Seattle’s Secret Outdoor Paradise
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Set in Puget Sound and flanked by two mountain ranges — the snowcapped Cascades to the east and the lush Olympic range to the west — with the Seattle skyline glistening across the channel, Bainbridge Island is a rare combination: a bona-fide small-town outdoor paradise that also happens to be just a stone’s throw from one of the nation’s hottest job markets and coolest cities. A 35-minute ferry ride takes Bainbridge residents to downtown Seattle, allowing them to work at companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks. But coming home from corporate America is like stepping back in time, with about 23,000 people living on 28 square miles of land. “It’s a really nice, close-knit small community, which is hard to find in proximity to Seattle,” says Travis Oliver, 35, who works at Microsoft two days a week and telecommutes from Bainbridge three days. The city has some of the best public schools in the state, and it offers a trove of opportunities for anyone interested in hiking, paddling, sailing, or trail running. What’s more, the island is connected by bridge to the Kitsap Peninsula, providing easy access to Olympic National Park — and a simple escape should island fever set in.
My Town: Damien Lawson, 34, musician and graphic designer
“We moved here from Los Angeles. It’s like living in a postcard. My son will go to the candy store and the owner will remember his name and what he likes. My dad came to visit and was like, ‘Wow, this is what it was like when I was a kid.’ And if you want to go to clubs or get some nightlife, it’s as easy as jumping on a ferry and going to Seattle.'”Back to top