Of all the things to do in Bainbridge Island, I’ve narrowed it down to the most fun and interesting ones. This island is just a ferry ride away from the middle of Seattle but feels like its own world.
The island itself is teeming with beautiful shops, impressive gardens and parks, beaches, and history. Of course, there is also all the fine food and wine you can dream of!
If you have time, it is nice to spend an entire week or even a weekend in Bainbridge Island. This is if you want to cram your list with as many of the things to do in Bainbridge Island as possible. However, it is also a fantastic getaway for a day trip with the family.
You can also hop on the ferry with or without your car, it really is up to you. If you do leave your car behind, there are plenty of ways to get around including walking or biking.
I spent a wonderful few days in Bainbridge Island and wish I had a thousand more to soak it all in. There’s so much to do that you can easily create a jam-packed itinerary for however long you choose to go.
How to Get There
Because Bainbridge Island is an island, you’ll need to take to the seas to get there. However, I’ve always said that getting there is just half the fun. The ferry is probably one of the best things to do on Bainbridge Island alone and takes just 35 minutes.
The ferry starts at the Seattle ferry dock and takes you all the way to Bainbridge Island. The port is called Eagle Harbor and is in the main town of Winslow.
You can hop on the ferry on foot or you can take your car, it is totally up to you. If you’re planning on cramming your days in Bainbridge Island to the brim, it might be best to take your car.
Top 20 Things to Do in Bainbridge Island
Because there are so many things to do in Bainbridge Island, I have split them all into categories. So, this means that there are categories for the things that the island is most famous for.
The categories include parks and gardens, museums and places of historical significance, wining and dining, and family-friendly activities for the kids.
Parks and Gardens:
Bainbridge Island is known for its natural beauty and therefore the parks and gardens are a must-see. The island is committed to preserving its rural character and that is why the parks and gardens are so plentiful. They invite visitors to enjoy the natural beauty and ruggedness of the terrain.
The island is bursting with well-groomed gardens, luscious parks, and thick forests. You will also find beaches and water features among many of the parks and gardens.
1. Bloedel Reserve
The Bloedel Reserve was created by Prentice and Virginia Bloedel. Their purpose was to distill and preserve the essence of a true Japanese Garden. The reserve subtly blends natural beauty and tranquility and is the ideal place to get back to nature.
There are 150 acres and 23 distinctly different landscapes to explore in the reserve on your visit. If you want to lose yourself in nature and become quiet for a little while, this is the place for you.
The reserve boasts beautiful greenery, woodlands, meadows, sheep sheds, and bird marsh. The Glen is a garden featuring an impressive array of flowers and other beautiful plants. If you’re interested in visiting The Glen, I highly suggest planning your visit during either the early spring or summer.
You can also visit The Residence which is where Virginia and Prentice stays. The Residence boasts a dining room, beautiful library, and living room that are open to the public. There is also a Sand and Stone Garden, and a Reflection Pool to visit in the reserve.
As this is not a public park, no dogs, beverages other than water, or picnics on the grounds are allowed.
Address: 7571 NE Dolphin Dr, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, United States
Contact: (206) 842-7631
Admission Fee: Adults $20, Students $15, Children $5
2. Fay Bainbridge Park
If you love the great outdoors, then Fay Bainbridge Park will delight and excite you. This park boasts incredible views of Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and the Cascade Mountains.
But the biggest drawcard is possibly the opportunity to camp on the beach! The beach is crammed with shells and fascinating vistas and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
If you don’t want to camp, there is still plenty to do including shellfish harvesting and picnics. Many families tend to flock to this park because of the sheltered and unsheltered picnic areas. And the best part about it is that dogs are welcome so long as they’re leashed.
The park spans across 17 acres and includes 1400 feet of shoreline. It is one of the best things to do in Bainbridge Island if you love the beach.
You will get to feel the sand between your toes and the sun on your skin. Splash around in the shallows or spend an entire weekend camping on the sand!
Address: 15446 Sunrise Drive NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact: (206) 842-3931
Admission Fee: Picnic fee: $120 – $140 for 4 hours, camping fees vary
3. Illahee State Park
Illahee State Park is very well known and it is in Port Orchard Bay close to Bremerton. The park is very interesting because of the memorials of two local veterans that died in World War 1.
But there are also beautiful beaches, thick forests, and picnic sites to enjoy. There’s also a boating ramp at one of the picnic sites for those that want to take to the water.
The picnic areas here are equipped with electricity and that is why it is so popular. This park truly makes it easy to spend time actively and outdoors. The best activities in this park include harvesting shellfish, crabbing, fishing, swimming, diving, watersports, and kayaking.
There is even a playground for kids and sports fields, so really something for everyone to enjoy.
The park also boasts several trails for those that want to get hiking or biking. The trails are ideal for cyclists, mountain bikers, and those that want to just walk or jog along peacefully.
Address: 3540 Northwest Sylvan Way, Bremerton Washington 98310
Contact: (360) 478-6460
Admission Fee: One-day Discover Pass: $10, additional activity and reservation fees apply
4. Fort Ward Park
This is a former military base and used to be a state park, but now tourists flock here for picnics. Fort Ward Park is rich in natural beauty and boasts thick forests, incredible vistas, and an abundance of marine wildlife.
Guests that picnic or relax here will also be able to catch a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains.
The marine life can be explored by going scuba diving or snorkeling in the beautifully clear waters. The interesting rocky beach is fun to explore by itself or you can listen to the sea lions barking hello.
There is also a public boat ramp and lots of space for fishing. It is a beach lovers’ dream come true and perfect for a lazy summer afternoon.
Those that are picnicking in the park should position themselves so they can see Rich Passage. By doing so you will be able to catch an incredible view of the ferry on its way to Bremerton. It is the perfect photo opportunity particularly for tourists and other travelers.
Address: 2241 Pleasant Beach Drive NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Admission Fee: Free
5. Richmond Beach Saltwater Park
Richmond Beach Saltwater Park spans 40 acres on the western side of Shoreline and it’s close to Richmond Beach. The best thing to do here is to test your endurance on the trail and view Puget Sound.
Puget Sound is the state’s second-largest marine estuary and is important in preserving the environment and economy.
This is a beautiful nature park and offers guests access to public art, state-of-the-art facilities, and the ocean. It also borders the Illahee State Park that I have already discussed in this article.
The best things to do in this park include harvesting shellfish, walking, kayaking, diving, and beach-combing. There are also picnic spots and picnic shelters as well as a playground for children. Families tend to gravitate towards this park because there is an off-leash dog area.
This means that your dog can run and play and make new friends under your supervision.
Address: 2021 NW 190th St, Shoreline, WA 98177
Contact: (206) 801-2700
Admission Fee: Free
6. Manchester State Park
Manchester Park is a beautiful space spanning 111 acres and there is even a campsite. The most noticeable greenery in this park is the maple and far trees that make it impossibly green.
The park is so naturally beautiful that people often choose to host weddings and events here. I found Manchester Park to be visually stunning but it is far better suited to events than a day trip.
If you do want to celebrate something, however, then Manchester State Park will be perfect. The park offers lodges that can accommodate weddings and conferences. There are also three hiker-biker campsites and this is on a first-come-first-serve basis.
The best thing about the campsites is that it is private and only accommodates one group at a time. This means that you can have an exclusive campsite for a group of 20 to 130 people or so.
There is also a beach which is perfect for swimming, diving, and kayaking. All of this means this place is absolutely ideal for a fun and carefree group summer holiday.
Address: 7767 E. Hilldale Port Orchard, Washington 98366
Contact: (360) 871-4065
Admission Fee: Day Pass $10, additional fees for facility hire may apply
7. Bainbridge Gardens
The Bainbridge Gardens is a nursery and garden center owned and operated by a family. It is on a historic and beautiful property on Bainbridge Island.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself in these gardens and it is a plant lovers’ paradise. The nursery is 6 acres big and stocked with various plants, flowers, trees, bonsai, garden art, and flower pots.
Those that would like to rest their feet will find solace in the café on-site that serves lunch and drinks. If you have children, this should be high on your list of things to do on Bainbridge Island. Because there is a fun play area for children, a souvenir shop, and a beautiful garden, children love this place.
If you are lucky enough you may time your trip well and be able to attend a class or event. The gardens often host special events or classes for those that have a passion for flowers and plants.
Address: 9415 Miller Road NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact: (206) 842-5888
Admission Fee: Special rates for classes and events apply
8. Blake Island State Park
The beautiful Blake Island State Park spans 475 acres and is located on Blake Island in Puget Sound. The park is very popular and known for the many activities it offers.
The main attractions in the park include the natural beaches, great views, and hiking trails. It is possible to see both Mount Rainier and the entire city from certain areas in this park.
There are 7.5 miles of biking trails and 8 miles of hiking trails in this park. It is the perfect place to explore the area on foot and then cool down in the ocean afterward.
Visitors can either choose to simply spend the day here or you can hit the campsite. The island can only be reached by tour or private boat, but that is half the fun! The public marina offers space for approximately 40 boats and you can even moor overnight.
Address: Manchester, WA 98353
9. Eagledale Park
Eagledale Park is a wonderful place for the entire family and offers plenty to do. It spans 6.7 acres and there is a pottery studio and pottery workshop as well as other facilities.
This place is ideal for children as there is a playground, sheltered picnic area, and volleyball court. Children of all ages will enjoy playing here to their heart’s content and exploring the park at large.
You can make an entire day of it and reserve the picnic spots, or just pop in for a stroll under the trees.
Address: 5055 Rose Ave NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact: (206) 842-2306
Admission Fee: Free, facility hire may incur fees
Museums and History:
Of all the things to do in Bainbridge Island, museums and places of historical significance feature the most. Even some of the parks and gardens are historically significant or used to be important places in history. It is not uncommon to be treated to a tour or exhibit at any of the public spaces in Bainbridge Island. The reason for this is because the place is so steeped in history.
I decided to include an entire section on museums and history because it is so integral to Bainbridge Island.
10. Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
If you are a history buff like me you need to put Bainbridge Island Historical Museum on your list! It is the perfect place to gather some knowledge on historically significant events and the like.
The historical museum will tell you stories regarding the past and present of Bainbridge Island. If you are interested in learning more about your destination, then this is the place for you.
The highlights for me were the old schoolhouse and the exhibits on strawberry farming. The schoolhouse has been used since 1908 to preserve elements of history. Strawberry farming used to be very big here and you will learn all about it at this museum.
Visit the museum and you will learn a lot about the Native American history of the area. And you will learn about the Puget Sound expeditions and Croatian fishermen settlers.
Address: 215 Ericksen Avenue NE, Bainbridge Island, Washington, 98110
Contact: (206) 842-2773
Admission Fee: Free, donations welcome
11. Suquamish Museum
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If you are interested in the local history and culture then the Suquamish Museum will fascinate you. The Suquamish Tribe is a Native American tribe and they live in Bainbridge Island.
The tribe speaks the Lushootseed language and has a rich history and ties to the area. The museum is dedicated to preserving and keeping the artifacts and records related to the Suquamish Tribe.
I was absolutely fascinated by this museum and all it had to offer. The museum has many photographs and depictions that show the tribal life stories.
These artifacts depict the Suquamish Tribe’s life and culture from the 1860s to the present day and it is fascinating.
Visitors will also be able to view smoking pipes, harpoon points, and old jewelry. There are also artworks and documents to view and historical pieces up to 300 years old.
Address: 6861 NE South Street, Suquamish Washington 98392
Contact: (360) 394-8499
Admission Fee: Adults $5, Children and Seniors $3
12. Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and Culture
If you are an art lover then you will enjoy the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and Culture. The art exhibition at the museum usually depicts contemporary art of local and area artists. This exhibition is always evolving and changing and showcasing new artists.
This place is ideal if you want to get a feel of the local art and culture scene. It offers you an insider look at the lives of the artists and artisans that call Bainbridge Island home.
If you’re interested, I suggest taking a look at their website and checking the schedule. This is because they manage a listing of the artists that they will feature every week.
There is also a small bistro next to the museum and it serves breakfast, lunch, coffee, and wine. The store in the actual museum itself sells merchandise, jewelry, home décor, artwork, and books.
Address: 550 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, Washington, 98110
Contact: (206) 842-4451
Admission Fee: Free
13. Tillicum Village
Tillicum Village on Blake Island offers a tribal experience and absolutely delights visitors year-round. The fun starts on arrival as you are greeted by the locals with a cup of clams and broth. This is a traditional drink and quite tasty.
The Northwest Coastal tribe calls this place home and they dress to express the essence of their lifestyle. You will be able to meet and mingle with the locals which will really give you a feel of the place.
The longhouse in the actual village also acts as a museum and you can see artifacts here. These artifacts accurately depict the history and culture of the tribe.
Travelers and tourists from all over come here to enjoy the storytelling and the native tribal dance performances. It is quite spectacular and afterward, you can take a leisurely stroll on the beach or trails.
There are many places that offer guided tours or excursions to Tillicum Village and I highly recommend it. By making use of a tour or excursion you will have access to a multitude of activities at competitive rates.
Address: Blake Island, Port Orchard, WA 98366
Contact: (206) 623-1445
Admission Fee: Rates vary, please enquire
14. Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is outdoors and offers a beautiful exhibit. This one is ideal for those that are interested in the history specific to the area and remembering the original residents.
The outdoor exhibit is dedicated to commemorating the Japanese American residents of the island and offering remembrance. Japanese immigrants first landed on Bainbridge Island at the end of the 1800s and they were integral to the economy. The Japanese immigrants ran the sawmills and the strawberry farms.
During World War II, 227 Japanese American residents were forcibly evicted and sent to internment camps in California. So, if you visit the memorial, you will see a cedar wall with names of those that were incarcerated.
The wall also contains a number of friezes with scenes of the events of that time. It is a fascinating place and it demands respect.
Address: 4195 Eagle Harbor Drive NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact: (206) 855-9038
Admission Fee: Free, donations welcome
15. Naval Undersea Museum
The Naval Undersea Museum, one of just ten official naval museums, is operated by the Naval History and Heritage Command. This museum will be fascinating to anyone interested in the military or the navy.
There are several exhibits that show naval undersea science and history. This museum was first established in 1979 and in 1980 the non-profit was formed.
This museum is particularly fascinating because it contains the biggest collection of naval undersea artifacts in the US. There are more than 39 000 artifacts in this museum’s collection and it is truly mesmerizing. There are a few permanent exhibits and these will fascinate and delight visitors.
Most of the exhibits feature naval history, marine science, and technology. There’s also a hands-on area where visitors can explore oceanic concepts such as salinity, density, pressure, buoyancy, and heat transfer.
The mine warfare exhibit will fascinate those interested in history and the military. It features technological development from the Revolutionary War to today and you can see ballistic missile submarines.
The Greeling Control Room is particularly fascinating because visitors can step inside a preserved submarine control room. This is something that you won’t experience every day and you will see submarine equipment and technology up close.
Address: 1 Garnett Way, Keyport, WA 98345
Contact: (360) 396-4148
Admission Fee: Free
Wining and Dining:
I have traveled a lot in my time and there is one thing that I always take notice of. Regardless of where I go, I always make a mental note regarding the food and wine scene.
Cuisines vary from area to area and it is always fascinating to try the local flavors. There’s also nothing better than experiencing the local way of life by hitting a few of the popular local hangouts.
So, for this list, I have included a few of the very best places to eat and drink in Bainbridge Island. Because, of all the things to do in Bainbridge Island, everybody loves food the most.
There are a few wineries in Bainbridge Island, so I have picked my personal favorites. Eleven Winery is a boutique winery and they produce a large selection of wines.
I particularly enjoyed their interesting varieties such as Malbec, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Pinot Grigio. I suggest waiting here for your ferry because they are just next to the ferry terminal. And you can take wine home with you!
Eleven Winery is located at 287 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, and their contact number is (206) 780-0905.
The Fletcher Bay Winery tasting room is another great place in Bainbridge Island and offers wine tastings. You can choose to either do the tasting of four different wines, or you can just have a glass. They also serve some delicious charcuterie platters, cheese, and other snacks.
They pride themselves on being family-friendly and children are welcome as well as dogs. But dogs are only allowed outside. The winery offers two tasting rooms in Bainbridge Island, so just take your pick.
The first is located at 500 Winslow Way E Suite 130, Bainbridge Island, and their contact number is (206) 780-9463. The second is at 9415 Coppertop Loop NE UNIT 102, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 and they have the same number.
17. Breweries and Distilleries
Bainbridge Brewing is the top beer destination on Bainbridge Island for beer lovers and it is worth a visit. Here you can experience the taste of true Washington apples and top-notch ingredients in their excellent brews. The brewery is child and pet-friendly so it makes for a wonderful family day out.
The brewery also serves small plates and snacks and there are rotating food trucks to keep guests fed. The brewery’s address is 9415 Coppertop Loop NE, Bainbridge Island and their number is (206) 451-4646.
For those that would like something stronger, there is also a distillery on Bainbridge Island and it’ll quench your thirst. Bainbridge Distillers has a selection of organic gin, vodka, and whiskey in their tasting room.
It is right next to the brewery and a pizza shop, so really does have the perfect location. Their number is (206) 842-3184.
18. Places to Eat in Bainbridge Island
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Of all the things to do in Bainbridge Island, restaurants and other places to eat are always top the list. This is because people love to experience the local food culture and cuisine. And visiting the best local restaurants is the best way to go about it.
The general consensus among the locals is that Streamliner Diner is at the top of the list and I agree. This diner has been going for 22 years and although you may have to wait to be seated, it is worth it.
Their food is organic, creative, mostly healthy, and delicious. I highly suggest popping in for either breakfast or lunch.
Doc’s Marina Grill is another favorite and probably the best place to enjoy seafood on the island. They have outdoor dining available or you can sit on the undercover deck to enjoy the view.
The food is focused on serving the very best that the Northwest has to offer and the menu is innovative. The top choices on the menu include burgers, prime rib, and northwest salmon.
Heyday Farm is one of the best things to do in Bainbridge Island with children and it’s a real working farm.
They sell their fresh produce which is farmed there and this includes eggs, fruits, and vegetables. And they also offer culinary classes for those that are interested in learning how to cook with fresh farmed produce.
The farmhouse is also open for dinner and you can take the family to experience a wonderful meal. You can even stay here and experience true farm living.
Best Family-Friendly Activities in Bainbridge Island:
I cannot write a list of things to do in Bainbridge Island and exclude some family fun. Most families with children sometimes struggle to find something for everyone to enjoy on holiday.
This is because children get bored fairly quickly and it can be difficult to find something to keep them occupied. However, Bainbridge Island is the exception and there is plenty for children to do.
I have already mentioned some things that are family-friendly on this list and ideal for kids. However, the next two are geared specifically for children.
19. Kids Discovery Museum
The Kids Discovery Museum is a favorite among parents and those with small children. Educational and interactive exhibits are the order of the day here.
The staff are very friendly and will assist you in any way possible. The purpose of the museum is to engage children and explain education in a playful and experiential manner.
Children tend to enjoy this museum a lot and I will highly recommend it for families. It is one of the best things to do in Bainbridge Island with kids.
There are hands-on and interactive exhibits relating to science and the arts. And there are also installations that focus on sensory exploration for children of all ages.
I watched children amuse themselves for hours by playing and exploring in this beautiful museum. There is a miniature town complete with electric cars, a bank, and a grocery store. There is also a Science and Literacy Hall crammed with science-related installations and exhibits.
Children of all ages are welcome and there is truly something for everyone. Therefore, parents of very small children will delight in the Totally Tot exhibit which is a Waldorf-inspired play area.
This area has been specifically designed for those of 30 months or under. And there is an outdoor play area and climbing wall outside for older children as well.
Address: 301 Ravine Lane NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact: (206) 855-4650
Admission Fee: $8 per person
20. Mora Iced Creamery
This place isn’t technically a restaurant, but it does serve the best ice cream and sundaes. It is the perfect place to take children on a hot day because of the cool treats. It is a wonderful way of cooling down the little ones when the sun gets too hot in the summer.
Mora Iced Creamery has developed more than 70 flavors of ice cream and 48 are always on offer. It is an old-fashioned ice-cream parlor and perfect for a hot summer’s day.
Address: 22195 Viking Avenue North-West Poulsbo, Washington 98370
Contact: (206) 855-1112
Plan Your Trip:
Bainbridge Island is a wonderful place bursting with natural beauty, culture, and history. The proximity to Seattle means that it is suitable as a day trip destination, or a holiday destination. Regardless of how long you choose to go, there will be plenty to do to keep you occupied.
Bainbridge Island is the perfect destination for families and travelers from all over. There are so many things to do in Bainbridge Island and you’ll be spoiled for choice and you may not even have time to do it all!
My favorite items on this list included the Bloedel Reserve, Tillicum Village, and exploring the wineries. I had a fantastic time and believe that you can easily spend an entire week on this beautiful island paradise.
The best time to visit Bainbridge Island is during the middle of the year because these months have the least rainfall. Of course, you have to take the ferry, but plan your trip ahead of time and ensure you have ample time to enjoy the actual island.
I hope you enjoyed reading my list of things to do in Bainbridge Island, I had a wonderful time when I visited and I hope you do too.