Fort Worden Historical State Park and Conference Center
Guide

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Introduction

Located north of Seattle near the mouth of Puget Sound, Fort Worden Historical State Park and Conference Center offers the perfect mix of historical and natural sites. A former naval base dating back to the mid 1800’s, the park has a range of historical sites, including the Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum, which highlights the military history of the area. You can also dine at the Guard House Pub or visit Point Wilson Lighthouse.

Once you’ve had enough history, explore the park’s natural wonders. There are over two miles of beaches that stretch along Strait Juan de Fuga, and scenic lookout points from atop steep bluffs that rise above the sea. Most of the park’s trails are open to mountain biking as well. The park has two boat launches, and there is excellent fishing along the strait. Motorized boats are allowed, so you can water ski and jet ski during the summer.

There are over 50 RV sites located near the beach and within a quick walk of the park’s historical sites. There is also a wide range of recreation sites around the campgrounds, including baseball and softball fields, as well as tennis courts. If you want to get a workout during your stay, the park offers a number of alternative workout classes.

RV Rentals in Fort Worden Historical State Park and Conference Center

Transportation in Fort Worden Historical State Park and Conference Center

Driving

The park is located on the northern portion of Puget Sound, about a two hour drive from Seattle. The park’s campgrounds are easy to reach by RV, but there are some narrow and tight turns if you want to reach some of the park’s historical sites.

Driving from Seattle, take WA-305 out of the city and you’ll get to the park in just over two hours. From Tacoma, take WA-16 and WA-3 and you’ll arrive in around an hour and a half. If you are coming from Vancouver, take I-5 south to WA-20 to reach the park in three and a half hours.

Once you get to the park, a side road next to the main entrance takes you directly to the campgrounds. However, the park’s main areas, where you’ll find the museums and historical sites, may be difficult to navigate with a large RV.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Fort Worden Historical State Park and Conference Center

Campsites in Fort Worden Historical State Park and Conference Center

Reservations camping

Upper Forest Campground

This campground is about a ten minute walk from the Beach Campground. There are 30 sites with water connections, electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire pits. You will have access to modern restrooms, a recycling station, and a dump station. The campground is also pet-friendly.

Beach Campground

There are two main campgrounds located within the park, both of which have easy access to all of the historical sites and hiking trails the park has to offer. The sites at both campgrounds can be reserved online in advance, or by calling the park office. The sites at the Beach Campground tend to fill up quickly during the summer months, so try to reserve a spot a few months in advance. Rigs up to 75 feet long can be accommodated.

The Beach Campground has 50 RV sites with full hookups. All of them are located near the shore of the lake so you'll get to soak in gorgeous views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There are restrooms with showers and recycling stations located within the campground.. The campground connects directly to two of the park’s hiking trails. Your pets are welcome to stay with you as long as they stay on a leash.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Fort Worden Historical State Park and Conference Center

In-Season

Boating

Once you’ve set up your rig, head to the water to enjoy boating and water skiing. The lake allows motorized boats, so water skiing and jet skiing are allowed. Kayaking and canoeing is also excellent, as you can explore Puget Sound and paddle out to many of the small islands in the area.

There are two boat launches located within the park, as well as a dock where you can keep your boat throughout your stay at the park. The park does rent small boats, such as canoes and kayaks. If you want to take a larger boat out onto the water, you’ll need to bring it yourself.

Biking

Many of the park’s trails are also open to mountain biking, should you want to explore the area at a slightly faster pace. There are eight miles of biking trails leading you along the beach, up the bluffs overlooking Strait Juan de Fuca, and past the artillery installations. The biking trails are shared with hikers, so do take extra caution. The park offers bike rentals at the main office, both for the day and for your entire stay.

Hiking

There are 11 miles of hiking trails in the park, leading you through the historical sites and surrounding forests. Hike up to one of the many bluffs along the coast overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, or head along the miles of beaches. You can also pick up a self-guided tour map that highlights the park’s main historical sites and takes you through the artillery installations.

Off-Season

Fishing

Fort Worten has many fishing opportunities along Strait Juan de Fuca so get ready to take your fishing gear out of your camper or trailer. You can fish from public docks along the beach, or take a boat out and explore nearby fishing areas. Crabbing is also allowed from the docks. You’ll find plenty of salmon in the strait, as well as halibut and lingcod. For some of the larger saltwater species you may have to travel closer to the mouth of Puget Sound. The park does not rent large fishing boats, although you can rent kayaks and canoes.

Birdwatching

Situated near the mouth of Puget Sound, Fort Worden Historical State Park is an excellent location for birdwatching, so make sure you pack those binoculars in your campervan. You’ll find dozens of different species around the park, and the scenic bluffs give you great lookouts over the area.

Washington has a number of Audubon societies that produce guides for the birds found in the Puget Sound area. Check their websites for field guides and bird checklists. The park office may also be able to provide you with a checklist of the birds found in the area.

Visiting Museums

Fort Worden Historical State Park and Conference Center has a number of historical sites and museums, highlighting the military history of the area. The Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum walks you through the area’s history as a defense base in World War I and II. It also has scale models of many of the original defensive installations used at the fort. The Commanding Officer’s Quarters are recreated to fit the style of the late Victorian age, giving you a sense of life at the fort around the turn of the 20th century. Both the Coast Artillery Museum and the Commanding Officer’s Quarters are open daily throughout the year.

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