Uber and Lyft drivers on Bainbridge now who have proved very helpful in our ever-expanding options for transportation on the island, as well as traditional taxis. Taxi & Tours can be reached at (206) 842-7660. Viking Cab Co. can be reached at (360) 244-4420.

How often does the Bainbridge ferry run? ›

The Seattle to Bainbridge route runs about every 50-55 minutes from Monday through Friday. The first ferry departs the terminal at Coleman Dock/Pier 52 at 5:30 a.m., and the last ferry leaves at 1:35 a.m., technically the next day.

How long is the wait for the Bainbridge ferry? ›

Washington State Ferries on Twitter: "Sea/BI - Bainbridge Island Wait Time - 1 hour" / Twitter.

Do you need a reservation for Bainbridge ferry? ›

Ferry Reservations and Cost

You don't need to (nor can you) make a reservation to board the Bainbridge Island ferry on foot or with your car in Seattle; it's first-come, first-served.

What is the longest ferry ride in Seattle? ›

Seattle–Bremerton ferry
Hyak boarding at Bremerton.
WaterwayPuget Sound
AuthorityWashington State Ferries (1951–present) Kitsap Fast Ferries (2017–present)
System length17 miles (27 km)
Travel time60 minutes (2018) 45 minutes (1968)
13 more rows

Which is better Bainbridge or Bremerton? ›

In terms of shopping and dining, both Bremerton and Bainbridge Island have plenty to offer. But if you are interested in naval history and shipbuilding, you will learn a lot more in Bremerton. However if you prefer to learn about native history and heritage, then Bainbridge Island would be the better option for you.

How do you get around Bainbridge Island without a car? ›

You can either walk on, bike on or drive your car. For those who are north of Seattle, it might be more convenient to take the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston and then drive down to Bainbridge Island. For those south of Seattle, you can drive across the Tacoma Narrows bridge and then up to Bainbridge Island.

Can you walk around Bainbridge Island? ›

People usually walk the 2-mile loop in about an hour. Ample shortcuts are available for those pressed for time. The eastern loop goes through a residential neighbor- hood and then along the beach at Hawley Cove, ending with a path into a wooded area. For most walkers, the 1.5 mile round trip takes less than an hour.

Where does the ferry to Bainbridge Island leave from? ›

Colman Dock, the Seattle ferry terminal, is located on the Seattle Waterfront at Pier 52. This is where you access Washington State Ferries to Bainbridge Island and Bremerton.

Is Bainbridge Island rich? ›

On Bainbridge, the average net worth is $817,003 and the average home value is $560,838 -- a far stretch from the island's early days as a low-frills rural retreat. The influx of wealth shows no sign of slowing.

How many days do you need in San Juan Islands? ›

Stay for two days to enjoy the full breadth of island life with morning mist rolling through the farmlands and fiery sunsets over the water. Consider visiting during the week to avoid larger weekend crowds and spend time island-hopping between activities on San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez Island.

Is there Uber on Bainbridge Island? ›

There are also a few Uber and Lyft drivers on Bainbridge now who have proved very helpful in our ever-expanding options for transportation on the island, as well as traditional taxis. Taxi & Tours can be reached at (206) 842-7660.

Is Bainbridge Island a good place to live? ›

Bainbridge Island is in Kitsap County and is one of the best places to live in Washington. Living in Bainbridge Island offers residents a sparse suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Bainbridge Island there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.


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