Bainbridge Island Loop Route
On November 22nd our 2019 Ranger Tug R23, 2021 Beneteau Antares 21, 2020 Beneteau Antares 21, 2020 Beneteau Barracuda 21 and our 2019 Defiance 220ex all adventured on a guided cruise around Bainbridge Island lead by our instructor Jeff Davis with stops in Poulsbo, Bremerton and Blake Island. Follow our route notes below to plan your own Bainbridge Island cruise!
Heading out of Shilshole it’s about a 45-minute run to cross the Sound heading towards the north end of Bainbridge Island. We encountered the choppiest section of water on our trip here and in the short run from Blake back to Shilshole as the rest of the route is sheltered by the island.
You will then pass through Agate Pass, which is a tide gate so you will want to check your tide book to see if you will be fighting or going with the tide. If possible, it’s best to plan your trip around a slack or a flood tide for minimal resistance but with our powerful boats, this isn’t at all necessary if it’s too inconvenient for your cruising schedule.
From there you will come around the town of Keyport which juts out from your left and into Liberty Bay which takes you right into Poulsbo. At this time of year we were easily able to secure 30ft guests slips for $5 per boat last minute and were nearly the only ones at the dock (except another Carefree member who was independently in Poulsbo for an overnight trip!) but in the summer you will definitely want to call ahead to make a reservation.
Leaving Poulsbo it’s a 20-minute cruise south to Bremerton on the west side of Bainbridge Island and the entrance to the port is quite easy to find.
Complete the loop by going around the south side of Bainbridge Island past Point White through Rich Passage. Rich Passage is another tide gate so be sure to check your tide book and plan accordingly.
From here you can head back to Shilshole or stop at Blake Island Marine State Park! At this time of year, we had the island and their guest slips to ourselves for free without reservation but you will want to contact the dock ahead of time if you want to overnight in the summer. Blake Island State Park boasts 475-acres of hiking trails and coastline for mooring your boat or camping as well as five miles of saltwater beach shoreline displaying stunning views of the Olympic Mountains.
From Blake Island, it was less than a half an hour run back to Shilshole with the sunset gleaming over the Seattle city skyline and Mt. Rainer glowing white in the background. This route is easy, quick, and customizable, you can choose to stop at all three ports or just one and if you run afoul of bad weather you can easily return home from any of the destinations along the way.