Just under 1,000 acres, Fort Casey Historical State Park is not an average marine park. Established in the late 1800s, Fort Casey is one of three forts that were known as the "Triangle of Fire." Together, these forts defended the sole entrance to Washington's Puget Sound. During World War I and World War II, the area was used as a military training facility until the mid-1940s when advancements in more mobile forms of attack, such as airplanes, rendered the fort's defenses obsolete and it was decommissioned. The fort and surrounding area were acquired by Washington State Parks in 1955. Today, the historic military fort with bunkers and batteries still stands as well as the 1903 vintage lighthouse. Park visitors can visit both historical structures to learn more about Fort Casey's rich history.
Not only is Fort Casey Historical State Park full of fun stories, but it is also a place of immense beauty. Set among douglas fir, hemlock, spruce, alder, cherry and apple trees, the park is a great place for hiking and enjoying some of Washington's natural beauty. The campground offers views of the Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 10,810 feet of saltwater shoreline form a popular recreation site where activities include fishing for salmon, boating, swimming, and picnicking to name a few. Keen-eyed visitors can spot all sorts of wildlife, including chipmunks, foxes, otters, and deer, while birders will be more than thrilled to sight eagles, gulls, hawks, and herons hunting and nesting near the shore.
Fort Casey Historical State Park is located three miles south of Coupeville on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound in Washington. From almost all directions, visitors can easily locate the park by following along state highways and local roads. Please note that before arriving at the park, the speed limit on the highway drops from 45 to 25 mph rather quickly so be on the lookout for this. Within the park, the speed limit is five mph. Visitors will want to make sure that they follow this guideline as roads can turn sharply and suddenly. They will also want to keep an eye out for other park visitors who may be exploring the park on foot. Plenty of parking is available within the park, such as at the ferry holding area, near the lighthouse, and the dive park. Guests staying overnight can park their RVs in the campground. Please note that a Discover Pass is required for day visits to the park. These can be purchased online.
Fort Casey Historical State Park has one main campground that consists of 35 campsites. There is a variety of pull-through and back-in sites, but only 13 of the campsites offer electrical and water hookups. The remaining campsites are standard sites without any hookups. Visitors will need to be very careful when making a reservation to ensure that they select a campsite that is most suited for them.
Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire pit, and campers have access to all of the campground amenities. You'll be able to use modern restrooms with hot showers, a dump station for waste, and any of the water taps placed throughout the campground for drinking water. Campers should be aware of quiet hours, especially if they bring along a generator. Generators may only be operated outside of the designated quiet time. Pets are welcome in the campground but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Any of the 35 campsites within the Main Campground that have not been previously reserved online are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the limited number of sites and the popularity of the park, visitors are encouraged to make campsite reservations ahead of time to ensure that there is space available when they arrive at the park. Be aware that some sites are smaller than others, so visitors who have a larger rig will definitely want to reserve their spot since larger sites are limited.
Near the military fort is a large grassy field known as the "parade field." Back when the fort was active, soldiers used this area to practice marching formations. Today, it has been converted into a designated area for flying remote-control gliders. It has become a popular area for not only glider enthusiasts, but for kite flyers as well. Park visitors come from all over to take advantage of the wind on a good summer’s day as well as admire views of the fort, Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
There are nearly two miles of hiking trails to explore within Fort Casey Historical State Park. The park also includes a small section of the 1,200-mile-long Pacific Northwest Trail that spans across some of the most scenic areas of the northwestern territory of the United States. Backpackers who are determined to walk the entire trail often choose to camp in Fort Casey Historical State Park overnight before continuing on the Pacific Northwest Trail. Another one of the most popular trails is the interpretive trail that leads guests right to the military fort. Here they can discover the old bunkers and batteries as well as admire four historic guns constructed by the United States Army.
Anglers have much to look forward to at Fort Casey Historical State Park. Known for having some of the best saltwater fishing in the area, anglers can cast their line to catch cod, perch, steelhead, and some of the best salmon in the region. A boat launch right next to the ferry terminal allows the more adventurous anglers to head out onto the ocean water. Alternatively, guests can scour the 10,810-foot saltwater shoreline for all sorts of marine life including crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers, and even octopus and seals. Be aware that all visitors who intend on fishing are required to have a recreational license. Additionally, a launch permit is required in order to utilize the park's boat launch.
There are a variety of animals to be found in Fort Casey Historical State Park. Visitors should keep their eyes peeled when around the campsite or when traveling on any of the trails through the park. Common woodland creatures such as squirrels, foxes, chipmunks, rabbits, otters, and even coyotes are frequently seen around the area. Birders can spot a variety of interesting aviary species in the park too. From larger birds like herons, hawks, owls, and eagles to small, delicate hummingbirds, Fort Casey Historical State Park has a wide selection of birds to look for.
With so many scenic views of the water, Fort Casey Historical State Park is the perfect picnic spot for any time of the year. There are 68 unsheltered picnic areas to choose from. All of these are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so visitors will want to be sure to arrive at the park early to claim their spot. Both campers and day visitors can make use of these areas. Be sure to gather any trash or food that may be left behind and practice leaving no trace.
On the eastern side of the park stands the historic Admiralty Head Lighthouse that was constructed in 1903. Today, the lighthouse has been converted into a museum of sorts and is filled with exhibits detailing the exciting history of Fort Casey. Tours of the lighthouse are offered seasonally. Interested guests can schedule a tour by contacting the park office. In addition to seeing the lighthouse exhibits, visitors can also go on interpretive tours of gun batteries at the fort. These tours are guided by members of the Fort Casey Volunteer Battalion.