The views alone are worth the visit to Bainbridge Island. Surrounded by brilliant blue water in the heart of Washington’s Puget Sound, the island offers a front row seat to Seattle’s iconic cityscape, majestic Mount Rainer, and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges.
Once dubbed the second-best place to live in the United States by CNN/Money Magazine, Bainbridge Island has also become a home-away-from-home for thousands of visitors each year, thanks to a thriving outdoor recreation scene and an abundance of eateries and wineries. Find out why you should make this breathtaking Pacific Northwest town your go-to for an easy weekend getaway.
What to Do
Start your morning off with a visit to the Blackbird Bakery — a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its freshly baked pastries and all-vegetarian lunch. Grab a cup of sustainably grown coffee before heading out to explore the island’s parks and trails. Head to the Grand Forest West or the Gazzam Lake Preserve for a more strenuous hike, or stroll along the western loop of the Eagle Harbor Waterfront Trail that leads through historic sites, the downtown hub, and the marina.
In the afternoon, stop by Mora Iced Creamery for a scoop (or two!) of one of the 40-plus flavors, including blackberry, lavender, and dulce de leche with shaved chocolate. Since ice cream before dinner is always acceptable on vacation, follow up your sugar rush with a meal at Harbour Public House, located in a historic waterfront house just outside of downtown Bainbridge. The restaurant is known for its selection of local seafood — all for less than $20 per plate. Complete your meal with one of the many craft beers and ciders on tap.
Anytime you spend a weekend on an island, you want to hit the water. The Puget Sound has some of the best fishing waters in the region. We recommend Tyee Charters‘ salmon fishing trips ($185 per person), which run daily and include six hours of fishing plus bait and tackle, a day fishing license, and fishing tips from the pros. After spending the morning on the water, head to Pegasus Coffee House for a local, farm-fresh lunch and a cup of coffee.
From there, check out the island’s brewery and/or distilleries, including the Bainbridge Organic Distillers who tout “grain to glass” spirits. Four of the island’s wineries — Eagle Harbor Wine Company, Eleven Winery, Island Vintners, and the Harbor Square Wine Shop and Tasting Room — are located a short walk from the ferry and can be seen in one afternoon. Finish your evening downtown at Cafe Nola, which highlights seasonal ingredients and local seafood in dishes like halibut with sugar snap peas and Alaska salmon with avocado and mustard greens.
Where to Stay
Bainbridge Island is home to a handful of charming bed and breakfasts, cottages, inns, and hotels. A 15-minute walk from the ferry terminal, The Eagle Harbor Inn has eight different lodging options — all of which are around $200 per night — and requires a minimum two-night stay. If you’re on a tighter budget when visiting Bainbridge, the Best Western Plus is located a short car ride from the ferry and rates during the fall months begin at $150 per night. If you don’t mind being a bit farther from the center of town, Heyday Farm — nestled into the south end of the island — is an adorable working farm with four bedrooms for rent in an updated farmhouse originally built in the 1890s. Additional lodging options are available on the farm grounds, too, with nightly rates from $139 per night.
Bainbridge Island is a 35-minute ferry ride through Elliott Bay from downtown Seattle. If you’re traveling with a vehicle, the ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island will cost you approximately $15 to $20. If you’re carting just yourself and your luggage, the fee will be closer to $10 one way. Bainbridge Island is still accessible by bridge, as well. Visit bainbridgeisland.com for directions on how to get to the island by car.