For RV lovers wanting a remote beachside getaway, you can't beat the sun, surf, and sand that is waiting for you at Fort Ebey State Park. It is hard to believe, but in the early 1940s, Washingtonians lived in fear of a foreign invasion. In late 1942, Fort Ebey was the last such installation to open. With features like radar-guided guns and camouflage, Fort Ebey was one of the most sophisticated military installations of its time.
After the threat of invasion faded, the land that Fort Ebey occupies was sold to the state of Washington by the government in 1965 and with further land purchases over the next two decades, the park was opened in 1981. Since the park is located on the water's edge, there is plenty of water-based recreation to enjoy, but that's not all. The park still has a bunker from its previous life as a fort, so you can see some of the underground rooms and get a feel for what life would have been like in the concrete bunker back in the day. Further inland, there are roughly 25 miles of mixed-use hiking trails, along with plenty of wildlife watching opportunities.
Fort Ebey State Park also contains some great camping amenities. The campground features some fantastic views, electric hookups, and primitive sites, so there is something for everyone no matter the RV camping experience that you are interested in.
Like many islands in this part of Puget Sound, Fort Ebey is a tad on the remote side, but the drive won't be too difficult. The WA-20 Highway runs to the east of the park which is the most popular way to access the park, but you can also take West Beach Road if you are coming from the north. This road cuts through some fairly thick forests and, in a couple of places, has a nice view of the Pacific coastline.
If you need to stock up on RV camping supplies there are multiple places to choose from on your way to the park, including at Coveland (around 1.5 miles away), Oak Harbor (around eight miles away), and Mt. Vernon (around 28.5 miles away). The closest major cities to the park are Vancouver and Seattle, both of which are around two hours away. If you just need anything small, Fort Ebey State Park also has a camp store.
Fort Ebey State Park is open from March to October 3 so during the off-season, you won't be able to access it.
Once you reach the park, there is lots of parking near the gun battery and beach access point if you aren't staying at the park.
Fort Ebey State Park contains one campground that features RV sites perfect for you and your rig. The campground is known for its incredible views to Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, so get ready to take some fantastic photos. There are a total of 50 campsites in the Fort Ebey State Park Campground, all of which are suitable for RVs to use.
The sites are on the smaller side and mostly back-in, but there are a couple that will be suitable for rigs up to 40 feet, as well as pull-through sites; however, they are usually the first to be reserved. If you want to stay in a site with electrical and water hookups, you are in luck because 11 of the 50 sites are equipped with these hookups.
No matter if the sites have hookups or not, they are all equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring so you can cook up some s'mores and enjoy the great outdoors. Campground-wide amenities include a large amphitheater, two shower areas, restroom facilities, and a spacious open athletic playing field. There is no dump station at the campground, so keep that in mind.
The Fort Ebey State Park Campground is open between March and October each year, and you will need a reservation if you want to call the park home during your visit.
If you are planning on visiting Fort Ebey State Park with a group, you will be pleased to know that there is a specific group camping site available. The Vista Group Camp is located outside of the main camping area near a bluff and has enough room for 60 people, but you will need a minimum of 20 in order to be able to stay here.
There aren't as many amenities available in the group camping area as the main campground, but there is a water collection point and vault toilet so you don't have to rough it too much. RVs are allowed and there is enough room for 30 cars. Like the main campground, reservations need to be made in order to use it.
There are no tent-only sites available at Fort Ebey State Park, but you can set up a tent at any of the sites within the campground or the Vista Group Camp. During your stay in the campground, there may be Navy jets flying over the park that may cause some noise depending on which direction the wind is blowing.
There are lots of animals on land, sea, and air. Many land animals like this area because of the kettles, or depressions, which retreating glaciers left eons ago. Look for a variety of wildlife, including coyotes, deer, and chipmunks, in the park’s interior. On the beach, there are lots of crabs and other little critters. Local birds include woodpeckers, owls, ravens, ducks, and eagles. About 60 pairs of bald eagles nest in and around Whidbey Island and in the water, there are seals, whales, and other wildlife.
If you are interested in doing some hiking, there are 25 miles of trails suitable for hiking and biking within the park. There is a lot of exploring to do, but if you only hike one trail, make sure it’s the Bluff Trail. This path skirts the coastline along the top of the bluff and the trail begins and ends at a picnic area, so you can eat, walk, and eat again! Other popular trails in the park include Hugh’s Delight, Emile’s Ridge, the Main Line, and the Tunnel that all run through the thick forests in the park’s interior.
Another must-do activity at Fort Ebey State Park is to explore the old bunker. Six-inch guns were sold for scrap a long time ago, but back in the day, their ten-mile range and radar guidance system meant that they could hit pretty much anything this side of Victoria. Most of the old bunker remains and is open for exploration so you can check out both the above-ground and underground portions. If you want to go exploring in the underground bunker, make sure you bring your flashlight because it’s pitch dark down there.
Without a doubt, one of the most popular activities to do at Fort Ebey State Park is to have some fun on the beach. The beach access point is at the north end of the park and from here there are miles of sandy beach that you can explore. Depending on the tides and the time of the year that you are visiting, the water may be too cold to dip your feet in, but there will be seashells for you to find and admire. Another great aspect of the beach is that it is hardly ever crowded, so it should be a peaceful outing on the beach.
If you love to fish, you will have to bring your fishing pole and try to catch a big one during your time at Fort Ebey State Park. Thanks to the location of the park, you will be able to go beach fishing and freshwater fishing at Lake Pondilla so you will have plenty of options to enjoy your time casting a line. There are lots of smallmouth bass as well as a few steelhead and trout. Anglers should get good results with baitcasting, fly fishing, or spinning, and you can fish from shore, from a dock, or from a boat.
If you love adventure and taking to the skies, you should consider giving paragliding a go. The wind is usually right after a large rainstorm, and there are plenty of them in this part of Washington. Furthermore, the air around the gun battery is very smooth, so piloting is quite easy. Most people take off from the parade lawn across from the battery. Once they are airborne, paragliders have plenty of chances to take in the stunning sites of Puget Sound. There are a number of paragliding clubs nearby, where you can rent equipment and obtain instruction.