Living On Bainbridge Island

Living on Bainbridge Island, Washington may be a dream come true for those who prefer a clean and quiet suburb in a neighborhood that skews luxury and upper-middle class, while just a 30-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle, WA.

I know a gentleman (an IT worker) who grew up living on Bainbridge Island and he said they loved mocking their Bremerton, WA and Olympic Peninsula sports rivals for being country hicks.

Although Bainbridge Island has many “woodsy” and “farmy” areas back a few miles from the waterfront, it is known for being a posh suburb. This IT worker gentleman was living in a Belltown Seattle condo and his hobby was taking flying lessons last I heard from him.

Many people on Bainbridge Island have money, and multi-million dollar estates with water views or waterfront land on Puget Sound are not uncommon. Nor are large acreages.

Is Bainbridge Island, WA Famous?

If you’ve ever watched Grey’s Anatomy – which is a long-running soapy doctor show about “McSteamy” surgeons living in Seattle, which I (ahem) do NOT watch (anymore), you would know that one of the main characters – the moody Dr. Grey herself – lived on Bainbridge Island and was always taking the ferry boat back and forth to work. 

Access to Bainbridge Island Is A Challenge

If you’re going to live on Bainbridge Island, you’ll need to get used to reading the ferry schedlue, waiting in lines on busy holiday weekends and at rush hour, and you may want to consider walking on, or taking a bike or motorcycle since space for cars and trucks is the limiting factor when it comes to getting a ride quickly, or not.

For safety purposes – there are highways you can take to access the Olympic Peninsula and the mainland, driving north through the San Juan Islands, or South through Tacoma. But for pracitcal purposes, these are long drives which would take additional hours to get into town, and aren’t a pracitcal commuting alternative for getting into Seattle.

Tacoma, WA is an hour and 15 minutes south of Bainbridge Island.

Getting into Bellevue, WA from Bainbridge Island is doable, but would add an additional 30-40 minutes to your rush-hour commute, depending on traffic. Bainbridge Island is a best-fit for people working in Seattle.

Because, yes, you really do have to take a ferry from Bainbridge Island to get into Seattle. 

One doctor, whose son I went to high school with, kept a house boat in-town on Lake Union for those nights he couldn’t get back home, and had his main house on Bainbridge Island.

Many who can afford to do so have a pied-de-terre set up like this, some with a luxury downtown condo as an alternative.

Getting To Downtown Seattle From Bainbridge Island

The good news is that you can drive (or bike) to the park and ride on Bainbridge Island and then walk onto the ferry to whisk you over to downtown Seattle directly.  If you don’t take a car, it’s cheaper and you won’t have to wait in line.  But you will be on foot at the pier in Seattle, so you could then walk, uber or bus to work. 

For comfort and convenience, most prefer the high-end version, which is to drive your car onto the ferry ($15 fare), stay parked in your car working (or meditating) while the ferry drives you over, and then drive your car to the parking garage in your office building in Seattle, where it may cost upwards of $300/month to rent your parking space.

Living On Bainbridge Island – Personal Stories

My Godfather, who was an attorney, and his wife and two boys lived on Bainbridge for a number of years and liked it.  The population is about 24,000 and the downtown area in Bainbridge Island has a small town character and some more rural areas as you drive further West – away from the beach and the Seattle side. 

One year, I attended a church retreat hosted by IslandWood on Bainbridge Island. This area near the southern tip, had many acres of forest, dorms, a cafeteria, and focused on outdoor ecology and forestry education programs for youth.

I’ve visited Fay Bainbridge Park on the Puget Sound on the more remote northern end of the Island and seen Harbor Seal pups waiting on the beach while the mothers went fishing.  (Note: Although it is very exciting to see these large marine mammals, you are not supposed to disturb the napping pups, and just let them wait for their mothers in peace – don’t scare them by coming too close.)

Would You Like Help Buying Or Selling Your Bainbridge Island Home?

Emily Cressey
Need Help Buying or Selling on Bainbridge Island? Emily Cressey, Real Estate Broker is here to help you.

Bainbridge Island real estate can feel exclusive and expensive, but located just a ferry ride away from downtown and in a quiet, woods-and-water setting, you can see how the desirable location would drive up prices.

On average, homes for sale on Bainbridge Island cost $1.4 Million.

On average, Condominiums for sale on Bainbridge island cost $750,000. Not cheap!

If you need an experienced real estate professional to assist in your transaction, we are here to help. Fill out the form below and one of our Bainbridge Island team members will be ready, willing and able to assist you.

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