17 Best Things to Do in Bainbridge Island, WA

Bainbridge Island, WA
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A day trip or weekend break is a great option to experience to best things to do in Bainbridge Island.

A small island west of Seattle recognized for its natural beauty, rustic charm, and proximity to Seattle, Bainbridge Island is a popular destination for visitors.

From Pier 52, you can get on a Washington State Ferry and be on the island in no time.

During the weekends and while traveling by car, be careful to give yourself some extra travel time, since ferries fill up quickly.

To avoid long waits at the ticket offices, walk-on guests should arrive at the dock at least 15 minutes before the planned departure time.

Even though Bainbridge Island is just a short ferry journey away from downtown Seattle, it feels like a world away with its quaint stores and gorgeous gardens and its rich history and cultural heritage.

You'll have your pick of delectable cuisine, locally brewed wine, and artisan beer to top it all off.

Bainbridge Island is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and recharge your batteries.

Read on to find out the best things to do in Bainbridge Island.

Camp at Fay Bainbridge Park

Driftwood at Fay Bainbridge Park
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Fay Bainbridge Park is a community-owned recreational area located on the island's northeastern corner, with 17 acres of land and 1,400 feet of Puget Sound beach.

The most popular pastimes in this spot include beach time, camping, and admiring the stunning scenery.

Driftwood at Fay Bainbridge Park
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The park provides views of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Cascade Mountains, and the sound.

Fifteen tent camping spots are available for people who prefer to stay the night.

For kayakers, the park has designated camping areas.

Immerse Yourself in Nature at The Bloedel Reserve

View of The Bloedel Reserve
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This 150-acre woodland reserve and garden provide a tranquil experience in nature.

The reserve contains twelve distinct gardens designed to allow visitors to immerse themselves in nature fully.

Garden visitors will not find any signs directing them or identifying plants since the gardens are supposed to be as natural and serene as possible.

View of The Bloedel Reserve
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You'll discover everything from a wildlife-rich bird marsh to a multi-awarded Japanese garden.

To get the most out of the gardens, tourists should plan on spending at least two hours there each time they come.

Sip Wine at Eleven Winery

One of the best-known small wineries in the country is Eleven Winery.

Wines like Pinot Grigio, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and many more are the primary emphasis of their production.

The tasting facility lies just a few blocks from the ferry station, making it easy to locate.

Helping beginner wine drinkers learn about and find their favorite wines is a favorite pastime for the workers at the winery.

On select weekends, all of the island's wineries are available for visits simultaneously, and the winery is one of them.

There is no doubt that you'll want to bring some wine back with you after all that wine-tasting, and the vineyard will be happy to supply you with some.

Gaze at Local Masterpieces at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

View of Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
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The enticing Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is just a few steps from the ferry port on Bainbridge Island.

Puget Sound art may be seen in this LEED Gold-certified building.

And it's open to the public, with no entry fee required, making it accessible to everyone.

The museum offers visitors something fresh to see each time they come with its changing exhibits.

Expect to spend 30 to an hour examining the two floors of artwork.

The acclaimed BIMA Bistro is on-site, serving regionally produced dishes and espresso.

Discover the City's Past at Bainbridge Island Historical Museum

For more than 100 years, the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum has been housed in the old Bainbridge Island Schoolhouse, built-in 1908.

An exhibition about Japanese American incarceration and accompanying images of Manzanar by noted artist Ansel Adams is on display at the museum.

Port Blakely timber mill, Native American history in the region, the first explorers to survey Puget Sound, and the historic landing of Croatian fisherman in the 1800s are all on exhibit.

With a wide range of interactive and hands-on displays, the museum caters primarily to children.

Look Back on a Tragic History at Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

View of Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
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Events that occurred on the island in 1942 are brought to light by this memorial in the open air.

President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 a few months after the fall of Pearl Harbor.

This act led to the widespread imprisonment of any American citizen having Japanese ancestry, and hundreds of Bainbridge Island people were taken to internment camps.

The site explores the greater tale of this tragic period in American history.

View of Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More than 220 Japanese American residents were given less than a week's notice to leave their houses on Bainbridge Island.

In the same harbor where the memorial stands now, armed military personnel led these American civilians to a boat.

A massive cedar "Story Wall" now borders the path to the Eagledale ferry dock location.

The wood of this memorial plaque contains the names of all who were denied their civil freedoms during the Second World War.

View of Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bring Your Youngsters to Kids Discovery Museum

The Kids Discovery Museum is a children's museum that features interactive and hands-on displays on science and the arts.

Many hands-on exhibits have been intended for visitors of all ages to experience the museum's educational philosophy built on play and experiential learning.

There includes a Waldorf-inspired play area for guests under the age of 30 months and a tiny town with electric cars and a grocery shop and bank.

The museum's climbing wall and outdoor playground become available and packed with a water play area in the summer.

Get Crafty at Bainbridge Arts & Crafts

Bainbridge Arts & Crafts serves Kitsap County by providing free art instruction and outreach as a nonprofit organization.

The gallery's free events support over 200 Northwest artists and more than 10,000 adults and seniors each year.

Its newly refurbished gallery at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts features a wide range of modern art in various mediums and pricing.

If you're looking for a unique piece of Northwest art, you'll discover various mediums and styles on display at the gallery.

Having a good time is an important part of Bainbridge Arts & Crafts.

You may participate in various ways and get both tangible and intangible rewards.

Shop at its gallery, attend an artist talk or performance, take a lesson, give, volunteer, or become a member of the organization.

Become a part of Bainbridge Arts and Crafts by creating your unique piece of art.

Meditate at the Labyrinth Mosaic and Halls Hill Lookout

View of Labyrinth Mosaic
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This spot on the island's southern side offers a peaceful place to contemplate during the day.

A garden architect based in Portland has constructed a stone mosaic labyrinth in this modest public spot that overlooks Blakely Harbor.

Visitors are urged to be courteous and quiet during their stay.

In addition, the lookout's tranquility is enhanced by its proximity to the ocean, which provides a contemplative setting for visitors to relax.

Try wandering step by step if you're looking to calm your racing thoughts.

Do note that there is limited parking available in the park.

Cool Off at Mora Iced Creamery

Bainbridge Island's favorite dessert place, Mora Iced Creamery, first opened its doors in 2006.

Over 70 recipes are rotated into the regular menu at the Old World-style creamery, which has over 48 hand-churned varieties.

Dulce de leche, marron glacé, and goat cheese with fig are just some of the classic Argentinian flavors that can be found in these desserts.

Offerings for each season's related tastes include lavender ice cream throughout the summer months, eggnog during the holidays, and distinctive rose petal ice cream offered around Valentine's Day.

When feasible, all their offerings are made with locally available components, such as locally procured milk or cane sugar.

Additionally, shipping services are accessible to all the U.S. from Washington, Utah, and Nevada facilities.

Get Active at Battle Point Park

View of Battle Point Park
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Playing in Battle Point Park is a favorite pastime on Bainbridge Island's west side.

Ninety acres of this former military radio station have been converted into a park.

It is now possible to walk 1.6 miles through the park, connecting all its attractions and activities.

The playground is one of the most popular reasons to come. It's a far cry from the typical slide and monkey bars you're used to.

It has octopuses, orca whales, and a 47-foot-long ship to climb and explore.

It is also a popular location for a variety of sporting events.

There is a lot of use for the basketball and tennis courts, baseball diamond, and roller hockey rink.

Pickleball courts are also available at the park.

A nine-hole disc golf course is available for anyone who wants a whirl.

Take a Stroll Around Bainbridge Gardens

This garden is located on Bainbridge Island, a family-owned and operated nursery and garden business.

In addition to a wide range of plants, trees, and flowers, the nursery also has flower pots, bonsai, and garden art.

Aside from espresso drink and lunch, it features a café on site.

There's also a kid-friendly play area.

It is possible to purchase keepsakes from your visit to the garden's gift store, rather extensive.

People who want to explore plants and flowers can attend special workshops and activities at the gardens.

Go Hiking at the Grand Forest

View of Grand Forest
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The Grand Forest is the island's most popular hiking destination.

Over 240 acres of land are distributed over three properties in this centrally located park.

Grand Forest East and Grand Forest West are the two most popular properties to explore.

Three kilometers of hiking paths may be found at Grand Forest East, while the Hilltop Trail links the two.

A magnificent second-growth forest that feels like a world away surrounds both parcels.

A variety of maps and waypoints are available at each trailhead to navigate the tangled and interconnected network of paths.

A considerable uphill effort is required to reach the Grand Forest's summit, but there is no substantial elevation difference.

Buy Fresh Produce from Heyday Farm

Located on the island's south side and less than 15 minutes from the ferry station, Heyday Farm is a family-owned farm, café, and event venue.

A Pederson farmhouse from the early 1900s has been restored to its original "heyday" of agriculture on the island.

It is possible to enjoy Heyday Farm's wealth in various ways.

The Community Dinners, held every Thursday and Friday, are one of the most well-attended events.

Depending on what the farm is producing, the menus for these special events change each week.

Regardless, expect to dine on exquisite cuisine prepared by master chefs.

Taste Organic Spirits at Bainbridge Distillers

Organic whiskey, vodka, and gin are produced in small batches at Bainbridge Organic Distillers.

The same family has run the distillery for more than a decade.

To this day, they are the only distillery in the state to create USDA Certified Organic spirits, and they continue to do so in-house.

They also try to get their ingredients from local businesses wherever feasible.

Tastings and guided tours are provided at this establishment.

Tourists learn about the distillation process and the various spirits made on-site from skilled tour guides.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Tour the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum

View of U.S. Naval Undersea Museum
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Ten official U.S. Navy museums may be found around the country, including the Naval Undersea Museum located 29 minutes from Bainbridge.

The museum hopes to educate and benefit the general public and the United States Navy by collecting, preserving, and displaying artifacts from navy submarine operations.

View of U.S. Naval Undersea Museum
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The museum has the biggest collection of materials connected to underwater technology, naval history, and marine science in the United States.

In addition, there is a fascinating WWII war patrol report exhibit on display.

Explore Illahee State Park

View of Illahee State Park
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Roughly a forty-minute drive from Bainbridge is the Illahee State Park is a 75-acre park.

There is a great deal of beachfront in this little area of Puget Sound.

Shells and deep woodland cover the park's beaches, giving it a natural appearance.

Fishing, crabbing, shellfish harvesting, diving, swimming, water sports, and kayaking are among its most popular activities.

Visitors may enjoy a range of amenities in the park, such as a playground for children, picnic areas with power, and sports grounds.

The park also features a memorial to two local World War I servicemen who perished there.

Final Thoughts

Bainbridge Island is truly the crown gem of Puget Sound.

Suppose you're looking for family-friendly parks and trails, amazing local arts and cultural acts, beautiful cuisine and wine, and practically unlimited opportunities to enjoy the ocean.

In that case, we advise you to spend some time on Bainbridge Island!