Things To Do on Bainbridge Island without a Car | WanderBIG.com (2022)

Bainbridge Island is a fun and easy day trip for Seattle travelers. With this quick day trip, you can see a bit more of the Pacific Northwest without needing to have a car! It’s easy to get from Pike Place market to Bainbridge Island– the opportunity to ride a ferry across the Puget Sound is icing on the cake!

Some tourists simply ride the ferry over and back from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge and back again, without ever leaving the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal. While this ride is an inexpensive (about $9 per walk-on passenger) way to see the Seattle skyline from the water and enjoy an hour cruising the open waters, it’s definitely worth getting off the ferry in Bainbridge Island to explore many of the fun things to do on Bainbridge Island.

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How Long to Spend on Bainbridge Island

A typical day trip to Bainbridge Island, on foot, will take most of the day. Often, when I visit Bainbridge from Seattle with friends or visitors I’m showing around, our Bainbridge Island day trip is not-quite a full day- but way too much to cram into a half-day. In my opinion, the best way to plan your Bainbridge visit is to allow 3/4ths of the day for exploring the island.

I recommend arriving by ferry in the morning, exploring, lunching, and wandering back towards the ferry to catch a mid-afternoon ferry back to the city. After a bit of a siesta to recharge in your hotel or Airbnb, you’ll still have time (though energy might be harder to come by!) for an evening out on the town in Seattle.

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Getting to Bainbridge Island on Foot

Navigating to Bainbridge is straightforward- thanks to the many commuters who travel these routes daily. Check out my step-by-step guides to learn how to get from the Seattle Airport to Bainbridge Island or how to get from Pike Place Market/Seattle Downtown to Bainbridge Island.

Download My Map of Bainbridge Island

Explore these activities viaMy Google map of things to do on Bainbridge Island

My experience visiting Bainbridge Island

When I moved to Seattle in 2015, my graduate school orientation week included a day in which new students could sign up for various day trips. Excited to try riding a ferry for the first time, I signed up for a day trip outing to Bainbridge Island.

From our location near Pike Place market, we walked to the ferry terminal and rode a ferry to Bainbridge Island. It was there, on my first visit, that I began to discover just how much I loved this unique island and the way it offers a completely different life just a few minutes away from dense and crowded downtown Seattle. Over the years that I lived in Pike Place market, whenever I needed to clear my head with a view of an open horizon I’d hop on a ferry and spend an afternoon walking around Bainbridge Island.

It was through exploring the island on foot that I had the chance to try many new and different experiences, to shop in news stores, and to taste my way around the island. I discovered, also, that Bainbridge Island at Christmas is particularly magical, and previously I’ve written on the best ways to enjoy the holiday season on the island. Based on all of those experiences, here is my guide to things to do in Bainbridge Island.

Curated for Car-less pedestrians

If you, like me, find yourself in Bainbridge Island without a car, this list is perfect for you. You don’t need a bus pass or public transportation on Bainbridge Island- so much is walkable! Travelers with a car can enjoy all sorts of activities in Bainbridge including hiking, wineries, a Japanese American Exclusion Memorial (acknowledging the World War II-era internment camp on Bainbridge Island), and botanical gardens. However, tourists visiting without a car who are navigating the island by foot as pedestrians will be a little more limited in the distance that can be covered.

This list of things to do is curated specifically for Bainbridge Island visitors without a car.

Things to do on Bainbridge Island for couples, families, kids, and solo travelers

Keeping in mind that not every traveler has the same goals for their visit, my list of things to do on Bainbridge Island includes a few items for everyone. Kids and families will love the large, locally owned toy store (with more dog stuffies than you can possibly imagine!) and the Kid’s Discovery center at 301 Ravine Ln NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. While adult travelers and couples may be drawn more towards the island’s history museum and art museum.

Bainbridge Island can be a fun place to visit as a solo traveler. It’s easy to be alone on Washington State ferries, with thousands of individuals commute between home and work each day, making it easy to blend in. Once on Bainbridge Island, it’s a comfortable place to explore solo as you enjoy the waterfront, walking trails, coffee houses, shopping, and museums alone.

Getting around: Walk, Bus, Bike, or Kayak!

After arriving on the island as a foot passenger on the ferry, you’ll have a few options for getting around. For most people who just want to explore the waterfront and the quaint business district of Bainbridge Island’s waterfront town (called Winslow), 2 feet are all you need to spend a day exploring things to do on Bainbridge Island.

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

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Bainbridge Island Art Museum

550 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

The Bainbridge Island art museum is free to all and open almost every single day. It’s also just a few steps from the ferry terminal, making it a great way to kill time if you miss a ferry and have to wait for the next one.

The Bainbridge Island Art Museum is well funded by the affluent of Bainbridge. This small museum has well-curated exhibits that far exceed typical expectations for a small town art museum. Often, the art museum has exhibits geared towards kids, so check their website or call ahead to see what might be on display during your visit.

Bainbridge Island History Museum

215 Ericksen Ave NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

The Bainbridge Island history Museum is a fun chance to poke your head inside of one of Bainbridge’s original old schoolhouses. If you’re willing to walk a few blocks out of the way to visit this small museum, you’ll learn much about the history of Bainbridge Island and how it has changed over the last few centuries.

Shopping:

100-300 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Toy Store, Book Store, and More – Bainbridge Island’s main business thoroughfare- called Winslow Way0 is an adorable arrangement of charming shops, perfectly positioned to appeal to pedestrians visiting from Seattle. My must-stop shops when I visit Bainbridge include the toy store, the book store (don’t miss the used book store downstairs), and various charming home decor shops and antiques.

Best Places to Eat on Bainbridge Island

If you read my guide to Pike Place Market, you know that my best advice for enjoying the restaurants in Pike Place market is all about small bites and progressive dining. Tasting your way through is the best way to visit Pike Place Market, and there’s a strong argument for approaching Bainbridge Island’s restaurants in the same way. Here are a few of my favorite restaurants in Bainbridge Island that are easy to walk to from the Seattle ferry terminal.

Blackbird Bakery

210 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

[cash only] A bakery of impressive- but not too stuffy- confections can be found at Blackbird Bakery, located among the shops of Winslow Way. Scones, cake, and pie by the slice are highlights of their menu.

Hitchcock Deli

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129 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

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

Part cocktail lounge, part deli, and part lunch spot, Hitchcock deli is my favorite lunch spot on the Island. Grab a sandwich piled high with artisanal deli meats and pair it with a Bainbridge Island-made Kombucha from the tap.

Mora Ice Cream

139 Madrone Ln N, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

when I visit Bainbridge Island without a car I always go to Mora. In fact, most trips end with me sprinting down the hill with ice cream to catch a ferry. While I do recommend taking time to enjoy your ice cream cone, a sweet treat from this ice cream shop is a great trip-ender. This elevated ice cream parlor can give you a sugar rush to power you back to the ferry and on with your trip.

Habor Public House

231 Parfitt Way SW, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

My best pick for dinner on the island is Harbor Public House. This restaurant offers quality seafood (and land food) with a view of the sailboats in the marina at Eagle Harbor.

More Things to Do on Bainbridge

Community Garden

100-298 Finch Pl SW, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

As a gardener and plant lover, when I visit Bainbridge Island in the summer, I always stop in at the Eagle Harbor Church’s Community Garden. This community garden is open to the public. It’s worth visiting this whimsical Bainbridge Island community garden because there you’ll find botanical-garden-worthy blooms, in unusual varieties that are nurtured by the unique climate of Bainbridge Island.

Pegasus Coffee House

131 Parfitt Way SW, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

When you’re ready to sit and rest your legs for a bit, you can’t find a better spot than Pegasus coffee house. It’s hard to tell if the coffee is better than the vibe, since both are top-notch in my book. If Pegasus was across the water in Seattle, I think I would have written the Great American Novel by now, in the amount of time that I would have spent in their cozy and ivy-covered window seats. Pegasus coffee house also offers breakfast and lunch, and I once ordered a breakfast cobbler here that haunts my food-dreams.

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

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Winslow Warf

141 Parfitt Way SW, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Sailboats gently bobbing in the waters off Bainbridge Island is an iconic site that’s so signature Bainbridge Island that it shouldn’t be missed. Just next to Harbor Public House, you’ll find a small walkway that leads out into the Marina. Portions of the marina docks are open for sightseeing and casual visitors – just observe the signs on some closed gates that indicate visitors should not enter.v

Waterfront Walking Trail

625 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Adjacent to the ferry terminal is a small walking trail that hugs the coastline of Bainbridge Island. It’s worth visiting for the sake of viewing this area, but can also be a quick shortcut between the ferry terminal and the things to do on the western edge of the walkable area of Bainbridge Island.

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Kayak Rentals

301 Shannon Dr SE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

So you like kayaking? Good news! You can rent a kayak near waterfront walking trail. With a paddleboard or kayak you can head into the waters of Eagle Harbor. From there, you’ll have a water view of Bainbridge Island. FYI: the Puget Sound is very cold year-round, and it’s not recommended that new kayakers or stand up paddle boarders learn in these waters. For warmer water head to one of Seattle’s best swimming spots.

Bike Rentals

260 Olympic Dr SE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

If you’re interested in exploring a little more beyond this list of things to do on Bainbridge Island, or if biking is just more comfortable than walking for your body, consider renting a bike from the bike rental station slightly uphill the hill from the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal.

The best times to visit Bainbridge Island

Since the village (at least, the portion accessible to pedestrians walking from the ferry port) is, basically, a commuter suburb rather than a seasonal tourist-focused area, you’ll find the shops and businesses open year-round. Although the available activities may vary by time of year, there’s no bad time to visit Bainbridge Island. Some particularly great dates to visit Bainbridge include the Fourth of July, the summer harvest festivals, and the Christmas Season on Bainbridge.

Seasonal Events: Additional things to do in Bainbridge Island

Although the list above features things to do that you can do practically any day of the year (with the exception of kayaking!) There are many events on Bainbridge Island:

First Friday Art Walks – the Pacific Northwest Islands seem to have a unique draw to artists and craftspeople. Bainbridge Island is home to countless artists, writers, and other creators. Throughout most of the year, the first Friday of each month brings an art fair to town. Your exploration of Winslow Way will include temporary art set up by local artists. Plus, the opportunity to buy from local artists!

Second Saturday dances – love the opportunity to kick up your heels and dance? While community dances are falling out of popularity around the country, in Bainbridge Island this tradition stays alive. On the second Saturday, you can participate in a city-hosted dance.

First Sunday – For many, live music is a great reason to schedule a trip to the island to enjoy the island atmosphere and a free concert. Throughout the spring and summer, the island’s city government hosts free concerts in the park each and every first Sunday of the month. Check out the Bainbridge Island events calendar for more information.

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4th of July Festival – When July comes around, so does Bainbridge Island’s biggest tourist event: a celebration of Americana featuring a parade, pageant, market, and of course a massive firework show. (Traveling to Bainbridge on the Fourth of July is particularly fun, since the return ride back to Seattle on a ferry after dark will reveal a sky exploding with massive fireworks displays along the pacific northwest beaches)

September: Bainbridge Harvest Festival – According to BainbridgeIsland.com the activities of the Harvest Fair include gardening and harvesting demonstrations, goat milking, demos of sheep shearing, beekeeping educational displays, dog agility competition, a slide, a pie contest, apple cider pressing, food trucks, music, and more.

Art studio tours – one of my personal favorite things to do on Bainbridge Island is to step into the Bainbridge arts culture a little deeper than just visiting the museum or first Friday Art walk. A few times a year, Bainbridge artists open their studio and invite visitors to view not just their art but also their homes and workspaces and sometimes gardens. There is a fee for these tours, but the profit support the arts on Bainbridge Island and the opportunity to view the artistic process as well worth the price of admission.

Farmers market – Each Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM the island host a farmers market on the town square just outside City Hall (this is within walking distance of the ferry terminal). Bainbridge Island farmers market is a vibrant market featuring music and performers and street food as well as typical produce.

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One major annual draw for the farmers market? The end of summer zucchini races! A now annual event, locals outfit their biggest zucchinis with wheels and send them racing down ramps in competition for who can have the fastest zucchini. If you like roadside oddities with an Americana twist, this farmers market event on Bainbridge Island is well worth scheduling to be a part of. Learn more here

Christmas: Christmas ship Festival and ship parade – Boat parades and regattas occur regularly in the waters between Bainbridge Island in Seattle, but none of them are quite as fun as the Christmas boat parade in which highly decorated boats parade around various neighborhoods and waterways around the Christmas season.

The parade only passes Bainbridge on one night during December, so be sure and check the calendar if you hope to catch it during your visit.

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LynLi Roman M.A.

(Video) Top 3 Things To Do Living On Bainbridge Island

Artist, digital nomad, and highly sensitive person, Lynli started traveling full time as a digital nomad in 2018. Writer and Illustrator by day, remote-destination explorer by other-days, Lynli is passionate about pushing the boundaries of her own comfort zone, exploring the world as a plus size, one-bag traveler, and journaling it all on WanderBig.com

FAQs

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.

Can you ride the Bainbridge ferry without a car? ›

You can walk onto any Washington State Ferry--no need to book in advance. The walk from the Seattle Ferry Terminal to the heart of Winslow (main town on Bainbridge Island) is about three blocks. One long block from the terminal to the road, and then another two or so blocks to the shops.

What can you enjoy in Bainbridge Island *? ›

Top Attractions in Bainbridge Island
  • Bloedel Reserve. 569. ...
  • Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial. 176. ...
  • Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. 301. ...
  • Fay Bainbridge Park. 158. ...
  • Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. 132. ...
  • Hall's Hill Lookout and Labyrinth. Points of Interest & Landmarks. ...
  • Heyday Farm. Farms. ...
  • Fort Ward Park.

Is there Uber on Bainbridge Island? ›

RideGuru - Rideshares, Uber, Lyft, Ola, Didi available in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Is it worth going to Bainbridge Island? ›

Bainbridge Island may be a ferry ride away from Seattle Southside, but I promise you it is definitely worth it to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city – there's no better place to do just that than on Bainbridge Island with its scenery, beaches, parks and trails, attractions and wineries!

How early should I arrive for Bainbridge ferry? ›

For most routes, you should plan to be in line at the tollbooth at least 20 minutes in advance of the sailing. If you have a vehicle reservation, you will need to arrive more than 20 minutes in advance.

How early should I get to the ferry? ›

Checking in

You'll need to arrive between an hour and 30 minutes before your scheduled sailing time.

How long is the wait for the Bainbridge ferry? ›

If you are driving onto the Seattle Bainbridge ferry, you can expect to wait one or two hours again. The wait for Seattle Bremerton is much shorter, but the time between boats is longer.

How long is ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge? ›

The trip from Seattle to Bainbridge Island via ferry boat (locals refer to it merely as “the boat”) is 35 minutes. The two Washington State Ferry boats on this route are over 400 feet long, and can carry up to 200 cars and 2,500 passengers.

Do you need reservations for Bainbridge ferry? ›

Hi, the Bainbridge run does not take reservations.

Can you get to Bainbridge Island without taking a ferry? ›

From the South Sound Tacoma/Olympia – Bainbridge may be an island but there is a bridge that connects the island to the Kitsap Peninsula on the north end. Visitors can drive from Tacoma over the Narrows Bridge on Highway 16 and follow Highway 3 from Bremerton to Poulsbo, where Highway 305 leads to Bainbridge Island.

Does Bainbridge Island have a downtown? ›

Building Community Through A Vibrant Downtown

A short walk from the ferry is our charming Downtown district, one of 13 Nationally Accredited Washington State Historic Main Streets.

How do you ride the Bainbridge ferry? ›

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.

Why Pike Place Market is called the soul of Seattle? ›

The pike market place is much more than a farmer's market. bits entire district is full of shopping, attraction and favorite sight is full of shopping, attraction and favorite sight. The are is festival of sound, tastes and smells it is part of the reason. It is called “ the soul of Seattle.

How many miles long is Bainbridge Island? ›

The island is approximately 5 miles (8 km) wide and 10 miles (16 km) long, encompassing nearly 17,778 acres (27.778 sq mi; 71.95 km2), and is one of the larger islands in Puget Sound.

Can you drive around Bainbridge Island? ›

Seattle to Bainbridge by Car

Since Bainbridge Island is well—an island—there aren't many ways that you can get there by driving. The only way to get there with your car is to cross a bridge on Highway 305 that connects Bainbridge to the mainland.

Is Bainbridge Island a good place to live? ›

Bainbridge Island is a suburb of Seattle with a population of 24,859. 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.

What is Bainbridge Island known for? ›

Bainbridge Island is reachable by ferry from Seattle and is known for its beautiful nature, historical and cultural heritage, and stunning views. For those who enjoy getting out into the great outdoors, you will find plenty to do, with beaches, gardens and forest trails all ripe for exploring.

How much does it cost to go on the ferry in Seattle? ›

Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry Prices

The ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island costs $8.50 for adults. Fares for seniors (over 65) and children (6-18 years) are half price, only $4.25. Children 5 and under ride free.

Is Bainbridge ferry open? ›

Washington State Ferries is operating on alternate schedules on most routes until further notice.

Can you get to Bainbridge Island without taking a ferry? ›

From the South Sound Tacoma/Olympia – Bainbridge may be an island but there is a bridge that connects the island to the Kitsap Peninsula on the north end. Visitors can drive from Tacoma over the Narrows Bridge on Highway 16 and follow Highway 3 from Bremerton to Poulsbo, where Highway 305 leads to Bainbridge Island.

Can you take the Seattle ferry without a car? ›

Walk-on passengers and bicycles

Walk to the ferry terminal and show your ticket or purchase one.

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

The trip from Seattle to Bainbridge Island via ferry boat (locals refer to it merely as “the boat”) is 35 minutes. The two Washington State Ferry boats on this route are over 400 feet long, and can carry up to 200 cars and 2,500 passengers.

Can you drive around Bainbridge Island? ›

Seattle to Bainbridge by Car

Since Bainbridge Island is well—an island—there aren't many ways that you can get there by driving. The only way to get there with your car is to cross a bridge on Highway 305 that connects Bainbridge to the mainland.

How early should I get to the ferry? ›

Checking in

You'll need to arrive between an hour and 30 minutes before your scheduled sailing time.

How long is the wait for the Bainbridge ferry? ›

If you are driving onto the Seattle Bainbridge ferry, you can expect to wait one or two hours again. The wait for Seattle Bremerton is much shorter, but the time between boats is longer.

What time does the Bainbridge ferry leave? ›

What time does the Bainbridge ferry run? The Bainbridge ferry runs from 12:55 AM to 11:30 PM on weekdays and 12:00 AM to 10:30 PM on weekends.

What are you not allowed to bring on a ferry? ›

Foot passengers cannot transport firearms, ammunition or any other item considered to be a dangerous weapon, such as bows and arrows, knives (including chef's knives) swords etc, on board our vessels.

Do they check bags on ferries? ›

Do you check in your luggage on ferries? No, there is no check-in procedure for luggage items.

Can you take fuel on a ferry? ›

Personal fuel - including petrol, diesel, LPG and compressed air cylinders must not be carried by foot passengers, bike passengers and must not be carried in hand luggage.

How much does it cost to go on the ferry in Seattle? ›

Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry Prices

The ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island costs $8.50 for adults. Fares for seniors (over 65) and children (6-18 years) are half price, only $4.25. Children 5 and under ride free.

Where do you catch the Bainbridge Island ferry? ›

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. Colman Dock is under construction until 2023.

Where do you park for Bainbridge ferry? ›

The WSF terminal parking lot directly outside of the main terminal entrance is operated by U-Park System. At this lot, daily rates (up to 24 hours) run from $7.00 to $15.00. All offer rates for weekend or extended stays.

How long is the ferry ride from Seattle to Bremerton? ›

Seattle–Bremerton ferry
Hyak boarding at Bremerton.
WaterwayPuget Sound
System length17 miles (27 km)
Travel time60 minutes (2018) 45 minutes (1968)
Connections at Bremerton
13 more rows

How do I spend a day on Whidbey island? ›

THINGS TO DO ON WHIDBEY ISLAND
  1. VISIT LANGLEY TOWN CENTER. After getting off the ferry from Mukilteo, the first stop on our Whidbey Island day trip was the charming artist's haven of Langley. ...
  2. STOP AT THE GREENBANK FARM. ...
  3. EXPLORE EBEY'S LANDING STATE PARK. ...
  4. STOP IN COUPEVILLE. ...
  5. ADMIRE THE VIEWS AT DECEPTION PASS STATE PARK.
23 Mar 2021

Is Bainbridge dog friendly? ›

Bainbridge Island is pet friendly! If you need help to decide where to stay, play, or eat with Fido, you've come to the right place.

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