Fun Things to Do on Bainbridge Island
Bainbridge Island is located just east of the Kitsap Peninsula, across the water from Seattle, Washington. One of the larger islands in the Puget Sound, Bainbridge Island is home to thousands of acres of parks and preserved land. It’s a breathtaking green place where you can walk and wander and enjoy nature. Bainbridge Island is convenient to both Seattle and Portland, making it a great option for a Northwest weekend escape. Couples will find intimate restaurants and cozy lodgings. Families with small children will enjoy the island’s public parks and play spaces. Birders, boaters, horseback riders, and kayakers will all find Bainbridge Island a fun destination.
Fun Things to Do on Bainbridge Island
This small museum focuses on local Bainbridge Island history. Exhibits cover the island’s early Japanese population, as well as its shipbuilding and lumber heritage. Their exhibit on the internment of the island’s Japanese during World War II is particularly compelling.
This new facility exhibits fine art and crafts from the Puget Sound region with a focus on contemporary works. In addition to wonderful gallery spaces, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art offers a gift store and on-site bistro.
IslandWood is a private campus located on 250+ acres of wooded land. While IslandWood’s primary mission is to provide environmental education to schoolchildren, they do have a number of programs that anyone can enjoy. Summer camp programs are available for pre-kindergarten through 9th-grade kids. Family groups can enjoy weekend adventure camps during select summer months, IslandWood also hosts a number of public events throughout the year, including tours and festivals.
Parks on Bainbridge Island
You’ll find oodles of parks on Bainbridge Island. State parks and metro parks. Waterfront parks and wooded parks. These parks provide abundant opportunity to relax and to play. Most offer walking trails and picnic areas. Those on the water provide launches for boaters and kayakers.
Fort Ward State Park
Located on the south end of the island, Fort Ward State Park is a great place to wander and check out the beach and the historic gun batteries. Other park facilities include a picnic area, a boat launch, a ranger station, and toilets. A campsite is available for kayakers. Fort Ward State Park is also used by scuba divers.
Blakely Harbor Park
Trails wind through the wetland adjacent to the harbor. You can also walk on the beach and check out the graffiti-covered ruins of the old Blakely Mill.
This family-friendly park has a nice array of playground equipment as well as a network of walking paths that look out on Eagle Harbor and the ferries.
Hawley Cove Park
This wooded park can be accessed via a trailhead along Wing Point Way. You’ll follow a trail downhill to reach a boardwalk through the wetlands, which will eventually take you to a rocky beach.
Battle Point Park
The highlight of this city park is the Kids Up Community Playground, a clever play complex that provides great fodder for a child’s imagination as well as activities for energetic little bodies. Other Battle Point Park amenities include an observatory, sports fields, and picnic areas.
Gardens on Bainbridge Island
Whether you like your gardens stately and manicured or as wild as nature itself, you'll find something to satisfy on Bainbridge Island.
The Bloedel Reserve blends natural Northwest landscapes with more manicured gardens to provide a refreshing outdoor experience. The Reserve's well-maintained paths wind through woods, wetlands, and meadows. As you make your way along the trail you'll encounter water features, a Japanese garden, a reflecting pool, and a moss garden. The visitor center is located in the Bloedel family's former residence, a stately European-style home. Gardeners will be inspired by the Reserve's variety and use of plant species. Nature lovers will appreciate the woods and wildlife.
Garden lovers will enjoy a stop at this family-owned and run nursery, located on the site of the family's original gardens. Those gardens were established by Zenhichi Harui and Zenmatsu Seko, brothers who moved to Bainbridge Island in 1908. That garden became well-known for its flowers and water features. Sadly, the family was forced to leave the island during World War II; when they returned, the gardens could not be restored. The family did remain in the garden business. In 1980, Mr. Harui's son reestablished Bainbridge Gardens on the site of the original family gardens. Visitors will enjoy wandering through the nursery's well-stocked retail nursery as well as its display gardens and nature trail. Gardeners will appreciate Bainbridge Gardens' wide variety of plants, pots, statuary, supplies, and gift items.
Bainbridge in Bloom Garden Tour
The annual Bainbridge in Bloom garden tour, held each July, provides the chance to visit some of these gardens yourself. Tickets are available by calling 206-842-9401.
Shops and Galleries on Bainbridge Island
Held in Bainbridge Town Square, this farmers market is open on Saturdays from mid-April through mid-October.
265 Winslow Way East
This shop offers a fine selection of luggage, travel gadgets and accessories, clothing, hats, and books.
151 Winslow Way East
The Gallery displays and sells a great selection of art and fine crafts, most by local artists.
181 Winslow Way East
This women’s boutique carries unique apparel and a great selection of scarves, hats, and other accessories.
123 Bjune Drive Suite 103
In addition to incredible fresh fudge in a variety of flavors, Bon Bon Confections offers a range of special candies and treats. Their wonderful fudge is available from their online store as well.
Dining on Bainbridge Island
131 Parfitt Way SW
In addition to the usual pastries and coffee drinks, Pegasus serves up delicious breakfast and lunch panini. Highly recommended.
150 Madrone Lane
Acclaimed Northwest cuisine expert Greg Atkinson serves updated bistro menu items made for locally sourced meats, cheeses, produce, and other ingredients.
12685 Miller Rd NE
Mora makes and serves extremely tasty ice cream in a variety of flavors, from basic to creative. The chocolate peanut butter ice cream we tasted was smooth and decadent.
4569 Lynwood Center Rd.
This casual, pub-style café is located along Pleasant Beach. In addition to traditional favorites, their menu includes Greek, Thai, and other creative variations on salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. Wine and draft and bottled beer are also available.
233 Parfitt Way SW
This small pub, which serves up yummy pub food and draft beers, overlooks Eagle Harbor Marina.
397 Winslow Way East
Streamliner Diner is popular for its breakfasts, particularly for its biscuits, jam, and muffins. They are also open for lunch and dinner (some nights only).
Lodging on Bainbridge Island
Bainbridge Island offers several small hotels as well as a variety of B&Bs and rental cottages.
Guests at The Eagle Harbor Inn, located in the community of Winslow, can choose to stay in a luxuriously-appointed guest suite or a fully-furnished townhome. Each unit is individually decorated; they all have private bathrooms, TVs with satellite service, and high-speed Internet access. Guests have access to a lovely garden courtyard with views of Eagle Harbor. The Eagle Harbor Inn is within walking distance of Winslow's many fine shops and restaurants.
How to Get to Bainbridge Island
You can reach Bainbridge Island both by water and by car.
The Washington State Ferry route to Bainbridge Island runs from the main Seattle terminal at Pier 52 to the island terminal at Eagle Harbor. Note: A ferry maintenance facility is located near the Bainbridge Island terminal. As you pass by, be sure to check out the variety of different ferry vessels at dock.
There is a bridge between Kitsap Peninsula, just east of the town of Poulsbo, and the northern tip of Bainbridge Island on Highway 305. To reach the Kitsap Peninsula from Interstate 5, use Highway 16 to drive across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and proceed north through Bremerton. Vehicles using the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to drive east towards Tacoma must pay a toll.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with discounted or complimentary accommodations, meals, and/or recreation for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, TripSavvy.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.