Nestled in the heart of Puget Sound, just a short ferry ride from the bustling metropolis of Seattle lies the serene, charming gem of Bainbridge Island.
With its rich history, lush landscapes, and tranquil harbors, it's no wonder why this island enchants visitors from near and far.
Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, an art enthusiast, or a foodie, the best things to do in Bainbridge Island, Washington, will treat every kind of explorer.
Let's set sail and discover the magic that awaits on this slice of Pacific Northwest heaven.
Find Solace at Bloedel Reserve
Is there a better way to spend a sunny afternoon than being surrounded by nature’s bounty, walking through well-maintained trails, and being captivated by the beauty of landscaped gardens?
That's precisely what I experienced during my visit to the Bloedel Reserve.
This stunning nature preserve, with its 150 acres of forests and gardens, has been my go-to place for solace and relaxation for years.
Starting my day at the park, the crunch of gravel under my feet and the rustling leaves above set the tone for what was to come.
Walking through the trails, while a bit challenging with a stroller due to the uneven terrain, is an absolute pleasure.
The lush greenery and the tranquility you experience while strolling around is unparalleled.
The jewel in the crown has to be the reflection pool. Nestled amidst the verdant setting, it offers a place for introspection and peace.
Watching the water ripple gently with the breeze never fails to draw me into a state of calm.
The Japanese garden is another spot that I adore. The precision, the careful planning, and the serenity it exudes are something I've not found elsewhere.
Important to note, though, is the reserve's strict no-pets policy.
Even if you intend to leave your pet in the car, you might be asked to park outside the property.
I've seen this caused disappointment for some visitors, so it's best to plan accordingly.
The reserve also requires you to book tickets online in advance.
I found the process a bit confusing on my first visit, but the helpful staff at the toll booth were quick to guide me.
They even provide a Wi-Fi card for you to purchase your tickets if you're having trouble with data connectivity.
The Bloedel Reserve has always been a place for me to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Its beauty, its quietness, and its ability to reconnect you with nature are truly something to cherish.
Celebrate Special Moments at Heyday Farm
Every town has a spot that becomes an integral part of the community, a place where the roots run deep, and the love for locality is instinctive.
For us, it's Heyday Farm.
I remember the day my partner and I decided to get married at Heyday Farm.
It was June 2023, the sun shining as bright as our future, and the decision was as easy as a summer breeze.
The team at Heyday Farm made the entire wedding process a walk in the park.
Their patience and support during our planning were unparalleled, and their knack for transforming ideas into realities was downright inspiring.
Every wedding is special, but ours felt like a fairytale, all thanks to them.
Now, when you think about Heyday Farm, don't just think of it as a wedding venue.
It's much more.
It's the embodiment of a unique, intimate space designed to create memories and celebrate life's special moments.
The staff is warm and welcoming, making every visitor feel like part of their family.
The farm also prides itself on its focus on sustainability, sourcing local food and beverages whenever possible.
And oh, the food!
Personally, I can't get enough of their unrivaled sourdough bread.
My partner and I have been known to fight for the last slice instead of sharing it.
We also enjoy their delicious dinners, accompanied by attentive and friendly service, all at a very reasonable price.
Sample Spirits at Bainbridge Organic Distillers
From the moment you walk through the doors of Bainbridge Organic Distillers, you're hit with an air thick with the enticing scent of brewing spirits.
It's a place where the art of organic distillation comes to life.
I'm not much of a bourbon or gin guy, but I cannot resist their vanilla vodka - it has a smooth, sweet flavor that's simply memorable.
This isn't a place just for liquor lovers, though.
I've brought my canine buddy along numerous times, and he's always been warmly welcomed.
It's not every day you find a distillery that's dog-friendly!
And while the prices might be slightly higher than other distilleries, I believe the quality and taste of the drinks justify every penny.
Another thing that makes this place a must-visit is their tastings and tours.
For a mere $5, you get to try four distinct types of their organic craft liquor.
My personal favorite in Bainbridge Organic Distillers remains the vanilla vodka, but the whiskey and gin are also excellent choices.
What's more, the staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly, which makes the whole experience even more enjoyable.
And the surprises don't stop at the liquor.
At Bainbridge, they also offer the most delicious maple syrup I've ever tasted - and I've tried quite a few!
It's so good it could give Maine and Vermont a run for their money.
Aside from their spirits and syrup, they also have a bunch of cute merchandise for sale.
Their indoor and outdoor seating areas are spacious and cozy, and there's ample free parking.
Meditate at Halls Hill Lookout and Labyrinth
Did I ever mention the hidden gem that lies within our beloved Bainbridge?
It's none other than Hill Lookout and Labyrinth, a place so serene and beautiful it feels like a piece of Heaven right here on earth.
One fine summer day, while meandering through the winding roads of our town, I found myself drawn to this serene place.
The moment I set foot in the labyrinth, I was engulfed by an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility.
The labyrinth with its intricate paths led me on a journey of self-discovery, while the lookout offered a breathtaking view that filled my soul with a sense of awe and wonder.
Right in our backyard, Halls Hill Lookout and Labyrinth is a haven for those who seek peace and solitude.
A place where you can meditate uninterrupted, attune yourself with nature, or simply pause and reflect upon life’s mysteries.
It's a wonderful reminder to slow down and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
Along the labyrinth trails, every turn holds delightful surprises.
I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a variety of native plants, adding to the charm of this place.
The labyrinth itself, a labor of love, was built by a neighbor who envisioned a sacred and peaceful place for everyone to enjoy.
Catch Performances at Bainbridge Performing Arts
Oh, what a joy it is to live a stone's throw away from the Bainbridge Performing Arts center.
It's not just a theater, it's an integral part of our community, a place where we gather to celebrate art, music, and performance.
You can find more about it and check their schedule on their website.
It's truly a gem, nestled not too far from the ferry terminal.
One evening, after a day's toil, I strolled down to find a delightful little festival taking place.
The atmosphere was alive with the sounds of music, laughter, and the hum of a community coming together.
The theater, although a tad smaller in size, has a charm that you can't help but fall in love with.
Sure, the seats might be a little snug, but they're still comfortable enough to enjoy a performance.
Speaking of performances, I had the pleasure of watching Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice during their stint in a temporary location.
It was an enchanting evening, masterfully brought to life by a talented cast.
Every element, from the stage setup to the lighting, was executed to perfection, making it an unforgettable experience.
Now that they're back at their permanent location, I can't help but eagerly await the artistic treasures they have in store for us next.
It's not just about the performances, it's about the sense of belonging and unity that Bainbridge Performing Arts fosters within our community.
Go Wine Tasting at Eleven Winery
There's always something special about spending an afternoon at Eleven Winery.
The wines are delightful, and I often find myself wishing they had some hot food to pair with their excellent vintages — and maybe a Riesling or two to round out their collection.
But what keeps me coming back is more than just the wine.
It's the atmosphere.
There's a bicycle theme that runs throughout the winery, a nod to their name, and a fun, quirky detail that sets them apart.
It's no surprise to me that the staff, like Mr. Forest, are as warm and welcoming as the space itself.
They're knowledgeable and always ready to recommend a wine for tasting.
Their service is nothing short of excellent.
But Eleven Winery isn't just about the indoors.
On warmer days, I adore their outdoor patio — it's a lovely spot on the island, perfect for kicking back with a glass of wine and enjoying the sunshine.
The space is inviting, the staff friendly, and the wines, oh the wines, they're a delight to the palate.
Discover Artistic Gems at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
Walking into the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, I'm always struck by the sleek, modern architecture.
The building itself feels like an art piece, pairing perfectly with the beautiful contemporary pieces housed inside.
This museum has become a cherished part of my regular outings here on the island.
Every visit here feels fresh and inspiring, thanks to the ever-rotating exhibits.
Showcasing the vibrant works of area artists and lending a special focus on emerging talent, it's no wonder the museum has gained a reputation for its commitment to fostering the next generation of artists.
I've seen everything from abstract sculptures to photorealistic paintings, all carrying a unique story that resonates with me even after I leave.
One of my favorite experiences was an intimate encounter with indigenous art.
The curator was kind enough to demonstrate the movement of the masks, adding a new layer of understanding and appreciation for the craft.
The museum is not just a place for artists to display their work, it is a place to educate and engage with the public, making art more accessible and enjoyable.
The atmosphere at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is always quiet and reflective, offering a sanctuary away from the hustle of everyday life.
The galleries, bathed in natural light, provide an aesthetically pleasing backdrop for the art pieces.
The staff here are not just employees but art enthusiasts themselves, always ready to share their knowledge and insights about the exhibits.
They make the museum feel like a vibrant community, a place not just to view art, but to discuss, learn, and appreciate it.
Unleash Creativity at Bainbridge Arts & Crafts
I often find myself wandering the expansive layout of Bainbridge Arts & Crafts, an incredible gem tucked away here in the Pacific Northwest.
It always feels like stepping into a lively hub of creativity filled with amazing pieces crafted by our very own local artists.
I love how I can leisurely navigate through the store, allowing me the time to truly appreciate each unique piece of art.
The prices are more than fair considering the quality and uniqueness of the items, making it a refreshing departure from the usual overpriced art stores.
I've made it a bit of a tradition to visit Bainbridge Arts & Crafts whenever I need to find a gift for someone special.
My sister, in particular, has been the recipient of some truly distinctive pieces of jewelry, the kind you'd never find in a traditional store.
And the best part? She cherishes every single piece I've gifted her.
One of the standout features of Bainbridge Arts & Crafts for me is their range of unique jewelry crafted by regional artists.
The variety is truly impressive, and I appreciate that I can purchase a piece of wearable art and support local talents at the same time.
The staff has always been friendly and helpful during my visits, which makes the overall experience even better.
What I find particularly noteworthy is that Bainbridge Arts & Crafts is not just a store but a non-profit organization with a mission that resonates strongly with me.
It's not just about the art, it's about the community, creativity, and support for local artists.
Whether you're looking to buy or simply appreciate the local art scene, this place is definitely worth a visit.
Indulge in Sweet Treats at Mora Iced Creamery
Every now and then, I need a sweet retreat from the bustling city life, and there's nothing like visiting Mora Iced Creamery to satiate my cravings.
This little piece of heaven, tucked away on Bainbridge Island, is my go-to spot for homemade ice cream and sorbet by the pint.
And let me tell you, it's not just the flavors that are to die for, the ambiance is equally exciting.
On my last visit, I treated myself to their strawberry and chocolate ice cream.
The flavors were distinct, rich, and unbelievably creamy.
In fact, it reminded me of some of the best ice cream I've ever had, like the ones over at Salt and Straw.
To bask in the sun while indulging my taste buds in this creamy delight is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything.
But their ice cream isn't the only star attraction.
The sorbets are pretty impressive, too.
I sampled the pineapple and raspberry; they were refreshing with a natural taste that's hard to find in most places, even though I found them a tad icy.
One thing that gets me excited about my next visit is their banana split.
I've heard rave reviews about it from fellow locals and I can't wait to give it a try.
I mean, if it can beat Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding, it's definitely worth a shot!
What makes Mora Iced Creamery a favorite among us locals is the friendly staff.
They always have a smile ready and are more than happy to let you taste the flavors before you decide.
Play Disc Golf at Battle Point Park
Every town has that one spot where you can find peace, fun, and a sense of community. For me, that place is Battle Point Park.
This 90.3-acre haven is a staple in my daily routine.
Located just a stone's throw away from my residence, the park has become like my extended backyard.
I often find myself gravitating towards it at the break of dawn for an invigorating run along its trails, the chirping of the birds and the rustling leaves forming a natural symphony that refreshes the soul.
The lush open spaces, dotted with two serene ponds, are perfect for a quiet afternoon of contemplation or a lively picnic with friends.
Battle Point Park is not just about tranquil moments. It also offers the thrill of sports with its well-maintained fields.
The only caveat is to watch your step! The fields can be a bit tricky with hidden potholes that can pop out of nowhere.
But hey, where's a little adventure without a touch of unpredictability?
For the gardening enthusiasts among us, the park provides garden plots where you can indulge in some green-fingered fun.
And, of course, no park would be complete without a playground, which is always abuzz with the infectious laughter of kids.
Speaking of kids, there's a Montessori right across the street, making the park a safe and convenient spot for families.
Aside from the usual activities, Battle Point Park also boasts a disc golf course that's a hit with both beginners and pros.
I've tried my hand at it a few times, and I can vouch for the course's balance of simplicity and challenge.
The best part? There's no water hazard anymore, so you can play to your heart's content without the fear of losing a disc.
Oh, and let's not forget the essential - clean, well-maintained lavatories are available too.
Walk through the Lush Greenery of Bainbridge Gardens
The moment you step into Bainbridge Gardens, you're welcomed into a world of green.
A vast, sprawling nursery that seems to have every kind of plant you could dream of.
I mean, where else can you find a place organized so meticulously with different areas for flowers, shady gardens, ground covers, and even vegetables?
Every visit feels like a whole new adventure, discovering new plants and possibilities.
The greenhouses are a marvel in themselves.
They house different kinds of shrubs, maple trees, and much more.
I still remember my excitement when I found the open areas in the back, past the store, where a variety of trees, including fruit trees, are displayed.
And let's not forget about the garden decorations and water fountains that add a touch of whimsy to the place.
If you happen to visit around Halloween, you'll be in for a treat with their delightful pumpkin patch.
Beyond the plants and greenery, the store at Bainbridge Gardens is a treasure trove filled with gardening tools, household items, and gifts.
Whether you're a gardening novice or a seasoned pro, you'll find all the tools and supplies you need here.
And the staff? They're just as wonderful as the place itself.
Always ready to help and share their knowledge.
But Bainbridge Gardens is more than just a nursery.
It's a retail arboretum laid out like a garden, complete with a nature trail.
It's a place where you can lose yourself in the beauty of nature and find yourself at the same time.
It's my go-to for a peaceful afternoon stroll, and sometimes, I go there just to soak in the beauty of the place.
You don't have to be a gardening enthusiast to enjoy a visit to Bainbridge Gardens.
It's a fun destination in itself for everyone.
Grab a Pint at Bainbridge Brewing Alehouse
I have to tell you about this hidden gem I stumbled upon one day in my beautiful hometown - the Bainbridge Brewing Alehouse.
It's just a short walk from the ferry terminal, making it a perfect spot for locals and visitors alike.
The first thing you'll notice is the chill vibe, it's like walking into a friend's backyard barbeque.
Right off the bat, their lagers and sour beers got my attention.
They have a great variety of beers, each one is unique and well-crafted.
But what keeps me coming back is their staff.
They're more than just friendly - they're knowledgeable, passionate about their craft, and always ready to recommend something new based on what you like.
And don't get me started on the snacks!
They have a delightful selection to go with your beer - always a bonus in my book.
The best part is, even if you're not into beer, there's also a wine-tasting room right next door.
It's a win-win for everyone.
One thing you should know, though, is that Bainbridge Brewing Alehouse is strictly 21 and over, so it's an oasis if you're looking to enjoy your brew without the hustle and bustle of kids around.
It's the typical laid-back Bainbridge vibe we locals love, and you can experience it for yourself at the Bainbridge Brewing Alehouse.
Soak Up the Sun at Fay Bainbridge Park
Just another day in paradise, and by paradise, I mean the 17-acre beachfront gem, Fay Bainbridge Park.
Living nearby, I often find myself drawn towards the serenity it offers. This haven, located in the heart of Bainbridge Island, is my frequent retreat.
The park features everything that you could ask for in a public space.
It offers wide-open spaces where you can just lay back and soak in the sun or indulge in a picnic with your loved ones.
Picnic shelters are conveniently located throughout the park, offering a great spot to enjoy lunch and views of the surrounding area.
What really sets Fay Bainbridge Park apart is its breathtaking view of Puget Sound. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the majestic Mount Rainier.
This view alone makes any visit worthwhile. One of the things I love most about the park is the availability and cleanliness of the restrooms.
They are well-maintained and located throughout, so you're never too far away.
My favorite part? The beachfront. Walking along the shoreline, with the gentle waves of Puget Sound lapping at my feet, is simply therapeutic.
And if you're into kayaking, there's a launch area for that, too!
For those who enjoy camping, the park offers campsites that are perfect for a weekend getaway.
I've spent many a night under the stars, listening to the calming sounds of nature. It's an experience I highly recommend!
And let's not forget about the kids – the park has a great playground that keeps them entertained for hours.
It's always a joy to see their faces light up at the sight of the swings and slides!
Getting there is also part of the adventure itself. The ferry ride from Seattle is a scenic journey that adds to the overall experience.
All in all, Fay Bainbridge Park is a place I am proud to have in my neighborhood.
It is the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the simple pleasures of outdoor living.
Spark Your Child's Imagination at the Kids Discovery Museum
It was a beautiful sunny day when I decided to take my kids to the Kids Discovery Museum.
Nestled right in Bainbridge, this little gem is just a short stroll from the ferry terminal.
If you're looking for a fun and educational trip for your little ones, you can plan a visit at kidimu.org.
The entrance of the museum was bustling with energy, a sign of the fun that awaited us inside.
Surprisingly, even as parents, we had to purchase tickets to accompany our children.
The museum was smaller than I had expected, but it was packed with interactive science and art exhibits.
My kids, especially, loved the shop that was full of fun and educational toys.
After about an hour, I noticed my kids were starting to tire of the activities.
It seemed the museum was best suited for younger children, as my eldest, who's 8, started to show signs of boredom.
I also noticed there weren't any staff members around to guide the children through the exhibits.
It's a self-guided experience, so keep that in mind if you're planning a visit.
Despite its size, Kids Discovery Museum offered an activity box that you could purchase for at-home fun.
We chose a constellation-themed box, which gave us a chance to continue the museum experience at home.
Have a Night Out with Friends at Harbour Public House
There's nothing quite like settling into a corner table on the patio of Harbour Public House, particularly on a day when the sun is shining and the views of the marina are unhindered.
The terrace, dominated by a massive 25-foot yellow umbrella, offers one of the most phenomenal vantages the island has to offer.
Imagine this: you order the Asian Salmon Bowl, and you are not disappointed.
The salad is fresh, the portion is generous, and the homemade dressing adds a burst of flavor to the dish.
Your companion opts for a BBQ sandwich and chips, and they find it satisfactory, though not particularly outstanding.
As the day winds down, you find yourself sitting on the veranda, nursing a pint of beer, or perhaps a glass of wine, and marveling at the excellent view over the harbor.
There's something soothing about the sight.
The rest of Harbour Public House has an eclectic charm too.
The food is served on metal trays, complete with "vintage newspaper" as a tray cover.
The art in the women's bathroom is a noteworthy mention - it's super cool and adds a unique touch to the place.
Grab Some Fresh Produce from Bainbridge Island Farmers' Market
Saturdays are meant for beautiful walks, fresh air, mingling with the neighbors, and experiencing the local flavors.
When it comes to such an experience, nothing beats the Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market.
It's a quaint little market that perfectly captures the essence of our island community.
It feels like a breath of fresh air, especially after the long, dreary months of a Pacific Northwest spring and the challenges of the past year.
What I absolutely love about Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market is its perfect size.
There’s just the right amount of vendors offering a variety of goods, from freshly baked bread that fills the air with its enticing aroma to farm fresh dairy that tastes like nothing you can find in a supermarket.
And let’s not forget the rainbow of vegetables available.
The vibrancy and the freshness of the produce are a sight to behold!
But this market is not just about food.
The array of arts and crafts stalls is a delightful treat.
You can find unique wooden pieces beautifully crafted by locals.
It's a testament to the craftsmanship and creativity that our community boasts.
The market has also become a kind of impromptu concert venue, with live music performances adding a lively soundtrack to the shopping experience.
Nothing beats the feeling of strolling around, shopping for fresh produce while enjoying some good music.
And after you're done with the market, the nearby shops are also worth a detour.
There's always something new to discover on Bainbridge Island.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Discover Maritime Wonders at the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum
Every time I visit the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum, I find myself engrossed in the vast exhibits related to maritime and military history.
There's something awe-inspiring about standing in front of actual submarines and torpedoes, each silently narrating tales of historic naval warfare.
One thing that sets this museum apart is the in-depth look it provides into the U.S. Navy's undersea operations.
The carefully curated displays successfully ignite a sense of curiosity.
Sure, there's more reading than hands-on activities, but the wealth of information is more than worth it.
And if you have kids who love learning, they'll surely find the museum intriguing, given their attention span and curiosity.
Some areas of the museum might seem more captivating than others, but that's the beauty of it, the exhibits cater to a wide spectrum of interests.
While I do crave more historical details at times, the general overview of a range of undersea elements keeps the experience balanced and overall enjoyable for my family and me.
One of the best parts about U.S. Naval Undersea Museum experience is how welcoming the staff is.
As soon as you step inside, a volunteer greets you and provides a brief rundown of the place, helping to navigate the wealth of information.
Plus, the ample parking and free admission make the visit all the more convenient.
Go Birdwatching at Illahee State Park
I have to tell you, nothing quite comes close to the serene beauty and charm of Illahee State Park.
Stretched over a generous 75 acres, it offers a perfect blend of outdoor activities and tranquility.
I especially adore the upper area of the park, with its grand trees providing shade over the picnic spaces.
Kids love playing at the playground while we adults cherish our meals and conversations.
The circle of life can be observed in its full glory, with a plethora of birds visiting the park.
I wouldn't call myself a birdwatcher per se, but the range of species you find there would impress anyone.
When I'm in the mood for some active recreation, I indulge in a hike around the park, testing my endurance on some steep trails.
The burning sensation in my legs afterward is a good kind of pain, a triumph over nature's challenge.
The part of Illahee State Park that's a crowd-pleaser is undeniably the beach area.
It's a bit busier, but it has a boat launch and a sizable pier for those fishing enthusiasts out there.
I remember one Friday morning when I found the pier closed and the tide high, leaving the little beach to walk on, but the experience was still surreal.
The campsites are snugly placed close to each other, lending an intimate feel to the whole camping experience.
Most of the sites have a picnic table, and some even boast a fire pit, perfect for those chilly nights under the starry sky.
My personal favorite amenity, though, has to be the cleanest bathrooms I've ever seen in a state park.
It's not something one would expect, but the maintenance staff does an exceptional job.
It's no wonder I find myself falling in love with Bainbridge Island over and over again.
From the peaceful walks at Bloedel Reserve to the fascinating exhibits at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, there's always something to captivate the senses.
Savoring locally crafted spirits at Bainbridge Organic Distillers is a personal favorite activity, and a visit to the Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market is a must for anyone looking to truly experience the bounty and warm community spirit of our island.
And trust me, no matter how many times you visit, there's always something new waiting to be discovered.