Bainbridge Island, WA

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Life in Central, South, or North Bainbridge: Paradise With a Ferry-Tale Commute

When it comes to choosing a place to live, there’s little to argue with about Bainbridge Island. A small-town setting and quiet beaches present an idyllic backdrop, yet the heart of Seattle—and its job opportunities—are just a 35-minute ferry ride away. 

And while its roots, and much of its topography, are still rural, lifestyles on Bainbridge Island are an amalgam of country and city life, from locally harvested vegetables and pumpkin picking to a downtown featuring stylish wares and one of the region’s hottest chefs.  

One of the biggest considerations when moving to Bainbridge is where on the island to live. Most people there divide the island into three main sections: South, Central, and North.  


Central Bainbridge Island: Central Bainbridge Island is home to its core town—Winslow. Winslow is walking distance to the ferry terminal and has a historic downtown with shops and restaurants beloved by locals and tourists alike. There’s also the waterfront for walking, beachcombing, kayaking, or boating. This commercial core is where you’ll find the island’s grocery stores and other primary shopping needs. The central part of the island is the most densely populated and highly walkable, with houses close together and some condos and other multifamily properties. There are clusters of neighborhoods here, growing more spacious as you move from the downtown core. Farther out, enjoy hikes in the vast Grand Forest or take a walk, play disc gold, or enjoy a summer concert at Battlepoint Park. 


South Bainbridge Island: Up to a 15-minute drive from downtown Winslow and the ferry terminal, the southern end of Bainbridge Island affords many views of the ferry boats and Mount Rainier from residential areas like Crystal Springs, South Beach, and Rockaway Beach. A small commercial area, Lynwood Center, provides south-enders with eateries, coffee shops, and a hotel. There’s ample access to the outdoors on the south end—jump off of the Point White Pier, launch your boat or take a waterside stroll in Fort Ward Park, or take a hike through the Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve. 


North Bainbridge Island: If you want Bainbridge living with closer proximity to off-island amenities, the north end of the island is a great place to look. Though as much as 20 minutes from downtown, the north side is closer to the Agate Pass Bridge and points beyond, including Poulsbo and Silverdale. And it offers some beautiful properties with woods or water views. Choose the intimate community of West Port Madison, cozy shores of Manzanita, or skyline vistas on Sunrise Drive. Hit up the Rolling Bay area for coffee, amazing Italian food, quick groceries, and garden supplies. 

Custom Home Builder in Bainbridge Island | Estes Builders


Here are a few more highlights of owning a home on Bainbridge Island: 


Family Friendly

With a low crime rate and one of the top-rated school districts in the region, Bainbridge is simply a great place to raise kids. Among the many amenities for families:

  • Kid-friendly events and festivals, including the Grand Old 4th of July, summer concerts in Battlepoint Park, outdoor movies in Waterfront Park, a giant Easter egg hunt, fall Harvest Fair, Halloween Walk trick-or-treating, and the annual Christmas tree lighting.
  • The Kids Discovery Museum, KiDiMu, offers experiential learning and play designed to spark kids’ curiosity. Workshops and camps during school breaks take kids on fun missions and adventures.
  • Throughout the summer the Parks district offers sports camps ranging from lacrosse to volleyball to martial arts,. Island Wood, an environmental learning center on the island, offers half- and full-day camps rooted in nature. For young artists, Bainbridge Island Museum of Arts hosts courses in drawing, architecture, and more.  
  • Dance classes from Bainbridge Parks and RecBainbridge Ballet, or the Bainbridge Dance Center.
  • The Bainbridge Aquatic Center offers lessons, open swim—and “movie and float” events in the winter.


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Inspiring Art

Bainbridge is home to an enclave of artists—and art lovers.

  • Bainbridge Island Studio Tour is a twice-yearly self-guided art show celebrating the island’s local artists—and is a great way to stock up on unique gifts.
  • Whether you’re an aspiring painter or an experienced woodworker, BARN, the Bainbridge Artists Resource Network, offers classes, workshop space, and other resources to practice and hone your craft.
  • The first Friday of each month is Art Walk, where local artists showcase their latest exhibitions in downtown shops.


Foodie’s Rejoice

And island living doesn’t mean sacrificing a sophisticated palette.

  • Bainbridge Island is home to six wineries, with tasting rooms and events to keep your glass full throughout the year.
  • Among several breweries and distilleries on the island is Bainbridge Organic Distillers, whose Bainbridge Battle Point Two Islands Hokkaido Mizunara Cask Wheat Whiskey was recently named the best in the world.
  • A robust restaurant scene provides a little something for everyone. Families will enjoy the fun atmosphere at Westside Pizza, paper-wrapped burgers at Hammy’s, and frozen yogurt at Island Cool. Enjoy authentic Italian at Via Rosa 11 and Bene; amazing pho from Ba|Sa; delectable sushi at SuBi; and French fare at Marche. 
  • Bainbridge is home one of Seattle’s up-and-coming chefs, Brendan McGill, whose family of downtown restaurants includes Café Hitchcock, Bruciato, and Seabird
  • Seattle’s favorite fish opened its first brick-and-mortar location, Proper Fish, in Bainbridge.
  • Farm-to-table cuisine doesn’t get much closer to the farm than the Thursday- and Friday-night community dinners at Heyday Farm


Custom Home Builder in Bainbridge Island | Estes Builders


An Outdoor Lover’s Dream

If you’re torn between a love of the forest and a love of the water, you’ll be pleased to find both steps from your door on Bainbridge. 

  • A handful of public beaches offers easy access for shellfish finding, driftwood sitting, kayaking, paddleboarding, and so much more. Fay Bainbridge park on the North end includes camp and picnic sites.
  • Multiple marinas provide space for your boat or liveaboards.
  • Miles of forest trails offer quintessential Pacific Northwest old-growth trees and greenery. Try the Grand Forest or Gazzam Lake for both flat and hilly circuits.
  • The 137-acre Ft. Ward park combines forested trails, a long waterfront path, and ferry views, with a sprinkling of old military structures.
  • Battlepoint Park has a little something for every family member—a 2.5-mile flat walking path, robust playground, disc golf, roller hockey rink and soccer fields, climbing walls for little kids, and an outdoor amphitheater.
  • The refined gardens, natural landscapes, and preserved forests of the Bloedel Reserve are a jewel of the island and the region.


Ready to experience Bainbridge living for yourself? Connect with us for a free consultation.


Bainbridge Panorama: Copyright Daniel Ramirez

Photo: Copyright Doug Kerr

Photo: Copyright Daniel Ramirez

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