With vineyards, boutiques, waterfront cafés, and plenty of small-town charm, Bainbridge Island is a peaceful escape from Seattle that’s just a short ferry ride away. Beyond the compact downtown, Bainbridge Island is all about nature: Hiking and biking are popular here, along with kayaking, stand-up paddleboards, and even scuba diving.
The Bainbridge Island Ferry links the island to the Seattle waterfront, and it’s well worth the price of admission just for gorgeous views of the Puget Sound. If you’re sticking to the shops, cafés, and attractions in Winslow—which include the Bainbridge Museum of Art, the Bainbridge Historical Museum, and the Fletcher Bay Winery—it’s best to explore on foot, saving the hassle and expense of taking a car across on the ferry.
To go farther afield, bring a car, ride the bus, or rent a bike in town; the island’s mostly flat terrain makes it easy to explore on two wheels. Guided tours of Bainbridge Island’s hiking trails, wineries, and parks are a convenient alternative, with some options that include door-to-door transport from hotels in the Seattle area.
Things to Know Before You Go
- All passengers must purchase ferry tickets from Seattle to Bainbridge; only cars need tickets for the return trip from Bainbridge to Seattle.
- Bicycles are permitted on the Bainbridge Island Ferry.
- While sporting events and holidays can mean crowded ferries, there’s almost always room for walk-on passengers.
How to Get There
Getting to Bainbridge Island is easy. It’s a 35-minute trip from the Colman Dock on the Seattle waterfront to the town of Winslow via the Bainbridge Island Ferry. Ferries leave approximately once an hour from each side and are first-come, first-served. There is no ferry-specific parking at Colman Dock, but many parking garages are located nearby.
When to Get There
While Bainbridge Island is a top tourist attraction near Seattle, it’s also a bedroom community that can get caught up in the city’s commuting hours. The busiest times on the ferry are during morning crossings from Bainbridge to Seattle and late-afternoon trips from Seattle to Bainbridge. For fabulous views of the Olympic Mountain range lit by evening light, time your return trip to Seattle for sunset.
Visiting Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island
With 150 acres (61 hectares) of formal gardens, water features, a moss garden, and much more, Bloedel Reserve is among Bainbridge Island’s most popular destinations. The gardens are 6 miles (9.5 kilometers) north of the Winslow Ferry terminal; while many visitors go by car, there’s also a public bus that leaves directly from the ferry.