Take a day trip to Bainbridge Island that goes beyond the usual sightseeing stops

Bainbridge Island is a scenic 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle, but it feels much further afield. You can still see the skyscrapers, 9 miles through Elliott Bay, but then you drive along two-lane roads with no shoulders, through a tunnel of trees. Farm stalls dot the roads. Pocket beaches await you.

Most visitors head straight to the pretty and bustling town of Winslow, a short walk from the ferry terminal, to stock up on ice cream (Mora Iced Creamery), books (Eagle Harbor Book Co.) and pastries (Coquette). Bake Shop). Passengers in cars make their way to the famous Bloedel Preserve, a 150-acre wooded private garden.

We started at the ferry terminal and circled the island mostly clockwise, exploring Bainbridge off the beaten track. You can go through everything on this list in one day, or just as well spend all day in one place. There is no entrance fee for any of these parks and beaches, and getting from one place to another is very easy. Driving along the island from one end to the other is like driving from Northgate to Sodo, but without traffic.

The ferry ride makes getting there part of the fun; you will have the best views in town, and hopefully the mountain will be out. Be warned, Washington State Ferries (the nation’s largest ferry system) is struggling to keep boats running this year with COVID-19 and crew shortages. Expect long waits on weekends. Typically, walking or cycling the ferry will save you time and money, but a car is useful unless you are traveling with seasoned cyclists.

We’ve put together a list of wonderful recommendations from the residents of Bainbridge. Go explore and have fun!

Memorial to the Exclusion of Japanese Americans on Bainbridge Island

A 276-foot-long wall at the Memorial to the Exclusion of Japanese Americans on Bainbridge Island lists the 276 Japanese Americans and Japanese driven from Bainbridge Island during World War II.  (JiaYing Grygiel / Special for the Seattle Times)

In 1942, soldiers armed with rifles and bayonets forced the inhabitants of Bainbridge Island of Japanese descent from their homes to the prison camps. Today, a 276-foot-long wall honors the 276 Japanese and Japanese Americans driven out during World War II. It is a solemn and beautiful place.

4192 Eagle Harbor Drive NE

Halls Hill Lookout and Maze

Halls Hill Lookout & Labyrinth is designed to be a meditative and peaceful space.  (JiaYing Grygiel / Special for the Seattle Times)

By design, there are only five parking spaces on the side of the road – no parties or gatherings are allowed here! A neighbor donated this land for quiet reflection. Come and enjoy nature and the works of art of Northwestern artists. Portland artist Jeffrey Bale created a maze using stones found on the beaches of Bainbridge Island. Chimacum artist Tom Jay made the bronze community prayer wheel, which rings after being turned nine times.

10975 NE, Halls Hill Road

Blakely Harbor Park

Once the site of one of the largest sawmills in the world, Blakely Harbor now has a circular walking trail.  (JiaYing Grygiel / Special for the Seattle Times)

In the late 1800s, Blakely Harbor was the site of a busy shipyard and one of the largest sawmills in the world. All that remains is a building shell covered in graffiti. The walking loop trail was a hit with my kids as 1) it is only a mile long and 2) blackberry bushes line the sides of the trail. Purple fingers and sticky faces are our favorite way to experience nature.

Blakely Avenue North-East and 3 T Road North-East

Fort Ward Park

Fort Ward was built by the United States Army a century ago to protect the Puget Sound Shipyard in Bremerton. Gun batteries guarded an underwater minefield across Rich Passage. Today the guns are gone, but the children use the batteries as a climbing room. The wide paved path along the water is perfect for bikes and strollers.

2241 Pleasant Beach Drive NE

Lytle Beach

Flora goes to collect a stick at Lytle Beach on Bainbridge Island from its owner, Will de Rubertis.  Behind her, a Seattle-Bremerton ferry crosses Rich Passage.  (JiaYing Grygiel / Special for the Seattle Times)

Bainbridge Island has 53 miles of coastline, which means plenty of beaches. Lytle Beach is a small public beach at the end of a road. We loved watching the busy ferry route between Seattle and Bremerton.

Southernmost end of Lytle Road Northeast

Lynwood Center

Takeout from Hammy's, a popular burger restaurant at the Lynwood Center on Bainbridge Island.  (JiaYing Grygiel / Special for the Seattle Times)

We stopped for alfresco burgers and sweet potato fries at Hammy’s, a popular burger restaurant at the Lynwood Center. Lynwood Center is a charming business district with shops, cafes and frozen yogurts, just far enough from the ferry terminal that it is mostly locals.

Intersection of Point White Drive to the northeast and Pleasant Beach Drive to the northeast / Lynwood Center Road to the northeast

Great Forest

The shaded Grand Forest Trail, one of Bainbridge Island's many lush green spaces.  Less than 45 minutes from the Seattle waterfront by ferry, Bainbridge Island can feel like a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life.  (JiaYing Grygiel / Special for the Seattle Times)

Walking among the mossy giants of Grand Forest feels like you are in Olympic National Park, except you didn’t drive three hours to get there. It is a good choice for rainy days as the trees will keep you sheltered. Hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders share the 13 kilometers of trails.

9752 Miller Road NE

Battle Point Park

The new ferry-shaped play structure at Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island is sure to be a hit with kids.  (JiaYing Grygiel / Special for the Seattle Times)

This park is the mother of all parks. There is a pumping track, an ice rink, soccer fields, tennis courts, pickleball fields, a disc golf course and – oh! – a brand new playground with a ferry-boat play structure. The playground just opened in September, and yes, this 47-foot-long ferry was tailor-made for this park on Bainbridge Island.

Battle Point Park is a good place for pickleball games, a sport that was invented on the island. Pickleball looks a bit like tennis, but is played with balls similar to Wiffle balls and paddles similar to those used for table tennis, on a court half the size of a regular tennis court. The three inventors of the game – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum – invented pickleball in the summer of 1965 to entertain their bored children.

11299 Arrow Point Drive NE

Picnic to take away

Winslow is a well-known foodie haven, but we have young, unvaccinated children and we are not yet ready to eat with other people. Also, a picnic at the beach! You can grab gourmet sandwiches ($ 11.55) and the biggest chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever seen ($ 3.15) at Sweet Dahlia Baking in CopperTop Park.

And you can’t go wrong with anything at Jake’s Pickup Grab ‘n Go, located inside the Chevron station just off Hwy 305. Make no mistake, this is not the place. usual food from your gas station. There is a cold crate and baking rack ready with individually wrapped items. We grabbed the latest banana pudding ($ 11) and some freshly baked “sconuts” from the cooling rack ($ 3 each). Scottish? If a scone and a donut had a baby together, it’s a sconut.

Sweet Dahlia Baking: 9720 Coppertop Loop NE, Suite 103

Jake’s Pickup Grab ‘n Go: 406 High School Road NE

Fay Bainbridge Park and Campground

There are a lot of tables here for a picnic at the beach (see above). The pirate-themed playground is fun, but it’s nothing compared to the 1,420 feet of shoreline with a driftwood obstacle course. The view of the Cascades is not that bad either.

Plus, Fay Bainbridge Park is on the Whale Trail! Visiting killer whales can be seen at any time of the year; fall and winter are the best times to see resident killer whales (those who only eat salmon). Other cool animals to look for include harbor seals, river otters, harbor porpoises, bald eagles, and barred owls.

15446 Sunrise Drive NE

Berry hay and feed

Howard Block, owner of Bay Hay & Feed on Bainbridge Island, runs the store's cat, Chase.  Chase is known as the Cat in a Box;  she always finds the smallest box to sneak in for a nap.  Block has owned Bay Hay for almost 42 years.  He wears a Bay Hay shirt that has sold over 1.6 million replicants.  (JiaYing Grygiel / Special for the Seattle Times)

Running out of galoshes? Hay bales? Animal food? Bay Hay & Feed is an old-fashioned farm shop that has a bit of everything, but this is the only place you can buy the famous Bay Hay animal shirt.

Store owner Howard Block removed the design from a feed bag 30 years ago, improved the image, and printed it in thousands of color combinations and contrasting animals. It’s an unlikely viral sensation – 1.6 million shirts sold and it’s not over yet. At this year’s Independent Spirit Awards, Chloe Zhao accepted the award for Best Director for “Nomadland” in a Bay Hay shirt (hers is gray with purple horses).

PS There are also turkeys and pet hens in the back to visit.

10355 Northeast Valley Road

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