Seattle Day Trip: The Best Things to Do on Bainbridge Island

Things to do on Bainbridge Island.

When I told people I was spending six weeks in Seattle for work training, the number one thing those who’d visited before recommended I do was take a day trip to Bainbridge Island. I started researching the best things to do in Bainbridge Island, especially without a car. Thankfully, this stunning island has plenty to see and eat in its downtown area, a quick 10-minute walk from the ferry. In this post, I will share everything you need to know to plan your day trip to Bainbridge Island.

How to Get to Bainbridge Island

Getting to Bainbridge Island helped me check off another item on my Seattle bucket list: riding a ferry on the Puget Sound!! It is straightforward and budget-friendly to take the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge. 

Washington State Ferries runs a service between the Seattle Ferry Terminal and Bainbridge every 45 minutes to an hour. The journey itself takes about 35 minutes.  

Walk-on passengers can arrive at the terminal about 10 to 15 minutes before departure to buy their tickets and board the ferry. The round-trip ticket costs $9.80 for an adult.

If you bring your car to see more of the island, you must arrive at the ferry terminal much earlier to get in line. A local told me that people can wait hours in line during busy times, missing multiple ferries before getting on. As I walked on, I’m unsure how the process works, but here is more information about bringing your car on the ferry

The short ferry ride is part of the experience of visiting Bainbridge Island. Head to the observation decks for views of the downtown Seattle Skyline. Clear days offer views of Mount Rainier! 

View of Downtown Seattle from the ferry to Bainbridge
View of Mount Rainier from the ferry to Bainbridge Island.

How to Get Around Bainbridge Island

The beauty of Bainbridge Island is that you can spend the entire day without a car! Downtown Bainbridge, also known as Downtown Winslow, is centered on Winslow Way, a short walk from the ferry terminal. Once on Winslow Way, you can easily do everything on this day trip itinerary.

If you want to see more of the island without a car, bike rental shops are at the ferry terminal and on Winslow Way. They can provide everything you need, including a route and the best tips for seeing the island on a bike!

Of course, if you have a car, you can quickly move around the island and see some of the parks and beaches further from downtown!

The Best Things to Do on Bainbridge Island

Get a Book from Eagle Harbor Book Company

If you’re a book lover and love independently owned bookstores, head to Eagle Harbor Book Co. This large bookstore on Winslow Way has been around since 1970! You’ll find everything here, from the newest bestsellers to gently used books and books about the local area. Of course, there will be plenty of pickleball gifts as well.

Eagle Harbor Book Company in Downtown Bainbridge.

Have a Cup of Coffee (Matcha) at Pegasus Coffee

If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you’ll know that I am a matcha latte fanatic and spend a ridiculous amount of time (and money) sampling matcha lattes from cafes where I visit. As such, I headed to the Instagram-worthy, ivy-covered Pegasus Coffee Shop.

Pegasus Coffee did not let me down! On a warm Spring afternoon, I got an iced oat matcha latte and enjoyed it on their outdoor patio. In addition to matcha, they offer a wide variety of beverages, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches. 

You’ll find different Pegasus Coffee locations throughout Seattle, but the original, which started in 1979, is in Bainbridge. 

Pegasus Coffee Shop in Bainbridge Island.
Matcha Latte on the waterfront on Bainbridge Island.

Visit the Farmer’s Market

Stop by the local farmers market if you’re visiting Bainbridge Island on a Saturday.  It runs from 10:00  a.m. to 2:00 p.m. starting April 1st until the end of November in the town Square at City Hall. Not only will you find local farmers selling their locally grown produce, but there are also stalls from the bakeries in town. When I visited, they even had a stall for wood-fired pizza; had I not just had a huge breakfast, I definitely would’ve tried. 

You could pretty much sample all of the best food in Bainbridge at the Farmer’s Market. 

Bainbridge Island Farmers Market.

Enjoy a Treat from a Local Bakery

Speaking of indulging in local treats, on Winslow Avenue, you’ll find at least two bakeries that you should check out: Blackbird Bakery and Coquette Bake Shop

As I’m only one person and have only so much space in my stomach in a day, I had to choose between these two bakeries. I chose Blackbird Bakery. I got their chocolate chip walnut cookie, and it was absolutely delicious. I don’t think you can go wrong with a visit to either of these bakeries. 

Enjoy Brunch at the Streamliner Diner

I was starving as I entered downtown Bainbridge from the ferry. I stopped at the Streamliner Diner on Winslow Way just as you enter downtown. The waitress was incredibly friendly and quickly seated me. I ordered the eggs benedict, which was delicious, and enjoyed it while watching the crowds of people make their way into town from the ferry. 

While the diner was busy, they did not rush me out; instead, they offered more hot water for my tea. If you’re looking for a welcoming brunch spot, head to this diner!

Breakfast from the Streamliner Diner on Bainbridge Island

Shop the Local Boutiques 

One thing that I love about the boutiques in Bainbridge is that they are each unique small business and gathering places for the community. 

I walked into a huge yarn shop, La Mercerie. I’m not a knitter, but it made me want to be with all the colorful yarn in the store. There was also a class going on. La Mercerie is a great place to get your knitting supplies and learn new skills. But it also seemed like a gathering place for the community, which I found heartwarming after years of separation (due to the pandemic).

Check out Dana’s if you’re looking for cute gifts, souvenirs, or cards. Dana’s gift shop carries Pacific Northwest inspired clothing and goods. You’ll also find clever cards for birthdays and other special occasions. 

My favorite store was called Sweet Deal. It’s kind of like Francesca’s but with higher-quality clothing. I had no intention of buying clothes, but I ended up walking out with my new favorite pair of jeans and two tops. There were other women shopping, and everyone walked out with something! I almost guarantee you’ll find something you love in this store. 

Sip Local Brews at Bainbridge

Just a block from the ferry terminal is Bainbridge Brewing Alehouse, where you can sample local beers, ciders, and wine while waiting for the ferry or for the rain to stop. Their main brewery is 2 miles from the ferry terminal if you have a car or bike and want to explore a bit away from downtown. There are sometimes food trucks at the main location. 

Enjoy a Wine Tasting 

One of my favorite things about Bainbridge is the abundance of wine-tasting rooms downtown! If you want to try them all, you could make yourself a little wine bar crawl. 

I stopped at the Fletcher Bay Winery Tasting Room for a wine flight before my ferry back to Seattle. They offer a variety of wine flights, from reds only to whites only to a mix of each. I got the flight with two whites and two reds to sample both varieties and thought they were great! Fletcher Bay also offers amazing-looking charcuterie boards if you need a snack!

Other wine tasting rooms I wanted to try but simply didn’t have the time to were Eleven Winery (recommended to me by many locals) and Eagle Harbor Winery

Wine tasting flight from Fletcher Bay Winery in Bainbridge Island.
Sign outside of Fletcher Bay Winery on Bainbridge Island.

Walk Along the Waterfront Park

After all of that eating and drinking, take a stroll along the Waterfront Park. This is a small park with grassy areas and picnic tables if you want to get food from the Market and enjoy it here. There is also a short trail along the waterfront that leads to the Ferry Terminal.

There are also public restrooms at the park, should you need them!

Places to Eat in Downtown Bainbridge

While I’ve shared some of the places I ate and recommend eating, in Bainbridge, there are plenty more great places to eat! Here are a few I walked by that I would love to return to try again.

Cafe Hitchcock: Cafe Hitchcock was jam-packed on a sunny Saturday afternoon. They offer a seasonal menu from morning to night, as well as creative cocktails, 

Bruciato: I got many comments on my TikTok about my day in Banbridge to eat at Bruciato on my next visit. This is the wood-fired pizza place I thought looked delicious in the farmer’s market, and their brick-and-mortar location is on Winslow Way next to Blackbird Bakery. They specialize in neapolitan-style pizza! 

Proper Fish: If you like Fish and Chips (I don’t), you must check out Proper Fish. They receive rave reviews for their fish and chips. They also have a wider selection of seafood dishes, and the lobster roll looks Ah-mazing!

If You Have More Time or a Car in Bainbridge Island

I already can’t wait to go back to Bainbridge because there is so much more this island has to offer. If you have more than a day or a car, here are some other places to visit on Bainbridge Island.

Bloedel Reserve: Immerse yourself in nature at the 140-acre park created by Prentice and Virginia Bloedel. There is a trail throughout the Bloedel Reserve that would take around 2 hours to walk. Reserve your ticket online before visiting the park, especially on a busy weekend!

Fay Bainbridge Park: In the northeast corner of Bainbridge, this 17-acre park has a beach, campgrounds, and stunning views of the Cascade Mountains. Fay Bainbridge Park a good spot for a picnic or to stay overnight!

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art: For a closer look at the arts from the PNW, head to the (free) Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. It’s located on Winslow Way, as you head into downtown from the ferry terminal. 

Fort Ward Park: 137 acres located on the island’s southern tip, Fort Ward Park was once a military base, so you’ll likely see bunkers as you hike along the waterfront or up in the forests. There is also an underwater park for scuba divers!

Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial: On the other side of Eagle Harbor and a 10-minute drive from the ferry terminal is the Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial, part of the National Park Services. This outdoor memorial stands where the first group of Japanese Americans (in the entire country) were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to internment camps during WWII. 

Where to Stay in Bainbridge Island

You can definitely spend a few days or a full weekend on Bainbridge Island, indulging in the excellent food and drink scene and immersing yourself in nature. If you want to stay longer, here are two of the best places to stay on the island.

The Eagle Harbor Inn: This cozy five-room hotel is located in Downtown Bainbridge, just one block from the waterfront and Pegasus Coffee. If you need more space, there are also two townhouses on the property!

Check rates and availability here.

The Inn at Pleasant Beach: This cozy boutique hotel is located on the southern end of Bainbridge Island. It’s just a 5-minute walk from the beach. There is a pool onsite, and the front desk offers free bicycle rentals. They also offer a free shuttle from the ferry terminal if you don’t have a car! 

Check rates and availability here.

Bainbridge Island is the perfect place for nature lovers who need a break from the busy city life. It’s also a great place for foodies who want to explore the Pacific Northwest Region through the food culture. There is no shortage of fun things to do on Bainbridge Island and I can’t wait to go back to explore more of it. I hope you find this guide helpful when planning your own day trip to Bainbridge Island. 

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