Community January 23, 2024

New to the PNW? Tips & Resources from Local Experts

Are you new to the Pacific Northwest? The PNW encompasses Washington, Oregon and parts of Idaho and northern California. It’s loosely defined as the area between the Pacific Coast and the Rocky Mountains.

If you’ve moved to this area from other parts of the country, you’ll probably notice how unique the Olympic Peninsula, Kitsap Peninsula, and Bainbridge Island are. Since we love Bainbridge Island and the surrounding area, that’s what we’re going to focus on in this article. Located in the northern portion of Washington state and west of Seattle, this is an incredible place to live. Here are some tips and resources to help you get connected.

Get Out When the Sun is Out

The PNW is generally known for rainy weather. Many locals understand the importance of going outside whenever the sun peeks its head out. In the winter months, some refer to this as chasing the sun. After a snowfall or long stretch of rain, sidewalks come alive with walkers soaking in Vitamin D.

We highly recommend investing in a great waterproof jacket and shoes. With waterproof gear, you can still go on hikes even when it’s raining. Many outdoor enthusiasts say, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.” Proper clothing, soaking in the sun when you can, and having a sense of adventure will help you enjoy each day.

Savor the Natural Beauty

Thanks to our higher precipitation levels, we have a lush environment with rivers, lakes, rainforests, and fern-covered hiking trails to explore. Our area is also known for fun water sports and activities like kayaking, boating, and scuba diving.

Kelsie Thurrott, Windermere Bainbridge Broker from Team 98110, says, “We love to share the Bainbridge Trails Map, which clearly marks more than 42 miles of public trails. There is an online version, and hard copies of these maps are available at the Bainbridge Island Recreation Center. Or, you can just stop by the Windermere Bainbridge Office and ask for Team 98110!”

In addition, the Olympic National Park is a natural playground for many in the area. It encompasses nearly a million acres and even includes an old-growth temperate rainforest. Winter sports such as sledding, snowshoeing, and skiing are popular. Hurricane Ridge is a great destination for alpine activities.

Puget Sound is a vast series of interconnected waterways throughout the region. Locals do everything from crabbing and fishing to paddleboarding. Check out the Cascadia Marine Trail for information on more than 66 campsites and 160 day-use sites accessible by water. While you’re out, you might spot amazing sea life, and if you’re lucky, even a whale!

Ferries, Museums, and More

While communities in our corner of the Pacific Northwest are much smaller than Seattle, it’s easy to access the Emerald City by ferry. You can drive, bike or walk onto the WA State Ferries. Additionally, there are Fast Ferries via Kitsap Transit, which are smaller passenger-only vessels that quickly get you across Puget Sound. Both in Seattle and on the Kitsap Peninsula, you’ll find opportunities to enjoy the arts, live music, delicious restaurants, and more. Check out these fascinating museums throughout the region. There are also relaxing retreats when you’re looking to recharge.

Enjoy Local Breweries and Wineries

In the Pacific Northwest, craft breweries abound. Indian Pale Ales (IPAs) are a popular variety of beer often on tap, and microbreweries can be found throughout the region. If wine is more your style, there are also many must-visit wineries. We have some wonderful local wineries on Bainbridge Island and larger wineries across WA state.

Visit Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island is a popular tourist destination and has been highlighted by Sunset Magazine, The New York Times, and The Seattle Times. Our island has award-winning restaurants, a strong community, and a thriving art scene. One example is Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network or BARN.

“I am a big fan of BARN,” says Windermere Bainbridge Managing Broker Susan Grosten. “It was built by community funds and has “maker” studios for so many creative adventures from jewelry, fabric arts, kitchen arts, 3-D printing, metal work, and an amazing woodworking studio. I have served on a committee for connections and inclusion for BARN and sponsored a table for their fundraiser in 2023. I had clients searching for a home on Bainbridge Island and one partner really wanted space for a woodworking shop. We struggled to find a combination of the right home and location, as well as a shop space. I suggested they tour BARN and they were hooked! We found the perfect house and I gave them a membership to BARN as a closing gift.”

If Bainbridge Island is of particular interest, reach out to any of our agents at Windermere Bainbridge Island. Many of them grew up on the island, and our local experts are well-connected with helpful insider tips.

For example, Windermere Bainbridge Broker Julie Miller has insider tips about local sales. “Don’t miss Town and Country Market’s Gift Card Sale, where you can purchase up to $400 in gift cards for only $300. It’s online only and on the Monday after Thanksgiving.” Julie Miller also offers an insider tip for Bainbridge’s local bookstore: “Eagle Harbor Books has a wonderful Gift Card Sale between Thanksgiving and Christmas where you can enjoy substantial savings when you purchase a gift card.”

To learn more about our community, check out our Guide to Bainbridge Island. It has helpful information about our neighborhoods, schools, and much more.

Attend Local Events and Festivals

With numerous annual events and festivals throughout WA state, there will always be something exciting to do here. This Kitsap County Annual Events Guide is simply a taste of what fun activities await.

“One of the most understated family events on Bainbridge Island is the All-Comers Track Meets held the 6 Monday evenings following the Grand Old 4th of July parade,” says Managing Broker, Chris Miller. “It’s hosted by the BI Kiwanis, and it’s free. All ages are welcome.”

Learn More

For additional information about our area, check out Visit Kitsap, Lonely Planet’s Must-See Attractions in Western WA, and these PNW Travel & Outdoor Guides.