Mar 10, 2015

Bainbridge Island With Kids In Tow

I have been to Seattle, Washington at least a dozen times in my life, but our recent trip was to be the first with my husband and our kids in tow.  While I was eager to show them the iconic parts of Seattle, we had to first tackle the issue of where we would stay.  Once again the Internet came to the rescue.  My mouse came upon an intriguing option as we scrolled through the many hotel booking sites: Bainbridge Island.

Bainbridge Island is one of the largest among a cluster of islands located in the Puget Sound, between the Olympic Peninsula and the mainland of Washington State.  From the Peninsula, we drove across the narrow iron bridge which spans Agate Passage,  arriving on the island's northwest tip. 

As we drove down the main highway, we arrived at the far end at the small hamlet of Winslow.  Winslow is the main commercial centre and is also where you would find the Ferry Terminal for the Washington State Ferry.  You can  see downtown Seattle from here on a clear day.  The ferry runs roughly every hour, taking a mere 35min to reach the waterfront of Seattle.  The boat itself is surprisingly large, with a cafeteria, sundeck, free Wi-Fi, and plenty of seating options.  And the best part--it's so affordable!  Adults pay $8 USD for a return trip, kids Age 6+ are $4, and under 6 is free.  You can bring your car over if you wish for an extra $3!   (Check out their website for more info.).
The ferry from Bainbridge Island arrives right downtown Seattle in 35min.

Our original plan was to spend 2 nights on Bainbridge Island, with a full day in Seattle.  After a terrific day exploring the city then returning to the tranquil island, we realised that we wanted to see more of it.  We were able to extend our stay by another night which allowed us to spend a full day exploring Bainbridge Island. We were not left disappointed!

We started our day by walking the pleasant 2km from our accommodation to Winslow.  On our radar was the Kids Discovery Museum (aka KiDiMu) located there.  Well-priced at $6 USD per person, we spent 2hrs discovering, experimenting and playing there.  Great creative learning space for the 3-10yr old set, and not so overwhelming that it needs to take up your whole day.

One of the 3 role-play areas on the ground floor.
Upstairs at KiDiMu, filled with more hands-on science- type activities.

From there, we also checked out the Bainbridge Island Art Museum which was next door, and had a nice lunch at the adjacent bakery cafe too.  We then took a leisurely stroll along the waterfront and back through the village of Winslow.

We walked back to our lodging to retrieve the car to explore more of the island.  We oogled the many beautiful waterfront homes as we drove and passed through the quaint hamlet of Lynwood.  Eventually we found our way to the historic Fort Ward State Park.  There we did a refreshing stroll through  some of its 137-acres, taking in both water views and forest views.

View from Fort Ward State Park

Strolling through the forest at Fort Ward State Park

To finish off our day, we headed toward the northwest of the island and had a great play in the park at Battle Point Park.  The large park has nice walking tracks, picnic tables as well as well-utilized sporting fields too.

Being near the end of the day, we practically had the playground to ourselves at Battle Point Park.

There is so much to offer on Bainbridge Island, especially considering it is roughly only 8km wide and 16km long.  In particular, we liked how 'green' the island is, full of so many trees. Breath-taking. So next time you are considering a trip to Seattle, you should allow at least a day to explore Bainbridge Island.  Or better yet, spend a couple of nights here.  We don't think you'd be sorry.

Beautiful spring Cherry Blossoms in Winslow

Note:  From what we could tell, there is a choice of 2 commercial lodgings on the island, both being conveniently located near the only shopping complex on the island, where there is also a Safeway, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Subway, among other businesses.  There seems to be plenty of private lodging available too--do a search of the Internet if you are after a whole house or a room in one.

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